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Post new topic Rossetti/Rogue Lap Steel Tear Down & Mod - Finished New Pics
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Author Topic:  Rossetti/Rogue Lap Steel Tear Down & Mod - Finished New Pics
Tony Oresteen


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 24 May 2017 11:19 am     Reply with quote

I just got back into lap steel & pedal steel guitars after a gap of 42 years. In 1972 I had a Roger electric lap steel but it's long gone. While I was looking for a PSG I decide to get a cheap 6 string lap steel and bought a Rossetti 6 string off of eBay to practice & travel with. I will use C6 tuning.

These lap steel guitars are also sold under the Blue Moon, Harmonia, Danville, Artisan, & other brand names. They are all built in China.

I have been modding electric guitars for 30 years and have quite a few Squiers & Epiphones that I modded to be great players. I wasn't expecting much for $100 so if it's all junk no great loss.

The Rossetti arrived this past weekend. I had ordered a red one but they were sold out and rather going through the refund process I just got a blue one instead.

The scale is 21".


I tuned it to C6:

1 E
2 C middle c 261.6hz
3 A
4 G
5 E
6 C octave below middle C

This was the first time I ever tuned a guitar to C6 so I had to do some research to make sure I had the strings tuned to the proper octave.

The Rosetti sounded ok but nothing spectacular. The vol pot had a sharp cut-off and the ceramic Strat pickup was a lot like the Squiers & Epiphones that I have seen before - weak, thin, and no low end.

Here's the tear down:




I loosened up the strings then cut them all off by the pickup. Easiest way to get them off. I measured the strings to see what size strings it came shipped with:

1 E - 0.015
2 C - 0.017
3 A - 0.021
4 G - 0.026
5 E - 0.032
6 C - 0.044

BTW, the best $30 I ever spent was for a digital micrometer. I am always having to measure something.

The tuning keys work so far. Buttons are made of plastic. Tuning posts are 35mm center to center. Until they break I'll leave them alone.



The nut is made of an unknown plastic material. I plan to replace it with a steel or aluminum nut when I get a chance to do so.

String width (1-6)at the nut is 45mm
Nut width is 52mm
String spacing at the nut is 9mm (0.356" or about 23/64")



The bridge is a top loading design common to many hard-tail import guitars. Saddles are individually adjustable.

String width (1-6) at the bridge is 52mm
String gap at the bridge is 10.7mm

The pickup plate is held in place with 9 screws. All the electronics are mounted on the steel plate.



Removing the pickup plate expose the bridge ground wire:





Not a great design.

Under the bridge you can see they drilled a hole for the ground wire to go to the control cavity but they did not use it.



I will fix that and run a proper bridge ground wire.

When I was examining the wiring, I touched the output jack ground wire . It came loose!



The guitar would have failed at some point - most like on a solo live at a gig Smile !

I removed the bridge and it was missing amounting screw. Looks like they felt that 4 screws were enough. I'll add the 5th just so it looks better.



So far quality control is poor to none. As expected.

The pickup & electrical components were designed to be as cheap as possible. Cost drove the design, not tone. As expected.



I removed all the components except for the output jack.



The pots were 250K audio taper. the vol pot measured 264K & had a big bump when rotated and could break the signal. Defective. Tone pot measured 272K was ok. Both are audio taper.

pot nut size: 10mm
pot shaft size: 6.75mm
pot knob size: 5.66mm (uses 6mm push-on knobs)

plate pot mounting hole size: 8mm

output jack nut size: 12mm

The tone capacitor measured .048 micro farads

The Strat single coil pickup measured 4.96k

The pots I tossed into the trash, saving the nuts & washers. The pickup should be tossed but I saved it in case anyone might want it. Price is $0.00.

The pots will be replaced with full size Alpha 250k solid shaft pots that I have in my parts bin.



Vol will be an audio taper; tone will be a linear.

