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Author Topic:  UPDATE: I've got a bad case of the
Dan Beller-McKenna


From:
Durham, New Hampshire, USA
Post Posted 6 May 2017 4:07 am     Reply with quote

Not sure whether this belongs under Pedal Steel or Electronics. On Tuesday I took my Sho Bud 6139 to a jam. I was getting a really bad zing from my fourth string, the kind that usually means one of two things to me: 1) that string has seconds to live; or 2) The finger has worn a flat spot on top. Hoping for #1, I changed the string before a rehearsal on Wed. night. No improvement; it was possibly even worse.

This morning I decided to try putting a different finger in that spot (I picked up some extras a year or so ago). Before going to the trouble to swap it out, I checked it out on a different amp. Now I noticed that all four of the top strings are zinging! But only those four. I have trouble believing that all four of those fingers have worn flat spots around the same time, and I don't think this has been going on for long. I recorded with this guitar about a year ago, so I know this is not something I've been ignoring for a while.

If I play the strings unamplified, I can hear a difference, but not so much as when amplified, and I can't be sure I am really hearing it so much a expecting to hear it (if you know what I mean). I have rotated the nut rollers and adjusted the height of the pickup to no effect.

Is it possibly something to do with the pickup? It is the original Sho-Bud single coil. I must admit I've never been completely sold on this pick up. It's 44 years old and has certainly done its job well for a long time, but might need some attention. I have thought about a rewind (although I hear Jerry Wallace isn't rewinding any more) or a TT replacement. Can a pick-up go bad this way?

I do have four extra fingers, so maybe the first step is to slide them in there and see if that changes things.

Dan


Last edited by Dan Beller-McKenna on 18 Jun 2017 5:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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Edward Rhea


From:
Medford Oklahoma, USA
Post Posted 6 May 2017 6:21 am     Reply with quote

Dan, Jerry still does a rewind/overhaul, but only on pickups such as the original Sho~Buds & Emmons, and of course, the True Tones that he manufactures...he just doesn't accept a lot of other makers, because they may have oddball bobbins and he doesn't wish to fool with them...that was my understanding after talking with him, and he accepted an original Sho-Bud pickup and rewound it for me, not even 6-7 months ago? Still, I'd encourage you to contact him to find out, in the event that he may have changed his policy since. Hope you get your guitar going soon!
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Tucker Jackson


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post Posted 6 May 2017 9:27 am     Reply with quote

I've never had a PSG that didn't have recurring bouts of 4th string zing. The ones with harder fingers may be less prone to it because they don't develop grooves as quickly.

In that vein, isn't it more likely it's a groove in the fingers of the top four strings -- rather than a flat spot? Those thin strings cut their way down into the fingers over time...

You can test that theory by loosening those strings and temporarily moving them off-center to get them out of the grooves. Then see where you are.

Yes, they could have been sanded incorrectly at some point and that could be the problem. Either way, they need to be sanded correctly to fix the problem, removing the grooves while retaining the original arc of the finger.

I use 600-grit wet sandpaper (wetted, to keep metal shaving from falling into the changer), cut into a strip the width of a finger and awkwardly held around a pencil (the eraser end) as a 'handle.' Sand the shoulders, and not just the top of the finger! Otherwise it will introduce that dreaded flat top and you WILL have zing. Some suggest using the sandpaper in a motion like polishing a shoe. It seems to me that puts way more pressure on top than on the shoulders, and ideally, you would have to sand the shoulders with equal pressure if the goal is to maintain the arc. And it needs even more pressure at the shoulders if you're correcting a flat top. Whatever method you use, avoid a flat top at all costs.

Follow up with the tiniest bit of Simichrome metal polisher or something similar. Too much and you'll smear into the cracks at the sides of the fingers and get that gritty gunk in your changer. Obviously, taking the fingers out of the changer is the right way to do it, but it can be done the easy way if you're careful.

