Low-friction string tension bars?

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by imber, Jun 28, 2020.

  1. imber

    imber SS.org Regular

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    Is anyone aware of any kind of low-friction alternative to a normal string tension bar? I have a hard-tail Ibanez JS model, which I love, but it suffers from tuning issues because it needs a bar due to otherwise insufficient break angle over the nut. I'm thinking it'd be something with individual rollers for each string, but no-one seems to make such a thing. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    As long as the part of the bar that contacts the string is clean and polished it shouldn't cause too much friction, a dab of grease would guarantee it.

    If you're having tuning problems, the most likely culprit is the nut.

    Also, 600, 700, 1600, or 6000?
     
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  3. imber

    imber SS.org Regular

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    Hmm, I hadn't really thought of lubricating it. It's a JS700 by the way.
     
  4. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    I'd try cleaning and lubricating first.

    I've used various roller bridges and saddles over the years and they can be very finicky. You need to keep them perfectly clean and lubricated.
     
  5. Zhysick

    Zhysick SS.org Regular

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  6. imber

    imber SS.org Regular

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    Problem is, it's a bar rather than individual string trees. Maybe that's the way I've got to go :/
     
  7. Zhysick

    Zhysick SS.org Regular

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    You can change the bar for two or three of these. I have two on my guitar (for the 4 thinnest strings) and are perfect. Normally you won't need them for the thicker ones but if the bar is giving problems there you have a solution.
     
  8. imber

    imber SS.org Regular

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    It's worth a try I guess :)
     
  9. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Better yet, if going the GraphTech route, just get a nut blank and replace the bar with a bar of TUSQ. Much better than drilling for a string tree rainforest. :lol:
     
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  10. Zhysick

    Zhysick SS.org Regular

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    Is TUSQ hard enough to take the tension of the four strings in the middle of the two pivots? I know TUSQ is hard but used in between the strings and the wood of the neck is a different thing than just the strings and air in the other side. I'm not saying it's not hard, I really don't know I am pretty interested in knowing if it is hard enough for that. I didn't suggested that before because I don't know if it is hard enough... I would be afraid it breaks but if you know it's hard then its another interesting use for that great material.

    Cheers!
     
  11. imber

    imber SS.org Regular

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    I think he may have been joking :lol:
     
  12. Zhysick

    Zhysick SS.org Regular

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    I don't think so... If the material is hard enough to resist the tension of the strings... why not? It would look the same as a retainer bar but will be self-lubricating, wont clamp the strings, etc. Is just a win-win situation. But I haven't worked with the material, not even filed down a TUSQ nut so I don't know how hard it is. Nylon is very flexible so I would not suggest it for this application unless very thick (and that would look horrible and probably unpractical considering the place where it's going to be) and teflon would be nice from the lubricating point of view but I think it will get groves and clamp the strings soon but if TUSQ is harder/less flexible then it could be a better solution than taking out the retainer bar and installing various string trees... At least I would take that into consideration, even more, if I had a TUSQ blank on hand I would try it straight away, but I don't have one and as I think you might not have one neither then it would be interesting to know if it would work before buying.
     
  13. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    It works fine as string trees, similar forces would be applied here. I've seen guitars with plastic retainers that worked fine.

    It's $10 for a blank, might as well give it a try before drilling a ton.

    For what it's worth, TUSQ doesn't flex much.
     
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  14. imber

    imber SS.org Regular

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    You guys have got me thinking now about turning a Tusq nut on a lathe and making it into a thick rod of the material... With gentle little indentations for the strings...
     
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  15. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    TUSQ turns beautifully. ;)
     
  16. Zhysick

    Zhysick SS.org Regular

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    Do it.

    Then come back here and upload the pics.

    I'll be waiting...
     

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