Are you a bridge pin snob? I feel for you.
When it comes to acoustic guitars, “bridge pin” can easily turn into a fighting word. If you happen to have those kind of friends, or you frequent internet forums about acoustic guitars, you have probably noticed this already. After some time, but sometimes right away, someone will say something like “I really love this guitar, except the the fact that it came with plastic pins. Fortunately it’s an easy cure…” blah blah. And then they go on about how when they installed the brand new bone/ebony/ivory/brass(!) pins in the bridge, they instantly improved the tone of the guitar. But did they really? Well, as usual, it’s in the eye of the beholder. And not their ears. Which is why this whole thing becomes a silly problem real quick. It’s the usual case of people listening with their eyes, plus a good amount of snobbery. Yep, that latter one sneaks up its ugly head and gets in the way too many times. Especially if you happen to be into guitars. Mammoth cock vs walrus clit bridge pins, anyone?
It’s all about the sound, not the material
For a good, lively acoustic sound, you need the top to be as light as possible while maintaining the strength required to hold against the tension of the strings. It’s so the strings can move/resonate the guitar top freely and effectively. That’s when you get the loudest possible volume, which is of course one of the most important things for an acoustic instrument. Now I encourage you to sit down, take your time and compare the density/weight of the plastic bridge pins and those alternative materials. Even after a brief research, you’ll realize that the usual suspects that most of these poor people buy to achieve a tonal improvement are denser/heavier materials than your boring, el cheapo plastic pins. The only reason why manufacturers used those fancy materials back then was because there were no cheap, stable plastics available.
Ivory, ebony, mammoths… doesn’t really matter
So, even though these tonal differences are somewhat on the minor side of things, if anything, the heavier pins will slow down the top a tad. It means you will cut back on a little bit of volume, and you might gain a tiny bit of sustain. The problem is, most of these snob people and some of the shops that sell these pins claim either the exact opposite, or even worse. They often say that a heavy set of mammoth ivory (poor guy) bridge pins will make your guitar sound louder AND you’ll get better sustain as well. No, you won’t. At the price of a couple of string sets, you could do better than to fall for this obvious, idiotic scam. Acoustic guitars are awesome without you having to be a fukken snob.