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Author Topic:  Reverse Gears on my Sierra
Charley Bond


From:
Inola, OK, USA
Post Posted 30 May 2018 4:10 pm     Reply with quote

I just finished installing some Reverse Gears on My Sierra. No more spongy STOP on my RKR. Very soon, my LKR will get the Reverse Gears setup too.

I also installed a couple of keyed shafts & some modified bellcranks, that use a modified set screw to have a non-slip anti-rotating setup.

More pics will be added as soon as they are processed.





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Last edited by Charley Bond on 31 May 2018 9:12 am; edited 3 times in total
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Johnie King


From:
Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 30 May 2018 4:31 pm     Reply with quote

You the man how well do they work
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Charley Bond


From:
Inola, OK, USA
Post Posted 30 May 2018 4:33 pm     My Sierra Reply with quote

I'll get it tuned up in a day or so & report back. The Gears feel great & the stop is 100% Positive.,
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Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post Posted 30 May 2018 6:49 pm     Reply with quote

Just curious...I notice in the bottom right of the last picture - the fingers are not all in line. Do you have something overtuned?
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Tim Russell


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 31 May 2018 1:27 am     Reply with quote

Are those stock Sierra bellcranks? I've never seen them with the hole like that; all the ones I ever saw had the "tooth" or notch milled in them for the plastic rod barrel to slide in to.

The reverse gears loo awesome - if I were more motivated, I would do this to my Sierra!
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Charley Bond


From:
Inola, OK, USA
Post Posted 31 May 2018 4:35 am     My Sierra Gears Reply with quote

The Bellcranks (early Olympic) were drilled one at a time. After 3 were done, we noticed an angularity difference, because of rotation when placed in the vise. So I put one of the crazies on my guitar.

The simple operation of drilling a hole, in the bottom of the Bellcrank, through to the first hole & tapping it, then installing the modified set screw backwards, so the socket could be accessed from the pull rod area, made using a keyed shaft very easy to install.

Modified set screw = the end of the set screw was turned down, so the the very end would fit into the keyway of the cross shaft.
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Last edited by Charley Bond on 2 Jun 2018 7:02 am; edited 1 time in total
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Tom Campbell


From:
Houston, Texas, USA
Post Posted 31 May 2018 5:42 am     Reply with quote

Charley...where did you get the gears?

I have a "Session" that I might try to convert to the geared concept...but...I have the square shafts.

Unless I could find some gears with a "box" center hole vs. a round hold, I would have to change out the shafts. Still, it looks like a great conversion!!!
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Charley Bond


From:
Inola, OK, USA
Post Posted 31 May 2018 5:57 am     Square Shafts/ Reply with quote

Since the gears are mounted outside the back rail, the square shaft can be turned round, for an inch or two (what ever is needed) to fit that application.

If I had it to do over & I might well do that anyway, I would choose gears that didn't have a hub. They are not available without a special order.



The gears had to be modified, because there is no room on the bottom of the guitar, in relation to the cross shaft hole & the gears can only rotate about 20-30 degrees. In retrospect, I would also cut the teeth off on the bottom (installed on top), then Drill & Tap the hole for the modified set screw, to attach to the keyed shaft.

The small hole in the shaft was for plating reasons. They needed an attach point, for suspending the shafts in the plating tank.
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Len Amaral


From:
Rehoboth,MA 02769
Post Posted 31 May 2018 2:13 pm     Reply with quote

Charlie, you have a very creative nature. Looks like a nice upgrade to the Sierra.

I owe you a phone call, it’s been a while since we chatted.

Lenny
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Charley Bond


From:
Inola, OK, USA
Post Posted 1 Jun 2018 8:42 am     Re: My Sierra Gears Reply with quote

Charley Bond wrote:
The Bellcranks (early Olympic) were drilled one at a time. After 3 were done, we noticed an angularity problem, because of rotation when placed in the vise. So I put one of the crazies on my guitar.

