Again: DIY headless tuning machines

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Beate Ritzert
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Re: Again: DIY headless tuning machines

Post by Beate Ritzert »

Clay Schaeffer wrote: The end that requires a key could be buried in the body or peghead so only the slots and posts would show. It might look cool if the slots were inset in the body and arranged in the shape of a "V" like a small grill below the bridge.

My idea is actually similar. Please have a look at the picture above showing the inner part of the V:
leave the necessary gap below the top. Glue a piece of metal (brass?) underneath the top - IMO necessary to protect the wood. And then design the posts so that they would take the ball ends.

Due to the shorter scale (76 cm instead of the 80 cm of my V) there will be more space for the tuners, and the allen
Would a thread of M3 be sufficient for bass strings? If yes, even hand driven tuning knobs might be possible. Obtaining cap head screws in the required length is difficult to impossible in Germany, unfortunately - i did already check.

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Again: DIY headless tuning machines

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

http://www.microfasteners.com/sca1148-1 ... steel.html

I would use something like the above. 3 inches I think would be long enough. You could angle the tuner mechanism pocket (and mechanism) so the strings would maintain the same downbearing angle as they are brought up to pitch (although that is probably not a big deal). That might also move the tuner posts below the top of the guitar where a players hand could accidentally hit them.

David Robinson
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Re: Again: DIY headless tuning machines

Post by David Robinson »

Do you know offhand what the screw did. and thread pitch?

David King
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Re: Again: DIY headless tuning machines

Post by David King »

If you go with a Preston type tuner arraingement (I never knew these had a name until today, thanks Clay) and intend for them to be turnable by fingers only (no key) you'll want to chose a very fine thread pitch such as M3x.50 or M2.5x.40.
https://www.amazon.com/Alloy-Steel-Sock ... B01432Q56I
If you need them to be 3" (76mm) you'll have to hunt down some threaded rod as I doubt very much any screws exist in that length.
Your bass strings will need very little excursion to reach pitch, maybe 5mm at most, the treble string will need more but not more than 10mm

https://www.grainger.com/product/FABORY ... x1m-25DM74

David King
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Re: Again: DIY headless tuning machines

Post by David King »

I found some m3x.50 threaded rod in Germany here:
https://www.ebay.de/itm/GEWINDESTANGE-1 ... rk:11:pf:0

David Robinson
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Re: Again: DIY headless tuning machines

Post by David Robinson »

cool thanks, Dave. Looks like McMaster-Carr has rod as well.
I never knew that those tuners had a name either. I alway knew them as "those tuner-things on English (and Portuguese) type guitars.

Roland Gower
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Re: Again: DIY headless tuning machines

Post by Roland Gower »

The problem of headless tuners has taken up quite a bit of my time and energy this winter. I’ve joined the forum to add my two pence to this discussion, and benefit from everyone else’s experience.

I started out by looking at what I could buy, which included:
- Hipshot. Nice, but expensive. Especially in the UK with tax and current exchange rates.
- ABM. Klaus Müller, the force behind ABM, died in 2007 and the new brand owners don’t seem very interested in the headless market. They don’t seem to have any stock.
- ETS and I have exchanged emails, but their production is sporadic.
- There are several East Asian products. I don’t fancy the worm gear designs because of its inherent mechanical inefficiency.
- Overlord. Cheap castings, and very heavy if you want a tremolo bridge.

Then I thought about making my own headless tuners. All the inline tuners I’ve seen use M3 threads. There are other types of thread, with different turn/pull ratios, but they need larger screw diameters. What you gain in turn/pull ratio you can lose in the ratio of knob/screw diameters. For example, a 3/16 inch diameter 30 tpi thread gives exactly the same gearing ratio as M3, and M3 is a global standard. Taps and dies are easy to find if you want to make your own parts. So M3 seemed the way to go.

The next question was how to find knurled rod for the tuner knobs. I don’t have a metal lathe to make my own. I tried knurled bolt heads of the type which have just been discussed, but found that they aren’t long enough to give adequate finger grip.

