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ixlramp

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Reply with quote  #1 
I think about guitar hardware design a lot and am interested in headless hardware, linear-pull tuners and height/intonation-adjustable per-string nuts.
I have an idea for tap guitars where the open notes are never used due to the use of a string damper.

Imagine hardware similar to this ...

s-l1600.jpg 

... mounted at the headstock end of a tapguitar such that these saddles act as the nut for each string.

Imagine a string clamp mounted on the top of the rectangular saddle, such that the string passes over what is now the nut and immediately into the string clamp.
What was the intonation screw is now the tuner and pulls the nut and string clamp backwards to tension and tune the string.
The saddle height adjustment screws provide the 'height adjustable nut' that is so useful for a tap guitar.

The reason this works for a tap guitar is because the open note is never played, so the linear position of the nut is not important for intonation, therefore the nut position is now free to move to tune the string.

Advantages:

Compactness in terms of instrument overall length.

Combining a tuner and height adjustable nut into a single simple mechanism.

Ability for a bass scale tap guitar to use cheap and common guitar strings:
Many guitar strings (for example D'Addario) have a winding length long enough to be usable on a bass scale, however their overall length is not long enough to reach the tuner posts.
They are long enough however to pass into a string clamp just behind the nut.

Ability to use standard bridge hardware for the bridge of the tap guitar instead of expensive and rare headless hardware.

Tuning stability:
On a normal fixed bridge guitar, significant tuning instability is caused by having a length of string between the nut and the conventional tuner. Bending a string pulls the string slightly over the nut, then it does not slip fully back due to nut friction, leaving the pitch flat. This is why a guitar equipped with a Floyd Rose tremolo bridge has a 'locking nut'.
With my design, there is near-zero distance between nut and string clamp so this problem does not occur, it acts just like a locking nut.

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ixlramp

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Reply with quote  #2 
Concerning string clamps, i'm not too happy with the standard clamp used in headless hardware: a channel with a wide grub screw that clamps the string.

As the grub screw clamps down hard on the string it also rotates, which seems to me to have 3 problems:

* For wound strings, the rotation could possibly 'unwind' and loosen the outer layer of wrap wire a little, which can ruin the tone of a string.
* For plain steel strings, which can be thin and fragile, the rotation of the grub screw has more chance of damaging or even cutting the string.
* The section of string underneath the grub screw can rotate to no longer be in line with the rest of the string. This creates a less solid anchor and a non-ideal bend in the string. The string tension wants to reverse this rotation, if it does it will also try to rotate the grub screw in a way that loosens it.

I quite like the idea of a non-rotating grip plate, as used by Kelstone on their 'headstock'-mounted linear-pull tuners:

keltun.png 

The string passes between the 2 screws.
The 2 gripping surfaces tend to be flatter than the tip of a grub screw.
There is more surface area to grip the string, instead of just the width of the grub screw.

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Big George Waters

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Reply with quote  #3 

The KYDD upright electric basses use something similar - but it' s opposite at the same time:

They use a bridge tuner that is very similar to what you are thinking - and at the nut end, a good old fashioned locking nut - hence any kind of strings can be used on their 34" scale model

 

http://www.kyddbass.com/


I am a huge fan of these instruments, huge fan.... it's a very brilliant but at the same time simple design.

 

Of course you do not get the height adjustment - on the other hand, I would think running a "zero" fret between the mute and the locking nut would solve any height issue.

Of course, I could be wrong on that....

Food for thought if nothing else.

 

I like hearing when people are thinking of designing things.

*unrelated - but I spent all morning trying to figure out how to make a strap system which would enable a Stick player to play sitting down - where the strap goes through the belt clip.

 I am very close with a very pratical cheap solution on that............

 


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Big George W

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WARR, Mobius Megatar [2], Syme, KYDD, Ovation [2], Steinberger [3], Tune, Schecter, Musicmakers [lots !!], Ironwood Stick [2]

digitech, T.C. Electronics, ART, Lexicon, GK, Markbass, EA, Bag End, Guild/Hartke, SWR, EV, Radial, Furman

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DF-Mark

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Reply with quote  #4 
All good ideas! ... Someone just needs to try them out and iron out the little practical issues.
I'm not 100% convinced that the threads on some standard brands of saddles and their screws would work nice and smoothly for tuning . Ideally the philips (or slotted) screws could be swapped out for allen heads I guess ... and you'd have to go round with an Allen wrench for tuning or else adapt for some other 'tool-less' method.
...just thinking out loud

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http://www.dragonflytap.com
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ixlramp

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Reply with quote  #5 
I agree, that guitar bridge is just used to help visualise new dedicated hardware, i don't suggest a modified guitar bridge. Most guitar saddles and intonation screws are made from cheap materials and are not designed to withstand string tension.
Hex key socket-cap screws would be compact and lightweight, or maybe staggered knobs (staggered to maximise their size).
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