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Post new topic Pull release system info.
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Author Topic:  Pull release system info.
Alan Cook


From:
Kent,England
Post Posted 11 Jan 2018 1:09 pm     Reply with quote

Anyone have any pics, drawings, information on how a pull release system should work?
Alan
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Ned McIntosh


From:
New South Wales, Australia
Post Posted 12 Jan 2018 7:43 pm     Reply with quote

G'Day Alan,

I have a lot of photographs of an old Marlen D10 I rebuilt underneath. Is there any aspect in particular you need info on, or just a general idea of how they work? Richard Burton in the UK has posted some excellent diagrams in the past which show the basic mechanism.

My photos are quite detailed but require a basic knowledge of how pull-release works. A forum search for Marlen D10, pull-release etc ought to turn up pages of threads.

The principles are simple - pull on the changer-finger to raise, release spring tension so the tension of the string itself causes a lower to take place.

The art of both raising and lowering a string on a pull-release steel requires combining the two basic mechanisms and balancing the open-note with a tension-rod and a fine-tuner on the end of the rod, much as a modern all-pull steel has. However, how this open-note is tuned is where there is some variation, depending on the manufacturer - the note can also be tuned underneath the steel, it all depends on the design and engineering.

As a general rule, all raises are tuned at the keyhead with the raise engaged, all lowers are tuned at the endplate (with stop-screws) with the lower engaged, and the open-note for a string that both raises and lowers is tuned either under the guitar at the knee-lever itself, or at the endplate with a fine-tuner (which seems to be more common).

Advantages of pull-release are a very simple changer-finger and legendary tuning stability. As a rule they also have excellent tone, as the changer-finger is usually arranged to "bottom out" against the cabinet at the completion of the raise, transferring vibrations into the cabinet itself. For a lower, the changer-finger stops in contact with a stop-screw in the end-plate, transferring vibrations into the cabinet once again.

Marlen were pre-eminent in manufacture of pull-release steels until Len Stadler switched to an all-pull changer, manufactured for him by Joe Kline. The Jackson Blackjack also uses a pull-release system, with an articulated changer-finger as opposed to the one-piece finger used in the Marlens.

A few other makers still use pull-release today because it readily achieves the standard E9th (and C6th) copedent and simplifies construction. It appears in some of the "entry-level" steels, but this is something of a misnomer because these are not lacking in tone or playability. Indeed, some are used by very well-respected players for their lack of weight and great tone. It would be better to term these as "affordable steels" rather than "entry-level".

Anyway, if you can let us know what your area of interest is there are quite a few on here who can jumpt in to assist.

Just to whet your appetite, here are a few shots of a rebuilt undercarriage of a Marlen D10:-
Here is an end-on shot of the completed rebuild


and a shot of the completed undercarriage in its entirety:-



a look at the three E9th pedals and tension-springs for the tension-rods:-


and a shot of the changer-fingers for the E9th changer. (These are the earlier 4-hole fingers Marlen used, later they used a 6-hole finger.)


and finally a shot of the two lowering-collars on the tension-rods for the E-strings. The bellcrank pushes against these to lower the tension and thus lower the Es. Note how the tabs on the collars fit between the two sides of the bellcrank to prevent the tension-rod from rotating so a tuning-nut on the threaded-end at the end-plate can tune the open E note. If the rod rotates, it won't tune!

_________________
The steel guitar is a hard mistress. She will obsess you, bemuse and bewitch you. She will dash your hopes on what seems to be whim, only to tease you into renewing the relationship once more so she can do it to you all over again...and yet, if you somehow manage to touch her in that certain magic way, she will yield up a sound which has so much soul, raw emotion and heartfelt depth to it that she will pierce you to the very core of your being.


Last edited by Ned McIntosh on 19 Jan 2018 5:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Alan Cook


From:
Kent,England
Post Posted 13 Jan 2018 10:43 am     Reply with quote

G'day. Ned

Thanks for the great info and pics very helpful. A forum member very kindly gave me a pedal steel it is a copy of a Sho bud perminant with a pull release mechanism. The guitar sound amazing but although the former owner has done a great job of getting the guitar working the mechanics are letting it down. Initially I just want to get it set up in my copedent and start using it but long term I'd like to rebuild the underside polish the aluminium parts up and replace the fretboard. So info and pics like the ones you have sent are great and thanks again.

Alan

Here are some pics of the guitar.






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Ned McIntosh


From:
New South Wales, Australia
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 5:02 pm     Reply with quote

Hi again, Alan,

If you're going to refurbish, you'll almost certainly need a small lathe and milling/drilling machine. I used a Unimat 3 I bought well over thirty years ago, and it handled every job perfectly. A few photos may be helpful:-

This is my "machine shop" as I began making or modifying parts,


One thing was to turn single-sided bellcranks into double-sided ones. This required making plates from aluminium-sheet, drilling holes and then rivetting each plate to the bellcrank using aircraft-grade countersunk rivets so they fitted flush:



Drilling holes for the rivets:


Setting up for rivetting (the rivets were set using an aircraft rivet-squeezer for uniformity of the shop-head, which was squeezed into a countersunk hole):


and here are a set of double-sided bellcranks ready to have the side-plates filed to shape (note these have the double set-screws to positively lock then to the cross-shaft referred to in the photo below):


Before drilling and tapping a second set-screw hole, modified bellcranks are checked for fit on a cross-shaft after the side-plates have been rivetted on. (I used an 8-32 tap and appropriate sized drill for the set-screws to keep the American sizing):


there were brass rod-clamps and aluminium stop-collars to make for the pull-rods, Delrin plugs for pull-rods to slide through, as well as anchor-plates for the tension-rod springs. The little Unimat churned them out in quantity:-


and prototypes of pull-rod clamps to test in the bellcrank. This is actually a prototype aluminium rod-clamp, but eventually I settled on brass for rod-clamps and aluminium for stop-collars:


here is what a pile of finished and shaped bellcranks looks like, with double set-screw holes, ready to go onto cross-shafts before rodding the guitar. (The rods were stainless-steel welding rods, 2.4mm in diameter, which allowed the ends to be threaded for tuning-nuts where required):


Hope this gives you some ideas on how best to proceed with your project. One other comment on my choice of materials; brass and aluminium develop an electric potential between them, so keep the undercarriage of any steel-guitar bone dry. The only fluid it should see is oil!
_________________
The steel guitar is a hard mistress. She will obsess you, bemuse and bewitch you. She will dash your hopes on what seems to be whim, only to tease you into renewing the relationship once more so she can do it to you all over again...and yet, if you somehow manage to touch her in that certain magic way, she will yield up a sound which has so much soul, raw emotion and heartfelt depth to it that she will pierce you to the very core of your being.
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Tim Russell


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 7:07 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks for the eye candy! Very Happy
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Sierra Crown D-10
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