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Post new topic Adjusting Springs on the Changer
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Author Topic:  Adjusting Springs on the Changer
Mike Vallandigham

Martinez, CA
Post  Posted 26 Jul 2010 8:41 am    
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So, I'm going thru my guitar (a newer EXCEL) and I have to re-adjust all the springs on the changer (I replaced fingers, so I had to undo all the springs)

There's not much info on how/why to adjust these, so I thought we could open a discussion about these babies.

So, there's 2 sets of springs, the ones that keep the lower finger pulled back against the rear stop, and the raise helper springs (up against the cabinet)that help you raise the string.

So I assume that you would string up the guitar, then the strings would naturally pull themselves lower. I'd guess you'd tighten the spring just enough to keep the string (tuned up to pitch) from being able tp pull itself lower, ie. keep the lower finger against the rear stop with the string up to pitch.

These help me to raise the strings against their own tension. I'm not really sure how to determine how much these should be tightened. Obviously, you don't want to tighten them enough to pull the raise finger(against the tension of the string) and raise itself.
Do you tighten the springs just short of that point?

If anyone has any tricks of pointers, I'd greatly appreciate it.

We can keep it general (not only Excels) but talk about all All-Pull changers.

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Bent Romnes

London,Ontario, Canada
Post  Posted 26 Jul 2010 8:58 am    
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The way I think is: Tighten the lower return spring only enough so that it pulls the lower bar back to the stop andso that the raise bar doesn't manage to pull the lower bar with it on a raise function. But only just.
Pulling it tighter than that does nothing except for making the pedals/levers harder.

As for the raise helper springs... some guitars have them, some don't. I didn't find it necessary to install those springs on the guitars I built. I found the pedal action easy enough as it was.

This is talking in general all pull guitars like you suggested. I have no experience with Excel.
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Mike Vallandigham

Martinez, CA
Post  Posted 26 Jul 2010 9:41 am    
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Ah yes, see I didn't think about the lower return springs needing to be tight enough to overcome not only open the string tention. but also under the greatest raise tension.

And it makes sense that you would only want these just barely tight enough to work, lest you add un-needed stiffness to the guitar.

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Brett Lanier

Post  Posted 26 Jul 2010 9:42 pm    
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Last edited by Brett Lanier on 9 Jan 2018 12:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mike Vallandigham

Martinez, CA
Post  Posted 9 Jan 2018 11:07 am    
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I was looking into this again, and here, eight years later, I've found my own post.

This concerns the same Excel S-12.

I had a finger out again to de-burr something. I've adjusted the lower springs properly. I feel I have a good handle of this. The guitar plays a bit easier now that I've gone through all the lower springs once more. De-burring a lower finger helped to have less spring tension on a few fingers.

As for the raise springs, I've only just attached them, so minimal tension. Everything feels good, some raises feel a bit tight, maybe tightening the springs on these finger may even it out. I'll leave this exercise for a later time.

A new problem I'm seeing (on my tuning meter...so maybe I"m overthinking this)
is what appears to be 6th string hysteresis.

I raise this on the B pedal G# to A, and lower it on RKL G# to F#.

I tune the string about 2 cents flat. The raise works fine, raises right to A and back -2 cents from G#. If I engage the lower (G# to F#) it comes back about 2 cents sharp of G#. That's a total of 4 cents.

If I actuate the B pedal, it falls back to -2 cents of G#.

This is better than it was before. I used to have to pull the string up to get it to lower all the way. I made a few changes to this pull, de-burring the finger, as well as straightening the B pedal pull ( the finger was a little wonky, making for the rod and barrel lock to bind and not pull free.)

Question is: Is this just hysteresis and I just have to deal with it? Or can these raise and lower springs effect this? Seems like a lot for a keyless Excel.

When the string returns sharp after the G# to F# lower, if you tug on the lower finger, it seems fully seated.

FYI, this is a long scale guitar, Keyless (no excess string behind the nut) and the string in question is an .022 PLAIN.