The simple operation of drilling a hole, in the bottom of the Bellcrank, through to the first hole & tapping it, then installing the modified set screw backwards, so the socket could be accessed from the pull rod area, made using a keyed shaft very easy to install.

Modified set screw = the end of the set screw was turned down, so the the very end would fit in the keyway of the cross shaft.


Plus you have the original built-in clamp to insure it's location is firm

Here are 2 pics of the modified BellCranks & modified Set Screws. In the one picture you can see the Bellcrank has been drilled & tapped & in the other picture, you can plainly see the set screw's modification, that allows it to work with a keyed shaft.


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Last edited by Charley Bond on 2 Jun 2018 10:03 am; edited 1 time in total
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Tim Russell


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 1 Jun 2018 11:56 am     Reply with quote

Thanks for the pictures and explanation of the setup. Awesome work!
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John McClung


From:
Olympia WA, USA
Post Posted 2 Jun 2018 5:50 pm     Reply with quote

Charley, did you consider using, or actually try, different size gears, kind of like front and rear gears on a bicycle? I've always thought that a smaller gear on a lever turning a big bigger gear on the cross shaft would make for a stiffer, but much shorter throw distance.
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Ross Shafer


From:
Petaluma, California
Post Posted 3 Jun 2018 6:23 am     Reply with quote

Different gears could certainly be used to manipulate the force/travel equation. A worthy adjustment feature me thinks.

A small gear on the lever and a big gear on the cross shaft would actually make the travel longer and easier....to shorten the travel (increasing the force needed) the large gear would be on the lever.

Bobby Bowman's American steels were set up with different size gears like this. I built one up from parts I bought from Bobby and found this feature useful.

Cool Conversion Charley!
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Charley Bond


From:
Inola, OK, USA
Post Posted 3 Jun 2018 12:40 pm     Gears on a Guitar Reply with quote

Hi John & Ross, After 35 years of being a Tooling Engineer, for the BOEING Company, ratios are very familiar to me. Initially, I chose the 1:1 ratio out of necessity (the only gears available), as a trial of course. During assembly, I realized that I had an 8 inch RKR Lever that would give some advantage, which it did.

Every thing is OkeeDokee as we say in Oklahoma.

Added... One other thing, if one were to want a different ratio, the long slot in the back rail, might assist the gear setup to adapt a different center line dimension, because of the long adjustment. The gears would just be rotating inside the very back apron (on their own axle) instead of the back rail, rotating on the cross shaft..
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John McClung


From:
Olympia WA, USA
Post Posted 3 Jun 2018 1:35 pm     Reply with quote

Ross, thanks for straightening out my gear theory. Maybe that's why my bike always goes backwards! Laughing Is the overall feel and action with gears smoother?
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Mullen pre-RP D-12 9+10 /Li'l Izzy / Stereo Steel combo amp-preamp / JBL, BW & Telonics speakers in Telonics cabinets / Hilton and Telonics volume pedals / BJS bars / George L strings & cables / StealSeat.com pack-a-seat / Macintosh computers / This Space for Hire / Burma Shave
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Peter Freiberger


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 3 Jun 2018 4:21 pm     Reply with quote

World class machinist and welder Chas Smith has done something similar, I think on his vintage P/P's. There were picture on the Forum at one time but I can't find them. An elegant solution for a reverser.
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John McClung


From:
Olympia WA, USA
Post Posted 3 Jun 2018 5:00 pm     Reply with quote

Leave it to Chas... I shoulda known! Thanks, Peter. Why hasn't gearing been adopted universally by steel builders?
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Charley Bond


From:
Inola, OK, USA
Post Posted 3 Jun 2018 5:19 pm     Gears on a Guitar Reply with quote

One thought comes to mind, when I wonder why someone else hasn't done gears for the guitar, they make to use or sell, is this. When you think gears, don't you think rotation. The cross shafts are too close to the bed (bottom) of the Guitar, so rotation is OUT, unless you make a clearance trough. That's not going to happen. And a manufacture is not going to install 4 gears, to get where he wants to go, so let's start making linkage. That's my take....

