Springs

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vjmanzo
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Springs

Post by vjmanzo »

Hi everyone,

Just a heads up: we are now beginning the development of a method to make replacement springs for the Fly!

This will be a bit of a process for us, and we already have a few other "Fly Clone tooling things" in our pipeline, but, right now, we have determined the steel grade, the thickness, and the final hardness (after heat-treating) of the springs that were being produced for USM, so, in short: we're working on developing an approach so that we can, ideally, re-make these springs in-house according to the same specs/tensions (and then different tensions!). More soon, but I wanted to share this news as a few people have messaged me about this!

The grim reality is that, eventually, all of the Fly springs will "fail" in some regard; this doesn't mean, of course, that your springs are going to go shooting through the front of your Fly tomorrow, only that, over time, Fly springs will lose some elasticity from repeated use. So, naturally, we want to come up with some sort of solution. More info in time!
spring.jpg

If you are looking for stock OEM springs right now, we strongly recommend that you contact Mike Gallenberger at Gman.music on Reverb or wiguitar on eBay to see if the springs you need are available in his stock.
JJ
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Re: Springs

Post by JJ »

Great news! thanks for the update!
Mr303
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Re: Springs

Post by Mr303 »

I have an extra coveted spring for 10’s.....
If my 9 spring breaks I’ll have finger cramps!
Keep up the good work VJ et. al.
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Re: Springs

Post by vjmanzo »

Mr303 wrote: Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:20 am If my 9 spring breaks I’ll have finger cramps!

:lol:
mmmguitar
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Re: Springs

Post by mmmguitar »

Mike just confirmed that he is out of springs. I guess I’ll need to start bugging the Facebook groups for a 10 spring.
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Re: Springs

Post by vjmanzo »

Hi everyone,

Long story short: our lab is exploring the notion making Fly springs, and, as part of this, we need a few springs that have broken due to normal use. If you have one that you’re willing to mail us, please message me. I’d be happy to cover the cost of a stamp.

Many thanks!
IOSEPHVS
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Re: Springs

Post by IOSEPHVS »

This is good news. I have been looking for a .008 spring for years; I would want two or three. I would also want another .009, but the .010 spring that shipped with the guitar has never been used.
'95 Parker Fly Deluxe with Vibrato in Galaxy Gray
mmmguitar
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Re: Springs

Post by mmmguitar »

IOSEPHVS wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:20 pm This is good news. I have been looking for a .008 spring for years; I would want two or three. I would also want another .009, but the .010 spring that shipped with the guitar has never been used.
Apologies if this comes off as pushy - I’m asking to determine if there’s a site issue: Did you ever receive my PM sent on the 5th? I’m wanting to trade a 9 for your 10, but don’t know if you’re in the US.
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vjmanzo
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Re: Springs

Post by vjmanzo »

Admin’s Note: all PM systems site-wide are acting normal and have been.
iroc07
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Re: Springs

Post by iroc07 »

Im in to buy at least 3 sets of each size. I want to be able to put any size on any of mine without having to "rob peter to pay paul" so to speak lol
Presence76
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Re: Springs

Post by Presence76 »

I'm very excited about this news. Thank you for all you're doing!
I have a 2001 Fly Classic and I'm sure sooner than later my spring will go.

Any chance there is an ETA yet?
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Re: Springs

Post by vjmanzo »

Hi @Presence76,

No ETA yet, but we are working on it. Unfortunately, making more springs isn’t just a matter of recreating the tooling to bend metal into shape; what the springs should be doing in our guitars isn’t always (potentially “mostly”!) what they are doing, so we need to improve aspects of the material design so that they don’t wear out, and so that we can more accurately assess what tension each individual spring is capable of resisting.

In order for any guitar to truly float and return to zero, the springs need to be tested and matched to the tension of each string set; as springs get older, they wear out and don’t do what they’re supposed to do. We’re working with the metallurgist on our team to potentially re-cook the recipe and, primarily, to ensure that we can reliably produce and rate springs that can compensate for various tensions.
Presence76
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Re: Springs

Post by Presence76 »

O.k.
Thank you!
InsideInfo
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Re: Springs

Post by InsideInfo »

Hi all.

