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Any machinists / metal workers here?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Benjamin Strange, Mar 12, 2008.


  1. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I've got a few projects I'd like to pursue that require some small scale metal work. I'm looking to make a jazz control plate with no knobs, re-work one of my Steinberger bridges, and possibly fashion a metal fretboard. I can't find anybody in my area willing to take on any one of these projects. :atoz:

    I need help finding somebody who would be willing to do some of this work. Anybody?
     
  2. dman_113

    dman_113 Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

    Nov 4, 2007
    Charlotte,NC
  3. I'm intrigued, tell me about the fretboard project. The control plate sounds easy. What do you want to do with the bridge? I do a fair bit of metalwork at home and at work.
    Josh
     
  4. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Well, the fretboard thing is the least important presently. I'd just like to make a fretless board out of aluminum or something for an electric guitar, with a radius of about 9.5" or so.

    In regards to my bridge, it's about 25 years old, and some of the parts are wearing out and need to be replaced. It's a very rare Steinberger bass trans trem, and parts are impossible to find - they made less than 200 of them, and I have two. I need a whammy bar made, a part called a transposing pin made, and the screws that work the tuning knobs are mostly stripped. I don't imagine it would be terribly difficult work, but nobody around here wants to make anything smaller than a boat engine.
     
  5. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Here's my bridge:

    bassTT.

    Here's an example of the pin:

    [​IMG]

    And the bar:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. id suggest something other than aluminium for a fretless fretboard, as it will wear quite a bit due to its oxidation. the string touching it will wear off the aluminium oxide coating, and nd a new layer will form, only to be worn off when the string next goes there. brass would be a nice one, but heavy and expensive. id almost say steel, but that would probably be a bit heavy and bright.
     
  7. I don't have access to a mill or lathe anymore so the bridge project is not for me, but you're right, they aren't big deals to machine up. The control plate and the bar could be done, though. I Googled "small job machine shop" and found this place for the bridge parts and the nut for the bar:
    http://www.emachineshop.com/
    There were others, as well.
    Josh
     
  8. neptoon

    neptoon Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2000
    Cape Canaveral, FL
    email reiner dobbratz over at lefay concerning your metal fretboard...his remington steele has a metal fretboard...sounds awesome, too
     
  9. fookgub

    fookgub

    Jun 5, 2005
    Houston, TX
    For the jazz control plate, try contacting these guys: http://www.sharp-concepts.com/

    I'm sure they would do it in aluminum with the finish of your choice, but don't know if they offer chromed steel. You can probably send them the plate off your Dingwall to make sure you get an exact copy.

    Also, these guys make custom pickguards, and have some chrome look-alike material (plastic). Might be worth checking out.
     
  10. chris_nairn

    chris_nairn

    Feb 14, 2007
    Benjamin, the link j.d.p. posted looks promising, emachineshop.com. I seem to recall in an old post of yours that you had only one trem bar and it was a guitar trem bar. Am I remembering correctly? I recently got an XM-2 with a trans-trem. The threads are stripped on the bar at the top and the knurled nut only moves a little bit and not smoothly. So my first attempt will be to put another nut on just under the existing knurled one. If that doesn't work well, then I will try a guitar bar if it also will fit the bass TT. No matter what, if you have somebody make you a new one(if you haven't already-this post is a little old) I will go in on the cost with you to have them make me one as well. Same for the transposing pin. Mine is fine but over time I expect it to wear out. I also need a new spring. The tension is totally maxed and it is just slightly off from the proper position to go on the pin easily.
     
  11. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Yes, this is an old post, but it is not without merit.

    I actually sold off one of my beloved Strangebergers - it was my first, and had always had problems; some of which were not fixable. I sold it for the parts and made a killing. I culled the best parts from both of my Strangebergers and put them into one, perfect bass. It's my Blackie.

    You might want to add some washers in on the spring assembly, just below the tension key. I use super heavy gauges of strings, and was forced to add a few washers just to even the tension out. I would suggest trying that before trying to source a new spring.

    The nut on the bar is only supposed to move just a little bit. It does have a tendency to get stuck in one position - but if you've got it set in the correct position you've nothing to worry about. If you need help with dimensions or other questions regarding the TransTrem, feel free to ask me.
     
  12. chris_nairn

    chris_nairn

    Feb 14, 2007
    Cool, I love the washer idea for the spring. The nut I really cannot get into a great position. Does the guitar trem fit the bass bridge correctly? If so, Ed Roman sells them for $80. Also, I just got a phone # for a guy here in Dallas who has steinberger parts.

    On your Moses neck, did you put the original headpiece on or did you go with a newer style Music Yo head piece? When my XL-2 was stolen a few months back, I semi-replaced it with a white XM-2 with the standard bridge. I had Moses make me a fretless neck and opted for the Music YO head piece rather than using the existing one because the truss rod can be adjust at the head end rather than the body end. But, now that I have the TT I see that it is completely different than the original design. I don't see that it would matter using the non-TT types but wondered about your experiences. I am going to put the fretless on the TT bass and sell the standard one.
     
  13. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    $80 for a whammy bar? That's insane. I'm sure if you look around you can find one much cheaper.

    Yes, the guitar bars do work on the bass TT. I used one for a long time on my older Strangeberger, with no problems. The only difference is that it's a bit shorter than the bass version. Also, you don't really need one with a nut already on it - you can just find any old bar that will thread into the hole properly, find a proper nut, set it to the correct position, and weld it in place. The only function of the nut on the bar is to help grab the transposing thing-a-ma-jig - I'm sure you could make something work without having to spend $80.

    I use a standard original headpiece. In fact, it's one of three parts on the whole bass that are original. My Moses neck was designed to fit a Newburgh era Steinberger - I don't think they fit the Music Yo basses. I had to take the neck off my Strangeberger a few times to set the truss rod properly, but ever since then I haven't had to touch it. It's very rare that graphite warps, so you shouldn't have to adjust it much, if at all. I considered making a route in the body so I'd have access to the truss, but as I haven't needed it I've left it alone.

    On my fretless Moses neck, the fretboard edges were still pretty sharp. I took a 35 degree beveling tool to it, then sanded and filed by hand until it had a nice broken in feel. It would be nice that Moses would roll the edges themselves, but for the price I have no problems doing it myself. Also, since it had a zero fret I had to grind that thing down almost to non-existent to get the fretless action I like.
     
  14. chris_nairn

    chris_nairn

    Feb 14, 2007
    I just set up the trans-trem. It didn't take as long as I thought it would either. About an hour was all. Now that I know how to do it, I don't think it will take as long in the future. Now, I just need to put 2 or 3 washers in for the spring and fix my tremelo bar problem. Yippie!
     

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