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New Stainless Steel Evans Pull String -

 
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Silverface



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Hermosa Beach CA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 4:30 am    Post subject: New Stainless Steel Evans Pull String - Reply with quote

With my ever-deteriorating back (and a pile of other medical problems) I'd been trying to think of a way to play Pull String but not stress my neck/back so much. When I picked up a Japanese '69 Thinline reissue in a trade I talked to Dave about a Pull String installation...mainly concerned about whther or not the hollowed-out areas would cause mechanical problems (or flat prevent ANY installation. The "raw" guitar weighed only 6 pounds on the strap, far less than anything except my '54 Custom Shop (mostly) Strat, which even beat my '64 Mustang!

I've weighed a lot of guitars, especially over the last couple of years when I've been doing primarily finsih and guitar/amp tech work, and this particular Thinline came in lower than any Tele (I've read claims for years of "4 1/2#" or "5#" Teles and they've been bunk).

Anyway - it seemed like the perfect candidate, and tonal potential was excellent - pretty meaty for a Thinline and nice complexity.

Kicked it around with Dave and he upped the ante - not just install a Pull String, but develop a new ultra-lightweight design without sacrificing strength - using specially-machined stainless steel and Delrin.

We came up with the requirement that it'd have the standard Pull String features - adjustable throw, adjustable spring tension - but add only a small amount of weight, if any. End result - +11oz! And that includes a few maple blocks added for strength in couple of key positions. And with a big, fat, Warmouth Broadcaster maple neck.

The mechanism is not only a match for the smoothness of the regular Pull String - it has a certain surgical precision to the feel that's hard to describe. And with the weight of the guitar there's almost no pressure on the shoulder or back when engaging it (but there's full control throughout the length of the pull - I have it set at 1" right now) - yet it pops right back up, in tune, every time. The "lightness" of the pull can't really be described properly

And there was absolutely NO change in tone, so I decided to really hop it up - removed the '68 bridgeplate, boost-coil Fralin bridge and Harmonic Design mini-Strat neck pickups, and my even more convoluted version of the Velvet Hammer wiring harness (with push-pull boost coil running directly to the output, push-pull phase switch that causes all kinds of fun chaos, .068 tone cap and 500k pots) - It gets close to the sweetness of the VH tone plus the boost "snarl", Strat #2 & #4 switch position sounds with no volume drop, a raw P-90-ish sound and a pure Strat neck pickup blues tone.

It overdrives the front end of my '67 Deluxe Reverb turned up (down?) to "3". So I set the default (switches down) mode to full-bore. It is downright mean, nasty and will downright gnaw on a bass player's leg.

Enjoy the pics - (Full front shot taken before I swapped the electronics - my original Pull String #002 is on deck to be refinished and may get an entirely different electronics scheme).













The mechanism reminds me of "Arnold" and the line "I'll Be Back"

So it had a name before it was done - "The Terminator"
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rballister



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 174
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My original bender tele (1977) is 9.8 lbs on the bathroom scale (and feels like it). As yours is very light does the body of the instrument stay put when you activate the bender? The mechanism appears to be completely self-contained. Looks like it drops into a well carved out of the back. The string ferrules appear to be part of the self contained mechanism. Do you have to remove the acrylic back plate to restring? (Out of curiosity, does anyone know what Clarence's instrument weighed?)
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Bill Hisle



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 106
Location: East Oz

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know how much the original CW Tele weighs, but having strapped it on several years ago it's got to be 10+ lbs. It is heavy! Perhaps others who have had the pleasure of playing that guitar have an idea?

Jim, don't you love it when a plan comes together?! Is Dave doing any bender production work?
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Silverface



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Hermosa Beach CA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill - yes, Dave's doing the standard steel model Pull String and the ultralight stainless model now.

Ron - Good eyes! One part of the stability (and ability to get a light pull with a positive "popup" return) is the very tight structural relationship between the stress-bearing parts; it's almost as if the Pull String is the "instrument" and you're moving around the wood with pickups attached. With a couple of extra rods connecting bellcrank-to-hub, tuner stop to bellcrank and spring tension unit to bottom strap button and hub the whole thing would be extremely close to "free-standing".

But no - the cover does not need to be removed to change strings - the ferrules protrude through the cover. And Dave used machine screws with threaded inserts so the body wood doesn't get stripped from cover removal.

You can actually remove the back with a powered screwdriver, remove the two rod screws (which are just lightly-snug-tight) to shift the rod to another set (or one end or the other to another hole), set it to any one of 9 throw length from (roughly) 5/8" to 1 1/4" (upper bout shapes vary, and that affects the bellcrank "rest" position, which affects the short or long end of the throw...testing indicates some may be 9/16"-1 1/4", others 5/8" - 1 1/8..but it also depends on wher you measure from, so it's not that critical at the upper and lower reaches), tune the stop and put the cover on in about 5 minutes.

With my old one I played live with the cover off a few times and because of certain songs on the setlist actually changed throw between tunes.