I've ordered a DiMarzio Area58 pickup for it. The magnets are Alnico 2 and it's designed after a great sounding 1958 Strat pickup. Plus the pickup is silent.

http://www.dimarzio.com/node/2206

So far nothing surprises me except for the bad output jack soldering. That's a first for me. Once I get the DiMarzio pickup in I'll post the rebuild process.
_________________
Tony
Newnan, GA

Too many guitars, not enough time to play


Last edited by Tony Oresteen on 22 Jun 2017 5:26 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post Posted 24 May 2017 11:41 am     Reply with quote

I'd definitely replace the bridge. Those ubiquitous hard tail Strat bridges are my pet hate on lap steels. Who needs an intonatable bridge on a steel?
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Larry Carlson


From:
My Computer
Post Posted 24 May 2017 11:57 am     Reply with quote

A few of us here have a Rogue or one of the other dozen names it's sold under and like you a few of us have modded them.

I bought my Rogue new for $75 only to see if I liked playing lap steel. Turns out I love it. I've been an acoustic fingerpicker for many years.

After I got my 2nd lap steel I tore the Rogue down to try and make it better.
I made a steel nut, threw away that bridge and replaced it with another I made from steel.
I replaced the pickup with an old Epiphone humbucker I had laying around with the appropriate cap.
Just had to remove a little wood and of course cut out the pick guard to fit.
I've never had problems with the tuners. It's always held itself in tune and they are smooth enough for me.
I know everyone makes fun of these little chinese wonders but after a little work on it I love it.
It stays in tune, it now sounds very good and it is a gas to play.

I hope you enjoy yours as much as I have mine.
..............and welcome to the group.
Bunch of nice knowledgeable folks in here.
_________________
I have stuff.
I try to make music with it.
Sometimes it works.
Sometimes it doesn't.
But I keep on trying.
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Scott Duckworth


From:
Etowah, TN Western Foothills of the Smokies
Post Posted 24 May 2017 11:59 am     Reply with quote

On my Rogue, I put on an aluminum angle nut, and set the string spacing parallel to the bridge spacing.

Also got rid of the vol and tone pots, I use a vol pedal.
_________________
(1) E6 Rogue lap steel, (1) A6 Rogue lap steel, Li'l Izzy, Zoom MS-50G Effects Pedal into a Berhinger mixer and Harbinger V2112 speaker(s).

Amateur Radio Operator NA4IT (Extra)
http://www.qsl.net/na4it

I may, in fact, be nuts. However, I am screwed onto the right bolt... Jesus!
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George Piburn


From:
The Oklahoma Hills, USA
Post Posted 24 May 2017 12:56 pm     We are Glad To Help You Reply with quote

Hello from GeorgeBoards Manufacturing,
hopefully my offering parts is taken as a means to help more than some big sales pitch.

I am glad to help with what you need. For under 40 bucks.

Brass Angle for your nut and bridge, and a 21" scale Peel n stick fretboard.

We resarched and Developed The Correct Fretboard that is set up for these Import Style - Rouge - what ever they are called -
as they come out of the Box.
You simply set the bridge saddles up to 21 inches , and put down the Fret board - Presto instant 21" Scale set up.
We have Guide lines for scale and center to help you.

The Brass angle nut is self explanatory -- Metal Files to dress- add V Grooves , Drill for hold down screws,
Steel wool and compound to shine to Mirror.
Take it to your local Nickel Plater to make it deluxe.
You loose the saddles and use the tray to attach the bridge,
you can do it like a StringMaster with long adjustable screws.





_________________
GeorgeBoards S8 Non Pedal Steel Guitar Instruments
Maker of One of a Kind Works of Art that play music too.
Instructional DVDs
YouTube Channel
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Brad Davis


From:
Texas, USA
Post Posted 24 May 2017 1:11 pm     Reply with quote

I bought the Rogue version a while back, it was on sale for $60 or something like that, so not much invested.

I didn't expect much but hoped it might have enough tone to at least have a little fun with. It has basically no tone at all and I find it unplayable, the electronics are just about worthless. With access to better steels I'm not very motivated to hot rod it right now, with all the other compromises it has, but maybe someday. Or give it to someone, lol.