I'd love to hear from the experts. Smile

Thanks, and Happy 2018! I'm glad we're all still here. Thanks bOb.
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Tucker Jackson

Portland, Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 9 Jan 2018 1:36 pm    
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It is helpful in these situations that you have a keyless guitar, and therefore less string behind the roller, as you said. HOWEVER... there is still a bit of string there and you can still run into hysteresis, where the string tension does not equalize on both sides of the roller nut after a raise or lower.

Try this: lower the string, then release it back to pitch. You're reporting that it will be a little sharp. Now, with your finger or a screwdriver, very lightly press and release the piece of 6th string that's just over the roller nut. Does it lower the string 4 cents to hit your target? If so, you just manually equalized the tension. In other words, you redistributed the over-tension on the longer section of string by helping it get over the roller nut. This slightly lowers the pitch of the longer section so as to land on the correct note.

The solution is to make the roller nut work better. Lubricate that roller and rotate it a quarter turn to a new position and see where you are.
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Georg Sørtun

Mandal, VA, Norway & Weeki Wachee, FL, USA
Post  Posted 10 Jan 2018 1:35 am    
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In addition to potential hang (a.k.a. hysteresis) in the rollers at the keyhead end, having the string slip and hang over the changer finger is another potential cause for those few cents off after lower and raise.

While you want as little friction as mechanically possible for the nut-rollers, the part of the changer finger the string bends over should ideally provide as much friction as possible to prevent the string from sliding on the finger as it expands (when stretched for raise) and contracts (for lower). If the string slides there it is unlikely to slide all the way back when released to neutral, thus you will get a slightly lower pitch after a raise and a slightly higher pitch after a lower.
In practice all you can do is to make sure there is no oil where the string clings to the finger from the top down to where it is attached.
Your +/-2 cents "hysteresis" sounds normal almost regardless of PSG model. If it isn't audible while playing it should not be a problem.

About raise-helper springs: unless they are very long so as to provide a pretty even tension along the entire raise-action, they are in my opinion not of much help and may cause more problems than they solve.
The same is true for lower-return springs, in that the longer they are the better they work.
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Mike Vallandigham

Martinez, CA
Post  Posted 11 Jan 2018 9:07 am    
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Tucker, Thank you for your suggestions. I tried this, and moving the string past the nut does not lower it back to -2 cents of G#. The string length past the roller nut up to the tuner finger is only like 1/2". So no much there. My rollers have been rotated and lubed a few days ago.

I also tried manually pushing the raise finger back. No go, it's hard against it's stop.

So I guess it's just hysteresis...like a rubber band. There's good info on this on Wikipedia.

Anyone know if a longer scale makes for a worse condition? This guitar is 25.5"

The good news is if you use the B pedal, it returns to the correct pitch.
That, coupled with the fact that you always use the B pedal, and rarely use the RKL lever should mean it's no big deal. Stop looking at the tuner, right?

Georg, thank you for your help too. Concerning the string getting bunched up on the changer finger, this Excel has a unique lower, where the top of the finger is released to slide forward, as opposed to rotating forward. So I hope that since the contact point between the string and finger doesn't move, that I don't have that problem. The lower slides forward, the raise rotates, like other guitars.

Anyway, I can't hear it when I play, so you guys are right there.

It was more me worrying that there was something wrong mechanically, or binding happening somewhere.

Cheers fellows!
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Georg Sørtun

Mandal, VA, Norway & Weeki Wachee, FL, USA
Post  Posted 11 Jan 2018 1:24 pm    
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Right ... +/- 2 cents should not cause any problems in practice Smile

Theorizing about the deviation can be interesting though, especially since it (the deviation), no matter how small, should not be there in any modern PSG.

Mike Vallandigham wrote:
So I guess it's just hysteresis...like a rubber band. There's good info on this on Wikipedia.

