Keeping my B string in tune

Discussion in 'B-Bender Forum' started by Pancho Villa, Jan 5, 2020.

  1. Pancho Villa

    Pancho Villa TDPRI Member

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    I just got my hands on a 2010 Fender Nashville B-Bender Telecaster - it's essentially new as it's still in it's original stickers & appears to have not even been played.

    Prior to this, I had been running my Handbender on my Shawbucker Deluxe and had found that I needed to go to a .13 for the B to keep it in tune, which it did beautifully - though I attribute the need for that to the shorter scale, softer break angle crossing the saddle & lack of string tension. I also had to use a special saddle with the threads locktite'd to keep them from jostling looser from the saddle movement (due to said lack of tension).

    At any rate, I had intended to keep with the .10's that came on the Nashville but unknowingly grabbed a set of .09's when I went to clean it up & restring it. Got the action & pickup height dialed in and it's playing beautifully but I'm still having to stretch out my B string it seems. Granted, it's been less than 12 hours and I'm doing plenty of bending before rechecking & retuning as needed and at this point, it's only going a smidge flat when it does. I'd like to just say with .09's as that's what I play on my other electrics.

    My questions are - how long should I expect for this B string to take to get broken in fully to where it stays in tune? Is there any particular B string gauge that is otherwise needed, suggested or required for playing a B-bender? And do you have any other tips for keeping it in tune?

    BTW, I have already lubed the nut, saddle & roller.

    Thanks in advance guys!
     
  2. Rick Towne

    Rick Towne Tele-Afflicted

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    I’ve never had a problem with a 12 b on either a Parsons or Glaser bender.
     
  3. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    there is something amiss. Either an obstruction, a burr a snag etc... these are production guitars , they are not individually checked when the PG system is installed and sent out for distribution. They may need some attention. For certain, once setup they hold tune and DO NOT break strings. It should not take days for the B string to " seat ". Also be sure to add just a tad of lube on the 2nd string saddle and to check the saddle for a burr or a slight groove. I use BIG BENDS NUT Sauce.

    One of the biggest mistakes we make with the PG guitar is assuming the mechanical system in perfectly in-tact. Most times they are not. But they can be corrected. In the words of Forrest Lee Jr, before he sends a custom install back to the owner he says " I play the snot out of it ". He is checking it for total reliability and functionality.

    My 2012 PG has 9's on it, no issue, the B is an 11. ZERO ISSUES.

    The pull on the B string is a B to a C#, this is nothing in the scheme of things. A Pedal Steel pulls the G # ( above the guitar natural B ) to an A with the same string gauge. Now thats a pull !

    Here is what I posted in your other thread:


    here are a couple of things I did to my 2012, same guitar.

    Took it apart, inspected and lightly lubed the moving contact points . Inspected the strap pull and release STOPS and secured them, removed the string tower and checked to be certain there were no BURRS or snags, used a soft fine file to smooth out the VEE at the top of the tower. You can also align the bottom of the guitar 2nd STRING hole with the pull arm to the string tower. A few turns and it aligns nicely.

    Even at that, I contacted HipShot as they have a BRASS string tower, exact fit. I replaced the chrome metal "Fender PG" string tower with the Brass tower, I also added the brass roller bridge for the 2nd string, available from TDPRI member "telesavant" and available on EBAY.

    While the 2012 is not my goto Bender guitar , it could be. It plays great and has some great tones. Its one of 4 Bender guitars I own and I will not part with it. I have owned perhaps 3 or 4 Fender PG's and ended up selling them , it was a mistake.

    As stated above, these are getting harder and harder to find at a reasonable cost. Who cares if it's a bit heavy and we can't adjust the throw, I know I don't ! Probably the only ones complaining are the ones who don' t own one or did own one and sold it ! There isn't anything B Bender-wise that cannot be played on this guitar compared to ANY OTHER Bender system. It pulls the B to a C#, and releases it back to B. Period. If its breaking strings or not holding or returning pitch, there is something amiss. Yes ,true, it not an Evans or a Glaser, or a Parsons White or FL Jr, system, but it is indeed very functional.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2020
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  4. Don Miller

    Don Miller Tele-Afflicted

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    Make sure the B string is fully stretched, and secure on the string post...

    FWIW, Gene Parsons suggests a .013 for the B on the parsons greene system...
     
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  5. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    I would not argue with Gene, and I have spoken with him with regard to this subject, PG's breaking strings .