I did upgrade a somewhat nicer Recording King steel a couple years ago with good results. Like almost all these cheap Chinese steels with mixed guitar parts the electronics were chintzy, but not as bad as the Rogue. I think generally the best of the low-end bunch are the SX lap steels.
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Bill Creller


From:
Saginaw, Michigan, USA
Post Posted 24 May 2017 7:26 pm     Reply with quote

I have one of those ! Bobby Ingano sent it to me, for my grand daughter to learn on. I agree about the bridge, cheap way to mount the strings. I may mod that, hoping for a better sound, and maybe a string-through arrangement.
I see this one was made for legs, which I don't have, but no big deal on that.
It has decent volume & tone controls, but that's the best thing I can say about it !! Very Happy
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Bill Groner


From:
QUAKERTOWN, PA
Post Posted 25 May 2017 1:41 am     Reply with quote

Not sure if this is the same guitar you have, but it sure looks like it is. I'm not saying they are good or bad, but if this guy owns one and he can make it sound sweet, it sounds like you have a pretty decent lap steel for a reasonable price. Looks to me like this guy put a lot of miles on it. My son told me, "Dad, it isn't how the guitar looks, it's all about the guy behind the pick!"

Wink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfLqwx6g7Sk
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currently own, 4 Gronertone lap steels.
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Tony Oresteen


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 27 May 2017 3:25 am     Re: We are Glad To Help You Reply with quote

George Piburn wrote:
Hello from GeorgeBoards.....
..... Brass Angle for your nut and bridge, and a 21" scale Peel n stick fretboard......

The Brass angle nut is self explanatory -- Metal Files to dress- add V Grooves , Drill for hold down screws,
Steel wool and compound to shine to Mirror.
Take it to your local Nickel Plater to make it deluxe........


Thanks George. I ordered the brass nut kit.
_________________
Tony
Newnan, GA

Too many guitars, not enough time to play
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Tony Oresteen


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 27 May 2017 3:27 am     Reply with quote

Bill Groner wrote:
Not sure if this is the same guitar you have, but it sure looks like it is. I'm not saying they are good or bad, but if this guy owns one and he can make it sound sweet, it sounds like you have a pretty decent lap steel for a reasonable price. Looks to me like this guy put a lot of miles on it. My son told me, "Dad, it isn't how the guitar looks, it's all about the guy behind the pick!"

Wink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfLqwx6g7Sk


Perhaps I should 'relic' mine.... Rolling Eyes

The guy really rips it up. Sounds like he is in OPEN E.
_________________
Tony
Newnan, GA

Too many guitars, not enough time to play
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 27 May 2017 5:30 am     Reply with quote

In my humble and meaningless opinion, attaching decent fittings to those things is akin to putting a Corvette on a trailer hitch.

Save up a few more bucks and purchase a vintage Maggie or Valco or even a Gibson. They will hold their value, and you'll be good to go for another 50-60 years. The only likely repair will be rebuttoning the Klusons, and that can be accomplished in a few hours for about twelve bucks.
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Peter Jacobs


From:
Northern Virginia
Post Posted 27 May 2017 7:00 am     Reply with quote

Tony - thanks for taking time to show all of your steps. Looks like you'll end up with a really usable instrument that you can take anyway without worrying about it.

Cool choice of the Area 58 pickup -- they're great sounding pickups in Strats. Do you think the staggered poles will make a difference one way or the other for string balance?
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Peter
---------
www.splinterville.com
YouTube: https://goo.gl/tbM7Zo
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Tony Oresteen


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 28 May 2017 4:26 am     Reply with quote

Jack Hanson wrote:
In my humble and meaningless opinion, attaching decent fittings to those things is akin to putting a Corvette on a trailer hitch.

Save up a few more bucks and purchase a vintage Maggie or Valco or even a Gibson. They will hold their value, and you'll be good to go for another 50-60 years. The only likely repair will be rebuttoning the Klusons, and that can be accomplished in a few hours for about twelve bucks.


Jack,

I have no intention on selling this lap steel. I will simply play it. I mod the heck out of my guitars and I
would never mod a vintage instrument. I focus on payability & sound and I buy good components. Would someone pay me what I have in it? Most likely not but again I don't mod them to sell them.

