Disclaimer: I have purchased heavier strings, as Mr. Hall has suggested (not Ric strings, unfortunately).... I have not yet installed them. I have a few photos to post, and am asking you who know to comment on whether or not the components have be changed or modified in some way; just covering the bases of this twice-previously owned guitar. (More to follow....)
Well, I'm back to the vibrato.... As you recall, I bought the guitar that had these really heavy strings on it. When I replaced them with D'Addario Chromes 11-50, the vibrato assembly was not "pulled down" as far, necessitating my having to raise the bridge very far to even simply contact the strings, let alone create a "break" in them. This, in turn, places the strings too far above the fretboard; the action too high. I suspected from the start that the spring was too large, or too curved, positioning the "active" end of the spring (to which the strings are indirectly attached via the vibrato retainer. (What I call the passive side of the spring is attached to the vibrato tailpiece.) (See this for orientation: http://www.rickenbacker.com/pdfs/vibratos.pdf
Here are photos of the guitar with the 11-50 strings on them. You can see how high the forward edge of the vibrato retainer is "holding" the strings up, forcing a tremendous adjustment of the bridge:
The last photo shows how narrow the space between the tailpiece and the retainer is -- I had to slide the strings into their respective slots from the sides. (Note that the strings are installed; this is what I get with the tension these stings provided.)
Here's the spring removed and photographed with a ruler. Check it out. Does this look like (size, shape, contour, etc.) the way a spring should look like in a 325? The black things in some of the photos are the rubber pads that keep the spring from direct contact with the guitar body, preventing damage:
Here's a portion of the pdf doc that Ric has on this web site (from the link above). Look at the spring. Looks a lot different, doesn't it -- rather low.... just what I need!
Now, here's the tailpiece. Probably nothing wrong here, but take a look. On the guitar, the end is suspended about 14-15 millimeters above the guitar body (I put paper there so the ruler would not scratch the finish.):
The inside angle of the tailpiece is approximately 103 degrees.
If nothing seems out of place with the parts I've shown, then I will proceed to put on the new strings, which are the same type, but size 12-52. The 11-50 had a total tension value of137.3 lbs., and the 12-52 155.2 lbs. I'm not sure that an additional 17.9 lbs. of tension will cause the active end of the spring and retainer to be significantly lower.... We'll have to see. I don't want really heavy stings on this, like the ones it came with. From my perspective right now, I think I should place the entire spring in a bench vise and slightly flatten it.
OK, so you guys who know these parts (spring, tailpiece) in detail, please tell me if mine seem altered from the norm. Thanks.