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Unread 04-09-2012, 09:02 AM   #1
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Oakland Axe Factory headless development

I've given alot of thought to creating a headless tuning system over the years. My first designs were almost all straight pull affairs like the ABM single string bridges or the classic Steinberger design. While that system works well I've never gotten past the bulk of it or the idea that you really need the system to be mounted so far back on the guitar. The system itself influences the guitar design too much for my tastes. There are enough limitations on guitar design already so in my head at least I couldn't go that route, I knew deep down that I needed to create something from scratch.

It came to me as I was sketching out my first draft of the single cut headless 8 string guitar. Why not use a rocking lever under the bridge? It is out of the way and light weight. It is easy to use and utilizes a minimal amount of parts. We're talking "crowbar" technology here, literally. I immediately constructed a crude prototype and was surprised by how well that worked! Like a mad scientist I scribbled down every thought on the design as my head was immediately filled with every conceivable aspect of the system. Some of the immediate concerns were about the optimal shape of the rocker and how much room will it need to smoothly tune the string to pitch. Another troubling thought was about what to use for a knob on the top side of the system. The prototype utilizes a phillips head machine screw and that won't due on a guitar. I though about milling a head that could be adjusted with a guitar pick or having special knurled knobs made for the system. As of today the jury's still out on the adjuster knobs.



Here are some pics of the first prototype that I frantically cobbled together seconds after the initial idea had hit me.







As you can see from the last pic I was using a gallon jug of glue to simulate string tension. The next prototype will be tested in a more natural way with a mock string clamp and a string scale of around 27".

Here is the sketch of the guitar design based on my SC model. I have since made a second version with a slightly smaller body as well.


Oakland Axe Factory uses Octave4Plus custom strings, Dimarzio and Lace pickups, Hipshot Hardware and Graphtech saddles.
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Unread 04-09-2012, 09:12 AM   #2
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Loving the design. The smaller body is great too!
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Unread 04-09-2012, 09:20 AM   #3
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i love this idea

...Each guitarist has an evil fat 40 year old blueswankler trying to get out, If you give in to temptation you'll be sitting next to a fender playing john lee hooker while trying to keep your combover in place.

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being black and enjoying watermelon, i think this thread needs more watermelon.
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Unread 04-09-2012, 09:22 AM   #4
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Looks great, very innovative idea as well. Can't wait to see this on a real axe!
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Unread 04-09-2012, 09:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Drinkwater View Post
I've given alot of thought to creating a headless tuning system over the years.

I have since made a second version with a slightly smaller body as well.

http://i379.photobucket.com/albums/o...tar/SCERGO.jpg
I really like your designs & thought process more & more with every addition/comment added. As well as smaller bodies.
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Unread 04-09-2012, 09:31 AM   #6
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I'll make a priority of getting a pic of the smaller body up here today. The smaller body was JaeSwift's idea and I really like the looks of it.

Oakland Axe Factory uses Octave4Plus custom strings, Dimarzio and Lace pickups, Hipshot Hardware and Graphtech saddles.
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Unread 04-09-2012, 09:49 AM   #7
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I best get my deposit money and standby.
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Unread 04-09-2012, 09:55 AM   #8
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I am excited to see where this goes. I love the idea of a more conventional looking headless.
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Unread 04-09-2012, 10:02 AM   #9
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just a quick thought, the tension on a standard tuned 6 string can be upwards of 70kgs, will this tension force then be tranfered to the pivot system of tuning, effectively placing an upward force on the thin routed out top of the cavity that houses the tuners? if so, have you thought of reinforcing that area of the guitar? sorry if this is a stupid question, my understanding of free body force is a bit rusty.

...Each guitarist has an evil fat 40 year old blueswankler trying to get out, If you give in to temptation you'll be sitting next to a fender playing john lee hooker while trying to keep your combover in place.

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being black and enjoying watermelon, i think this thread needs more watermelon.
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Unread 04-09-2012, 10:24 AM   #10
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Is there a chance for a limited run of these headless eights like the BFR run?
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Unread 04-09-2012, 10:46 AM   #11
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Interesting idea, except for using a screwdriver to tune with. I'd give myself two string changes before I'd slip and gouge the hell out of the top of the guitar

Aside from taking into account my own clumsiness I like it
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Unread 04-09-2012, 10:49 AM   #12
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The screw is just for the prototype
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Unread 04-09-2012, 12:10 PM   #13
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You should invent a specialized tool that comes with that guitar capable of adjusting all moving parts, like a multi-tool.

If you please, it could be crafted from gold and encrusted with some sort of gems for decoration. It will be the tops in guitar maintenance systems.

Also, I would totally be interested in getting one of these in a limited run (or otherwise for that matter).
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Unread 04-09-2012, 12:12 PM   #14
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I hope you patented this great idea before posting it on the internet.

