Early 50's S-100 questions

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Early 50's S-100 questions

Postby (analogpackrat) » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:03 pm

Got it on e-bay and expect it to be here in about a week. It's my first lap steel and it needs a little TLC, so I have a couple of questions. Hoping one of the experts here might help.

1) Apparently the tuning key knobs are crumbling. I was looking to get replacement knobs at StewMac. Will these work? I'll either get white and "age" them in tea/coffee or go for the cream ones.
2) Electronics are spotty. I've got jacks in the parts stash, but probably will get new pots. I was planning on 250k CTS for both. Make sense?
3) Horseshoe is "weak" so I'll be checking that out as well. ASSuming the DCR is in a reasonable range I'll try the show recharging trick. What would be a reasonable range of DCR for a horeshoe pickup from this era?

Thanks for any assistance.
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Early 50's S-100 questions

Postby (8mileshigher) » Mon May 07, 2012 2:19 pm

Doug -- congrats on getting the steel. Have you got some pictures to show of this and the tuners etc. that you are looking for ? Pics of specific parts might help people on the parts search ....
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Early 50's S-100 questions

Postby (8mileshigher) » Mon May 14, 2012 4:06 pm

Doug --- do you have any pictures to post of this Ric Steel guitar ?
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Re: Early 50's S-100 questions

Postby (analogpackrat) » Tue May 15, 2012 2:55 pm

I took some pics and will try to upload tomorrow.
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Re: Early 50's S-100 questions

Postby (analogpackrat) » Fri May 18, 2012 12:27 pm

OK, I finally have time to post a couple of pics. Here she is in all her faded glory...serial number is U6063. Needs correct strings, tuner buttons, new pots. The bridge is damaged on the near side which is kind of a bummer. Not something that can be replaced without machining a new one.

s-100_1.jpg


s-100_2.jpg


s-100_3.jpg
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Early 50's S-100 questions

Postby (8mileshigher) » Fri May 18, 2012 1:50 pm

That's pretty cool, Doug. Hope you can locate replacement tuning keys easy enough from someone.

Is that body material Bakelite ? Or is it something like a composite covering a wood base ?
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Re: Early 50's S-100 questions

Postby (analogpackrat) » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:50 am

Thread revival! I finally had a chance to mess with this old lady the past couple of days. I cleaned all the chrome bits with naptha and the fingerboard with alcohol. The mustard tone cap was way off and seemed to be failing so I replaced it with a polyester 39nF unit. I chose a smaller than spec value as the tone pot reads only 160k. BTW, the pots are not CTS, but a cheaper Centralab units with the sticker back cover. I managed to replace the tuner buttons with some from StewMac. They look OK. I'd like to lube the gears which are cheap open 3-in-1 types. What is an appropriate lubricant for these? The knobs are original and have no set screw. They are meant to press fit onto the splined pot shafts, but one is loose. What is the best fix for this problem? Thin paper around the shaft to provide enough friction?

Finally the 1-1/4" horseshoe seems to have almost no magnetism--it won't even grab a sewing pin. The output is very weak. It reads 5.3k DCR for those interested in historical stuff. Nothing looks tampered with, so I believe the coil is fine. What is the best way to re-magnetize the shoes? I see some threads where people used speaker magnets and also the youtube video of a guy rubbing bar magnets on the side of the shoes (without mentioning the orientation of the bar magnets!). If I can avoid having to disassemble the thing that would be preferable.

To answer Rich's question--the whole body is coated with zolatone, even the control cavities. But there is some wear on the body and it looks to me that it is made from solid wood, but probably pine, fir, or similar as it is very light and the wood is not very hard. Any and all help is appreciated. I'm looking forward to getting the shoes sorted and hearing what this one can do. Listen for the dogs and coyotes!
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Re: Early 50's S-100 questions

Postby (admin) » Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:30 am

Doug, thanks so much for taking the time to bring this instrument back to life and including us all in the process. I hope a soundbyte is also added as you continue on this journey.
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Early 50's S-100 questions

Postby (8mileshigher) » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:14 pm

analogpackrat wrote:Finally the 1-1/4" horseshoe seems to have almost no magnetism--it won't even grab a sewing pin. The output is very weak. It reads 5.3k DCR for those interested in historical stuff. Nothing looks tampered with, so I believe the coil is fine. What is the best way to re-magnetize the shoes? I see some threads where people used speaker magnets and also the youtube video of a guy rubbing bar magnets on the side of the shoes (without mentioning the orientation of the bar magnets!). If I can avoid having to disassemble the thing that would be preferable.



