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Julie H
Ha`aha`a

USA
1206 Posts

Posted - 01/14/2008 :  9:58:40 PM  Show Profile
So now I have this gorgeous Fry Pan. Now what?

1. One of the tuners is busted, does anyone know where I can get a vintage 1935 or so tuner? I've checked eBay without any luck...

2. The strings are really old. I want to bring it to a shop to get some help buying the right strings. Since it is a long scale, does it need different strings than those for a short scale? I know, dumb question, but I'm new at this.

3. I would like an expert to check it out, but don't want to leave it at any shop. Is it kosher to stand there and watch the person go over it? (I suppose I am getting paranoid about this thing.)

4. I contacted Elderly Instruments to get an on-line kind of appraisal, I read somewhere that they would do that, but I've had no response from them. Where do I go next?

Thanks for any hints.

Julie

hwnmusiclives
`Olu`olu

USA
580 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2008 :  02:14:14 AM  Show Profile  Visit hwnmusiclives's Homepage
quote:
Originally posted by Julie H

So now I have this gorgeous Fry Pan. Now what?

1. One of the tuners is busted, does anyone know where I can get a vintage 1935 or so tuner? I've checked eBay without any luck...
Not easily. But there are lots of players/collectors who have spare parts around and specialize in just such repairs. But we're talking about this in the wrong forum. May I have your permission to cross-post this over at the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association (HSGA)?

One gentleman over there recently restored an early Bronson lap steel. (Bronson was the Rickenbacker brand sold through Sears.) It is beautiful.

Sometimes these tuning pan repairs simply involve dropping on a while new row of tuners while other times a single tuner needs to be welded on. Delicate stuff. In order to know what kind if repair we're talking about, we'll need the exact model number of your guitar or a really good photo of it.

quote:
2. The strings are really old. I want to bring it to a shop to get some help buying the right strings. Since it is a long scale, does it need different strings than those for a short scale? I know, dumb question, but I'm new at this.

Again, this may be the wrong forum. I just asked the same question. Check this out.

But we're putting the cart before the horse. If you simply walk into any music store and ask for strings for a steel guitar, unless your helpful sales associate understands the mechanics of the steel guitar, he is 97% likely to steer you wrong. Unlike the standard guitar where strings are sold for one basic tuning (and even when playing slack key, you're still purchasing strings in these predetermined sets of gauges), the gauges you choose for your steel depend on the tuning you choose to play. Have you thought about a tuning yet? If not, here is a good article to get you started with tunings. And here is a primer on string gauges. Notice how the gauges vary with different tunings. Unlike with standard guitar where you might choose a "light," "medium," or "heavy" set, with steel guitar you are probably going to be reduced to buying single strings for specific gauges. Happy hunting!

quote:
3. I would like an expert to check it out, but don't want to leave it at any shop. Is it kosher to stand there and watch the person go over it? (I suppose I am getting paranoid about this thing.)
Not so much, no. This is not like taking your diamond engagement ring in to have it cleaned and leaving the shop a week later with a cheaper replica. I can't imagine what harm your technician could do when you're not around that he might not do when you're standing right there (if he doesn't know anything about steel guitars). And swapping out parts is near impossible. There is no "stock" for instruments of this vintage. So if he covets your pickup, he would have to build you a new one from scratch to replace it, and there are very few who can do that.

In other words, don't worry so much!

However,
I would advise you to choose the best possible technician you can afford - even if he doesn't live within driving distance. Again, a number of HSGA members do these types of repairs right in their homes and they are experts. Taking your steel guitar to someone who has never touched a steel before is liking taking your Volvo to be serviced at Ford: They know some things but what they miss will be critical to your safety and enjoyment.

quote:
4. I contacted Elderly Instruments to get an on-line kind of appraisal, I read somewhere that they would do that, but I've had no response from them. Where do I go next?
The forum I mentioned above at HSGA. These guys know so much it's scary. We are always talking about steel guitars over there. They will get you a $$$ amount in the ballpark. Again, a model number of good photo will be needed. You have to be a member of HSGA to post, I believe, but I would be happy to cross-post for you. And there are a number of HSGA lurkers and occasional posters here who might help (like Baz and Ron Whitfield).

