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Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?

Henry Krinkle 15 Oct 12 - 07:29 PM
GUEST,999 15 Oct 12 - 08:05 PM
GUEST 15 Oct 12 - 08:12 PM
GUEST,999 15 Oct 12 - 08:15 PM
Silas 16 Oct 12 - 05:32 AM
bubblyrat 16 Oct 12 - 05:42 AM
banjoman 16 Oct 12 - 05:43 AM
Will Fly 16 Oct 12 - 06:02 AM
GUEST 16 Oct 12 - 06:22 AM
greg stephens 16 Oct 12 - 06:34 AM
Henry Krinkle 16 Oct 12 - 06:37 AM
Stanron 16 Oct 12 - 06:39 AM
Stanron 16 Oct 12 - 06:44 AM
Silas 16 Oct 12 - 06:47 AM
John MacKenzie 16 Oct 12 - 07:10 AM
Richard Bridge 16 Oct 12 - 07:27 AM
Richard Bridge 16 Oct 12 - 07:28 AM
greg stephens 16 Oct 12 - 07:28 AM
GUEST 16 Oct 12 - 08:12 AM
Stanron 16 Oct 12 - 08:23 AM
Cool Beans 16 Oct 12 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,999 16 Oct 12 - 08:58 AM
alex s 16 Oct 12 - 09:53 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 16 Oct 12 - 10:14 AM
Ian Hendrie 16 Oct 12 - 10:20 AM
Backwoodsman 16 Oct 12 - 11:25 AM
Will Fly 16 Oct 12 - 11:28 AM
John MacKenzie 16 Oct 12 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,Ray 16 Oct 12 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,Ian Hendrie 16 Oct 12 - 11:45 AM
Will Fly 16 Oct 12 - 11:48 AM
GUEST,Ray 16 Oct 12 - 11:50 AM
Backwoodsman 16 Oct 12 - 01:16 PM
Bert 16 Oct 12 - 01:27 PM
Henry Krinkle 16 Oct 12 - 02:31 PM
Bert 16 Oct 12 - 03:07 PM
GUEST,Ray 16 Oct 12 - 05:07 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 16 Oct 12 - 10:03 PM
Henry Krinkle 17 Oct 12 - 07:28 AM
Backwoodsman 17 Oct 12 - 08:40 AM
Ian Hendrie 17 Oct 12 - 01:31 PM
Backwoodsman 17 Oct 12 - 01:45 PM
Henry Krinkle 17 Oct 12 - 01:46 PM
Backwoodsman 17 Oct 12 - 01:47 PM
Will Fly 17 Oct 12 - 01:47 PM
Ian Hendrie 18 Oct 12 - 06:05 AM
Henry Krinkle 18 Oct 12 - 06:28 AM
Stanron 18 Oct 12 - 06:31 AM
Backwoodsman 18 Oct 12 - 08:20 AM
GUEST 22 Oct 12 - 08:57 AM
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Subject: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 15 Oct 12 - 07:29 PM

Will replacing plastic bridge pins on an acoustic guitar with bone or brass ones make much of a difference in tone? Thinking of replacing the ones on the Larrivee OM-01 I bought recently.
(:-( ))=


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 15 Oct 12 - 08:05 PM

I wouldn't think so. I'm using the same reasoning as I would about machine heads. They ain't part of the resonance that's happening so what for?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 12 - 08:12 PM

Definitely! The denser the material in the Bridge and or Bridge pins the more live your top will become. I don't recommend brass on a Larrivee. If you are going to replace plastic pins with Bone, I recommend replacing the Saddle with the same material.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 15 Oct 12 - 08:15 PM

That makes sense.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Silas
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 05:32 AM

Yes, it does make a difference. Tusq are very good, but I recently used some buffalo horn ones on my Fylde and they are also good.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 05:42 AM

I have been using (and advocating the use of ) solid (you can get hollow ones with pearly heads too ) brass pins , on Martin ,Guild and Avalon guitars that I've owned . The difference in both tone and volume is remarkable .I believe that Martin brought out a "signature" guitar some years back ,that featured spun aluminium bridge-pins ; I reckon they should be quite good,too.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: banjoman
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 05:43 AM

Brass pins on my lakewood certainly seemed to improve the tone but also produced some unwelcome overtones as well. I reverted to the original bone pins which cured the problem. Its worth a try as sets of pins are not too expensive but keep the fitted originals to hand.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 06:02 AM

Anyone used ebony pegs? They're fairly dense but without the heaviness and the possible overtones of brass.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 06:22 AM

I always use fossilised walrus tusk, the difference to the sound is remarkable.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 06:34 AM

that last one was me, not signed in


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 06:37 AM

I may try ebony.
(:-( ))=


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Stanron
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 06:39 AM

A change of weight in a bridge will result in a change of tone. Brass bridge pins result in an increase of weight and other materials can make for a weight reduction. Different guitars will react differently to weight changes in the bridge.

Frank Ford, in his site at Frets.com has an article about changing the weight of a mandolin bridge;



In this instance reducing the bridge weight resulted in more volume. You will have to experiment with different materials and judge the results for yourself.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Stanron
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 06:44 AM

I put a link in that last post that didn't make it.



