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No Bueno!

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by lowfreqgeek, Apr 16, 2018.


  1. lowfreqgeek

    lowfreqgeek Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    Endorsing Artist: Regenerate Guitar Works, Honey Badger Pickups, Westone Audio
    I was tuning up yesterday before a church service and was having trouble with the E-string. At first it wouldn't go up the 30 cents or so it needed, then it started going down in pitch. The string was fine, but then I saw that the tuning peg had finally broken in half! I can't complain too much since this peg is original to the instrument, which was built sometime in the mid-late 19th century (I've heard anywhere from 1850s-1890s). The rest of the tuner is totally fine, so my hope is to graft the original knob onto a new hard maple or hickory shaft that can be stained to match the other 3 original pegs. In the mean time, I guess I'll be playing fretless, or dig the old EUB out of the back of the closet and see if I can't make it do something.

    20180415_210345. 20180415_210412. 20180415_210451.
     
    ICM likes this.
  2. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    For the right person with a lathe, this is an easy in-and-out afternoon repair. If your local luthiers don't have one, search the area for a local turner's club or guild.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
    ICM, dhergert and lowfreqgeek like this.
  3. Hmmm, looks like the original shaft is cracked all the way up to the button. I'd be looking into having 4 of these made out of a good hardwood by someone with a lathe. Might even entertain the thought of using CF. There's a good chance that the rest of these shafts are getting tired too by now; you can always save the originals if desired.
     
    ICM, robobass and lowfreqgeek like this.
  4. lowfreqgeek

    lowfreqgeek Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    Endorsing Artist: Regenerate Guitar Works, Honey Badger Pickups, Westone Audio
    There are some good luthiers here in Albuquerque (Robertson's is local to me), but I may send this out to my uncle in Pennsylvania, who has a lathe and does a lot of REALLY nice wood turning. He makes fancy pens and bowls and other things. He has also spent a significant amount of time hanging out at the Martin guitar factory and learning about guitar luthiery there. These pegs have nothing to do with guitar, obviously, but I'm betting he'd jump at the opportunity to turn me some new pegs as he's interested in the history of my bass.

    Good idea to have all 4 made, @dhergert. As much as I'd like to keep it all original, I'd probably rather have a new set of pegs made and keep these originals in their original condition than lop off the knobs to graft onto new shafts.
     
    yodedude2 and dhergert like this.
  5. As a quick fix while you're waiting for the proper replacements, you may find a piece of hardwood dowel that would match the shaft's diameter sufficiently to work to replace the original shaft; would need to drill holes for the string and for the cotter pin. Not as pretty, but to get you by, it seems all you really need is the shaft.
     
  6. lowfreqgeek

    lowfreqgeek Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    Endorsing Artist: Regenerate Guitar Works, Honey Badger Pickups, Westone Audio
    Yep, I've got a suitable dowl that I need to turn down on one end. It won't be a long-term fix, but it'll get the bass functional again. I can use a drill press to turn the dowl and some sandpaper to cut it down. It'll get the job done.
     
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  7. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Robertsons certainly has a big box of old ones. Go get two from them which fit somewhat. Then you can send the worst two from the bass to your uncle and he can take his time with the job.
     
    lowfreqgeek likes this.
  8. lowfreqgeek

    lowfreqgeek Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    Endorsing Artist: Regenerate Guitar Works, Honey Badger Pickups, Westone Audio
    Great idea! I remembered that I have a big block of bubinga that I was going to use for an electric bass (it's sized for half a solid body), but it has a big crack in it. It's been seasoning in my arid New Mexico climate for about 15 years, so I'll see if my uncle can turn the pegs from Bubinga. I've also got some ebony that he could laminate before he turns the knobs, so it could have custom ebony/bubinga pegs...

    Thanks, guys! This could turn into something way cooler than just replacing a broken peg!
     
    dhergert and charlie monroe like this.
  9. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Sending just the tuner out of state will likely result in a mediocre fit. If the shaft has that much wear, it is likely that the peg hole also has some. 'Best to be able to make it a perfect fit with both the tuner and the bass it is going on.

    As for carbon fiber, interesting idea.... I work with it every week of the year and the guys who run and own Dragonplate are friends of mine. There is no way I'm even thinking about chucking that up on my lathe and having the shop full of that kind of micro dust particles....better off to just take a couple of shots of acetone and get it over fast....!
     
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  10. lowfreqgeek

    lowfreqgeek Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    Endorsing Artist: Regenerate Guitar Works, Honey Badger Pickups, Westone Audio
    That's a good thought about making them out-of-state. I was thinking about that earlier and figured I could have him turn the decorative knobs and shafts to a nominal length/diameter, then I can cut to length and sand down the ends to fit the peg holes. They are pretty loose in the peg-box after a century and a half, but the metalwork is in great shape, so as long as the shafts fit snugly into the collar on the gear side and then have enough clearance on the peg-box side so as to not bind when it absorbs moisture in the summer, they should be ok. A "perfect" fit now will mean binding as soon as the rains come in July.
     
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  11. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Good point. Maybe try to get Robertsons to lend you the peg which fits best and send that along to your uncle with the old ones. Also, have him leave an inch of straight rod at the small end of the taper so that final fitting can be done on a lathe. If you try to sand it by hand it will end up out of round, which you really do not want. How are the holes? They likely need re-reaming as well.
     

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