You should be good for another year.
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Randy Owens


From:
West Central Indiana, USA
Post Posted 6 May 2017 10:21 am     Reply with quote

Tucker Jackson wrote:

"In that vein, isn't it more likely it's a groove in the fingers of the top four strings -- rather than a flat spot? Those thin strings cut their way down into the fingers over time...


I have experienced the E string zing thing too. Is a groove anywhere on the finger bad or is it only an issue on the top side as opposed to the back? I do have a groove on the back where the string is twisted at the end.
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Tucker Jackson


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post Posted 6 May 2017 6:03 pm     Reply with quote

As far as I can tell, a groove on the back side of the finger doesn't matter.

But if the groove is on top, it changes the way the string comes off the finger. I think the zing is caused by the edge of the groove touching the string on its sides. With no groove, the finger only contacts the string on its bottom. The critical spot on the finger that has to have the correct arc and no groove is where the string loses contact and becomes free floating.
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Dan Beller-McKenna


From:
Durham, New Hampshire, USA
Post Posted 7 May 2017 1:49 am     Reply with quote

Well, I changed out those top four fingers. Some improvement, but still too much zinging. It is likely that, as the replacements were also used, they too have some grooves or flat spots. I know the original fourth finger was not a grooves issue: i moved the string to just about every spot with no improvement. tried that yesterday with the newly installed third-string finger and broke three .011s (and I pretty much never break strings). I'll probably pull all of the fingers and get someone to polish them up for me. That or buy a set of ten from Michael Yahl.

Thank for the correction about Jerry Wallace, Ed.

Dan
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Randy Owens


From:
West Central Indiana, USA
Post Posted 7 May 2017 2:01 am     Reply with quote

Dan, I am determined to solve this phenomenon just as you are. The tops of the fingers are smooth. Maybe there is a dip in there that I overlooked. It sure seems like I hear it with the amp off, open string/no bar. It's like something is resonating somewhere in there. The tough part of this is that it comes and goes on its own.

What Tucker said makes perfect sense. I'll pay closer attention to the top of the finger the next time I remove that string.
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Last edited by Randy Owens on 7 May 2017 3:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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Eric Philippsen


From:
Central Indiana, USA
Post Posted 7 May 2017 3:06 am     Reply with quote

Yep, the dreaded buzzing or zinging strings....

My experience is that 90% of the time it's caused by a groove in the finger. But the other 10%'s cause can sometimes be really frustrating to pinpoint.

This is just a suggestion I use, in those pesky situations, to make sure the problem isn't caused by the top of the finger. I simply put a small piece of paper between the string and finger, tune it, and then hear if the zing is gone. If it diasappears it's the finger. Takes 5 minutes.
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Randy Owens


From:
West Central Indiana, USA
Post Posted 7 May 2017 4:25 am     Reply with quote

Eric Philippsen wrote:
Yep, the dreaded buzzing or zinging strings....

My experience is that 90% of the time it's caused by a groove in the finger. But the other 10%'s cause can sometimes be really frustrating to pinpoint.

This is just a suggestion I use, in those pesky situations, to make sure the problem isn't caused by the top of the finger. I simply put a small piece of paper between the string and finger, tune it, and then hear if the zing is gone. If it diasappears it's the finger. Takes 5 minutes.


I just tried Eric's paper test during my morning practice hour. As of right now, the paper eliminated 90% of it. There is a shallow groove on top that is barely detectable with a fingernail. I'm encouraged but time will tell since this condition comes and goes on its own. If it stays gone, it looks like the problem has been found.
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Eric Philippsen


From:
Central Indiana, USA
Post Posted 7 May 2017 9:19 am     Reply with quote

I'm glad it worked for you. Such a "fix", if left in place, really doesn't affect tone. If left in place keep in mind that .....eventually.....the paper will wear out and the zing will be back. Sometimes that takes awhile, sometimes not. When it does I just take another minute or so to replace it. Sooner or later I do get around to the more time-consuming task of polishing the groove out.

