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String Gauge and Spring Tension on a P/G B-Bender

Discussion in 'B-Bender Forum' started by JayFreddy, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm new to the world of B-Benders, so I'm sorry if these questions seem silly or have been asked many times before.

    I recently had the good fortune to have a P/G equipped Nashville Tele come live at my house (Thanks ScatMan!).

    This is my first B Bender ever, so I'm still getting the feel of it, but I play a little pedal steel, and the P/G mechanism seems stable and tunes accurately.

    Currently it's got 10-46 strings, and I'd like to try a 9-42 set, the same as I use on my other Teles. Will a lighter string gauge require a spring adjustment beyond the range of the tuning disc?

    I know that with floating Strat trems, going from 10's to 9's usually requires some loosening of the tremolo springs, so I imagine a B-Bender would require a similar adjustment.

    I suppose I'll just slap some 9's on there and find out, but if possible, I'd like to get an idea of what to expect in advance.

    I've also noticed that the bender mechanism is sensitive to detuning if I move around quickly, and so I've been watching GetBent's "stiffer spring" thread with interest.

    If I'm thinking about this correctly, a lighter string gauge will put less tension on the B-Bender, allowing the bender to be more resistant to unintentional detuning.

    If that's true, the lighter string gauge could be just what the doctor ordered, as I'd rather not dicker with the mechanism or go shortening springs if I don't have to...

    Thanks in advance for sharing your experience!
     
  2. Chet Johnson

    Chet Johnson Tele-Afflicted

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    Youll be able to adjust the compensate the tuning stop with plenty of extra adjustment left with switching to a set of 9s or even 11s. My issue with those guitars is the spring tension is too loose for my tastes, and non adjustable. I like a stiffer feel to not have accidental bends made. On the couple of p/g benders that I used to have , I experimented and found the magic solution to be cutting off three loops from the spring and bending over a new end loop. This gained the extra spring stiffness that I was after.
     
  3. guitarmann13

    guitarmann13 TDPRI Member

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    You won't have any trouble using lighter strings. It won't solve your tension issue though. If your handy shorten or replace the spring. I have the same guitar and sent it to Bill Warford at B&W benders. He installed his own adjustable tension system. Now I have a simple adjustment that let's me set the tension exactly how I want it. He also shortened my throw. I can't recommend Bill highly enough. Great guy and fast service.

    Congrats and Enjoy your bender.
     
  4. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thanks for giving me an idea of what to expect. I'll try the nines this weekend.
     
  5. Guitarist4u36

    Guitarist4u36 TDPRI Member

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    Something else you can do is use zip ties. I put 2 zip ties..one on each end of the spring and tied 4 loops per end together, thus adding more tension to the spring. Easy to do and worked well...for me anyway. Much less evasive....cutting that spring is not an easy thing to do and is non-reversible too. With zip ties you can add more or less loops if needed. I hope this helps.
     
  6. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    Good suggestion, thanks. I haven't restrung it yet. Might try acquiring some stiffer springs as well. Seems this is a common issue with the Parsons Green style bender. Do the springs just wear out over time? Or is the manufacturing spec just a bit soft from the start?
     
  7. Dogbear

    Dogbear Tele-Meister

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    A lot of folks talk about the “issues” this bender has and to understand why, you have to understand why it was created. It was very time and skill intensive for Fender to install a far better and more adjustable bender (the Parson’s White) in their guitars. Gene Parsons and Meridian Green designed the Parson’s Green bender on a plate so that Fender could CNC their bodies and then simply attached the bender with 11 screws. That approach resulted in a bender that was very affordable and serviceable, but lacked many of adjustment features and smoothness of the Parson’s White. So what are the “issues”

    1. The tension is not adjustable without having the bender/guitar modified or by replacing or shortening the spring. Actually once set most players never adjust it again. The springs have an extremely long life and are easy to replace. The factory spring is fairly heavy and for most players it is OK unless you jump around a lot. Holding the guitar properly also helps to avoid unintended activations. The zip tie solution works very well to dial in what you need. Cutting and bending these heavy springs can be a real pain and pretty tough on the skin if you slip.

    2. Some of these benders develop clicking sounds which most of the time are related to the leather stop pads that Fender uses on the adjustment mechanism. Rubber pads are used in the Hipshot version. They either fall off (metal to metal click) or wear out…same issue.

    3. They are not adjustable for throw length and have a relatively short throw from the factory. Gene Parson's and Brian Friend on this forum make a replacement clevis to extend that throw to a medium or medium long throw, but the limitations of the P/G make a true long throw impractical. It is not an easy install.

    4. Squeaking during activation – lubricant on the saddle and on the bender tower contact surfaces fixes that one.

    5. Weight…Fender P/G/s are very heavy due to their chrome steel mounting plate. Hipshot makes their version of this bender with a steel and aluminum plate. I changed my Fender plate out to a Hipshot polished aluminum one a couple of years ago cutting around 11 ounces off the guitar. Couldn’t deal with the neck pain….

    Are there better benders…absolutely? There will be members of this forum that will tell you all about them. Is this bender serviceable and a good learning tool? ….. Absolutely. I own three P/Gs (two short and one medium throw) and one medium/long throw P/W. The P/W is a better bender, but the P/G’s do just fine. Hope this helps…
     
  8. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    That helps a LOT! Thank you for taking the time to help educate me and others about the P/G B-bender. Understanding the history puts it in perspective. I'm also glad to hear they are serviceable and that they are good to learn on. I think I'll try the zip ties first, and if that doesn't do it, experiment with different springs. Thanks again!
     
  9. BrianF

    BrianF Friend of Leo's

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    I'd say they are more than serviceable. Once their set up right there's no reason why it can't your main b bender guitar.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  10. Dogbear

    Dogbear Tele-Meister

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    Servicable – durable, capable of or ready for long service, adequate, sufficient, functional…

    What Brian said.......

    BTW, Brian is an exceptional bender and flat picker and can work a P/G and P/W with the best of them. He also installs and services them.
     
  11. BrianF

    BrianF Friend of Leo's

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    I just wanted to make sure the impression was not left that the were only good enough to 'learn' on. But with the existence of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) it is unlikely that it will be your only bender ;-)
     
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