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Author Topic: N4 saved by Legos! ...and a few questions...  (Read 3349 times)

Offline JesperT

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N4 saved by Legos! ...and a few questions...
« on: June 28, 2009, 04:53:05 AM »
Hey, Washburners!

I just had a great day where I gave my N4 some loving. [:)]

I haven't played it much because it wouldn't stay in tune at all. I had several suspicions as to the causes of this; the Schaller/Washburn floyd was skewed: although flush with the body on the upper side, it would dip slightly into the body on the tremolo-arm side. Also I suspected it could be the strings; it had Super Slinkys on it, so I decided to change to D'Addario XL .009.-.042's just to see if this would change anything. Furthermore I was a noob when I installed these strings, so they weren't wound very prettily around the posts, etc.

To prevent the floyd from dipping into the body while changing strings (one at a time, of course), etc., I decided to block it. I got out my son's Legos, because I thought they would be good for making a stack of the required height. I made two stacks of two flat 4-by-2 blocks, and placed these in the trem-cavity on the neck-side of the floyd. As it turned out, they were just a little too thick, thus lifting the floyd slightly out of its posts! BUT: when I hastily removed the legos again, the floyd sat flush with the body on both sides! [:D] [:D]

I happily continued to install the new strings, winding them neatly around the posts, etc. I also 'drew' a bit with a pencil in the nut and bridge where the strings make contact, to further help them not to stick.

I had also decided to tune the guitar to Eb this time, since this is what Nuno does, and I wanted to try it. It sounds great, although it seems to make it easier for the low E to slip off the fretboard if I'm not careful. Anyone else experience this? Should I just buy a thicker low E?

Well, after adjusting the springs and adjusting intonation, it now holds tune just fine, and plays like a dream. I also took it as a good sign that the saddles now sit relatively close, whereas before they had to be miles apart to allow for proper intonation.

It just has one last problem: the high E doesn't sound like the other strings, it 'chimes' like a citar, a metallic sound which sounds especially terrible when used in chords. The cause seems to be the reverse headstock: because the headstock is angled backwards, the other strings exit the nut with nice tension and travel to their tuning posts, except the high E; it exits the locking nut somewhat above the nut on the headstock side, even when locked. I suppose I could try and install a string-tree for this string on the headstock, but I'm not much for drilling my N4. Anyone else have this problem? How did you fix it?

Anyhow, I had a great time afterwards, revisiting golden oldies like Cupid is Dead, Money, and all the others! [8D]

Anyhow, here it is on the right:
« Last Edit: June 28, 2009, 04:54:01 AM by JesperT »
 

Offline BlueBuddha

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N4 saved by Legos! ...and a few questions...
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2009, 05:26:33 AM »
the headstock has totally nothing to do with the chimming high E string. If you wind the string around the post correctly you won't have any issues as it will lower the angle of entry



Using lego blocks is an interesting idea, but to be sure you don't damage the wood I suggest using something like a sock. using a sock, or soft material totally protects the body.



you've already said that the tremolo is flush on the bass side but dips on the treble side. you just need to adjust the floyd pivot posts with a 3mm allen key. simple as that.



Also from looking at the picture of your trem, your intonation is waaaaaaay out. the saddles are all in a line and cannot possibly be intonated correctly. If you look at the second picture i've posted you can see roughly where the saddles should be when intonated correctly, In Eb tuning, using the Buzz Feiten Tuning System.


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Offline JesperT

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N4 saved by Legos! ...and a few questions...
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2009, 06:17:27 AM »
Hi, thanks for your input, Blue. I'll try and wind the strings more around the posts. They only have a few winds as it is now.

The sock is a good idea, I'll be sure to remember that next time I fiddle with the floyd.

I assure you the guitar is intonated correctly (using a Peterson Strobostomp); it's because the picture above is an old picture from when I bought the guitar. I can see why that is confusing, sorry. [:)] I wanted to add an up-to-date picture, but my camera turned out to be out of batteries, so will get them up later today.

The trem is flush on both sides now, so that part of the problem is taken care of. But I did also adjust the pivot post on the treble side a bit (and spring tension), so maybe that is what fixed it, and not the Lego thing, as I first thought [:D]
« Last Edit: June 28, 2009, 06:20:08 AM by JesperT »
 

Offline JesperT

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N4 saved by Legos! ...and a few questions...
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2009, 09:25:00 AM »
Hey, I tried winding the strings more around the posts; the problem didn't entirely disappear, but was lessened to the degree where it is no longer audible over the amp, which is good enough for me! Thanks again for the advice! [:)]

Here's an up-to-date picture, btw:


Here are the strings entering the locking nut before I wound them more:


I noticed for the first time today that the previous owner has drilled extra holes for the tuners (or replaced them), strangely enough:


 

Offline skeesik

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N4 saved by Legos! ...and a few questions...
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2009, 08:54:13 AM »
Jesper -

Sounds like you figured out the trem angle has more to do with balancing the string tension with the spring tension.  This must be done if you change tuning, string size, and sometimes even if the string size is the same, but you're switching brands.

As for the chime sound coming from your high e.  Is this only when play the e open or also when it's fretted?  If it only occurs when open, try flipping the locking nut block around.  Examine it for any sharp edges too.  I had one that kept cutting my high e each time I tighten it down...and no, I wasn't over-tightening it.

Now, if you get the chime sound even when you fret the e, it may be an irregularity in saddle.  Take out the string and examine the saddle with a magnifying glass.  Again, if the saddle is not entirely smooth, it could create this chime effect, as if something is touching the string ever so slightly.  Take some 400gr sand paper (or a very tiny file if you have one) and use a small allen wrench to manipulate the paper and try to smooth the saddle a bit....you know, the groove that the string sits in.

Also, the tuners.  The previously owner definitely replace the Washburn-branded Gotos with Schallers.  The Gotohs that are usually found on the N4 have a 45 degree angled screw mount.  You can see that the original hole is a bit lower than where the Schaller set screw is mounted.  Is this a '93 or '94?  Both years had the Washburn stamped Gotoh tuners.  Fantastic tuner.

*skee