How great to add another steel player to the family. And a lady, too! Look out, Lovey Lui Conn and Mikilani Fo! Here comes Julie!


Join me for the history of Hawaiian music and its musicians at Ho`olohe Hou at www.hoolohehou.org.
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Reid
Ha`aha`a

Andorra
1526 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2008 :  03:48:50 AM  Show Profile
Julie,

There is an awful lot of info right here on TP, in the Steel Guitar forum. Just go through the threads. The choice of tuning is the absolute first step.

Also here are 2 sources that are invaluable, especially if you have chosen C6 as a tuning.

http://www.planetgaa.com/HawGuit/HawMat.html
http://www.planetgaa.com/C6/C6Resources.html

As for strings, you can get a half dozen singles for each note/gauge fairly cheaply, and be set for a long time. They don't get gunky like acoustic guitar strings because, of course, you are using a bar rather than sweaty fingers, and, because of that they last somewhat longer. I use nickel flatwound on the bottom 3, and unwound strings on the top 3. I also like a slightly higher gauge on the top 3 (especially the 1st string) than some people - it is a matter of taste: I find that the sound is more mellow.

AS for a guitar tech: hardly anyone stays and hawks while a guitar is being worked on - no matter how many thousands of dollars a guitar is worth. You must have absolute faith, based on hard knowledge and reputation, on a luthier/tech, or you don't bring it to the person at all.

Where you live, there are lots of choices: why not Gryphon Strings in Palo Alto? They are the very best and they work on lap steels - a lap steel is just kind of a funny electric guitar.

http://www.gryphonstrings.com/repairs_restoration/services.html

...Reid
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Fran Guidry
Ha`aha`a

USA
1505 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2008 :  06:54:57 AM  Show Profile  Visit Fran Guidry's Homepage
Another vote for Gryphon, for the repair and to consult on strings. You may have a hard time standing and watching, though. They're extremely busy, and usually have a waiting list.

For another site (and I'm no steeler so I don't know if it's a great one) check Brad's Page of Steel. I think you'll at least like the opening picture: http://www.well.com/~wellvis/steel.html

Fran

E ho`okani pila kakou ma Kaleponi
Slack Key Guitar in California - www.kaleponi.com
Slack Key on YouTube
Homebrewed Music Blog
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Mark
Ha`aha`a

USA
1628 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2008 :  09:43:27 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mark's Homepage
Hey Julie -

Welcome to the wonderful world of vintage parts. Finding the guitar is ez, finding parts... well, you can dedicate your life to it. I'm trying to restore my beloved 67 Framus bass & I'm entering my third year of searching for a pickup.

I'd strongly suggest following up with the HSGA as a resource. As much as I love Gryphon, I doubt if they'd really be helpful with your vintage electric instrument. (Vintage acoustics are another story...) That being said, it wouldn't hurt to call 'em and see if they have a replacement tuner set.

You are lucky in that your Rik has a huge and loyal following. So you ought to be able to find what you need via the HSGA.

One thing about strings: my 37 Rik Silver Hawaiian had ancient strings when I got it. The owner (who'd put it in storage after the war... yes, that war) had wrapped colorful pipe cleaners around the ends to help cut down the buzzing. When I changed strings, I carefully removed and then replaced the vintage pipe cleaners. Looks exactly as it did when I got it, but now it sounds wonderful.

Good luck.

M


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Julie H
Ha`aha`a

USA
1206 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2008 :  11:41:37 AM  Show Profile
Thanks everyone, great info! I knew I'd get some from all you experts..

And Mark, I found out with my Silver Hawaiian that I was not very excited with the strings one of my knowledgable friends put on it. It just doesn't sing like the other steels which I acquired after that. And so I realize that strings make a big difference. Duh!

Well, my Daddy and my brothers all played guitar and other instruments, but we never had any discussion about strings.

Julie
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Mark
Ha`aha`a

USA
1628 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2008 :  3:08:27 PM  Show Profile  Visit Mark's Homepage
quote:
I found out with my Silver Hawaiian that I was not very excited with the strings one of my knowledgable friends put on it. It just doesn't sing like the other steels which I acquired after that. And so I realize that strings make a big difference. Duh!