Again, glad it worked for you.
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Eddie Lane


From:
Branson, Missouri, USA
Post Posted 7 May 2017 10:25 am     Reply with quote

Dan, ShoBud tops are chrome placed pot metal so don't attempt to sand the Grove out. The metal under the plating is very soft and will groove even worse with the plating sanded off.
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Dan Beller-McKenna


From:
Durham, New Hampshire, USA
Post Posted 7 May 2017 10:26 am     Reply with quote

Eddie,

these are from the older Professional series (pre Super-Pro). I didn't think they are pot metal that early.
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Tucker Jackson


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post Posted 7 May 2017 10:40 am     Reply with quote

The paper idea is interesting. Years ago, Richard Burton reported on the forum that he puts a very thin piece of pliable plastic under his 4th string. He says it doesn't change the tone, other than eliminating the buzzy zing.
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Edward Rhea


From:
Medford Oklahoma, USA
Post Posted 7 May 2017 10:51 am     Reply with quote

Here you go Dan...a search brought up this thread. Maybe something here that can help you? I saw that Ricky Davis replied, and James M always told me "if Ricky says it, then it's "Bible"..."
http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=301051&sid=d4a200b129a35e43398090a95d0d2eb3
_________________
Sho~Bud 6139 3&5
BJS bars
Sho~Bud seat & volume pedal
George L's cables
''71 Fender Twin Reverb w/JBL D120F's
"70 Fender Deluxe Reverb w/JBL D120F
National np2 & blue Herco picks
Ricky Davis signature Jagwires
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Mitch Ellis


From:
Collins, Mississippi USA
Post Posted 7 May 2017 10:54 am     Reply with quote

Dan,
I played a Sho-Bud once that had a bad zinging sound on one of the strings, and the problem was the roller nut. You said that you rotated them but try this....press your thumb or finger firmly against the roller nut of the zinging string as you pick the string. That's what I did and the zinging was instantly gone. The steel that I was playing was not mine, so I don't know how the owner fixed it. A new roller nut I guess.

Mitch
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Jonathan Shacklock


From:
London, UK
Post Posted 7 May 2017 2:30 pm     Reply with quote

Eddie Lane wrote:
Dan, ShoBud tops are chrome placed pot metal so don't attempt to sand the Grove out. The metal under the plating is very soft and will groove even worse with the plating sanded off.


GOOD ADVICE. I found this out the hard way on my '75 LDG. I did not think they made pot metal fingers this early (no pot metal elsewhere on this guitar) but before I knew it I had sanded down to the copper layer that the chrome bonds to. An expensive mistake.

Disappointingly, the fresh replacement finger I had made (stainless steel) still zings. I think it has as much to do with the radius of Sho bud fingers (same on my MSA on which I put new fingers - still the zing!) as grooving.

On my MSA I have tried everything in addition to new fingers, polishing, the paper thing, plastic, oil, all kinds of string makes, swapping roller nuts, outboard eq, 3 different pickups. I really don't think it's pickups.

Perhaps we should clarify the term - for me the zing is a very high harmonic or overtone, as loud or louder than the fundamental note. It seems to fade in a split second after the note is struck. Not a "buzz" or "sitar" tone.

Some things I have noticed reduce the zing to bearable levels:
Replace at least one of the George L's equivalent cables in your chain with a standard guitar lead. Try replacing them all. Then ask yourself if you really need all those highs.
Try a different amp, tube amps can sometimes round off the harshest highs. I found a software model that reduced the zing to almost zero (Amplitube Fender '57 Deluxe) as if it filtered out those unpleasant overtones, which is interesting.
Pick around the 24th fret, there is a sweet spot where the zing reduces.
Use less bar pressure, a very light touch can reduce the zing, but is not always the best fundamental tone.