If the above fails again copy and paste this;

http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/Mandolin/LtMandoBr/ltmandobr.html


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Silas
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 06:47 AM

I think its more to do with the density of the bridgepin material.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 07:10 AM

There are plenty of walrus ivory pins and bridges available. Just ask Mr Google. I definitely think getting rid of plastic is a good move.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 07:27 AM

I have used brass - in fact I almost solely use brass now and I'm sure I can hear a difference - louder, more ringing.

I have used ebony too. Brighter than plastic but not as ringing as brass. Woodier. Now there's a surprise.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 07:28 AM

PS - aluminium is a very soft metal. I'd expect it to dull tone, and be quiet.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 07:28 AM

Actually, I was suffering from a memory lapse. I dont use fossilised walrus ivory at all. I just use plastic like anyone else.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 08:12 AM

Thank all of you for the info about bridge pins. I am unclear on one thing, however. I also have a five or six year old Larrivee, medium sized body. Suppose I were to change the present plastic pins to stainless steel (I've never seen stainless steel pins, but suppose). Would I be wise to change the nut also (I don't mean me)?


For people intending to use exotic materials for either nut or pins, remember that some products are banned and at some borders could result in the confiscation of your guitar.

And what about the saddle material--should it too be stainless steel?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Stanron
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 08:23 AM

There's no point in changing the nut. Any sound input from the nut is lost as soon as you fret the string.

You should experiment with as many kinds of pin material as possible. They are not expensive and you are unlikely to do any damage.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Cool Beans
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 08:39 AM

I've used plastic, bone and currently ebony. I can't tell the difference.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 08:58 AM

Dang. That Guest was me. Thanks for the input.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: alex s
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 09:53 AM

An engineer friend made me some stainless steel pins for my old Guild but they are TOO bright. I swapped them for ebony and much prefer the sound. On my Martin I used bone to good effect.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 10:14 AM

Might a change from plastic to any other material pins
be expected to make more of a difference on on a cheap guitar
or an expensive one ?

A new or an old one ?

And what about plywood soundboards on the even cheapest old favourites ?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 10:20 AM

An envelope containing an Alternative String Anchoring System (which I believe one Mudcatter may know quite a lot about) has just popped through the letter-box. Details here :

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/180955458839?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1

It looks very interesting and I'll give it a try asap.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 11:25 AM

The main benefit of of dumping the nasty soft bendy plastic pins supplied in most of the volume-builders' instruments, and replacing them with denser, harder, stiffer material such as bone, FWI or brass, is in the better protection from damage to the bridge-plate. Even better is to slot the pin-holes and use non-slotted pins. The only plastic pins I use nowadays are 'Antique Acoustics' pins made by Willi Henkes of Blazer & Henkes (German builders of extremely high-quality guitars), which are made from a very dense, hard plastic and compare very favourably with bone in terms of density, hardness and sonic qualities.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 11:28 AM

Ian, that system with washers looks interesting technically, but rather ugly from an aesthetic viewpoint. Guitars look nice with pegs in the bridge! But, if you try the system out, I'd be interested in your feedback on the process and the resultant sound.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 11:44 AM

Well pins that were made specifically for your guitar work better. One of the first things the luthier who set uip my D28 did, was to ream out the holes for ther pins, to make them fit properly. Then he took a fair bit off the bottom of the saddle. What a differenc. You pay all that money for a guitar, and still it needs finishing off!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 11:44 AM

The material used for bridge pins has become part of the folklore of guitar playing with some people preferring one material to another. In my experience its largely down to weight rather than whether they're plastic or brass. Some people have mentioned density but, for items of roughly the same size, weight and density are more or less interchangeable terms.

Experimentation has shown that if a bridge is reduced in weight for any reason, the upper frequencies of an instrument are reduced but if this weight is replaced; e.g. by using brass bridge pins, the upper frequencies can be enhanced. The moral of this is that if you want more top to your guitar use heavier bridge pins.

Those who are as long in the tooth as I am will remember the long lamented "Frets" magazine of the 1970s. They were fond of doing experiments on things such as this and, back then, people were adding brass nuts to guitars because it supposedly increased the sustain. It did indeed do so but simply because it added weight to the head of the guitar. They suggested that, if you wanted to try this for yourself, screw a "G" clamp onto the head as it would cost less than having a new nut fitted. As for tuners and capos which seem to be permanently fitted to many a headstock, has anybody noticed a difference?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: GUEST,Ian Hendrie
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 11:45 AM

Will. The advertising suggests cutting down some cheap pins and popping them in the holes if you are worried about the appearance. I'll report back when I've tried them.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 11:48 AM

Cheers Ian!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 11:50 AM

Gives a whole new meaning to the line "A yard of German plywood and a capo". How about "A yard of plastic tubing and some washers"?

