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Dick Sexton


From:
Greenville, Ohio
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 6:12 am     Reply with quote

Lets talk about the rule of dissimilar metals.

Recently I worked on a friends all pull steel, which uses an aluminum tube about 3/8" long between the nylon tuner and the changer finger on each pull rod. His problem was, a couple changes were not returning to the original note, coming up mostly sharp, but also intermittently flat. I found that the collar/tube(aluminum) had been damaged pulling up against the changer finger(stainless steel). The end of the aluminum tube had flattened and rolled inward and was dragging against the pull rod. This was noticed mainly on the raises for strings 5 & 6 of the E9th neck(pedals A&B).

I checked my own steels and found the same thing was happening. Aware of this problem, the next all pull steel I worked on, I immediate checked, it also had the same situation.

So... What is the fix? Ideally, replace the aluminum collars, done.

Short term, to get through a gig, session or what ever (probably last as long a new collar), is to remove any aluminum that is rolled to the inside (I used a sharp pointed pocket knife) so that the collar rides freely on the pull rod and then file the damaged end flat and square, flip the collar so that the once but now repaired damaged end is up against the nylon tuner.

Lesson:

Rule of dissimilar metals or materials. With movement, the softer of the two dissimilar metals or materials WILL sustain damage that can and may show up in a pedal steel guitar as a tuning issue.

I can not help but wonder how many instruments were sold off or traded, having a tuning issue that was completely correctable. FYI...
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 6:30 am     Reply with quote

I know the problem. I was thinking my Derby had steel spacers, but they may have been aluminum. Anyway, I came across this a few times. It's something one needs to check periodically, particularly when tuning issues begin showing up.

Usually, the threads on the pull rod will hang up in the spacer and won't return properly....or will feel rough and uneven throughout the travel.

Some other guitars use a nylon or delrin spacer...never had any of those problems with these. They can still mushroom of course with enough use however.

Good tip Dick.
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Jim Bob Sedgwick


From:
Clinton, Missouri USA
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 6:32 am     Reply with quote

I have played Williams guitars for 32 years now. Bill uses delrin spacers as opposed to metal and I have had NO problems with any of the 4 Williams I have owned. I guess Bill is onto something? Smile
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 6:43 am     Reply with quote

I did not mean to single out Derby particularly, several guitars use a metal spacer. Pretty sure my Mullen did.

Nylon wears too with constant use.

I think the problem is caused by the repetitive hammering of the spacer against the scissors finger which happens over years of playing. There is a slight arc created by the eccentricity of movement, minimum as it is, that puts stress on one side of the spacer.

It's just something a player needs to check occasionally when doing your routine maintenance. Every guitar has something that needs to be addressed from time to time.

Thanks to Dick for the heads up re: these issues.


Last edited by Jerry Overstreet on 1 Dec 2017 6:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jack Stoner


From:
Inverness, Fl
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 6:47 am     Reply with quote

I've seen one brand with a short nylon tuner and a spacer (probably aluminum). Why not just have a longer nylon tuner? The nylon tuners on my Franklin are 36 years old and still OK (and mostly tight).
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 7:03 am     Reply with quote

Jack Stoner wrote:
I've seen one brand with a short nylon tuner and a spacer (probably aluminum). Why not just have a longer nylon tuner? The nylon tuners on my Franklin are 36 years old and still OK (and mostly tight).


My thoughts:

I think it depends on the changer design and the length of the pull rod in front of the scissors. A solid nylon might cause binding on some guitars considering the slight elliptical motion.

I eliminated the spacer with the longer nut on a couple pulls on one guitar I had...did not work too good.
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Bob Carlucci


From:
Candor, New York, USA
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 7:41 am     Reply with quote

Seen that a bunch of times.. Short term, flip them around, maybe add a tiny bit of white lube with a toothpick where the sleeve meets the hole in the changer finger.. I have fixed the same problem several times with a small file, sandpaper, a tiny flat washer and a tiny amount of grease, etc,, It should not ne that big of a problem really.. Best fix without new parts would be to file the contact end flat, and install a TINY flat washer between the spacer tube and changer finger.