Yep-- but there is also a matter of pickups. The '37 (single volume, no tone) has the honkin' big horse shoe pickup; later ones have something else (at least so I'm told. Baz,,,Bill???) I've heard that folks don't care for the sound of the later ones as much.

Mine sounds amazing. In fact, it is amazing: absolute dead mint condition, with the original case, picks, bar, & amp. It is in such amazing condition that I am afraid to play it.

Tho' I'm sure I'll get over that if I ever learn how.

Maybe I should ask Bill to help me get something posted to HSGA, too. I'd love to know what this rig is worth.


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slipry1
Ha`aha`a

USA
1501 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2008 :  08:42:03 AM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Mark

quote:
I found out with my Silver Hawaiian that I was not very excited with the strings one of my knowledgable friends put on it. It just doesn't sing like the other steels which I acquired after that. And so I realize that strings make a big difference. Duh!


Yep-- but there is also a matter of pickups. The '37 (single volume, no tone) has the honkin' big horse shoe pickup; later ones have something else (at least so I'm told. Baz,,,Bill???) I've heard that folks don't care for the sound of the later ones as much.

My Shot Jackson Jerry Byrd frypan has a horseshoe magnet pickup. As far as I know, Rickenbacker used this kind of pickup until well after WWII. I know that Bobby Ingano's "Mickey Mouse" (from the white overlay over the black body) 7 string Rick has a horseshoe pickup, having viewed it up close.

Mine sounds amazing. In fact, it is amazing: absolute dead mint condition, with the original case, picks, bar, & amp. It is in such amazing condition that I am afraid to play it.

Tho' I'm sure I'll get over that if I ever learn how.

Maybe I should ask Bill to help me get something posted to HSGA, too. I'd love to know what this rig is worth.





keaka
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Reid
Ha`aha`a

Andorra
1526 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2008 :  3:09:24 PM  Show Profile
You guys know that there are at least 2 crazoids who are building, and hand winding, pickups exactly like (maybe better than) the originals?

Mine are "Stringmasters" (guess what they sound like :-)

So, if you care about sound and have an old steel that doesn't make it, and it doesn't have much market value, why not upgrade to one or two (depending)?

You can get them amazingly inexpensively, including the humongous horsehoes and through-magnets.

...Reid
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Ron Whitfield
Aloha

USA
23 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2008 :  10:02:45 AM  Show Profile
Look's like you've gotten a bunch of good advice here, Julie. So, on to the really important issues for the rest of us, like how about a pic or sound clip of your new baby?! Whether experts or not (I'm not), we all love drooling over a fry-pan, especially a long scale. You've come upon what most consider the holy grail of steel guitars, and you'll never 'need' another steel. Lucky you!
Is it a 6 or 7 string, with a hollow neck, or solid? The very end of the headstock will have a 1/4" x 1 1/2" slot if it's hollow. Does the body have a bakelite bottom cover? Is there a decal on the headstock, or a small metal badge? Does it have a finish (clear wash with a gold tint, or solid gold paint, or none)? A clear plexi fret board cover? Black or colored fret markers/dots? Does the pick-up sit alone in it's cavity which would house magnets at 1 1/2" width, or the 1 1/4" mags with a chromed plate surrounding it? They all sound great, but every few years of production brought on a differing example of minor changes, and can help in defining (somewhat) the year it was made. They were made from 1932 to the late fifties, and were the very first 'production' electric guitars.

The afore-mentioned www.hsga.org & www.steelguitarforum.com home-styled manufacturing pro's (Rick Aiello, Bill Creller) will be happy to find time to assist in the physical matters, if it comes to that, or to simply advise.

Don't be afraid in asking the repairman you choose to hawk him while he works, it'll help educate you to the simple but important intricates of your steel. Even video the procedures, or just take notes, if he's agreeable. Most(?) will at least be understandable.