Doug --- there are several good threads on the RRF where some knowledgeable people have shared on this subject for remagnetizing older Horseshoes.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=386533&start=0&hilit=remagnetizing

You might also check on the Steel Guitar Forum and see what you can learn there.
http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/index.ph ... 65aff35e66

Also another useful website that CJJ steered me to, for steel guitars in general, was Brad's Page of Steel.... good stuff there on different tunings, etc. http://www.well.com/user/wellvis/steel.html

And if you are interested in David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) steel guitar tunings:
http://www.gilmourish.com/?page_id=69
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Re: Early 50's S-100 questions

Postby (analogpackrat) » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:00 pm

Thanks, Rich. I knew about the page of steel, but not the other one--very cool! I bit the bullet today and disassembled the pickup to remagnetize the shoes using the back-o-the-speaker method. My attempts at rubbing magnets on the shoes with everything in place netted a slight improvement, but still weak output. I'll report back once I reassemble and string it up. The shoes are currently stuck to the back of my Eminence Wizard...

Peter--no need to thank me. I like fixing otherwise abandoned or broken things. This one happened to be within my limited abilities to repair, so I am going for it. I don't know how to play lap steel (which is why I bought this relatively inexpensive model), so don't hold your breath on a demo recording! BTW, did you get my PM a few days ago?

I'll post a few more pics at some point.

Doug
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Early 50's S-100 questions

Postby (8mileshigher) » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:12 pm

Doug -- how is your Steel restoration progressing ?
You replaced the tuners or just the tuner-knobs with Stew Mac versions ??
How is the Horse Shoe re-magnetizing process coming along ?
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Re: Early 50's S-100 questions

Postby (analogpackrat) » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:05 am

Sorry for the long delay...been a bit busy here of late.

Yes, I got it all working. I only replaced the crumbling plastic buttons, not the machines themselves. I did lube the machines with liquid tri-flow and adjusted the tension--they are OK, but not great. The nut was loose when I removed the strings, so I cleaned it well with some alcohol and then lightly glued it with white glue. I ended up having to disassemble the pickup and charged the shoes on the back of a speaker magnet per the other threads on the subject. Even after 15 hours they didn't seem all that strong as magnets, but the pickup output is quite loud now, so I guess they are fine. I replaced tone cap which was bad, but left the pots as is. I may replace them at some point, but first I want to learn to play a bit.

I bought a set of EB power slinky strings and two singles to get a set 14-18-22p-24w-28-38 for C6 tuning. The tone is really nice, but also quite bright. I turn the tone down about a third and that seems about right to me. I can make Hawaiian noises, but will need a lot more practice to get something musical happening. Oh, I got a really nice used round chrome Ernie Ball tone bar at a local shop for $6. I'll try to post a few pics of the guts and finished product later.

Cheers...
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Early 50's S-100 questions

Postby (8mileshigher) » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:36 pm

Hi Doug
Any pictures of the changes and cleaning up you've done on this steel ?
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Re: Early 50's S-100 questions

Postby (buchrob) » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:20 pm

Congratulations on all your hard work. I bought a similar unit and fortunately the horseshoe is fine.

You really have to be careful working around this thing, as it will pick up any scrap piece of metal on the workbench and it will be a b*&^% to clean up.

My pots were itchy and scratchy, so I followed the Ric wiring diagram for the horsehoe basss: one 250K and one 500K pot and it sounds glorious. Bought the parts from Antique Electronics for next to nothing.
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