What happens is this,, The washer now rotates slightly while being engaged and disengaged and stops the wear and galling in its tracks. As long as there is a tiny bit of lube there, the wear on those spacers stops when a washer is installed,, thats what I would do... .bob
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I'm over the hill and hittin'rocks on the way down!

no gear list for me.. you don't have the time......


Last edited by Bob Carlucci on 1 Dec 2017 8:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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Dick Sexton


From:
Greenville, Ohio
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 7:46 am     Thanks you. Reply with quote

Thanks Jerry, appreciated.
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Jim Palenscar


From:
Oceanside, Calif, USA
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 7:48 am     Reply with quote

It has been my experience that using dissimilar metals is done to avoid galling that using aluminum touching aluminum causes. While I've seen some minor problems in using aluminum spacers, it is rare and does not warrant changing materials although Delrin works fine. I see more problems due to lack of upkeep and lubrication.
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Jason Lynch


From:
Essex, United Kingdom
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 9:44 am     Reply with quote

The spacers on my BMI are not flat, but rounded against the finger. Guess it evens out the pull force?
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Bobby D. Jones


From:
West Virginia, USA
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 10:58 am     Reply with quote

I have 2 MSA steels built with the aluminum spacers on the pull rods. Had no problem with the one I played for 5 years gigging. Born July 9,1974, by MSA records. I have only had one off and it looked like the mechanic who had worked on the steel when I got it, Or at the factory had countersunk the hole so it would not collapse in and catch the threads on the pull rod, And cause that problem. Countersink the hole slightly may be the cure.
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Rex Mayfield


From:
Texas, USA
Post Posted 1 Dec 2017 7:47 pm     Reply with quote

Just a thought......... a washer with a rounded side against the changer finger??? Feedback?
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Bob Carlucci


From:
Candor, New York, USA
Post Posted 2 Dec 2017 7:01 am     Reply with quote

Rex Mayfield wrote:
Just a thought......... a washer with a rounded side against the changer finger??? Feedback?


It depends on the changer of course, and the washer size..
If the washer is going to contact another pull finger, all bets are off, and you can't do it, and will simply have to replace what needs to be replaced. The washer would have to have the same diameter as the spacer tube, or less. I have also simply filed spacer tubes flat again and put them right back where they were, tightened the nylon a bit, and it was good to go.
Regardless, I have run into this problem a bunch of times, and it was never a problem that could not be solved with a small file and a few minutes... bob
_________________
I'm over the hill and hittin'rocks on the way down!

no gear list for me.. you don't have the time......
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John Polstra


From:
Lopez Island, WA, USA
Post Posted 2 Dec 2017 9:35 am     Reply with quote

The vintage Sierras used nylon bushings, with a short one drilled to fit crossways over the pull rod to cushion the pull. It works great. My Sierra Crown series steel is from the 80s and shows no wear on the bushings. Here's a diagram from the Sierra manual:



John
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John Wilson


From:
Ventura, California, USA
Post Posted 2 Dec 2017 10:19 am     watch where the threads of the rod go thru the changer plate Reply with quote

I have seen on several guitars, where after market rods have been added, that if the end thread is cut too deep (long) into the rod, that the friction of the rod will elongate the changer hole. If the rod is made from soft material, the threads get worn at the changer contact point.
BMI had the best solution for this, with rounded nylon tuners that "located" into a slightly beveled hole on the changer.

J.
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John Wilson


From:
Ventura, California, USA
Post Posted 2 Dec 2017 10:21 am     watch where the threads of the rod go thru the changer plate Reply with quote

I have seen on several guitars, where after market rods have been added, that if the end thread is cut too deep (long) into the rod, that the friction of the rod will elongate the changer hole. If the rod is made from soft material, the threads get worn at the changer contact point.
BMI had the best solution for this, with rounded nylon tuners that "located" into a slightly beveled hole on the changer.

J.
_________________
Customer: "Waiter, how do you prepare your chicken?"
Waiter: "We usually tell them they're not going to make it."
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