I'm happy and sad all at the same time.

I just purchased a minty fresh 98 parker fly that got delivered today...just like the one I used to have so many years ago. For that I'm happy!

And now realizing I COMPLETELY forgot about the spring system, I'm now a bit sad :(

So, obviously I've found everything you folks already have...I can buy 11 and 12 springs on Reverb but no replacements for the only thing I use (and what's currently in it), a 9 spring.

I'm not a huge tremolo user (anymore) so if I can safely put a 11 in there and just not use the floating system, I would probably be willing to part with my 9 for this research project.

Honestly though, I'd rather contribute funds if that's of any use.

So you're telling me that no one, for any amount of money, can just custom fabricate this piece? My stepdad used to be a tool-maker and seemingly could replicate any damn thing if it was made of metal. But I guess it's just not that easy eh?

Let me know of what use I can be. Thanks!
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Re: Springs

Post by vjmanzo »

Hi @InsideInfo

Welcome to the forum, and thanks for the post.

This video describes what the springs should be doing:


I’ve summarized a few of the guiding thoughts my team and I have had on this.

Statement #1:
Right now, you/anyone can get any number of machine shops or spring manufacturers to make you a spring that will be the same shape as the one in a Fly; it’s just bent metal. With respect to that video, however, the springs will likely not do what they’re supposed to be doing without some significant research and effort.

Statement #2:
The springs that USM had manufactured to fit our Flys were rated for different gauges of strings, but, in simple terms, the springs didn’t all work the same. Assessing what each spring was actually capable of doing in a Fly was left to technicians at Parker Guitars. I have heard from numerous technicians that this effort was more or less a trial and error process (try this spring..okay...that didn’t respond so well, let’s try the next one). There’s nothing inappropriate about that approach, by the way: Parker received a bunch of springs and the tolerances needed for the spring to work as intended in a Fly as intended are tight. Incidentally, from what I’ve been told, the technicians at Parker painted or wrote those numbers on the springs.

Statement #3:
There is no guarantee that, for example, the second spring that came with your/someone’s guitar (that you, perhaps, never used) will actually do what you think it will do. The original spring design (by Will Daniels who worked with @Ken Parker in Wilmington) is very impressive, and, when everything is right, the Fly vibrato bridge is incredible! However, the spring is fundamentally just bent metal; it will eventually start to fail, and sometimes it will be a failure right out of the gate.

Statement #4:
It is impossible for the average Fly owner to assess where their/your springs sit in their lifecycle. Will they break tomorrow? Were they ever really counterbalancing the tension of a set of 10s?

What are we doing:
So, we’re currently working to make new springs, first by modeling and running simulations (in Solidworks and Ansys) with various materials and coatings and tweaking the shape of the curves and so on. It’s a long process, but we want to do a thorough job and, potentially, improve on the design and not just recreate the same spring, respectfully, warts and all. There have been many advancements in metallurgy and manufacturing since these springs were last “redesigned”, and we’re exploring those avenues as well.

Fly Clone is an effort of my research lab at WPI called the Electric Guitar Innovation Lab (EGIL). We are not a company in the sense that we are regarding this project as part of some ”go to market strategy”. For info on Fly Clone is here.

The Fly Clone Project is not sponsored by any grants or supported by capital investors; it’s really a labor of love because, frankly, I love Flys and think that this was an innovative direction for guitars (springs included). From a purely “business” perspective, Fly Clone is a money-loser, but, of course, that’s not what this project is about. For reference, the software I referred to, Ansys, costs $30,000 per license, so...about 10 Flys (if you consider a Fly as a unit of currency!), and fortunately, we’re able to leverage resources at our institution.

As a lab, our sponsored projects take priority over Fly Clone at times, which does slow us down, but I generally have at least a few teams working on Fly Clone (recreating tooling, springs, Flex PCB, etc.). Thank you for the kind offer to help in some way. If you’d like to make a donation to support our research, that would be very much appreciated! You can do so by clicking the Support Our Research link on the EGIL site and specifying Electric Guitar Innovation Lab from the WPI donation portal: http://electricguitarinnovationlab.org
mmmguitar
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Re: Springs

Post by mmmguitar »

Godspeed, VJ.

