B-Blender problem

Discussion in 'B-Bender Forum' started by Boreas, Dec 25, 2019.

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  1. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Meister

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    Recently installed a B-Blender on a B-50 Bigsby Squier Telecaster. I am using D'Addario 10's out of a 3-pak container. 2 of the 3 B strings have unwound at the ball after ab0ut a week of light playing. Is this a problem with B-benders as well? Is it unique to B-Blenders? Or did I buy a pack of dud strings? Am I going to need to solder the windings on the B strings?
    20191215_121243.jpg
     
  2. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Holic

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    I seem to remember that D'addario had a run of mandolin strings several years ago that would unwind at the loops. There was discussion about it on the mandolin forums as many people had the issue. I had bought a set that it happened on (I suspect I inadvertently bought a set of old stock from a brick and mortar shop that didn't have a lot of turnover).

    D'addario is very responsive and you can email them and I'm sure they'd be interested to see the issue (in case it's something they need to correct in a current batch) and I'm sure they'd replace your defective strings if the strings are at fault.
     
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  3. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Meister

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    Thanks. I just emailed them. If I get a technical answer, I will pass it on here.
     
  4. jdgladw

    jdgladw Tele-Meister

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    I have a B Blender on a Gretsch jet and use D'addario NY XL 11s. I have not had that problem. I have had very old strings break at the ball on the Blender but unwinding is not something I've seen.
     
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  5. TomK

    TomK Tele-Holic

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    If you have a soldering iron, melt some solder on the ball end wrap. I’ve done that in the past with good results.
     
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  6. RottenTheCat

    RottenTheCat Tele-Holic

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    Had a bunch of fender 150 high ease unwind at the loop about 10 years ago. They sent me a few replacements when I complained but it wasn't all that unwound
     
  7. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Afflicted

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    I don’t know if d’addario makes any, but are you sure the strings do not have a round core? Strings unwinding happens easily with true round cores.
     
  8. MickM

    MickM Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Blender? Me no habla.
     
  9. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Holic

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    not a wound string with the windings coming loose, it's a plain string (B-bender bends the B string) ... the wraps that hold the string to the ball end. The bender pulls the ball end to raise the pitch and the wraps slip and the string goes flat - or worst case the ball comes right off.
    BallEnd.jpg
     
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  10. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Afflicted

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    My bad! I read too fast and was thinking about a wound G :confused:
     
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  11. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    question: Do B Bender strings break ?

    Some general perspective. No, this is not common and should not be. B strings should not break. If they do something is wrong. If they do break on a regular basis, the system is useless.


    Pedal Steel guitars for example do not pull the BALL directly, the ball ends are secured into the bridge , the string is fed up and across the bridge. Rarely on a 10 or 20 string Pedal Steel guitar does a string break at the ball. Rarely as in "over many years of constant playing". Strings will break of course from continued stress but typically at the tuning peg or directly on top of the bridge. Those are the HI stress points. The ball end is NOT the primary stress point.

    B Bender guitars, there are differences in the way the strings are pulled. And no, it is not common for a string to break at the ball end. VERY UNCOMMON.

    Glaser Style, ( others which are similar) just like a Pedal Steel, the ball end is secured to the the front of the saddle and looped around and across the top of the saddle .The saddle is pulled, not the string. Just like a Pedal Steel.

    Fender Parsons Green. The ball end is secured to a string tower, the string is fed up thru the string tower and then across the saddle. The pulling mechanism pulls the tower, like a hinge, not the ball end. If a string is breaking it will be at the top of the string tower where the string glides across. This will be due to a burr or ruff spot at the very top . NO, strings should not break, either at the top of the tower or at the ball end.

    Forrest Lee Jr system / Parsons White ( similar) The ball end is secured to the front of the rotation wheel ( on the body side) then wrapped around the wheel and fed across the saddle . The pulling mechanism turns the wheel thus tightening the string. The ball end is not pulled directly.

    Other systems will pull the ball end directly. It doesn't mean they are bad or a lessor system, they are just different. I have friends with the Matney system which pulls the ball directly at the rotation wheel,the string is not wrapped around the wheel, the ball sits in a pin on the wheel. The rotation wheel turns and the ball end is pulled directly.


    While many may say what's the difference , pulling the ball end directly or wrapping the string around and across a bridge and then pulling the bridge ? Its physics. Is there direct stress on the ball end or is the stress distributed across all of the components ?

    Comparing a Bigsby system to a known B Bender system is not really a fair comparison. They are not the same and are not supposed to be. One is specific, the other is an alteration . One is designed to pull the B to a C #, the other is designed to offer gentle vibrato. The physics is totally different, it should not to be compared.

    My own experiences:

    Fender PG system, I was breaking strings at the top of the tower every few days. I spoke with Gene, he advised that there indeed was a burr at the top of the string tower and he was correct. After smoothing out the BURR, I have not broke a B string in well over a year now. With regular playing and practice. I did change the string tower to BRASS, I acquired it from HIPSHOT and I also added a B string roller bridge acquired from Paul McEwen.

