HEAR A PIN DROP
The Evolution of Bridge Pins on Martin Guitars
C.F. Martin used many bridge designs on his guitars, and even those
designed for gut strings in the earliest years incorporated bridge
While the pin style bridge is generally associated with steel string
guitars, you can see that Martin used pin style bridges with gut
strings close to 100 years before introducing steel string guitars.
trace the evolution of bridge pins used by Martin and his descendants
through the years.
The "moustache" bridge, with a fretwire saddle, appears on
early Stauffer and Martin "Stauffer Style" guitars.
These early pins were made of ebony with abalone dots.
A number of early Martin and Martin & Coupa guitars, such as this
one, have the "badge" or "shield" style bridge, in either ebony or
seen with an added ivory pendant. Some ivory versions have
fretwire saddle similar to those on the Stauffer "moustache" bridges.
The earliest pin style pyramid bridge is only a slight step away
from the "tie style" pyramid, with a similar "lipped" or
These pins have the flat heads typical of the period.
This scooped back ivory pin bridge on this very early Hudson Street
Martin is likely a replacement, but the decorative ivory and pearl
pendants are most likely original from c. 1837. It's entirely
possible, however, that this guitar did originally have a pyramid
These are later round back pyramid bridges in ivory, which appear
until about 1919:
This 2 1/2 - 17 is from 1889:
Some beautiful bridge pins have "eyes".
At this point ivory pins are just beginning to replace wood pins on
fancier Martin guitars.
During the boom years of the Hawaiian craze in the mid-teens, as
Martin was struggling
to keep up with demand, the company purchased "Chicago Style"
bridges supplied by Lyon & Healy, with flat, raised
wings, and a long, through-cut saddle.
Here we see the first use of plastic bridge pins.
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