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Fossilized Walrus Ivory (FWI) Bridge Pin - Rate and Review

Rate the Fossilized Walrus Ivory Bridge Pins
 5 - Best thing I ever bought
 4 - Highly recommend it
 3 - Good bridge pins, give them a try
 2 - Did the job, nothing special
 1 - Save your money


Fossilized Walrus Ivory Reviews

Name: Ty Wrage
Date: 7-25-20
Review: FWI bridge pins with Abalone inlays

Rating you give the walrus ivory bridge pins: 4 - Highly recommend it  

Likes: Totally accentuates the character that led me to buy my HD-28 to begin with.

Dislikes: If you choose priority shipping and you order on a Wednesday afternoon hoping to receive the package by the weekend to have it before you leave town the following week, you may be disappointed. Have realistic expectations about delivery times.

Additional Comments: I'm middle aged and I've been playing guitar more or less since I was 10. I don't just buy any old guitar. If I'm shopping, I'll play 10-15 guitars in all price ranges. Every once a while I will catch myself repeatedly playing a phrase on a particular instrument and be surprised that it has such an individual unique voice. That's how I found a wonderful HD-28 about 20 years ago. That happened again about a month ago when I ran into one of David Ianone's Morgan C-series Mahogony guitars. Props to him, he really builds excellent sounding guitars. The chime of the bell tones is overpowering on this one and the timbre of its mid lows is inspiring. This is unrelated, but serves to paint a sonic image of the qualities for which I'm listening.

We've all had experience with the sad consequences that competition and the need to make a profit bring to the quality of manufacturing. There were only so many pre-war D-45s which is why the real deal commands the price it does today.

That said, at least 20 years ago, when I bought my HD-28. Martin was still making some very high quality instruments and the ones I've played lately aren't bad. If you pick through them you can find one that has a special something. My HD-28 did and it immediately pulled my credit card out of my wallet as if by magic.

As good as it was I knew it could be even better. The first thing I did was ask a friend who had gone to the Stew-Mac school and was in possession of the tools to build me a bone nut to replace that plasticky thing Martin had on it. Also I bought the FWI saddle piece from Maurys and asked him to set it up with that. Those measures in themselves were spectacular in the way they added volume, sustain and further brought out the instruments character.

I had for several years toyed with the idea of matching endpins, and the way they anchor the strings to the bridge does everything they say. You get more volume and overtones, better presence on individual strings. This Martin has mellowed in 20 years, it has a better blend when strumming than when I bought it. My mods have helped that too.

You might be weary with the idea. You just spent 3-4K on an instrument and you ask, do I really need to spend an additional $150-350 plus setup costs to get what I want?

It's a personal choice. You might be happy with no mods.

Musicians are acquisitive. We see shiny things and have to have them. I have my own room full of instruments, recording gear computers and software, but when it comes down to it you only need the things that inspire you to keep playing in the face of everything life throws at you.

At the risk of approaching a mystical place with fuzzy metaphysical connotations...You need those instruments that have their own soul, their own voice. They are the ones that teach you how they like to be played. Holding and playing them is being in communion with the nature that grew the trees, the time that seasoned the wood, the hands of the s{blocked}ed craftsmen who put their hearts into the building process with just the single hope that it would inspire great things to channel through your hands. The hope that you would pick up their work, surprise yourself and share that passion.

To me these are small investments for a big return.


Forum username: Tonefreak
Date: 3/22/2011
Review: Walrus bridge pins
Rating you give the FWI bridge pins: 4 - Highly recommend it

Likes: Great improvement in sustain and depth of tone!  Replaced the plastic pins on my 08 HD 28, and wow!!  Had no idea that just bridge pins could make such a difference in tone.  The trebles are clear and bright.  These pins really surprised me.  They open up the mids and yet keep the bass rumbling.  The best way to describe it, is that it gives your guitar a more organic and chunky sound with exceptional note clarity.  My wife caught me playing the day I had them put in, and said "Wow...it really DOES sound better..and much louder."  That was proof enough for me!!  If you can afford it, do it...you wont be sorry!

