Saturday, 8 August 2009

Coarse tuners part 3

As mentioned in this post, I am trying to make a set of coarse tuners, compact and light, for use with my fine tuning bridge, allowing me to ditch the headstock. The first version used T-nuts, but this time, I made a brass plate with threaded holes to hold the tuning pegs. I have also managed to lower my failure rate in drilling holes in the tuner pegs (which are blind screws). Now I am down to around one broken drill bit per finished peg. And I've made twelve of them, six short ones and six long ones. Progress!

It's all mounted on the guitar I use for experiments. And it works. It works well, actually. Stringing up - especially getting and keeping a correct length of the string ends through the peg holes - is a bit troublesome, but I believe that once I've done it a couple of times, it'll be almost as easy as with a traditional set of tuners. The coarse tuning itself is easy. The tuners are sufficiently precise, and the fine tuners of the bridge do the more delicate tuning.

Once I've used the system long enough to believe that it works in the long run as well, I'll cut off the excess headstock and shape the remaining part - plus the brass plate itself - in a more elegant way. I will also tidy up the recessed holes for the allen nuts on the back of the headstock - those are the nuts that fix the peg when the correct note is reached. Plus, I will also buy get some prettier nuts. The ones I used are modified from those that you use for assembling IKEA furniture (Zachary isn't the only one building IKEA guitars ;-) The allen nut on the far left in the picture is for mounting bicycle brakes and I am going to get some more of these.

I also intend to recess the screws that hold the brass plate to the headstock and perhaps some time in the future, I will do a galvanic etching on the brass plate. It seems that I'm not even half way with this small project yet. Meaning that lots of fun remains.

8 comments:

Juan said...
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Anonymous said...

Quick question im using the same concept but different parts for my project guitar what size drill bit did you use for the string hole? im gonna be using a large gauge probably 11's what would you recommend? and here's a link for you http://www.guitarcats.com/content/build-1-aluminum-t-beam-guitar-project-pics good website shame more people go on it thanks alot Alex

TheDude said...

by the way this is The Dude

Alexander Gorm Øst said...

I used 2 mm and 2.5 mm drill bits. The 2.5 mm ones are less prone to snapping, so they're preferable. Also, a bigger hole allows the string to bend less sharply when they're threaded through the hole and the tuning peg is tightened. My pegs (the blind screws) are 6 mm, and I wouldn't go above 3 mm hole size - otherwise I'm afraid the peg is weakened too much by the hole.

I've used 10 and 11 gauge strings and have no problems getting them through the holes. I've had a the D string snap once after I'd taken it off and remounted it, btw. It snapped right at the bend where it went through the peg hole. I believe that if I'd made a smoother edge on the hole (like on an ordinary tuner peg) it wouldn't have happened.

It sounds like an interesting project you've got going. What parts will you be using?

Thanks for the link for the dual L-beam guitar. That's an impressive axe. And he plays it well. It's a bit big for my taste but it's impressive how he just started building with L-beams and spruce two by fours and ended up with such a well sounding guitar.

/Alex

TheDude said...

The part's im using are a wood brass insert, a Allen screw, nylon washer and nylon lock nut. I was leaning away from the nylon lock nut but, my buddy works at ace hardware and bought me into it. The guitar is going to be tuned to drop A. I was fooling around with idea's to preserve the "brightness" of the tone stainless steel strings was one idea. As for pickups, I was looking at APC pickups they seemed cool then I got a look at these http://www.rockfieldpickups.com/fat_ass.html and im kinda digging the fat clean tone they got goin on. The guitar parts are going to be from guitar fetish, I want their roller bridge I hear pretty good reviews about there parts. Cant afford the money for schaller gotoh or other stuff right now lousy economy. Yeah I agree he did a good job as proof of concept my only criticism with the fret's as far as his comment on sustain. you can see the gigantic mountain of epoxy underneath each fret, that has to be responsible for deadening the tone. The next time im able to my schools wood lab im gonna start posting pictures, Hopefully everything is alot clearer by then : ).

Alexander Gorm Øst said...

So you'll use those inserts with a coarse thread on the outside (for the wood) and a fine thread on the inside? That sounds like a good idea as does the lock nut. But aren't you going to use fine tuners too? The coarse tuners aren't that precise, so you can't rely on tuning the guitar with them only.

/Alex

TheDude said...

Alright appreciate the input i'll probably end up using the same bridge as you. Also in the future I was thinking about using a Kahler tremolo any experience with these?

Alexander Gorm Øst said...

No, sorry, I don't know anything about the Kahler. I've never been comfortable with tremolos, so that's not an area I've explored.

My Schaller fine-tuning bridge is a really nice bridge... very recommendable, but expensive. I've looked for a cheaper fine-tuning alternative, but so far found none.