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Classical with Bridge & Pins instead of tie block?

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Total Posts: 3

I am getting ready to build my first classical guitar (and first guitar ever). I would like to use a bridge and bridge pins (standard on steel string) instead of a tie block.

Has anyone done this? Can you provide any advice?


Jan 22, 10 | 7:03 pm
Ken Cierp

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Total Posts: 2262
Hi Chris,

Adding the extra weight of the pins to a nylon string guitar is not a good idea. As matter of fact some classic builders use a rosewood bridge even though the fingerboard is Ebony --- again a weight savings. Besides nylon strings, as far as I have seen are not available with ball ends. Its certainly my opinion but the simple elegance of tied gut and nylon guitar strings is an acoustic advantage over pins.

I am looking at pinless steel string bridge designs as an option on my KMG guitars for some of the very same reasons.


Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Jan 22, 10 | 7:28 pm
Bill Cory

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Total Posts: 3584
Welcome Chris -- Besides what Ken said being true, the top brace pattern of the classical would be changed and interrupted by putting in a bridge plate (which would be needed) underneath the bridge -- which would completely change the tonality of the guitar. It might be disappointing, and with nylon strings, not have anywhere near the tone you hope for.


Jan 23, 10 | 5:09 am

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I'm not recommending going against Ken's advice, but if anyone is looking for nylon strings with ball ends, look for folk guitar strings.

I don't like to take the time to tie the strings, so I use D'Addario folk strings. If I was a trained classical guitarist, I might notice a difference worth mentioning, but I'm not.


Jan 23, 10 | 10:22 am
Ken Cierp

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Total Posts: 2262
Thanks Lance, never knew that there was such a thing -- I did know about the silk and steel folk style but not all nylon.


Jan 23, 10 | 10:44 am
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

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It has been done and is still being done. I prefer standard classical pinless myself.

Jan 23, 10 | 3:07 pm

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 3
Hi Guys,

Thank for the quick responses. I have very little idea what I am doing, so I started asking my Dad what he would look for in a classical guitar.

I think I'll stick with the traditional tie block, as it sounds like the easiest way to move forward. The guitar is for my younger brother, so maybe I'll give him a book on tying knots, too!

Thanks again!

Jan 23, 10 | 7:31 pm

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Total Posts: 668
Pinned bridges have been used on classicals and some "cross overs" like the early Martins that could be strung with either gut or wire. You do limit yourself to ball end strings or to tying knots in the ends.

Some other considerations
- as mentioned before, the bridgeplate and bracing will change. You will have to do something different with the fans that cross the bridge plate

- you will have to make your own bridge. Classicals usually do not have the slanted compensation (however they are compensated) so simply taking a Martin style bridge and slapping it on won't intonate.

- additional mass may change the tone

- it will look, well, non-classic LOL

- somebody may slap a set of steel strings on it, tune it to pitch and rip the bridge off.

- if you (or your brother) doesn't like tying in the traditional fashion you can use ball end classical strings or tie knots in the end. But once you learn the trick a tie block isn't that difficult

I posted a link to my LMI classical build in your other question - have fun with yours. The LMI kit was very high quality and I was very happy with the results.

Jan 24, 10 | 7:22 am

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