Here are some of my guitar mods:

Double neck made from two imports:



Epi Les Paul to hold my '68 Gibson humbucker:


Every Squier Special ($99) color made:



Pete Townshend Epiphone Les Paul Deluxe Mods:


Epiphone Dot mod:



None would sell for what I have in them. I just play them Smile
_________________
Tony
Newnan, GA

Too many guitars, not enough time to play
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Tony Oresteen


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 28 May 2017 11:12 am     Reply with quote

Jeff Mead wrote:
I'd definitely replace the bridge. Those ubiquitous hard tail Strat bridges are my pet hate on lap steels. Who needs an intonatable bridge on a steel?


Jeff,

What about this?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3t_4lzj-ao

Also, these bridges anchor the strings as well.
_________________
Tony
Newnan, GA

Too many guitars, not enough time to play
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Tony Oresteen


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 29 May 2017 4:35 am     Reply with quote

Peter Jacobs wrote:
.....Cool choice of the Area 58 pickup -- they're great sounding pickups in Strats. Do you think the staggered poles will make a difference one way or the other for string balance?


Peter,

I'm not sure just how it will sound. DiMarzio makes a flat poles version of the Area 58. If the staggered pole version is way out of balance I'll just buy the flat pole version and move this one to another guitar.
_________________
Tony
Newnan, GA

Too many guitars, not enough time to play
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Tony Oresteen


From:
Georgia, USA
Post Posted 14 Jun 2017 5:16 pm     Fished Upgrades! Reply with quote

I finished my upgrades to my Rosetti lap steel. New electronics, new pickup, new brass nut.

I also replaced the knobs with Fender Jazz Bass knobs.



I bought a DiMarzio Area 58 pickup with a creme cover. It has Alnico 2 magnets just like they used in the 50's and an extra coil that makes it silent hum-cancelling. It's based off an exceptional 1958 Stratocaster pickup. Highly recommended.

The pots where changed to Alpha full size with 1/4" solid shafts. That's one reason I switched the knobs to Fender bass knobs - the original ones are for 6mm shafts.

I had to drill off the pot holes to 3/8" and I burnt up a bit doing it. The control plate is very hard stainless steel.



Having full size pots caused a fit issue and I had to rout out the cavity a bit with a forstner to get the pots to fit.




Next up was making a new nut. The reason that the original nut is so poor is that it is HOLLOW. Here's what the underside of the original nut looks like:



Any solid material would be an improvement. Aluminum or brass are ideal materials for this lasp steel.

I bought some brass material from George Piburn (GeorgeBoards) and cut one out. The bridge E to E string spacing (1 to 6) is 52mm. I made the nut 62mm wide and cut the string slots to match the 52mm spread. Now the strings are parallel nut to bridge.





Using a set of nut slot files I slotted the nut. Before I could cut the slots I had to figure out what size strings I would use. First I calculated the strings tensions with the factory strings using String Tension Pro:

http://stringtensionpro.com/Home

Scale is 21".

Note.......Size ...Pull #s
1 E 4 - 0.015 ...24.76
2 C 4 - 0.017 ...20.03
3 A 3 - 0.021 ...21.61
4 G 3 - 0.026 ...22.22
5 E 3 - 0.032 ...23.61
6 C 3 - 0.044 ...26.68

All the strings were in the ballpark except the 6th. The 6th string was a bit high so I dropped it to a 0.042

Tony's Strings 21" Scale C6 Lap Steel .015 - .042
=================================

1 E 4 - 0.015 ...24.76
2 C 4 - 0.017 ...20.03
3 A 3 - 0.021 ...21.61
4 G 3 - 0.026 ...22.22
5 E 3 - 0.032 ...23.61
6 C 3 - 0.042 ...24.55

=================================


I ordered 6 sets from Just Strings buying individual strings.

Now I could slot the nut and string it up from spares I have in my string box.

I spent some time tweaking the pickup height and it now sounds pretty darn good. No issue with the pole heights.



The guitar sounds much better! It was well worth the effort chasing parts and swapping stuff out. If I could only play in C6 tuning Sad !

I have a few more mods for this guitar in mind but the first priority is to play it.
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Tony
Newnan, GA

Too many guitars, not enough time to play
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Bill Groner


From:
QUAKERTOWN, PA
Post Posted 15 Jun 2017 9:53 am     Reply with quote

It looks nice, like what you did.
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currently own, 4 Gronertone lap steels.
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