    The thing about the 2nd string "B ", on our 6 strings, be it an 11, 12 or 13, its tuned "9 notes lower" than the Pedal Steel G # which is what a 3rd string is tuned to, using the same gauge strings .

    The B Bender pulls to the B to a C # the Pedal Steel pulls the G# (above the B ) to an A , same gauge strings. Worlds apart ! The B Bender pulling to a C# is literally nothing for an 11,12 or 13 unless there is something wrong. B - Benders do not break strings unless something is amiss.

    As guitar players we bend that pesky B string with our fingers every gig, all night long, every song, week after week, month after month, same string, it doesn't break.

    My current 2012 PG guitar ( I have owned 4 ) I was breaking the 2nd string within a weeks time. First thing I did was grab several gauges of strings,11's,12's and yep 13's. Guess what, they all broke.

    I called Gene. Had a nice chat, thanked him for all he has done for us thru his career then got to the meat. He immediately pointed me to the string tower and he was 100% correct, it had a slight burr . Manufacturing defect.

    Took it all apart , filed down the VEE ( where the string seats) at the top of the string tower , checked it by pulling cotton across the top, put it all back together and have never broken a string since. I went from breaking 1 per week to never. The gauge on the guitar is an 11. There is no way I can play NON Bender phrases with a 13, the 1st string is 9 . Better part of a year now.

    Add a tad of lube on the saddle and the top of the tower and just start yanking away !



    we have two options,

    1- do nothing and keep changing strings and upping the gauge, which does not fix the problem

    or

    2- take it apart and check the entire string path ,(the tower, saddle etc) for ruff edges, snags, burrs , grooves etc that can cause immediate excessive wear on the string when being pulled.


    Remember the definition of insanity ?

    Keep putting on new strings and expecting different results !:)


    Theres a million things I know nothing about, but this is ONE thing I know a lot about !
     
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  6. Pancho Villa

    Pancho Villa TDPRI Member

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    Thank you so much for all of this. Pardon my delay in getting back to you. Before having read this, I decided to go back to .10's and it seems to be playing much better and only slipping barely out of tune here & there, which is something I obviously still want to improve on. I did notice that the B string saddle has a slight slot cut or etched into it for the string - I don't know if this is how it was designed or if the string movement created it over time. I have also ordered the roller saddle of eBay so what I will likely do is keep playing it as is for a few weeks until the roller arrives, at which point, I will take it out and check the string tower V, make sure the internals are all tightened up & oil up whatever needs oiling up. That said, is there anything I should know about taking it apart? My assumption is that screws close to the perimeter of the back metal panel are the ones holding the panel in place and that the rest of the screws are what are attaching the interior parts to the panel but if there's anything over & above that I should know, I am all ears.

    Thank you again for your time & knowledge.
     
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  7. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think you are on the right track, remember to check the STOP points on the pull lever assy though. If I recall they are some sticky things . I think I had found one of mine had moved off the position, this can allow for not reaching or returning to pitch consistently. And yeah be sure everything is snugged down.

    OVerall , other than a bit of weight, I think these are actually pretty robust systems once we pay attention to a few details.

    Regarding the Roller Saddle, on my guitar it did not fit width wise perfectly, I had to trim one side down ever so slightly so it would fit without hitting the other saddles. It was really no big deal.

    good luck !
     
  8. Don Miller

    Don Miller Tele-Afflicted

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    There is (was?) a maintenance guide for the PG bender on the Stringbender web site.
     
  9. Pancho Villa

    Pancho Villa TDPRI Member

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    I don't know what I did or if it was just a matter of playing a guitar that has at for years without being played or if the B string just started settling into or wearing in a good groove in the saddle because it has stayed in tune for days & hasn't slipped a bit. I'll have the roller saddle & tubing around to try out at some point and am still planning on taking the bender out & checking it through next time I change strings but this thing is playing amazingly and god damned am I hooked.

    I'm digging the pickups on these as well. The neck & bridge get good, solid tele tones and I can get some really beautiful pedal steel sounds out of the bridge but they're also a perfect match with the Texas Special in the middle - the mix of either tele pickup with it is pretty intoxicating IMO. May already be my favorite guitar and most certainly, a keeper.
     
  10. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    EXCELLENT !

    yep , Stand in line !


    Once the guitar is working as you like, and you discover a few phrases, then a few more, you can't put it down....

    Its no longer just a guitar, its now an entity and has a life of its own ! It seems everything we do or DID, now changes .


    I think they have medicine for this ! :)

    best

    tp
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
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