Weight wise - and this was a prototype/one-off that required some custom-made wood parts and other "tweaks" - the unit itself including screws and back cover added somewhere pretty darned close to 8 ounces. Changes your playing as the center of gravity shifts forward - you can set a much lighter spring return and learn to reply on it to pup up like normal (I had to adjust my posture a bit so it didn't catch on a button! That's how light the spring can be set).

Comparatively - `the Clarence Clone Brian and I just built for me out of lightweiht Chinese pine or alder (not Pawlonia, but still very light) weighs in at a little over 8 1/2 pounds with the extra back, cover etc. My Nashville West is close to 10 1/2#. My gold Pull String, with an Ash/Walnut body weighed in at 9.5#. Clarence's original, as I reall, is around `10.5#.

The Mahogany Thinlines are light, but by no means the lightest Teles built. This one's around 6 1/2# after I added all my goofy electronics. Even my '64 Mustang weighs more!

Wink
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rballister



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 174
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess adjusting this model for a light pull would address any changes in regard to the center of gravity. A couple of years ago I had Gene install his acoustic bender in a Santa Cruz. Because of the lightness of the instrument I do have to grip the body of the guitar a little bit when I engage the bender while standing.
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1360
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rballister wrote:
I guess adjusting this model for a light pull would address any changes in regard to the center of gravity. A couple of years ago I had Gene install his acoustic bender in a Santa Cruz. Because of the lightness of the instrument I do have to grip the body of the guitar a little bit when I engage the bender while standing.


Yes I guess that would be an issue. Normally the weight of the body works in conjunction with the spring tension to get the right balance and leverage for proper and comfortable bender action.

Even despite the bender concerns....a super light body with a normal weight neck will make the Telecaster feel 'headstock heavy' and off balance
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Silverface



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Hermosa Beach CA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I guess adjusting this model for a light pull would address any changes in regard to the center of gravity. A couple of years ago I had Gene install his acoustic bender in a Santa Cruz. Because of the lightness of the instrument I do have to grip the body of the guitar a little bit when I engage the bender while standing.


There's absolutely no change in the way you hold the guitar or the operation of the bender. The only change is a good one - lighter spring tension, meaning it takes less pressure to engage (also putting far less pressure on your shoulder and lessening neck muscle tension) while popping back up exactly like any other Pull String that's set up correctly.

Quote:
Yes I guess that would be an issue. Normally the weight of the body works in conjunction with the spring tension to get the right balance and leverage for proper and comfortable bender action.

Even despite the bender concerns....a super light body with a normal weight neck will make the Telecaster feel 'headstock heavy' and off balance


No, Brian - it's not an issue. The "normal" action you desire is exactly what happens - but with less tension because the entire instrument is lighter. And respectfully, you have your weight assumptions bass-ackwards, possibly due to a mistake in my initial post regarding the "center of gravity" - which doesn't shift forwards, it shifts rearwards. And based on the placement of the heaviest parts of the assembly the actual balance point change is nominal.

(and what "bender concerns" are you talking about?)

And as far as making a guitar "headstock heavy" (commonly known as "neck dive") there's exactly zero effect. There isn't any with a standard Thinline either, and installation of the ultralight stainless steel Pull String would cause a minor reduction - not increase - but the math is simple so I'll just supply some basic numbers and the results will be obvious.

The 4 "Tele" necks (3 maple-board and one ebony) that I switch around most average in weight, with tuners (klusons) 1.6 pounds (FWIW average enclosed mini Schaller-types weigh around 0.5 pounds; Klusons/knockoffs about 0.25 pounds).

The ultralight stainless steel Pull String installation added a hair over eight ounces to the net guitar weight (Pull String mechanism, small reinforcing maple blocks, Delrin inserts and acrylic back/bolts/bolt inserts, I.D. plate, black interior paint and glue.)

That weight is all rear of the forward strap attachment - i.e. the forward stationary lever. So if there was *any* change in balance it would be towards the tail - not the headstock.

If you look again at the tuner weights and think about *where* they're placed on a guitar, on an extremely light instrument they will have more affect on the balance-point than any other factor save a change in body to a heavier wood (or type, i.e. solid instead of semi-hollow). It's a big reason many flatpickers have switched to lighter open tuners instead of heavy enclosed Grovers - but that's another subject.

Hope that clears things up - to summarize, here are the general results of the ultralight stainless steel Pull String installation in a Mahogany Fender Thinline: 1) minimal net weigth increase; 2) much lighter spring tension with resulting decrease in physical strain during normal playing and Pull String Operation; 3) no change in the timing/accuracy of return-to-pitch when tension is released over that of a solid-body Pull String installation; 4) a nominal (i.e. imperceptible) change in the balance point of the guitar, with no deck-dive or neck-lift tendancies.

Based on this I'd expect an ultralight Pull String installation to have a similar affect when installed in a solid-body instrument - a very light (if desired) spring tension setting and less physical strain.

PS- the light pull is "linear" throughout the stroke - so not matter whether you set it for 5/8" or 1 1/8" the same light touch and positive return applies.
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