Good luck, and have fun!

www.hwnsge.5u.com - www.jerrybyrd-fanclub.com
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Reid
Ha`aha`a

Andorra
1526 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2008 :  3:11:06 PM  Show Profile
In addition to Rick Aiello (who is a serious pickup freak - in the best senses of that attribution), there is Jason Lollar, who is the guy who hand (scatter) wound the pickups on my Lap King:

http://www.lollarguitars.com/Pickups.htm

The Lap King I have is "natural" Bel Aire and was in the same "batch" of only 3, made by Jason DuMont,as Jerry Douglas' blue one. Which meant I got it exactly one month after I contacted him - which is humongously less time than acoustic luthiers. I don't play it as well as Douglas, but I get reflected glory.:-0

http://www.lapking.com/

Click on "Bel Aire" and other stuff to see what Jason does. Note the pickup covers, which Jason hand forms out of copper and then electroplates with nickel. There is an extraordinary amount of hand work that goes into these things and, in the acoustic guitar scheme of things, these are cheap at 3 times the price. Besides, Jason lives a 1/2 hour north of me and is a swell guy, as most luthiers are. Besides, if anything goes wrong, I can walk up there and ask him about it.

About single strings:
http://www.fqms.com/Acoustic_and_Electric_Guitar_B_C1326.cfm

Choose the correct type for your guitar and then select a half dozen of each appropriate gauge. Cheap, since they last so long.

...Reid
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hwnmusiclives
`Olu`olu

USA
580 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2008 :  02:43:54 AM  Show Profile  Visit hwnmusiclives's Homepage
quote:
Originally posted by Reid

About single strings:
http://www.fqms.com/Acoustic_and_Electric_Guitar_B_C1326.cfm

Choose the correct type for your guitar and then select a half dozen of each appropriate gauge. Cheap, since they last so long.

...Reid

Reid, thank you so much for this tip. I am in the process of changing the strings on two steels (four necks) right now - for ths first time in over three years - and I had no idea that Elixir strings were available as singles.

Aloha to Sarah...

BW


Join me for the history of Hawaiian music and its musicians at Ho`olohe Hou at www.hoolohehou.org.
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Reid
Ha`aha`a

Andorra
1526 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2008 :  02:59:41 AM  Show Profile
You are welcome Bill. (Haven't seen you in too long, you know.) FQMS is a good place - I talk to them a lot and they know stuff and have good prices and deliver fast. We have always bought *all* our strings, and other stuff from them. They have a big inventory - not as big as Elderly, but big enough. They occasionally make special deals with famous luthiers and manufacturers like Calton. Happy stringing.

...Reid
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justplainbill
Akahai

USA
53 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2008 :  5:50:30 PM  Show Profile
I've done five frypans during the last few years. Three for Bobby Ingano, one for Derrick Mau, and my own. Yours doesn't sound like it needs much help. Replacing the tuners is no big deal, and you wont likely find any originals. You need the type for a slotted peghead, and if it's a six string there should be no problem. Most people here can advise on string gauges for the tuning you want to use.
My Hawaiian friends and I use the semi-flat types for less bar noise. I get mine from juststrings.com They have sets for the tuning you use, like the SIT strings from Scotty's Music. Email me if you have questions I may be able to answer.

Aloha BILL
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Julie H
Ha`aha`a

USA
1206 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2008 :  11:40:34 PM  Show Profile
Aloha Bill,

Thanks for the input. I don't think I need the tuner, just the button. Or a wrench might work just as well but is not as classy. Probably wouldn't look real cool during a performance to whip out the toolbox.

Julie

PS I tried to send a photo of this beauty to Admin to have him post it, but it was bounced back. I'll try again.

Edited by - Julie H on 01/25/2008 11:41:27 PM
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Reid
Ha`aha`a

Andorra
1526 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2008 :  04:45:04 AM  Show Profile
Julie, if it is only a button, just buy one and put on. Many outfits sell all kinds of buttons. For instance, Elderly sells buttons for Guitars, mandos, banjos, etc., etc.

http://elderly.com

They cost about $1, and if one doesn't suit, or fit, another will. Call Elderly and get advice - they are quite good at suggesting what will do the job. The buttons usually just screw on, and if there is one that doesn't fit exactly, you can always wrap it with teflon tape, or other things that make it fit. It is so easy.

...Reid
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