Springs

Bodies, necks, fretboards, frets, and manufacturing tools
arfauerbach
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Re: Springs

Post by arfauerbach »

Good afternoon everyone,

My name is Andrew Fauerbach, and I am on @vjmanzo's research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. We are working on analyzing the old springs to figure out why they broke, so we will be able to manufacture new springs that combat the issues from the old ones. That being said, my team and I would greatly appreciate it if as many of you as possible could fill out this survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIp ... sp=sf_link. Thank you and have a nice weekend!
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vjmanzo
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Re: Springs

Post by vjmanzo »

arfauerbach wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 5:23 pm Good afternoon everyone,

My name is Andrew Fauerbach, and I am on @vjmanzo's research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. We are working on analyzing the old springs to figure out why they broke, so we will be able to manufacture new springs that combat the issues from the old ones. That being said, my team and I would greatly appreciate it if as many of you as possible could fill out this survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIp ... sp=sf_link. Thank you and have a nice weekend!
Thanks, @arfauerbach!
Musikron
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Re: Springs

Post by Musikron »

So I had a dream last night, one I thought I'd share.
I've been dwelling lately on Fly construction. I'm no stranger to building instruments, having been a self employed luthier for 15 years or so, done lots of restoration and repairs, and worked in manufacturing high end archtop guitars. The past 5-6 years I have REALLY gotten into Flys, read and watched everything I can about their history and construction, the materials used, scrutinizing spec sheets from manufacturer for said materials. I'm one of the few guys around that will actually happily work on your Parker for you. I have paused videos and stared at blurry tooling in the background, deducing it's function and construction. All the important things that make these guitars amazing is attainable today, given the resources, but for one (maybe two but that's for another thread) little crucial detail.
The trem spring.

I've torn apart more than my share of flys over the years, not to mention well over my share of traditional guitars. I can tell the parts that were custom designed and milled for the instrument vs off the shelf components. Granted I'm not Ken Parker, but to me that spring looks like part of the trem was designed around it, and even it's very industrial look tells me that it was a previously existing part. If Ken made that spring, it would be beautiful and you know it. Nearly every single nut, bolt, plate, insert etc is beautifully machined and finished, even if it is hidden deep in the guitar. Then you have this very rough, rust prone piece of steel in a sickly color black plated finish. It's no work of art. It sticks out like a sore thumb. It's hideous and revolting compared to every other piece of the instrument.

So the dream I mentioned?

I was in a warehouse repairing an industrial box stapler (weird dream I know but whatever), I pull the housing off, remove a plate and what is staring me in the face? Fly trem springs! In my dream they were used in the mechanisms that clamped the flaps together as it stapled the boxes.

Those springs that seem so out of place in our gorgeous flys looked right at home in those industrial staplers. In my dream the different gauge plate springs were even used to adjust the machine for different cardboard and staple thickness and diameters etc. The backside of the plate I removed had spots for about two dozen different springs to be stored so you could recalibrate the machine to do different boxes.

So the big question. Do we know with 100% certainty where those springs originated? Could they be part of some "industrial stapler" that was repurposed and had the fly trem designed around it? Could we actually go buy more of these today, or salvage them from obsolete equipment?
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vjmanzo
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Re: Springs

Post by vjmanzo »

Awesome dream! 😮

I can confirm 100% from multiple sources without a shadow of a doubt that the original and USM-era spring-making equipment was destroyed.

This is, however/unfortunately, largely irrelevant as the original springs are not reliable in that there’s no way to know if the spring you have is doing what it ought to be doing.
Musikron
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Re: Springs

Post by Musikron »

So they made those springs in house? Or were they made by a third party who has since destroyed the equipment?
Is there any documentation on this machine, pictures, time stamps you see it in a video? Where did the bar stock come from? Lots of questions that should be able to be answered I'd hope.
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vjmanzo
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Re: Springs

Post by vjmanzo »

Great questions—We’re preparing a report that will address many of these.

If every can, please complete Andrew’s team’s survey 🙏
arfauerbach wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 5:23 pm Good afternoon everyone,

My name is Andrew Fauerbach, and I am on @vjmanzo's research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. We are working on analyzing the old springs to figure out why they broke, so we will be able to manufacture new springs that combat the issues from the old ones. That being said, my team and I would greatly appreciate it if as many of you as possible could fill out this survey.
mmmguitar
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Re: Springs

Post by mmmguitar »

I filled out the survey yesterday.

I share Musikron’s impressions of the trem being designed around what seems (to me) an inelegant bit of hardware and engineering compromise for the sake of a potato chip aesthetic. My main issue with the design is that the flat spring being mounted between the rear of the bridge and strap button means that, unlike the NiteFly and every other strat derivative, you’re compressing the spring each time you push the bar down - which is an essential step in breaking in a new set of strings, and what caused my spring to break when I’m not even a divebomber in my normal playing.

I understand that the real estate demands of Ken’s design meant the spring couldn’t have fit anywhere else without either necessitating pickguard mounting for the pickups (as in the NiteFly) or making the body thicker (…as in the NiteFly). Which is why I would have taken it back to the drawing board and gone with a cam pivot system similar to Kahler or Steinberger (both of which can be surface-mounted on a Fly body blank with minimal routing, but was ostensibly forgone for the sake of the mission statement of keeping hardware weight to a minimum).