Why would someone pay £4.99 + postage?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 01:16 PM

John McK - the first thing I do when I get a new guitar is to replace the nasty-plastic pins and ream the pin-holes (which, in the case of modern Martins, are drilled straight-sided). I've now started slotting the holes and replacing the slotted pins with unslotted ones. Easy job to do oneself. I have a theory that properly-fitted pins are equally important as type of material where the sound of an instrument is concerned, probably more so. IMHO, YMMV.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Bert
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 01:27 PM

If extra weight on the bridge really made a difference, guitar manufacturers would screw lumps of metal onto the bridge.

Hey that's an idea; let me manufacture and sell little brass plates to screw onto your guitar. By the response to this thread I'm sure I could sell lots of them.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 02:31 PM

Stew Mac sells a brass plate that attaches to the bridge plate. Supposed to protect it and be a quick fix for worn bridge plates.
(:-( ))=


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Bert
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 03:07 PM

Dammit! beaten to it!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 05:07 PM

Extra weight doesn't make a guitar sound better, Bert, it simply affects the sound and if that's what you want, fine.

Northworthy guitars are a prime example. They are supplied with brass pins as a matter of course as that's the way they are built and intended to sound.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 10:03 PM

For discussion ad nauseum on this and similar guitar geek subjects, just visit The Unofficial Martin Guitar Forums and hit the Technical Info forum.

I get the impression that very few of the people who regularly frequent the UMGF still have the original bridge pins in their guitars.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 07:28 AM

I think you're right about having the holes slotted. I was changing the strings on the little Larrivee parlor guitar here and as I was tightening a string there was a big BANG!. The string ball had gotten lodged between the pin and the plate. Took a big chunk of wood out of the plate. That has never happened before. I saw another complaint about it online regarding the same model guitar.
(:-( ))=


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 08:40 AM

Slotting puts the ball in a better place - actually under the bridge plate (or partially so) and it 'locks' against the plate instead of trying to creep up the hole alongside the pin. The problem of unslotted bridges and slotted pins is exacerbated by the soft, cheap & nasty plastic they are often made from. Bone, or some other hard, non-'bendy' material is better, but the real answer is slotted bridge and solid, unslotted pins. IMHO, YMMV.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 01:31 PM

Having tried out the Alternative String Anchoring System on an old and beaten up Fender F-85 that I've recently acquired I can make the following comments :

1. Using the system is very easy. Stringing and tuning was effected quickly. There was none of the ball-end settling into position which I sometimes get.

2. The Fender had good sustain anyway but this was significantly improved with the ASA system.

3. Damage to the bridge plate and pins will no longer occur. I've always wondered about the strings cutting into rims of the holes in the bridge. Brass rims to the holes would stop this damage and might improve the pin-less look. I might look into this.

4. I cannot comment on the ease of changing a broken string quickly in the performance situation but I suspect it may be a little slower and more tricky than with just pins.

5. I was happy to pay the price asked as the inventor deserves reward for their time spent developing this. There were actually 12 string anchors/washers in the kit so a few pounds per guitar is not much for a significant improvement in the sound.

I'll have to see how I get on with this system but I have never been happy with plastic pins. I tried brass and there was a difference but I reverted eventually to a form of plastic. The guitars where strings are threaded through the bridge as in a Breedlove and a Crafter I possess would seem to suffer less damage during repeated stringings.

I hope these comments are of some use.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 01:45 PM

A Mitchel Plate-Mate offers the same protection for the bridge-plate, and retains the standard pin-bridge styling. Less fiddly than the system of washers described above, and the elegant look of pins remains. IMHO, YMMV.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 01:46 PM

I'm thinking of putting one of Stew Mac's brass plates in the little Larrivee. Fix the damage and keep it from happening again.
(:-( ))=


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 01:47 PM

Yep, that's a Mitchel Plate-Mate. Used one in my old J-40, worked fine.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Will Fly
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 01:47 PM

Thanks Ian - that's a very useful assessment.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 18 Oct 12 - 06:05 AM

The Plate Mate looks to be a good idea though it seems expensive for a piece of brass with a few holes in it - and I'm not sure of the availability in the UK.

Wouldn't a bridge plate need to be custom made? I can't believe all guitars have their bridge pin holes in the same place.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Henry Krinkle
Date: 18 Oct 12 - 06:28 AM

They have a few different string spacings available. But probably not all. So making your own may be the way to go.
(:-( ))=


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Stanron
Date: 18 Oct 12 - 06:31 AM

It should be perfectly possible to make your own metal bridge plate. You'd need some suitable metal, a jig or hacksaw, the right size drill bits and some accurate measuring. Try a trip round some car boot or yard sales and hunt for something like a metal ash tray. Thin and flat.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 18 Oct 12 - 08:20 AM

I'm in the UK. mine came from Stew-Mac. Never heard of the mail, Ian? :-)
Stanron, theyre fairly inexpensive, I'd buy the real thing rather than spend time and petrol money farting about running around scrap yards and trying to adapt ash trays. But hey ho, whatever turns you on.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Replacing plastic bridge pins?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 08:57 AM

Hey Ray, You've got too much time on your hands!
email me at jdstirling@btopenworld.com
bw
J


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