String hysteresis affects settling-time, not final pitch. If the string never reaches the exact neutral pitch after a raise or lower, the cause has to be found anywhere but in the string itself.

Mike Vallandigham wrote:
So I hope that since the contact point between the string and finger doesn't move, that I don't have that problem. The lower slides forward, the raise rotates, like other guitars.

How the changer works doesn't matter, except for the effect the action may have on friction between string and changer along the short length between bridge/finger-top and string attachment point. If the friction there isn't high enough, that short length of string will slip when overall string-tension changes enough. Once that happens the string will tend to hang because of the same friction - now that friction is too high for that string to slip all the way back to neutral pitch.

While into the effects of friction: that "keyless" PSGs have a very short length past the nut compared to "keyed" PSGs, doesn't matter much for "hysteresis". Having 1/2 inch of strings beyond the nut compared to having 5 inches of string there, matters for the changer-throw for a given raise/lower, but 1/2 inch still equals 2 cents stretch/contraction behind the nut for a half-note raise/lower on a 25 inch neck, so those nut-rollers better work flawless to avoid "hang" even on a keyless.
It is those last few cents that are the problem, because even a badly working nut-roller can even out most of the up to 20 cents string-stretch / half-note behind the nut on a "keyed" PSG. A high-friction roller will however cause "hang" a few cents short, just as it will for a "keyless" PSG.

Most friction-caused "hysteresis" on all-pull PSGs can be contributed to friction inside the changer, especially in the contact point between scissors and finger. PSGs with rollers there do of course reduce or eliminate that as a potential problem-spot ... if those parts are well balanced.
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Dan Beller-McKenna

Durham, New Hampshire, USA
Post  Posted 12 Jan 2018 4:09 am    
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Mike, this old post from Ricky Davis was so helpful, that I saved a doc of the text to refer to, which I do often, especially when adjusting my old Sho Bud rack and barrel, which has no other way to balance pulls:

Here's a little tutorial I wrote a friend when he asked what all the springs are for...ha..
Yes all those lower springs serve a purpose…..not just in the lowering.
They are there also to stabilize the lower section when you raise a string.

Take for instance.

If you raise your 1st string say a whole tone on E9th…..>if you tighten the lower spring almost all the way…..>you will find that that raise with happen much easier and sooner; as making that lower section more tight….>the raise section will move more freely.

AS for the strings that lower…..Yes you want the lower springs just tight enough so that the lower will come back to pitch….> and maybe a couple turns just tighter….so that it will not have to be adjusted again.

Also take for instance the 3rd and 6th string raise on the B pedal…..>you’ll notice that they don’t particularly move together; as it takes more travel and throw to pull the 3rd string up to pitch than the 6th string.

So to make them pull more even…..Loosen the lower spring on the 6th string half way….and tighten the lower spring on the 3rd string almost all the way and leave the raise spring on….>so with that what you are doing is stabilizing that 3rd string lower section very tight…so that the raise on the 3rd will happen more quickly and then it might move with the now lazier 6th string more so and taking the raise spring off the 6th string helps almost perfectly....but for sure if you use a .012p for the 3rd and .022w for the 6th; then they become dead perfect…..>make sense???

Also another trick……on those little Raise springs that are next to the body and attach to the raise portion of the finger and onto a bracket on the body of the guitar.

Those help strings raise…..so have them on the ones that raise…….and if you don’t have them on the ones that lower….>than of course the lower will happen more freely and moreso……>so here’s another trick I have with them.

Take the 4th string and 8th string lowers…>well you’ll notice that they don’t particularly move together also…..cause the 4th string needs more throw/distance than the 8th. So to get them to move together better…..I like to take off the raise spring of the 4th…..and leave it on the 8th…..>so now the 4th will lower quicker and the 8th will drag behind a little cause the raise spring is on 8th and not on the 4th and the 8th will drag behind because of the raise spring inhibiting the lower……so now they will move better together….

Ok there’s your little “Spring” lesson for the day…
Have fun.

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