Alas, it’s been too many years since the production design was settled on; and here we are burdening a generous laboratory of talented individuals with re-engineering a part better suited for an imaginary staple gun. Still, the efforts seem to be a testament to just how cool and ahead of their time the guitars manage to remain.
Summary of the current Parker Guitars market: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_fool_theory
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Patzag
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Re: Springs

Post by Patzag »

mmmguitar wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 5:59 pm re-engineering a part better suited for an imaginary staple gun.
Had a good laugh at that one!
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vjmanzo
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Re: Springs

Post by vjmanzo »

Great thoughts @mmmguitar and @Musikron—you probably already knew this, but Ken was quite happy with the hardtail model back in the early days before Parker officially launched, but Korg insisted that he create a model with a vibrato system. That’s not to say that the system we have is an afterthought per se, but you’re right that Ken had little room to cram that vibrato system into the body (I doubt he would have made the Fly any thicker to accommodate) or he could have gone the surface mount approach.

Ken didn’t unilaterally design the vibrato bridge—a gentleman named Will Daniels, for example, worked closely on the flat spring, and Ken arrived at the particular bearing he used through discussions with Kahler. I, personally, think yhe vibrato bridge with its flat spring approach is kinda brilliant for a variety of reasons I won’t exactly get into here—but this is what I really wanna say:

Unlike nearly every other vibrato system on the market, the system that Ken designed (the rated flat spring concept, in particular) hasn’t really had the benefit of continued iteration by others upon it (at least to my knowledge), and, as I mentioned, I think that there is a lot of potential here that hasn’t been fully realized, particularly when it comes to control of very subtle nuances.

I am quite confident now that we will make springs that are at least as good as what are in circulation, but, as far as the research component (with the lab), I also want us (all of us) to be in a position where we can iterate on this design and push the limits and adapt wherever possible using open and transparent documentation.
mmmguitar
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Re: Springs

Post by mmmguitar »

Thanks for shining further light on some of the constraints Ken and his collaborators had to work within, VJ. I do echo all the positive sentiments about the trem: Adrian Belew had tried every trem over the decades they had been invented and refined, before he was gifted with a Fly - So the Twang Bar King’s words carried weight when he endorsed the Fly trem as the “best.”

You also raise a fine point in reminding us that Fly owners have essentially been dealing with trem version 1.0 since 1994; and that there’s room for evolution, even if we’re just talking retrofit hardware.
Summary of the current Parker Guitars market: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_fool_theory
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vjmanzo
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Re: Springs

Post by vjmanzo »

mmmguitar wrote: Sun Jan 23, 2022 10:22 pm the Twang Bar King’s words carried weight when he endorsed the Fly trem as the “best.”
Ahh—I knew he loved Flys, but I did not know that! What an endorsement, indeed!
iroc07
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Re: Springs

Post by iroc07 »

Hey all!!!

Let me start off by saying I commend and admire the individuals that are re-engineering the trem springs, and I dont want to take anything away from that. I would just like to add, that I have had a place recreate the springs for me physically. They are an exact match, again, physically. The tension is of course not the same as they were only able to guess at the exact alloy, and the treatment used on the springs. They heat treated them and got the tension better than just the raw spring steel, but it is not the same as the OEM springs. If anyone has some more information on the exact steel alloy, and the process used, I could easily have a few batches of these made for not a lot of money. Yes, I understand that this would not solve the issue of the springs failing over time, but it would at least give us all some options until a better solution is found.

I have not seen this info listed but if it is out there let me know and I could have a few batches a few weeks later.

Thanks!!!!
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vjmanzo
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Re: Springs

Post by vjmanzo »

Hi @iroc07—great to hear of our shared interest!

Yes, we have a metallurgist on our team and we’ve done (and are doing) a series of chemical and other tests to determine the exact everything of the springs. You’re correct that the process did change. I'll just repeat that the issue we're all facing is not only springs failing over time (and, mysteriously, they don't always fail "over time"), it's about knowing reliably that the spring you have in your priceless Fly is doing what you think it's doing—and who can say exactly what it should it be doing? Without that knowledge, I feel we’d be creating more flat pieces of metal without any understanding as to how well they’re doing what we want them to do.

My student Andrew (@arfauerbach) is part of a team that is focusing on addressing the “why do these break?” question. We have a variety of interesting things to share about what actually causes springs to break and how they break, so if you (or anyone) has had a spring break, please complete his survey!
marvin
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Re: Springs

Post by marvin »

Come on people,,,it's not rocket science!!
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jester700
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Re: Springs

Post by jester700 »

marvin wrote: Sat Jan 29, 2022 5:10 pm Come on people,,,it's not rocket science!!
No, It's material science. And it ain't easy.
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Patzag
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Re: Springs

Post by Patzag »

A new record:

https://reverb.com/item/50420070-parker ... pring-rare

$549 for a spring. VJ, man, our savior!
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vjmanzo
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Re: Springs

Post by vjmanzo »

Ooof—yeah, I saw that! 👀

Just a matter of time for us here, but, regardless: I would not recommend buying springs at that price without knowing that they’re reliable.
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Patzag
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Re: Springs

Post by Patzag »

vjmanzo wrote: Mon Feb 07, 2022 12:45 pm Ooof—yeah, I saw that! 👀

Just a matter of time for us here, but, regardless: I would not recommend buying springs at that price without knowing that they’re reliable.
I don't use my Whammy Bar enough to justify anything like that!
I'd never pay the price of a guitar for a spring. Nope!
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vjmanzo
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Re: Springs

Post by vjmanzo »

Patzag wrote: Mon Feb 07, 2022 12:58 pm I'd never pay the price of a guitar for a spring.
Wait—the asking price has now gone up to $777 :lol: and the option to make an offer has been removed! 😉


EDIT: up to $10k now without the “make an offer” option.

EDIT EDIT: now down to $589.
G-string
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Hard Tail Conversion

Post by G-string »

Hi all,

I broker my flat spring too so I converted my Parker Fly to a hard tail with a mahogany block. I have more of it where it came from. Just cut it to the length you want and sand it for a perfect fit.

G-string
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