Lifting Stubborn Bridge Pins


While regulating harps it is often necessary to raise the level of the string slightly.   At other times, you may need to remove a bridge pin entirely.   Old pins can become quite firmly lodged in the neck, and I have tried a variety of tools, fixtures and brute force to shift stubborn pins.   I have found a simple block with a slot cut into it, a side cutter and set of shims will allow you remove stubborn bridge pins without damaging the surrounding string, neck, or the bridge pin itself






First take the side pressure off the bridge pin by removing the string from the bridge pins.  With Bass wires and in the first octave, it will be necessary to loosen the string a half turn or so.  In the lower octaves, the strings are usually slack enough to simply pop them off.


The fulcrum block to be used under the side cutters about ½ inch tall, 1 inch long and about ¾ inch wide.  A slot is cut in the middle of the biggest face, longways for the string



If the slot is cut about 1/3 the depth of the block, the block pushes up on the string, holding it against the neck.  That is a nice feature if you have to work on the harp while it is upright.  I use a pair of side cutters to grip the groove of the bridge pin (see very first diagram).  Squeezing the pliers together and pushing down on the ends of the handles will lever the pin up.


After the pin has been levered up the first time, a second block, about 3/16 thick can be placed and the pin lifted again.  The large bass bridge pins may require a third block to get the height needed to extract the pin.


©Rick Kemper, Sligo Harp Shop 2009

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