If anyone in the US lower 48 is interested in trading their 10 spring for a 9 (I have three but am only parting with one for now), please PM me with a photo of the spring and a mailing address. I will reply in turn. I am not interested in buying or selling - any PMs concerning the latter will be responded to sardonically.

I’m aware people were soliciting such trades in the Facebook groups. So far, I’m not desperate enough for a 10 spring to do business in Zuckerberg’s sandbox.
InsideInfo
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Re: Springs

Post by InsideInfo »

Hi vjmanzo,

First, I appreciate the very detailed and thoughtful reply :)

The fact that you are taking on such a incredibly difficult task is quite admirable. I'd love to help and am glad there is an easy way to donate to the cause. I can't send you 30k but I just made a donation for 250.00 (the amount I'd readily spend on the spring itself if you're successful). And if I can make another in a month or two I certainly will.

Rather than be happy with the Parker I just got and hope I never have a problem, I've decided to dive deeper and purchase a rough shape Parker for parts/experimentation that has both the 9 and 10 spring. I'm going to go ahead and spend the money to have them reproduced locally and see what the results are and how close I can get something to work not just for myself, but for all the Parker fans. In other aspects of my life, I've always seemed to be the blind squirrel that finds a nut so who knows, maybe I get lucky yet again!

After playing this guitar for a few days, I realized again how amazing these guitars are and only regret I didn't replace sooner the one I lost in a flood years ago. As an owner of many high dollar custom made guitars, this one still stands out as one of the most innovative and enjoyable guitars on the planet to hear and play.

I salute you sir for your endeavors (and of course Mr. Parker).
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Re: Springs

Post by vjmanzo »

Thank you, @InsideInfo, for true very kind gesture! I’m truly touched! I’m sending you message offline now, but just wanted to respond quickly to say that I really appreciate that.

You’re absolutely correct: these are truly innovative and enjoyable instruments, and the thought of being unable to play them for lack of a tiny little piece of metal is a terrible one!

Would love to stay in touch about your experiments with springs; I’ll send some info on that in my message. Thanks again!
InsideInfo
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Re: Springs

Post by InsideInfo »

Hi buddy! I heard back from a custom fabricator in my area and he said what I need to look for is a metal stamping company so tommorow I'll go down that road and see what I can find. Cheers.
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Re: Springs

Post by vjmanzo »

Thanks for the update, @InsideInfo. Please keep me/us posted!

Part of the difficulty, as I mentioned, is in assessing that what you have when you’re handed a new spring out of the box is actually suitable for your guitar with a given gauge of strings; it’s not just enough to have a stamped piece of metal, it absolutely must be tempered and that complicates the process. Before we even address manufacturing tolerance issues, there’s a roughly 20lb tension differential between a set of 9s and a set of 10s, and, you need a spring that works for each; if you’ve ever tried to float a Fly bridge with 9s using a 10 spring, you know it doesn’t really work. You noted that, a short while ago, I sold off some spare springs of mine that were presumably new; I wish I had more springs to give to every Fly owner, but, unfortunately, even if I had a box of “new old stock” springs to sell, there is no way to properly assess if those springs are still “springy”, and that’s part of the issue. Remaking any springs (even the ones Parker was ordering) without knowing exactly what they are doing is, in my opinion, just putting a band-aid on the spring-shortage issue.

To that end: the recipe for the springs, without a doubt, can and should be improved; the tempering, the bends, the actual material, etc. can all be altered to produce a spring that, all around, operates better, so that’s what our sights are set on. Thanks to your generous support, we’re on our way!

All this to say: keep in touch!


And just to restate it for everyone: if you are looking for stock OEM springs right now, we strongly recommend that you contact Mike Gallenberger at Gman.music on Reverb or wiguitar on eBay to see if the springs you need are available in his stock.
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