My workaround was to remove the unused teeth from the gear, to allow the necessary travel, to make the idea work. I will get my LKR done very soon. It will not have a hub.
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post Posted 3 Jun 2018 6:16 pm     Reply with quote

Freeman Cowgar used reverse gears on his Cougar guitars. I'm sure someone else has also.
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Ross Shafer


From:
Petaluma, California
Post Posted 4 Jun 2018 6:12 am     Reply with quote

John McClung wrote:
Ross, thanks for straightening out my gear theory. Maybe that's why my bike always goes backwards! Laughing Is the overall feel and action with gears smoother?


No problem John, I did lot's of time in bike shops before going full time into bike framebuilding....explaining how 10 speed (showing my age here) gear systems worked was a daily task.

As mentioned above, Bobby Bowman's short lived American Steels used gears. They had a fair amount of backlash so the action felt a bit clunky.
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Charley Bond


From:
Inola, OK, USA
Post Posted 4 Jun 2018 7:23 am     Gears on a guitar Reply with quote

Here are some other gears on Steel Guitars.

https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=1355378&sid=00b1b97e8fd7a5ee0a6dff33f43bebfe

I'm not the first guy to re-invent a wheel, I was just tired of that spongy RKR. Now that I have accomplished my goal, I'm gonna redo it with some flat gears & do the LKR while I'm at it.

I can't say the gears are smoother than the linkage is on my other levers, but I can say the positive stop is way better & with that being better, adding a halfstop might be in the works.

I'll be back...
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Pete Burak


From:
Portland, OR USA
Post Posted 4 Jun 2018 7:54 am     Reply with quote

BMI has completely eliminated the need for a reversing mechanism.
They just put the Cross-shaft closer to the bottom of the apron, with the Bell-Cranks placed above it, so the pull is direct, just like a raise.
I built a RKR on one of my Sierra's like this, and it is THE BEST feeling RKR lowering the E's I have ever felt on any Pedal Steel.
I will post a pic when I get home.

Here is a BMI. Look at the RKR and LKR. The Cross-rod is near the bottom of the apron, allowing for a direct pull.


Last edited by Pete Burak on 4 Jun 2018 8:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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Charley Bond


From:
Inola, OK, USA
Post Posted 4 Jun 2018 7:59 am     Gears on a Guitar Reply with quote

With all the different ideas shown, it's plain there is more than one way to skin a cat.
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Last edited by Charley Bond on 6 Jun 2018 9:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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Charley Bond


From:
Inola, OK, USA
Post Posted 6 Jun 2018 8:59 am     Reply with quote

Donny Hinson wrote:
Just curious...I notice in the bottom right of the last picture - the fingers are not all in line. Do you have something overtuned?


Hi Mr Hinson, I just noticed what you "really wrote" in your post. I'll be turning My Guitar upside down again, soon... I will check on that...

Thanks for noticing that anomaly...
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Pete Burak


From:
Portland, OR USA
Post Posted 6 Jun 2018 9:14 am     Reply with quote

Charley Bond wrote:
Donny Hinson wrote:
Just curious...I notice in the bottom right of the last picture - the fingers are not all in line. Do you have something overtuned?


Hi Mr Hinson, I just noticed what you "really wrote" in your post. I'll be turning My Guitar upside down again, soon... I will check on that...

Thanks for noticing that anomaly...


You can see it good in the first shot, too.
It looks like string-8... my first bet would be that your string-8 E-to-Eb lower lever is overtuned.
Back off the endplate tuner so there is a little slack in the lever before it starts to lower the string.
You may need to adjust the lever-Stop to allow for farther lever travel, so it will make it all the way to Eb.
You may need to re-adjust the String-4 to String-8 timing, to get the two strings to travel evenly from start to finish.
This has happened to me before an a Sierra, and that is what I had to do to fix it.


Last edited by Pete Burak on 6 Jun 2018 9:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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