I appreciate these may be compromises too far. I hope you find a fix that works for you.
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Nigel Mullen


From:
Cassilis, New Brunswick, Canada
Post Posted 7 May 2017 3:08 pm     Reply with quote

I don't know if this makes any sense at all but this is what happened to me. For years I was using a top line delay pedal and I always had a 4th string zing. I tried everything and the only thing that seemed to dampen it was a thin piece of plastic under the string. Believe it or not, the thin plastic did not adversely effect the tone and it completely eliminated the zing. Lately I've started using a little cheap delay unit that I picked up and lo and behold there is absolutely no zing on the 4th string. I'm playing an Emmons PP through a hilton pedal into a Nashville 112. I always use GHS boomer strings. I know this sounds a bit stupid but the cheap delay unit fixed the problem NM
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Ricky Davis


From:
Buda, Texas USA
Post Posted 7 May 2017 3:54 pm     Reply with quote

Any ShoBud finger with the groove to put string ball end in; IS a Chromed Pot Metal top.
Any finger with a pin to hook ball end of string on; IS, a Aluminum top.
Ricky
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Email Ricky: sshawaiian@austin.rr.com
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Dan Beller-McKenna


From:
Durham, New Hampshire, USA
Post Posted 7 May 2017 4:26 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks for all the advice folks. The paper under the strings seems to help a little. I think my problem is more of a sitar effect than a pure zing; actually a mixture of the two.
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Bobby D. Jones


From:
West Virginia, USA
Post Posted 7 May 2017 8:42 pm     Reply with quote

It may be a grove in the finger.

Or may be the string itself.

Any solid string with enough mass that is both lowered and raised, (Like the 4th string) will be Work Hardening with every raise and lower. Once the string is hardened to a certain point and lowered by the D Knee Lever it may not be coming back down tight on the finger. This could be the cause of the zing, And the use of the paper shim to stop the zing. This fits with my theory of the string holding the lower bend arc and not returning tight to the finger. Obtaining a string from another batch may be a cure. Good Luck in finding the cause and cure to this problem.
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Dan Beller-McKenna


From:
Durham, New Hampshire, USA
Post Posted 18 Jun 2017 5:33 am     Reply with quote

Whew!

Thanks to Jim Palenscar and Jerry Wallace, my 6139 is singing sweetly again. Jim polished up the tops of the plain string fingers (1-5), eliminating any grooves or flat spots, and hence all the zings and whines. I highly recommend this procedure! Jerry supplied a new pickup that sounds great. In the end I think the old Sho Bud pickup was fine (still registered at 19.5 and 10.3); probably could pop it back in there, but the TT sounds just as good, so I'll quit while I'm ahead.

I did have a scare when I threw new stings on and accidentally used a wound .020 instead .022 for the sixth string. Funny, this changer has no problem lowering six a whole-tone with a wound .022 but barely gets a half-step with a wound .020.

I'll take her out for a spin at a jam this week. Good to have her back up and running.

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Jim Palenscar


From:
Oceanside, Calif, USA
Post Posted 18 Jun 2017 7:34 am     Reply with quote

The wound strings have a much smaller core hence the increase in travel.
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Dan Beller-McKenna


From:
Durham, New Hampshire, USA
Post Posted 18 Jun 2017 7:37 am     Reply with quote

Indeed. I was just surprised what a difference there was between .020 and .022 (both wound).

Thanks again, Jim, for bringing these fingers back to life. Hey, wait a minute! Can you do the same thing for the five fingers on my right hand?? They're pretty whiney and lifeless too. Razz
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Rich Upright


From:
Florida, USA
Post Posted 18 Jun 2017 7:08 pm     Reply with quote

Never had this happen. How common is it? Now I will be looking for it.
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Greg Cutshaw


From:
Corry, PA, USA
Post Posted 19 Jun 2017 4:05 am     Reply with quote

I've had Sho-Buds with the changer grooves and flat spots (improper re-shaping by previous owner) that would zing a lot. Curiously I've had a few brand new guitars with perfectly shaped changer fingers that also zinged quite a lot on the higher strings. Never did figure out why. Seen this on a lot of other new and pro player's guitars that I've sat down too. Put on a really good set of headphones and listen to a bunch of commercially recorded steel solos and you'll hear some zinging now and then. Best not to focus on things like this too much unless it's a really bad case. Like cabinet drop, it's a common problem to varying degrees on different guitars.
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