Rickenbacker International Corporation - Forum

Accent Vibrato concerns
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Author:  JohnHall [ Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Accent Vibrato concerns

A bent rod isn't necessarily a problem, and in some cases, that's how you straighten a severely bowed neck. Of course, if the rod turns on you after installation, then it's working against you.

To remove the rods, you undo the nuts at the head, tap the rod down enough to remove the acorn nuts at the tail, then tap then back in and remove from the head.

Author:  maxwell [ Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Accent Vibrato concerns

I did remove the rods in the manner you describe. We can examine the rods and come up with a diganosis and prognosis later after I post photos. Should be fun! Look for the new thread. Thanks.

Author:  Clifton [ Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Accent Vibrato concerns

Sounds like a lot of work! You're much braver about it than I would be!

Author:  maxwell [ Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Accent Vibrato concerns

Thanks for checking in. Tonight or tomorrow night I will be straightening out my truss rods and re-inserting them into my guitar. I've made a couple of neat handles to do this with. Check out the "truss rods" thread when you see I've updated it.

Author:  maxwell [ Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Accent Vibrato concerns

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.

Author:  maxwell [ Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Accent Vibrato concerns

Oops! Too late to edit. All ruler shots are with ruler in inches, 32nds and 64ths (no millimeters).

Author:  BlueRick [ Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Accent Vibrato concerns

I think the angle of the strings, et cetera with the Accent on your guitar is because it's a 3/4 scale, and you're using lighter than the std .012 string set. I have five Accent-equipped Ricks(360 WBs and a 381), and none of them have an angle that steep, or a gap that narrow where the strings slide in, though I've heard other Accent users mention this. It varies. The curve on the leaf spring piece looks normal to me. I always replace the rubber bumpers on the leaf spring with 3 or 4 grey, adhesive-backed felt pads because the black rubber will discolor the finish of your guitar, if it hasn't already.

Author:  Clifton [ Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Accent Vibrato concerns

I agree--I think your spring has sprung too much! I would suggest either ordering a new Ac'cent or, my favorite, a Bigsby B5 unit.

Author:  maxwell [ Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Accent Vibrato concerns

I've seen photos of older vibrato assemblies for sale, and they had a couple of felt pads on the springs. I won't be using the rubber pads -- I did buy a package of the bandage-like felt material ("mole skin") You've read my suspicions about these, above. I'll post a photo. :)

The danger with lowering the profile of the spring (flattening, either via vertical compression or lateral expansion) is that if you get it too low, and you can't/don't want to lower the bridge lower than wherever it is, you will lose the vibrato's fulcrum, and then the vibrato it would be useless at that point. The rounded underside of the spring serves as the vibrato's fulcrum.

I don't think the entire vibrato assembly is damaged.... I wouldn't get another Accent vibrato. If I ever decided to swap it out, it would be for a Bigsby.

modfather65 has his AFG Model 1996 up for auction for the second time. His vibrato has a lot of space between the tailpiece and reainer for string/ball ends. I may contact him and ask a favor of telling me what he uses in the way of strings. If I knew how to contact (YouTube) engineer909, I'd ask him, too. (As you might have read elsewhere, these two guys (via their YouTube videos) influenced me to buy my guitar.)

Anyone one else care to comment on the integrity of my vibrato parts?

Author:  JohnHall [ Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Accent Vibrato concerns

Everything looks normal . . . except that these strings are not putting enough tension on the guitar to pull the spring into a reasonable range. Get the right strings on here and I strongly suspect all will be well.

The rubber pads would be historically correct but felt works just fine too. However, the rubber pads raise the bottom of the spring a bit, opening the slot, changing all the geometry slightly, which may or may not be a good thing in any given situation.

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