Thursday, 22 January 2009

New tuners

I've always wanted to try out my a particular form of tuners for headless guitars and basses. They work by having a scew pulling a brass block in which the ball end of the string is mounted. The main inspiration was Jeff Turpin's tuners; drawings and building guide for similar tuners can be seen at ScottyD's home made tuners. But since I have a T-beam, I can do away with the housings for the brass blocks that these designs use, and rather let them slide on the underside of the T-beam like this:

Two of the screws are for holding the brass plate on to the T-beam
The other two are for tuning.

I thought that 'd give it a try since I was going to cut the T-beam to length and I needed a bit of room for the tuners, so it was the last opportunity to try it out. It works very well - very smooth and precise, so I'll stick with them rather than reverting to the traditional tuners. I believe they'll be even better when I've mounted hex socket screws so I won't have to use a screwdriver to tune them. The holes where the strings go through the top flange could use some lengthening as well, which would make the strings' movement easier.

The picture shows the sharp turn, which the cable has to do going through the flange.

I'll stick with the new tuners rather than the standard bass tuners it had on earlier. That will also make it easier to make some good looking wood sides for the T-beam since I won't have to worry about making room for tuners that stick out. The brass blocks and string ends will be hidden within the body.

Earlier, while the traditional tuners were still on the bass, I was making and mounting a string tree that I needed for them. Unfortunately, the aluminium is so soft and sticky, that I broke off one of my threading taps inside the T-beam. Trying to get it out by cutting room around it with a dremel only made things worse. I'm afraid that I'll have to stray from my "form follows function" principle and make some sort of ornament to cover the damage, now that I don't need the string tree any longer.

Headstock-end with damage from string tree mounting attempt
(I later turned the T-beam around so this end was the bridge end back then).

On the image above, btw, you can see the strings going through the flange. They are secured on the underside by cable stops - the type used e.g. for brakes on mopeds.

Next step will be making the wooden sides plus some experimentation with Piezo pickup pre-amplifiers. And then back to tidy up the T-beam. Later, I am thinking about making a detachable body from steam bent plywood.


Anonymous said...

Alex have you had any success or failures with gluing fret boards to the aluminium necks yet ?

Alexander Gorm Øst said...

No, not yet.

I don't think I'll be doing it any time soon. I'd rather try to mount the frets directly in the aluminium beam.

The reason I bought a fretboard some time ago was that I was reluctant to try cutting my own fret slots. I've progressed since then and today, I wouldn't mind giving fret slot cutting a try.


kamusur said...

Thanks Alex

I finally sourced some T beams myself after being inspired by your ideas. Also cant wait to try BBs ribbon pickups that he alluded to on a much earlier post of yours.
Have you seen the Japanese Atlansia site? Some good ideas going down there.

Alexander Gorm Øst said...

Sounds interesting! What are you going to build?

It's really great that you'll try bbSailor's strings-as-coils idea. I'd like to try it myself, but there are too many things I'd like to do first.

Yes, I know the Atlansia site. I can loose myself in there for hours. Fantastic designs.

Anonymous said...

Theres so much amazing stuff on there Alex.I thought you could get some ideas about the frets from there. Its just so hard to source off beat stuff in Aus You have to import it all. Been waitin months for some headless stuff and its not cheap. Probably a commmon complaint world wide lol. Ive taken a shine lately to fretboards bound with the same timber as the board itself covering the tang its looks really high end.

Alexander Gorm Øst said...

Well, Denmark isnt't the center of the world either, guitar wise. But that gives me an excuse for making more parts myself.

Hey, look at the bright side: it forces us to be creative!