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Unread 04-09-2012, 01:49 PM   #15
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The top will be a minimum of .25Ē so that should be plenty of wood between the mechanism and the bridge. Iíll be able to fine tune that when Iím making my second prototype here hopefully this week.
Will I be able to do another BFR run?
Since the taxes went in for the year Iíve been crunching numbers on Excel and looking at what I need to do to get this business where it needs to be financially. First off I had to determine how many guitars I can realistically build in one year, how many labor hours I have available and how much I need to earn in a year to justify doing this. After that was calculated I had something to go off from and that led to some interesting options. My minimum price per guitar ended up looking like it was ending up somewhere in the mid to high $2k range so I decided to look at organizing my builds into quarterly production cycles of 5-8 guitars with a base price of around $2k and it looked like it could work. By ordering parts for 5 guitars at a time you save hundreds of dollars in shipping. Sometimes you can even get bulk deals on big orders and that also helps alot. The key is to build at least 5 guitars per quarter. So in essence every quarter will be like the BFR run. Iíll be able to post regular updates to facebook with pics, and I may even be able to offer some of the options at a discounted rate if enough people from a production cycle want the same thing. Another plus is that Iíll be able to more accurately estimate completion times.
The next question of course became what models to offer. I read somewhere that as a small business owner you canít be everything to everyone and that made sense to me. I also read that while it pays to specialize you need to remain at least a little flexible. I like being able to offer a selection but I am only one person so I think Iím going to be offering the headless single cut multiscale in 6 through 10 string configurations and a bass model, also with different numbers of strings and scale lengths. With this business model I can cater to more than just one type of musician while keeping the prices reasonable.
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Oakland Axe Factory uses Octave4Plus custom strings, Dimarzio and Lace pickups, Hipshot Hardware and Graphtech saddles.
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Unread 04-09-2012, 01:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
I hope you patented this great idea before posting it on the internet.
I don't care if someone else wants to use this idea. I think the DIY guys may like it alot. My hobby guitar builder friend Mark will love this. He is the only person to have every made a headless, multiscale, 8 string acoustic.
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Oakland Axe Factory uses Octave4Plus custom strings, Dimarzio and Lace pickups, Hipshot Hardware and Graphtech saddles.
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Unread 04-09-2012, 02:44 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by technomancer View Post
Interesting idea, except for using a screwdriver to tune with. I'd give myself two string changes before I'd slip and gouge the hell out of the top of the guitar

Aside from taking into account my own clumsiness I like it
I think a possible easy way to prevent this is to put some sort of pads (kind of like string retainers) between the screw with the spring and the pivot system. I guess it depends how much force you would need to tune it though as more force equals more risk.

The ''guitars in runs'' model sounds like a very solid idea; should be great for us SS.org'ers wallets as well as we can get some lovely high quality axes at the same price as a higher bracket Prestige Ibby (Remember the girl with low self esteem?) . I love getting custom axes and such but I hate long waiting times so it's pretty awesome this will be able to prevent that.

And crap, I'm gonna have to save up again
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Unread 04-09-2012, 03:15 PM   #18
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The tension should be pretty manageable. This next prototype will hopefully give me the info I'll need to see how far back the tuning knob has to go in relation with fulcrum and the load.

By doing the guitars in a production cycle I shouldn't be locked into certain specs either. Each cycle could have pretty much any configuration available to include basses with different scales and numbers of strings.

Oakland Axe Factory uses Octave4Plus custom strings, Dimarzio and Lace pickups, Hipshot Hardware and Graphtech saddles.
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Unread 04-09-2012, 03:16 PM   #19
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I forgot about the girl with low self esteem! lol.

Oakland Axe Factory uses Octave4Plus custom strings, Dimarzio and Lace pickups, Hipshot Hardware and Graphtech saddles.
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Unread 04-09-2012, 03:20 PM   #20
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Really liking the looks of this.

Although, I think in practice, eventual little thumbscrews (size necessitated by spacing) wouldn't allow for enough moment generation to comfortably tune the thing under tension...
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Unread 04-09-2012, 04:22 PM   #21
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Incidentally, this is how the fine tuners on the tailpiece of my cello work.
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Unread 04-09-2012, 04:48 PM   #22
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Really liking the looks of this.

Although, I think in practice, eventual little thumbscrews (size necessitated by spacing) wouldn't allow for enough moment generation to comfortably tune the thing under tension...
Today 04:16 PMReally liking the looks of this.

Although, I think in practice, eventual little thumbscrews (size necessitated by spacing) wouldn't allow for enough moment generation to comfortably tune the thing under tension... Today 04:16 PM
Quote:
Really liking the looks of this.

Although, I think in practice, eventual little thumbscrews (size necessitated by spacing) wouldn't allow for enough moment generation to comfortably tune the thing under tension...
That is one of the things I aim to work out on this next prototype. Luckily I have the ability to place the fulcrum point at any point between the string ball (load) and the adjuster screw (force). The key to success will be finding the right balance between the mechanical advantage ratio needed for easy adjustment and the range of motion needed to perform the task.

Quote:
Incidentally, this is how the fine tuners on the tailpiece of my cello work.
No kidding? I have a cello in my attic that belongs to my mother in law. I'll be checking that bad boy out tonight.

Here is the smaller body version of the single cut.



It is about .375" smaller all the way around. Basically it is the same shape on a diet.

Oakland Axe Factory uses Octave4Plus custom strings, Dimarzio and Lace pickups, Hipshot Hardware and Graphtech saddles.
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Unread 04-09-2012, 05:16 PM   #23
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damn, I have to save some money now...
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Unread 04-09-2012, 08:32 PM   #24
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That looks fantastic Tom! Very compact yet well proportioned
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Unread 04-09-2012, 08:46 PM   #25
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