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Post new topic Fender 400 lubrication / maintenance?
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Author Topic:  Fender 400 lubrication / maintenance?
Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 12 Jan 2018 5:28 am    
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I've never so much as touched a pedal steel guitar before but my new late model Fender 400 should be arriving today. I've been reading about setup and all of that, but one thing the factory manual leaves off is lubrication. What kind of oil, specifically, is recommended, and at what points? Anywhere that moves basically?

I've got a lot to learn, that's for sure!
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Jim Sliff


From:
Lawndale California, USA
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2018 3:00 pm    
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Nic, I don't recall if you asked this specific already on the Facebook page, but there's a cleaning/lube procedure there available for download.
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 16 Jan 2018 6:38 am    
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Yessir, that was me (and thanks!). This was my initial cry for help and y'all got me a lot further on it, through the weekend.

My outstanding problems:
1. Frightening weirdness with the pickup...couple times I've been playing it and it sounds very soft, kind of muted...I touch or slightly jostle the pickup, and bam, lots of highs and a ton more volume. I'd think a short would be all or nothing. But worst case scenario, get the pickup rewound, I suppose. Not great for resale but this instrument has had a few items replaced that's for sure.

2. "Knuckles" on the 3rd and 4th string must be sticky or something. Still not -consistently- returning to pitch with the sharping levers...as Basil points out, since activating a different adjacent-string pedal causes the original one to return accurately to pitch, has to be friction in the knuckles. I have some 3-in-1 "Dry" lube in dropper format...was thinking a drop at each seam of the problematic knuckles, and then a lot of working them back and forth to get it down in there. Also, may take one or two of those strings up another gauge...Basil's instruments (whose gauges I was following, as best as I could source locally) are probably tuned up butter-smooth at this point and can handle lighter gauges but maybe my rougher old specimen needs a firmer bit of string tension?

Oh, and...

3. Being all thumbs and left feet at this point!
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60s Fender 400 (A7), '57 Stringmaster (C13/B11/E13), SX 8-string lap, Republic tricone
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 16 Jan 2018 5:23 pm    
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Update on #2...I put a drop, as planned, on each "seam" between the problem "knuckles" of 3in1 Dry lubricant. Worked it pretty well back and forth and played a half an hour with no issues! Hopefully we're past some of my initial technical hurdles, thanks to very kind assistance from Basil and Jim!

Update on #3...unfortunately, still remain 100% thumbs and left feet, but practice, practice, and more practice are the only three possible remedies for that!
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60s Fender 400 (A7), '57 Stringmaster (C13/B11/E13), SX 8-string lap, Republic tricone
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Jim Sliff


From:
Lawndale California, USA
Post  Posted 16 Jan 2018 6:42 pm    
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Nic, regarding the "knuckles" situation, try cable guides to have the cables pull perfectly straight. And slight side movement and you have friction; enough side pressure and one one finger may bind (and the term "knuckles is a completely new one on me, - do you mean the "fingers"? There are two groups on a Fender - one at the top of the changer and the second below where the cables attach).

Lubricant is only a temporary solution. If it's binding without lube it *will* eventually bind again. Solve the problem. Lube is a "maintenance" item, not a repair item.

Check the pickup leads at the solder points - those are the usual problem areas and touching the pickup itself can often move the leads just enough to break (or improve) connection. I'd resolder the connections just to be sure.

If the problem is at the pickup bobbin it's likely the eyelet points, which are two more solder joints. They can also be redone, but take a careful eye and as low an amount of heat as will melt the solder.

It's unusual for a pickup to work intermittently with a broken winding inside the pickup itself. I've seen it maybe twice in a few thousand pickups. A rewind should not be necessary.
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 17 Jan 2018 5:41 am    
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Thanks Jim...I think "knuckles" was a term either Basil or I came up with while working through it last weekend...not the lower thin metal hinged "fingers" where cables attach, but the solid metal pieces that rock against the bridgeplate and where strings attach.

I'll look up your stuff on cable guides, thanks!

The pickup hasn't gone wrong since. It was quite strange particularly given it is a single coil...it was as if half the windings just went out, like a coil tap or something. It doesn't have that in and out kind of sound like with a loose or intermittent connection. Will keep my eye on it...
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60s Fender 400 (A7), '57 Stringmaster (C13/B11/E13), SX 8-string lap, Republic tricone
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