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What do you call these darn things and where can you buy them?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Rob Page, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. I'm looking for a source for these headless-string-set-screw-anchor-thing-y's (see pic). I found some guys in Italy who make a nice one but it's a little pricy + shipping from Italy + however long it's going to take to get here...from Italy, kind of a deal breaker. Isn't there some source stateside that makes these? Just a piece of metal with a couple of set screws. Doesn't seem like it would be that hard to find but I'm not having much luck.

  2. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Single Headless Headpieces :D

    Mera carries them here, but from the Ukraine, so maybe not closer than Italy? :)
    Mera Guitars - Headpieces for headless tuners

    ABM also makes nice ones, but they ain't cheap:
    ABM Headpieces

    I've seen crappier, cheaper ones on Amazon, but right now they are all sold with the full tuner system (that I can find).
    Eli_Kyiv likes this.
  3. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    You could check the electrical aisle, where "Alumiconns" and "Polaris connectors" and "Ground buss bars" are all a bit similar to that, but not exactly the same, as the holes tend to be crossways. There might be end-to-end fittings that would be more similar in the mix, though.

    "Mechanical lugs" might be another good item to look at. Not sure why you have 2 screws there, they are usually one screw and a mounting hole.

    McMaster Carr calls those "set screw lugs"

    Ah - "mechanical splice" gets things that look like yours. Grainger has them, which probably means someplace else has them for less and isn't bent out of shape about wholesale only sales.

    McMaster Carr calls those "noninsulated screw-down butt splices"

    In-Line Splice might also work, or butt splice. There will be some other types of product in the results.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
  4. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Genius! I'm going shopping... :woot:
    T_Bone_TL likes this.
  5. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Steinberger briefly made a similar widget to allow single-ball string sets be used, so of course I bought one for my XP-2. the problem with any set screw like that is they tend to bite through the outer string windings and separate from the string core, so the string fails. I found a partial cure by carefully dressing any sharp edges off the grub screw ends, but it was never an entirely reliable way to hold a string.
    Beej and Zooberwerx like this.
  6. Maybe that's why the one it the picture has two set screws? Hmm. Not sure. Also, I saw a video of someone "crimping" the string with pliers before pulling the string through - he said that fixes the problem. Who knows.
    Beej likes this.
  7. Rôckhewer

    Rôckhewer Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Owner/Builder- RockHewer Custom Guitars LLC
    .... oh my! .... wizard of oz

    Alooomiconns! :D
  8. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    C'mon Rob, you can make those yourself! Aluminum or brass bar stock, a hacksaw, a file, a drill press, a tap.
  9. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    I can't spot any of these items made that way, but one form of electrical screw-clamp has a flat plate between the screw-head and the wire (string) which would spread out the pressure and keep the screw from biting the windings - but they might still be unhappy from being "crushed" in a non-round way between the plate and the bottom of the hole.

    Now, if you figure out how to mount them and which sizes work best for which string sizes, split bolts do typically include a shaped clamp plate.

  10. I'll bet something like this would work - as long as the holes on the sides go all the way through the brass so it could be mounted to the body. I'd route out the back of the bass to recess them. The strings would go through the bass but instead of locking into ferrules would instead turn 90 degrees and going into this contraption. Maybe two of them back-to-back for extra strength. Dimensions are 12mm high x 8 mm wide by 75.5 mm long. It's not elegant but it'd be on the back and as a proof of concept, maybe worth trying. $9 bucks. Not much risk there. Thanks T_Bone_TL, maybe I'll explore this.
    Beej and T_Bone_TL like this.
  11. hahahah, Bruce, I literally don't know anything about metals. But now that you've thrown the gauntlet down, I guess I'll have to find some videos and figure out what the heck you're talking about!
    Beej and james condino like this.
  12. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    Yes, the end holes on that ground-bar will be through-holes for mounting.

    I have no idea how what you posted to start this thread is supposed to mount, for that matter, as I see no provision for mounting.

    It's an easy intro to metalworking but at $9 you are probably better off buying if those do what you need, considering shop rate and making a profit. Aside from acting as my own electrician to think of them at all, one reason for thinking of them is that they are mass-produced to some quality standard and widely available, at pretty reasonable prices for what they are.
    Rob Page likes this.
  13. Peteyboy


    Apr 2, 2018
    Los Angeles
    Sounds like McFighting words to me...
    Beej and lark_z like this.
  14. Bruce you're right, I've been doing some research and I can do this myself. I'm on it. Thanks for setting me straight!
  15. Guzzi Toad

    Guzzi Toad

    Mar 10, 2019
    A machinist is born!
    Rob Page and T_Bone_TL like this.
  16. arbiterusa

    arbiterusa Guest

    Sep 24, 2015
    I've got a very, very low serial number Steinberger (two digit) and it seems standard in every way save that it's got a factory headset where you can pretty much only use single ball strings. Doubles don't fit it well. Four Allen bolts up top with rounded bottoms. Works perfectly. I've never understood why they didn't make that stock.
  17. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Perhaps they wanted to sell their own strings?
  18. 2tonic


    Dec 22, 2015
    Skip the electrical parts aisle. Those are aluminum and will deform under the type of torque you'll be using to hold a string under tension. They are meant for static (meaning untensioned) use for the feed wires into an electrical service box.

    Look at how Washburn did it on their headless Bantam basses in the 80's. A 1/2" thick plate on the end of the neck, contoured to match the neck cross-section profile. 4(5...6?) string size holes drilled through perpendicular to the fretboard, with appropriate spacing, and larger, tapped holes in between. A piece of flat bar stock covering a pair of strings is affixed with an Allen head cap screw.
    Using single ball strings, you dial the tuner al the way forward toward the zero fret, stretch the string over the end of the neck and bend it at a 90° angle, clip it off an inch past the bend, then insert the bent part into the corresponding string hole. When you've completed two adjacent strings you put the bar over them at the bend and clamp it down. Then bring 'em up to tension.
    I never had a fail with this system and it would be easy to make these parts yourself with rudimentary tools.
    I'll try to find a photo I can link, or maybe someone more tech savvy will beat me to it. :thumbsup:

    View attachment 4035671
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
  19. Eli_Kyiv


    Apr 7, 2020
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Beej likes this.
  20. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    The 90 degree bend idea has merit, then its more a matter of of overall friction than just the grub screw mashing it down. With double ball strings still available in most standard gauges, these headstock clamping systems always seem like a solution in search of a problem. The original Steinberger system with a Bridge claw at one end and a simple slot retainer at the headstock just plain works. I have NEVER had a double ball string break on my XP, going on 34 years old.
    rwkeating, Beej and ctmullins like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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    Dec 3, 2020

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