At this point I decided to use an Overlord tuner as a source of parts. It was surprisingly successful:
- The first delivery had to be replaced because it was faulty. One of the tuner slugs was incorrectly tapped, and it wrecked the thread on the tuner screw.
- with the second delivery I threw away everything except the slugs, knurled tuner screws, cover with the Overlord name, and the screws which held them together. The whole trem and frame castings went, saving 1lb in weight.
- The plastic washers were replaced with M3 metal washers. One advantage of using standard screws.
- I cut and drilled a rectangular mild steel base plate to fit the underside of the Overlord cover, giving a flat non-trem tuner unit.
- All the moving parts, and the inside surfaces of the cover and base plate, were lubricated with PTFE spray to reduce friction.
- To minimise friction further I used a roller bridge. This meant sinking the bridge mounting bolts into the guitar body, and mounting the tuner unit at a 12.5 degree angle.
- It works. Tuning is very stable. Even with 10-52 strings I can tune by hand, and I can always resort to an Allen key if things get stuck.

There’s a build thread here http://thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/13 ... less-build

It’s been so successful that I’m going to do it again. This time building a guitar from scratch, with a string-through Telecaster bridge instead of a roller bridge, with the tuner unit placed flat behind it.

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Beate Ritzert
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Re: Again: DIY headless tuning machines

Post by Beate Ritzert »

Thanks!

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Beate Ritzert
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Re: Again: DIY headless tuning machines

Post by Beate Ritzert »

Steinberger self clamping tuners...

I finally found this patent (legal state does not need to bother me because i am an amateur and in Europe where the patent is not valid...)
https://patentimages.storage.googleapis ... 528710.pdf

And i wonder if something like this cold not be built at home. Maybe just a stamp operating on a lever and fixing the string while at the same time moving the lever?

BTW: i changed my target toward a 5 string shortscale bass which means:

- wider string spacing
(nice...)

- the necessity to use long scale strings
(not so nice due to the necessity to deal with the overshoot of string length)

David King
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Re: Again: DIY headless tuning machines

Post by David King »

The Steinberger patent is interesting from humorous perspective because there is no chance in hell that the clamping pins "15", "115", and "215" could ever keep the string from slipping out. It's quite possible that Ned devised a working clamping system but decided not to include that in this patent so as not to give away that much more valuable i.p.
If I were to implement this system I would put at least one sharp right angle bend in the string past the pivot point (so as not to weaken the string by continuous bending and unbending during the tuning action. The actual clamp would also need to include a taper and a wedge to vastly increase the holding power or better yet a round collet system like the chuck on a router to grab the string and hold it tight enough to keep the core from slipping through the windings. Core slippage is particularly a problem on strings that include a silk intermediary layer between the core wire and the winding (Thomastik Jazz flats for instance). The main problem with a wedge or collet system is how to include a loosening mechanism that works simultaneously with detuning to make string changes quick and painless enough.

David King
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Re: Again: DIY headless tuning machines

Post by David King »

The STeinberger headless cellos and basses dealt with the excess string length by running the strings around large pulleys at the tail of the instrument and up to the tuners that were located half way up the body on the back of the instrument. Bowed strings can not be cut shorter due to their construction and many electric string also are sensitive to dramatic shortening of their length as there is typically a weld between the core wire and the winding somewhere near the nut to keep the playing portion of the string from unwinding internally and going "dead".

Graziano Daniele
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Re: Again: DIY headless tuning machines

Post by Graziano Daniele »

Hello Guys,
i'm back to mimf after years... I searching for some ideas on the topic.
Beate what solution do you find?
Anyone tried this:
IMG_20230510_223317(2).gif
in this lego version no screw at all.
but..
if you Imagine the black wheel as a thumbscrew. the first cube from the left as threaded and the second one free to slide.

as you tightens the wheel the first cube move back to pull the string and increase pressure against second cube...

I tried to pull the wire and it does not slip... (this is roast wire...) may it works on bass string?

Tnx to all

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