I don't know if you remember talking with me a few months ago, but you
made me a pbc bass a few years back which has to date played on over 200
albums! (well, so has it's owner! LOL) I am asked CONSTANTLY about the
history of this bass, and you and I talked about it in detail when I called
back then. This is one of the best instruments I have ever owned, and I
am now in need of a backup. I would love to be your most fervent endorsement
player. You can see the bass at http://www.raneyrecordingstudio.com/dougdriesel.jpg
and hear it on many recordings online. I am very eager to speak with you
about the possiblity of even a cost deal, as I was given on the first bass.
Dave, you cannot believe the sound this bass puts out on record. All I
have to do is take this bass, my sans amp, go direct with no EQ, and the
sound is intense. If you need to refence my exposure possiblities, you
can call Jon Raney at Raney Recording at 870-668-3222. I am the house bassist
there, as well as doing shows live with a host of acts including Leroy
Parnell, Radney Foster, Kelly McGuire and many more. Please hit me back
with info......I am VERY anxious to have a backup....I NEVER want to play
(Fulcrum/Knife-edge) Tuning Problems
(also applies to many Single-Locking Tremolos)
Tremolos in the past have come and gone, but, for about 25 years the
Double-Locking type has dominated the guitar market. Widely considered
the best type of Tremolo to have, Double-Locking Tremolos can have quirky
habits. The most notorious is coming back flat after a dive-bomb or staying
sharp after applying a little vibrato to a nice (or not so nice) chord.
Sound familiar? Well... Here are some things for you to check-
The Knife-edge Pivots.
These two friction points are the first place check. The best time
to do this is during a routine string change. When all the strings are
off the guitar remove the spring cover on the back of your guitar.
Using needle-nose pliers remove the springs from the bridge (not the “claw”),
one spring at a time.
Be careful not to scratch your guitar or chip the paint when the Tremolo
is free of its springs, especially be careful when removing the last spring.
Now with the Tremolo removed take a very close look at the knife-edges
on the body of the Tremolo. Use a magnifying glass (if you have one) and
look for debris, dirt and any deformation of the knife-edges.
Most knife-edges will look a little worn, meaning the metal doesn’t
appear to form clean, sharp “knife-edge” or “V” shape. That’s OK. If the
“V” shape is badly worn it will look very “rounded-over” at the point of
contact compared to areas just left and right of the point of contact for
Also the (chrome, gold, etc.) plating can wear away leaving frayed
bits of metal around the pivot area. Clean this area well, remove any debris
with #400 wet/dry sandpaper. Be careful not to sand on the exact point
of contact for each pivot, you just need to remove surrounding debris.
Now let’s look at the pivot screws on the body of the guitar. These
have the opposite “V” shape machined into them. As before have a good look
at them (use your magnifying glass, if you have one) and inspect the area
of the “V” shape where the Tremolo made contact. You’ll notice some wear
and just as before compare that worn area to adjacent areas of the “V”
shape. The wear on these pivot screws should minimal, even hardly noticeable.
If the wear appears to be quite noticeable you should replace your pivot
screws. If that’s not possible then you can rotate the screws just a bit
(about 1\4 of a turn) in either direction as to allow the contact areas
of the tremolo to meet up with a lesser worn area of the pivot screw “V”
shape (aka- groove).
Also check that the pivot screws are at a “right-angle” (90 degrees)
compared to the face (or top) of your guitar. Sometimes the wood around
the pivot screws wears out or becomes compressed in the direction that
the strings and springs pull on the Tremolo. If the screws are more than
slightly leaning (or tilted) you will have tuning problems. Depending on
your woodworking abilities it may be best to have an experienced guitar
repair tech do this repair for you.
Be sure to reassemble the pivots clean and “dry” meaning no oil or grease.
Lubricants may sound like a good idea, but dust, dirt and other contaminants
will eventually stick to the lubricant causing more harm than good. These
pivots were engineered to operate “dry.”
If the pivots are very worn take care when adjusting your “action” or
string height. The rotating of the pivot screws with the strings tuned
up to pitch can cause even more severe wear on the “V” shape(s) on the
Tremolo (which is much more costly to replace than the pivot screws). If
the pivot screws are very worn, loosen-up the strings nearly all the way
so that they’re pretty detuned and then adjust the string/action height.
This is a lot of work to go through, but you’ll be far better served when
TENSION FREE tips and tats;
Here in Tension Free land you must lay back
and have a cool one to start, it will make your understanding far more
in focus. In weeks to come we will get into great detail as to why and
how Tension Free makes your AX perform the way it does.
This segment will be called Ask Dave
I will try to answer all of your questions in a timely fashion.
Probably the most asked question I get on
the Tension Free technology is how to adjust it. The main thing to remember
in this is not to ever try to turn or adjust the pin on the down side of
the neck at or close to the 17th fret. This can only be removed using a
1/16th inch allen wrench if the neck and the adjustment screw has been
removed. The adjustment for the neck is on the back of the guitar or bass
between the neck mounting screws. This adjustment requires a 5/32inch allen
wrench to adjust. Turn Counter Clockwise for relief and Clockwise for back
For all of you tech's out there, here are
a few tips to help you to perfection on Tension Free necks. If you have
removed the adjustment screw and the pin mentioned above you now can pull
the headstock out of the neck. It looks like a weapon now but don't get
carried away. If you have a neck which has too much relief when the rod
is out, bend the bar at the mid point the opposite way(back bow) with about
the same bend, usually under 1/16th of an inch works although I've seen
necks that required as much as 3/32 inch. Now when you put the rod back
in the neck you have probably taken out the relief, if not turn the adjustment
screw counter clockwise about 1/2 turn or more if needed. NOTE: when re
inserting the 1/16th inch pin make sure it is centered in the neck. The
pin is usually 1/2 inch deep inside the neck.
Another thing to be sure to have in place
when you re assemble your Tension Free neck is the felt strip which is
between the head stock and the neck. This felt strip is important to make
sure there is no vibration between neck and head stock.
If you still have questions, please call me at 425-483-1217
forget to check out our Whammy Bar. It's one "hip lounge" you're sure to
up a stool and hang-out for a while"
Also, be sure to get a look at our Parts Department. Currently we're
having a sale on some cool stuff you may need.