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Post new topic Carter Starter tuning problem with A pedal
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Author Topic:  Carter Starter tuning problem with A pedal
Travis Bubenik


From:
Marfa, Texas
Post  Posted 8 Jan 2022 9:29 pm    
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Having a tuning problem with my Carter Starter that's just got me stumped. I've read the "overturning and undertuning" stickied post - but I don't think either issue is what I'm dealing with (could definitely be wrong though, I'm a beginner.)

My 5th string won't stay in tune when raised with the A pedal. It returns to pitch just fine with the pedal released - but when I press the pedal it sometimes goes way flat, sometimes goes a little sharp - it's really just all over the place.

Everything else on the guitar mostly stays in tune just fine - no other pedals or knee levers are doing this. I've tried moving the pull rod to different holes on the bell crank (or is it called a bell crank finger??) - I though maybe the tuning nut was slipping, but that's not it either.

What else should I look at? Thanks!
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 9 Jan 2022 4:47 am    
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Travis -- Your best bet is to turn the guitar upsidedown in its case and hand-activate the pedal and watch carefully. Do you see the necessary slack in the pull? The question of whether over-tuning is involved can quickly be answered by this observation (vs. just changing things and seeing if it helps). Can the nylon tuner be manually 'backed out' from the changer finger? There is your slack. If it is hard against the finger, then there is your problem and yes, changing bellcrank holes is the probably Rx.
If it is not overtuned, then I would suspect grunge in the changer. With the same close observation, you might be able to get a feel for whether things feel sluggish. With a tuner, do you get different results with quick/hard pedal action vs. slow pull?
Oil is the quick solution although a badly gummed up changer really cries out for a solvent flush, then lubrication. But that's not what you want to be doing if you don't have to. Easy enough but a potentially messy, outdoor process unless you've got a shop set up for it. An oil applicator with a long needle will get you into the tight spaces of the changer.


Last edited by Jon Light on 9 Jan 2022 4:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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Danny Letz

 

From:
Old Glory,Texas, USA 79540
Post  Posted 9 Jan 2022 4:53 am    
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Look for the stop that that pedals cross shaft stops against, probably in the area where the pedal rod hooks to the crossshaft under the guitar in the front apron area. Check the parts there in comparison to the other two pedals parts. I’ve seen levers there get bent from a heavy foot. Where ever the stop is, the pedal must consistently & solidly be stopped at the same place at the end of it’s travel. Also maybe a small drop of oil in the places where parts rub together or pivot in that pull train.
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Danny Letz

 

From:
Old Glory,Texas, USA 79540
Post  Posted 9 Jan 2022 5:07 am     Carter Starter
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Also as Jon says make sure the lever & bellcrank for that string are firmly attached to the cross shaft, screws tight.
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Travis Bubenik


From:
Marfa, Texas
Post  Posted 9 Jan 2022 7:45 am    
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Jon Light wrote:
Travis -- Your best bet is to turn the guitar upsidedown in its case and hand-activate the pedal and watch carefully. Do you see the necessary slack in the pull? The question of whether over-tuning is involved can quickly be answered by this observation (vs. just changing things and seeing if it helps). Can the nylon tuner be manually 'backed out' from the changer finger? There is your slack. If it is hard against the finger, then there is your problem and yes, changing bellcrank holes is the probably Rx.
If it is not overtuned, then I would suspect grunge in the changer. With the same close observation, you might be able to get a feel for whether things feel sluggish. With a tuner, do you get different results with quick/hard pedal action vs. slow pull?
Oil is the quick solution although a badly gummed up changer really cries out for a solvent flush, then lubrication. But that's not what you want to be doing if you don't have to. Easy enough but a potentially messy, outdoor process unless you've got a shop set up for it. An oil applicator with a long needle will get you into the tight spaces of the changer.


Yea I’ve got plenty of slack - I did check on that.

After posting this last night I looked at the rodding chart for this guitar for the first time and discovered that like half of it was rodded wrong by someone at some point - so I got that all back in order and I'm hoping that’ll help. But will look into these other tips as well - thank!
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 9 Jan 2022 8:50 am    
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The C-S I had on my bench....I thought it was destined for the trash heap at first. It took me a few minutes to realize that the setup had been seriously altered. And then everything had been radically overtuned.
With the welded bellcranks, some setup changes can really get ugly with drastically angled rods and all. The Carter-Starter setup was, emphatically, not intended to be changed. It was designed to a price point and one of the compromises was sacrificing flexibility. Not a negative. Just a 'what it is'.

The single best upgrade one can make on that guitar is fitting a positive physical stop on the LKL. The addition of an estimated $20 of parts & labor, at the factory, would have resulted in a much better guitar (IMO). But they must have been desperate in their cost cutting, trying to make a commercially viable product.

When the C-S left my bench, I felt that the owner had himself a decent playing, decent sounding steel.

I hope you can find what's causing your inconsistencies.
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Ian Worley


From:
Sacramento, CA
Post  Posted 9 Jan 2022 1:16 pm    
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It could be a weak lower return spring. On a Starter, strings that lower have a open slot in the changer stop plate and a return spring that holds the finger in the neutral position. The stock setup would lower string 5 on RKL. Make sure the spring is not allowing the the finger to lift off the stop plate when you engage the A or C pedal, and that the finger is returning firmly against the stop plate when you engage and release the knee lever.
_________________
All lies and jest, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest - Paul Simon
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 9 Jan 2022 2:14 pm    
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Ian Worley wrote:
It could be a weak lower return spring. On a Starter, strings that lower have a open slot in the changer stop plate and a return spring that holds the finger in the neutral position. The stock setup would lower string 5 on RKL. Make sure the spring is not allowing the the finger to lift off the stop plate when you engage the A or C pedal, and that the finger is returning firmly against the stop plate when you engage and release the knee lever.

This is good.

Add -- be sure that the B > A# lower lever is not overtuned. As well as the C pedal. All of these things are directly involved with the 5th string fingers and any of them could be affecting things that you are perceiving to be an A pedal issue. I am not obsessed with overtuning. It's just that it can run deeper than just, in this case, an overtuned A pedal.

I do like Ian's idea. And it is easy to visually observe.
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Travis Bubenik


From:
Marfa, Texas
Post  Posted 9 Jan 2022 7:29 pm    
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Ian Worley wrote:
It could be a weak lower return spring. On a Starter, strings that lower have a open slot in the changer stop plate and a return spring that holds the finger in the neutral position. The stock setup would lower string 5 on RKL. Make sure the spring is not allowing the the finger to lift off the stop plate when you engage the A or C pedal, and that the finger is returning firmly against the stop plate when you engage and release the knee lever.


Thanks Ian - didn’t know about this part of the guitar yet - so I’ll give this a look. Appreciate it!
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Travis Bubenik


From:
Marfa, Texas
Post  Posted 16 Jan 2022 9:36 pm    
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Just wanted to follow up here, mainly for anyone who stumbles on this thread in the future lookin’ for answers - I went ahead and lubricated everything on the guitar today and I think that fixed my problem!

I really couldn’t find anything visually off - but after oiling just about everything, seems that problem string is staying in tune…for now anyways. Something tells me it was the roller nut but I’m still not sure.

Anyways, thanks for the help as always y’all!
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