No proper steel-string acoustic guitar can go without them.
But the truth is: string pins can be a bit of a nuisance.
They need to be tight to hold the strings. But then they get stuck.
If you don’t know how to remove acoustic guitar bridge pins the right way, this can lead to a lot of frustration.
Trust me, you’re not alone in this. We’ve all been there. That’s why I wrote this article.
Keep reading to learn how to make removing those bridge pins as easy as possible. We will cover everything you need to know.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Remove Acoustic Guitar Bridge Pins
- 2 Remove Acoustic Guitar String Pins: Final Thoughts
How To Remove Acoustic Guitar Bridge Pins
As mentioned, bridge pins can be a pain. On the one hand, it is important for them to be shut tight in place. After all, they’re holding the strings in your guitar’s bridge.
On the other hand, they can get so jammed in there that it seems like it’s impossible to get them out.
So what do you do?
There are a few ways to approach the issue. And no, none of them involve damaging your precious instrument.
It Starts With Proper Restringing
The best way to deal with this problem is to prevent it in the first place. To that end, before we get into the issue of removing your jammed acoustic guitar bridge pins, let’s learn how to avoid it in the first place.
Your acoustic guitar and its bridge are made of wood. And wood tends to shrink and expand. This means that external factors definitely play a role here. However, there’s more to it than just that.
The ball end of a string goes into its hole on the bridge and is set in its place with the help of a pin. But if you jam it the wrong way, the ball end of the string can make it difficult for the pin to move.
In order to prevent this, you’ll need to bend the string behind the ball end a little before installing it. This way, there is a smaller chance that it will jam when you secure it with a pin, and the string will be in the correct position.
Removing Stuck Bridge Pins
Depending on how stuck the pins are, there are a few tools you will likely need to get them out. Chances are you already have these at home.
What You’ll Need
Before you set out to remove those bridge pins, these are a few tools you’ll want to have ready.
- String cutters
- String winder
A string winder is used to unwind and wind strings. But it also has another purpose. Most of them are made with additional slots that will help you pull out pins.
A good alternative is to get one of those combined tools that are three things in one: a string cutter, a string winder, and a pin puller.
You could also go without any of these. However, if your pins are really stuck, it’s going to be incredibly difficult to sort things out without the tools.
And besides, winding your strings manually is a chore. A simple, cheap string winder is always a good tool to have around.
On top of all this, there is one more tool you will want to have: patience. Whatever you do, make sure that you don’t rush things and that you are careful. You don’t want to damage your instrument.
Step 1: Remove The Strings
Now that you have your tools ready, let’s move on to the main part. Obviously, you are going to remove your pins when restringing. So let’s start by removing the strings.
Begin by removing the strings from the tuning machines, on the other end of the guitar. Once you have them undone there, it is easiest to just cut them off. Preferably, you should make the cuts close to the bridge.
Step 2: Loosen The Pins From The Inside
With the strings out of the way, you now have more room to put your hand inside the guitar’s body through the sound hole.
You’ll want to feel around and find where the pins and the ball ends of the strings rest are on the inside of the body. It shouldn’t be difficult to feel them and locate them.
For the next step, you can use the pliers, or any other hard object that you can put inside the guitar through the sound hole.
Slowly and gently start tapping the pins from inside the guitar using the pliers, or whatever other object you’ve decided to use for the purpose.
This should go without saying, but you want to be extra careful and patient. Don’t rush it. You don’t want to damage your guitar. That would mean an unnecessary (and possibly large) repair.
To make sure you’re safe here, you can hold your other hand against the body at the bridge. Tap gently and slowly, one pin at a time.
Step 3: Pull The Pins From The Outside
At this point, the pins should be slowly moving out. If you see that they are moving, and they most likely will, then it’s time to wiggle them out of the pinholes from the outside.
There should be some space right below the pin head as it slowly slides out. Use the slot for removing pins on your string winder to grab the pin.
Slide the slot right underneath the pin head to grab onto it. But don’t pull the pin directly. Instead, pull at an angle. Hold your string winder against the bridge on the one end and pull as if you’re removing a cap from a bottle.
What If My Pins Are Still Stuck?
Now, it may happen that your string and the pin are still stuck, and you cannot remove them with a string winder and the method described above.
Once again, you’re not the only one dealing with this issue. This can happen, especially if you’re not restringing that often and the strings get a little rusty.
Obviously, the best solution is, again, prevention. In the future, change the strings before they get rusty.
But if it does happen, you usually just need a bit more time on the second step. Go back to that step and continue to slowly tap the pins with your pliers.
Again, be very careful and don’t hit too hard. They will begin to budge at some point. Keep going a bit longer, to make more room for the string winder to slot in under the pin head on the other side.
It could also help if you enlisted someone else to help you. Another pair of hands can slowly pull the pin out as you tap it from beneath.
Remove Acoustic Guitar String Pins: Final Thoughts
Removing the bridge pins is an essential part of guitar restringing. But it can be a huge pain if they get stuck. Unless you know how to remove acoustic guitar bridge pins.
But even then, you need to be patient, take your time, and use the proper tools. That is the secret to avoiding frustration and safely removing even the most stubborn pins.
Follow the steps outlined in this article, from loosening the pins internally to wiggling them out at an angle, and this task will become markedly easier in the future.
Of course, there is something even easier: not having do deal with stuck bridge pins in the first place. So take the right precautions to minimize the chances of them getting stuck again in the future. And even if they do still get stuck, you now know how to get them out.