I own seven guitars – all acoustic or acoustic/electric. They are like a family and I love them all. Like any relationship, they require some attention and care. Beyond keeping them clean and in tune, every so often the strings need to be replaced to keep the instruments sounding as good as possible. Every guitar player knows that changing out the strings is one of the frequent and often nuisance activities required to sustain our instruments.
Changing the strings usually involves two processes. The first is removing and resetting the bridge pins – the pegs that secure the strings into the bridge of the guitar. The second is the act of winding the other end of the string around the appropriate tuning post and adjusting it to the correct tone. Changing out and resetting the bridge pins is the most time consuming part of the string-changing process. Over time with older guitars, it gets more difficult to seat them correctly with new strings.
Finally, there is something new under the sun that makes the process of changing guitar strings much easier. It literally eliminates the entire bridge pin issue. They no longer need to be removed and reset iff you install and use the new Power Pins from BigRock Engineering. Power Pins are metal string holders that are permanently installed in the guitar’s bridge where the bridge pins traditionally go. Once they are installed, the bottom end of the string simply slides into the Power Pin and is securely held in place while the string is would around the tuning post and tightened to the correct tone.
Once installed, bridge pins and bridge pin pullers and the time it takes to deal with them are all obsolete. These Power Pins are a fine and necessary contribution to the advancement of the maintenance of acoustic guitars.
They come in a choice of finishes. I chose gold to try on my primary performance guitar, a Gibson Songwriter Studio Deluxe CE. I found the pins are a bit clumsy to install. It takes patience, good eyes and a steady hand to do it correctly. The installation took me about 45 minutes. The directions provided are minimal and one needs be certain to use the right pin in the right bridge hole. (There are three sizes with two each – one set for the top two strings, a set for the middle and a set for the bottom two.)
The process of installing them involves removing all of the strings and reaching inside the guitar so as to insert, upwardly through the bridge pin holes, posts that the pin holders will screw into from the top. It reminded me of getting dental implants! It is a bit awkward – especially if there are electronics in the guitar in the area of the bridge – but I was able to work around them. Washers are included to be used to the degree necessary to have the posts remain just below the surface of the bridge. Once the holders are placed on top of them, they are screwed tightly into place with a hex-wrench (provided in the kit) from below. It sounds a bit much, and it is. However, once finished, I was delighted with the results!
Once in place, though, they hold nicely. I have not used them for long enough to recognize any appreciable change in tone – it certainly has not suffered negatively. The immediate benefit is that changing strings on this guitar, which I do every couple of months, is now a five minute activity vs. a twenty minute one.
Moreover, they look great once you get used to not seeing the usual bridge pins there any longer. I encourage my fellow guitar enthusiasts to give a set of these a try. They are NOT inexpensive, but they do not cost any more than the nice set of custom bone bridge pins I replaced with the Power Pins. (About $60. Retail.) I would love to see these developed for a 12-string. Talk about the time it takes to change out a set of strings!