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Warwick tuner replacement--help balance?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Schizoid75, Mar 25, 2009.


  1. Schizoid75

    Schizoid75

    Apr 27, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    I'm thinking about replacing the stock tuners on my Warwick Fortress with Hipshot Ultralites. Right now my Warwick has a minor case of neck dive. It's not bad, but the bass neck wants to hang parallel to the floor and so I constantly have to apply a little pressure with my right hand or support it a little bit with my left to keep it where I want it.

    First, it's a 5 string. Do you think changing from the stock Warwick tuners to Ultralites would make a noticeable different in the balance? I have no idea how much the stock tuners weigh, so I don't know what the total weight difference would be. But as I said, the neck dive is rather minor and the tuners are weight at the end of neck, so I'm hoping a relatively minor amount of weight change would still make a difference I could feel.

    Opinions?

    Also, has anyone replaced tuners on a Warwick? What size do they need? Any special tips or tricks?

    Thanks!
    Sean
     
  2. Z-Bass

    Z-Bass

    Apr 22, 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I had researched this as well about 6 years ago when I purchased my Streamer LX-5 string. I didn't have neck dive but it just hung a bit more horizontal, and even then it wasn't anything to be concerned about. I emailed Hipshot about a 5 string replacement set of the Ultralites and they replied that based on the weight differences, it would be equivalent to removing 2 of the stock tuners from the headstock. So whether or not it would make a difference, I'm not sure. But you seem to be right on the edge of balance so maybe it would.

    Other tips that were offered included the addition of strap locks, this would move the strap position a little (although minor) closer towards the 13th fret on my bass. With a Fortress this may place it a bit closer to the 12th or 11th? Can't remember. Then there is the trick about moving the bottom strap button up the body a bit more like they used to be positioned (something like 45 degrees to the bass side of the bridge - not sure if this explains it right). In the end, after I pondered all of this, I did nothing. I ended up getting one of those Neoprene DynaStraps and that seemed to help. Either that or I just got used to the positioning of the bass. Hope this helps.
     
  3. Grizzly700

    Grizzly700

    Mar 18, 2008
    Maryville, TN
    I can almost guarantee that a wider and more high quality strap would fix it, that is what I did.
     
  4. Schizoid75

    Schizoid75

    Apr 27, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    I think the strap I have now is 3", maybe 2.5". The problem I have is that I don't like clingy straps. I can't stand it when I'm trying to move the bass around and the strap is pulling my shirt. So I don't mind going wider, but I wouldn't want to try anything with a grabby/rough/sticky/clingy back.
     
  5. knarleybass

    knarleybass Commercial User

    Apr 6, 2005
    Tustin, CA
    Owner of Ulyate Instruments
    the Hipshot Ultralites are about .6 ounces lighter than the stock Gotoh sealed style tuner.
     
  6. Schizoid75

    Schizoid75

    Apr 27, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    Hmmmm. Well, assuming that .6 ounces lighter per tuner is correct, that works out to 3 ounces or .1875 lb. So roughly .2 pounds. Warwick says that Fortress One 5-strings weigh 4.2 kg or 9.259 lb. So those tuners would change the weight of the bass by . . . (drum roll please) . . . 2.02%. That seems pretty minor, but that's two percent coming off the end of the bass and we're talking about balance. I'm guessing I wouldn't be able to notice a 2% difference if it came off the body, but I'm not sure about the headstock.
     
  7. Schizoid75

    Schizoid75

    Apr 27, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    Oh, and as for the strap button reposition comments, I'm not going there. The Fortress has recessed Dunlop straplocks which I love, so I wouldn't want to add additional strap buttons.
     
  8. ga_edwards

    ga_edwards

    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    I researched into this a while ago too for my 5 string Thumb BO and also found out the weight saving would equate to 2 tuners. So the next time i changed strings, I took 2 tuners off and strapped the bass on. Couldn't tell the difference TBH, it was still neck heavy.

    The problem was more to do with the small body and short top horn, that a small amount of metal reduction can't compensate for. However, a 3" wide, grippy strap helped immensely.

    By all means try taking a couple of tuners off yourself, it's not at all difficult. And see if it helps the balance.
     
  9. Schizoid75

    Schizoid75

    Apr 27, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    That's a great idea! I've got a new set of strings coming, so I'll pop a couple of tuners off while doing that and see what happens. I'll post the results next week sometime.

    If I do decide to go with the Ultralites, does anyone know if I need the 3/8" or 1/2" versions?
     
  10. Thunderitter

    Thunderitter Bass - the final frontier! Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    USA
    +1
     
  11. seedokebass

    seedokebass

    Mar 21, 2009
    Minnesota
    And I thought I was the only one with a heavy Fortress 5 :smug:

    I went to a wider strap and it helps a bit, but man that is a lot of bass to have hanging on you!
     
  12. The weight reduction at the headstock, though it might not seem like much, should help in theory since that weight is balancing at an extended distance. Shorten the distance or reduce the weight at that point and the balance should improve. Enough to fix neck dive? Perhaps.
     
  13. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    The idea of taking a turner or two off, is a pretty good way to
    see if you see a difference. If the tuners you have now are
    as small as the Ultralites, just made of heavier materials, then
    take off one tuner. It made a huge difference on my "parts"
    Jazz bass, with stock Fender tuners. Went from yuck to ahh.
     
  14. ga_edwards

    ga_edwards

    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    I believe you would need the smaller 3/8". The 1/2" are the more vintage style IIRC
     
  15. Schizoid75

    Schizoid75

    Apr 27, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    Well, I got the tuners from Hipshot (the smaller size was correct). Installation was super easy. I'm pretty incompetent when it comes to mechanical things and handyman-type activities, but this was simple. Unscrew the screw on the back of the tuner, undo the nut on the front, pull everything off, place the new one in, do the nut and the screw.

    As for the balance, it's hard to say. I believe it did help a bit. The problem is I did a few changes at once. I replace the tuners at the headstock which should have helped the balance, but I also replaced the control knobs with much lighter ones and went to an all passive setup, so the bass also got a little lighter down by the bridge and tone controls. The different might be a little easier to tell if I still had that extra mass by the bridge. In any case, I doubt it would ever make a huge difference.

    I actually like the looks of the bass with the new tuners, too. My bridge is still chrome, but now the tuners are a matte black that blends in perfectly with the standard Warwick headstock. Bonus!
     
  16. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I installed Hipshot Ultralites (3/8" Y's) on a Streamer Pro M 4 and an LX 4. Yes, they improved the balance to a degree.

    Riis
     

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