    Gibson Music City Guitar with the Glaser system. Never broke a string anywhere, ball, bridge, tuning peg. Nada...

    Fender Tele with the Forest Less system, the daily player and regular gig guitar, HOURS UPON HOURS of playing and daily practice, Hours and hours , days upon days, pulling the B, not now and then. Not occasional . Never broke a string. Standard 09 pack light gauge, Fender 150/250 . The B string is an 11. I don't think I have even adjusted the tuning ( sharp/flat) between string changes. The same strings are on all 3 Bender guitars.

    Strings breaking or staying in tune is not an issue and should not be on any Bender guitar.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2019
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  12. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Meister

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  13. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Meister

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    Thanks! A B-bLender actually requires a Bigsby because it is simply a replacement arm assembly that allows both traditional Bigsby vibrato with B-bending capability. Not that you would want to, but both the bender and the Bigsby can be used simultaneously.

    I have only been using the B-Blender for a short time and these are the only strings I have tried. None have broken, just unwound, so, based on the answers here, I agree it is primarily a string problem. I have also heard simply adding a loose ball to the ball end over the windings can help. First, I am hoping for a few replacement strings from D'Addario...
     
  14. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Holic

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    People often suggest solder or super glue - but I always wonder about this since strings are usually stainless and neither solder nor superglue will bond to stainless. Not sure what will stick to stainless at low temps and without being able to etch/prep the surface. But you might try a combination of superglue plus wrapping thread around the string wraps (letting the thread soak up superglue).

    Can you take a closeup picture of the Blender working part that holds/pulls the string?

    Mandolin strings get a lot of tension put on them but once tuned to pitch they are left there ... and I know that D'addario had to change the way they did the wraps at the ball end but that was way back around 2005 I think and I haven't had any issue with them these days. MandolineLoopEnds.jpg
     
  15. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Meister

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    From the B-Blender website:

    2019-12-26_12h32_39.jpg 2019-12-26_12h33_55.jpg
     
  16. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Meister

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    All the string does is pass through a hole and the ball stops it. It is straight thru unlike the Bigsby which the string partially wraps around the pivot bar thus keeping something against the winds, likely helping to keep them from unraveling.
     
  17. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Holic

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    So the B string doesn't get threaded thru the pivot bar? It goes over that part and then under the hold down roller? Is it like the upper one in my crude drawing?
    Blender.jpg
     
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  18. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Holic

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    Anything that can reduce the friction of the string on the surfaces it rides on as it is pitch bending (the top of the bridge saddle, the underside of the hold down roller and whatever part of the pivot bar it rubs on) ... reducing friction would really help.

    Check that those surfaces are polished and not pitted or rough - and you might try a little teflon or some other sort of lube. You can buy a teflon dry spray from Remington (made for guns) or you can buy thin teflon sheets that has one side with a surface that can be glued (I use them on saxophones where two pieces of brass need to rub with as little friction as possible). But I would start with polishing the string groove in the bridge saddle (or does it have a roller saddle?).
     
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  19. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Meister

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    Correct. But unlike your diagram, the string does not contact the pivot bar in any way - clears it by about 1/8". Just a straight shot to the bottom of the tension bar prior to the bridge. The windings are not in contact with anything. It was designed quite well as the plate that holds the ball also pulls on the string when the Bigsby arm is activated, so the Bigsby still sounds essentially the same. It may be my imagination, but the B string may not have quite the same acoustic volume and sustain as the other strings. But I can't imagine a way that it wouldn't be attenuated to sone degree because of the different mounting point.

    Nice drawing,BTW...
     
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  20. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Meister

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    Just received this note from Jim Alday, who I believe is the inventor. (?)

    Dana,

    I have had a couple of B strings unwind, in 4 or 5 years, probably from the same package.
    Generally, there will be some stretching, from the continual changing of tension from B to C#, and retuning with the knurled knob will have to be done every few songs, but this diminishes somewhat after string has matured a few days. There is about .033 difference in stretch, between B and C#, and the normal stretch and recovery takes its toll.
    Probably changing string model or make will alleviate the unwinding. There are soldered strings available, but I haven't used them, or tried soldering my own. The best thing is to remove as much friction, at bridge and tension roller, as possible, and if the string wrapping touches the string bar, a tiny drop of oil might help there also.

    The hex nut on the screw touching the string shaft should be tightened with pliers, once handle position is set. The knurled screw doesen't seem to loosen itself, but as I said, it will have to be touched up every few songs, due to string stretch.

    Some players worry about friction at the nut , and tuning and return problems, but I have never seen drag on a plain string high enough to cause problems here. More likely, there can be too many wraps around the tuning post, which can creep with tightening and loosening at the bridge end of the string. Definitely, a locking tuner, and only 1 or 1 1/2 wraps around the post will be the best arrangement.

    Let me know how things work out,

    Jim Alday
     
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