Dislikes: YOU WILL NEED A MARTIN TECH TO INSTALL THESE.  Even though I ordered the right size for my guitar, the pins did not fit very well at all at first.  Unless you are comfortable reeming your bridge pin holes yourself, my advice is to take it to a certified martin tech and have it done right. DO NOT try and force these pins in your bridge if they do not fit flush or go in very far as you will deeply regret it later.

Additional Comments: Wonderful upgrade to your guitar and well worth every penny...just make sure you get a martin tech to install them.

Comment from Maury's:  If you are certain the pins are the correct size, we recommend lightly sanding the pin shaft with 220 grit sandpaper until the bridge pin sits as low as you'd like it to.  Take your time and check the bridge pin in the hole frequently.  Reaming the bridge pin holes is a permanent modification and should be done at your own risk.  You may have a hard time getting other bridge pins to fit correctly should you decide to change them at a later date.

 

Name: Bill Rodrick
Date: 12/12/2009
Review: Fossilized Walrus Ivory bridge pins
Rating you give the FWI bridge pins:  3 - Good product give it a try

Likes: Everything (see comments).

Dislikes: Others' reactions when told how much they cost.

Additional Comments: There are 3 possible reactions to such an upgrade: some will hear improved tone because of how much the pins cost; many will scoff because they don't WANT something this expensive to make a difference; others will simply accept what their senses report.
I'm a skeptic by nature and believe I fall into the latter camp.

My guitar is a custom-ordered Martin similar to a vintage 000-28 but with a cutaway. I had already upgraded the plastic pins to ebony, and now recently to FWI from Maury. Both times, I replaced the pins one by one, without changing strings, and with an audible improvement in clarity, sustain and harmonics each time. This was more audible when I went from ebony to FWI, and once I'd replaced all 6, I honestly felt the difference was akin to putting on new or "better" strings.

The real test came much later, though, when working intensely on some new fingerstyle arrangements. I began noticing clear and beautiful overtones that had definitely not been there before - at first I thought these sounds were coming from somewhere else and it took me a while to realize they were actually emanating from my guitar! I'm also getting better sustain and dynamic response...and all this without having changed strings yet.

That said, I give these a "3" because I have no idea whether others will hear the same difference on other guitars, and/or with other playing styles. The difference might be subtle, but fingerstyle guitar is all about subtlety, and after all is said and done, it's the player's experience that is most significant. The better and more responsive the instrument, the more inspired the player, and the happier the listeners as a result. If you can afford these, I highly recommend giving them a try.

 

Name or Forum username:  Pepper "pepe" Gonsalves
Date:  Oct. 1-07
Review:  Fossil Walrus Bridge Pins
Rating you give the FWI bridge pins:
  2 - Did the job nothing special

Like about the Fossilized Walrus Bridge Pins:  A very attractive addition to your guitar, although mostly cosmetic.

Dislike about the FWI bridge pins:  The price, although mine were given to me as a gift.

Additional Comments:  Couldn't detect any sonic difference between the fossil walrus bridge pins and bone bridge pins though the fossil walrus ones look a lot better than the bone bridge pins. Probably best to focus on the saddle material first and then make the move to either bone or fossil walrus pins.

Another consideration would be to make a decision whether to slot your bridge to utilize unslotted pins or to run with slotted replacement pins. Some say slotted makes a tonal improvement but I really couldn't tell.

 
Forum username:  slmkh5
Date:  02/28/07
Review:  FWI Bridge Pins
Rating you give the FWI Bridge Pins:  4 - Highly recommend it

Like about the FWI Bridge Pins:  Added a little sustain and some middle. Good craftsmanship.  Very nice looking.

Dislike about the FWI Bridge Pins:  A little pricey, but you get what you pay for. 

Additional Comments:  Their addition to a special guitar, gave it a little extra kick and beauty.
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