Other Tricone Mod Thoughts

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Other Tricone Mod Thoughts

Postby crowduck » Sun Apr 09, 2006 12:30 am

There have been many mentioned in past threads. I've had my Johnson Tri apart for some time now, anticipating neck replacement. I've had alot of time to study the parts & innards, and read about the mods & tweaks to 'hotrod' the Johnson Tri. I also happen have a complete factory stock replacement neck with neckstick. So, here are my thoughts and observations.

1. The neckstick is common softwood lumber, maybe pine, and is cut short of contact with the tail.
2. Mushrooms are made of common dowels with a screwed on plywood base.
3. Mushroom tops are cut unevenly for ease of insertion, bottoms are flat, and don't make even contact with back.

I'm not a tonewood expert, but I can't imagine this setup doing anything but inhibiting sound/tone/volume production.

I've read that removing the middle mushroom improves sound & volume. I'm guessing this is a result of freeing up the back from the constriction of that middle mushroom. Moving the other two mushrooms towards the neck & tail also free's up the back some more. Looks like the mushrooms are in there just for support, because the neckstick doesn't extend fully from the neckjoint to the tail, and secure/support the body as it should.

So, here's my plan.

1. New neckstick of hardwood/tonewood like maple. Cut to make solid, tight contact with the tail. This essentially eliminates the necessity for the rear mushroom as a structural support member.
2. Eliminate middle mushroom altogether, not needed.
3. Make a new front mushroom of hardwood dowel with solid bottom contoured to the back, and move to the extreme front of neckstick near the heel, or possibly eliminate the front mushroom.
4. New hardwood solid mushrooms installed at the 3 corners of the cone tray. This is a technique employed by 'dobro' builders called "tonering & soundpost" construction.
5. Depending on results, possibley eliminate steps 3 & 4.

What do you think? Too radical? Crazy?

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RE: Other Tricone Mod Thoughts

Postby ricochet » Sun Apr 09, 2006 12:54 am

There's supposed to be a block filling the space between the end of the neck stick and the tail of the body.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
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RE: Other Tricone Mod Thoughts

Postby slidnslim » Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:27 am

>There's supposed to be a block filling the space between the
>end of the neck stick and the tail of the body.
>
>"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


That would be the "tail block" and it has two shims underneath
and two shims at the end of the neck stick,tight contact at
these points are important!

I've never thought much of the idea of messing with the
neck-stick supports tricone or otherwise,a properly set up
reso shoulnt need messing with!

This idea of moving neck supports was originated by a New-york
luthier who couldnt; get a good sound out of his asian reso,
when they first came out,

Crowduck, I've changed basswood necksticks in vintage Nationals
to maple ones and the sound changed drasticly,
But keep in mind at the same time neck angle was change greatly
and I think had the greatest effect on tone,
I use maple supports and maple veneer pads as well,

Not sure about your reso, but Nationals are morticed in on a 45
the finger-board has to be removed first then the neckstick
is steamed apart as well! not an easy job the first time,

Kenny,
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RE: Other Tricone Mod Thoughts

Postby crowduck » Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:29 am

>There's supposed to be a block filling the space between the
>end of the neck stick and the tail of the body.
>
>"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

Rico,

Yes, that's correct, but all it does is hold the tailpiece in place. It doesn't connect with the neckstick at all. On mine, there's 3 screws holding the neckstick to the bottom of the cone tray, the front and rear screwheads are right where the cone sits, also not good. When I removed my tailpiece that little block just fell down inside the body. I'd remove the front and rear screws, leave the middle screw, and screw the tailpiece directly to the neckstick at the tail. I'm still trying to figure how to fill those screwholes and level the surface of the cone trays, mine has some 'humps & dips' in addition to the screws.
Thanks for the feedback.

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RE: Other Tricone Mod Thoughts

Postby crowduck » Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:47 am

>>There's supposed to be a block filling the space between the
>>end of the neck stick and the tail of the body.
>>
>>"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
>
>
> That would be the "tail block" and it has two shims
>underneath
> and two shims at the end of the neck stick,tight contact at
> these points are important!
>
> I've never thought much of the idea of messing with the
> neck-stick supports tricone or otherwise,a properly set up
> reso shoulnt need messing with!
>
> This idea of moving neck supports was originated by a
>New-york
> luthier who couldnt; get a good sound out of his asian
>reso,
> when they first came out,
>
> Crowduck, I've changed basswood necksticks in vintage
>Nationals
> to maple ones and the sound changed drasticly,
> But keep in mind at the same time neck angle was change
>greatly
> and I think had the greatest effect on tone,
> I use maple supports and maple veneer pads as well,
>
> Not sure about your reso, but Nationals are morticed in on
>a 45
> the finger-board has to be removed first then the neckstick
> is steamed apart as well! not an easy job the first time,
>
> Kenny,

Kenny,

Thanks for the input!

No shims on my 'tailblock', only a shim on the top of the neckstick at the rearend, I believe to set the neck/neckstick angle.

Question, when you say, "Nationals are morticed in on a 45", are you referring to the connection of the neckstick to the neck?

On the Johnson Tri the fingerboard is screwed to the body with 6 screws, going through the upper 6 MOP fret marker dots which must be removed. There is a plywood extension inside the body upper bout to receive the screws.

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RE: Other Tricone Mod Thoughts

Postby slidnslim » Sun Apr 09, 2006 12:44 pm

>>>There's supposed to be a block filling the space between the
>>>end of the neck stick and the tail of the body.
>>>
>>>"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
>>
>>
>> That would be the "tail block" and it has two shims
>>underneath
>> and two shims at the end of the neck stick,tight contact at
>> these points are important!
>>
>> I've never thought much of the idea of messing with the
>> neck-stick supports tricone or otherwise,a properly set up
>> reso shoulnt need messing with!
>>
>> This idea of moving neck supports was originated by a
>>New-york
>> luthier who couldnt; get a good sound out of his asian
>>reso,
>> when they first came out,
>>
>> Crowduck, I've changed basswood necksticks in vintage
>>Nationals
>> to maple ones and the sound changed drasticly,
>> But keep in mind at the same time neck angle was change
>>greatly
>> and I think had the greatest effect on tone,
>> I use maple supports and maple veneer pads as well,
>>
>> Not sure about your reso, but Nationals are morticed in on
>>a 45
>> the finger-board has to be removed first then the neckstick
>> is steamed apart as well! not an easy job the first time,
>>
>> Kenny,
>
>Kenny,
>
>Thanks for the input!
>
>No shims on my 'tailblock', only a shim on the top of the
>neckstick at the rearend, I believe to set the
>neck/neckstick angle.
>
>Question, when you say, "Nationals are morticed in on a 45",
>are you referring to the connection of the neckstick to the
>neck?
>
>On the Johnson Tri the fingerboard is screwed to the body
>with 6 screws, going through the upper 6 MOP fret marker
>dots which must be removed. There is a plywood extension
>inside the body upper bout to receive the screws.
>
>CrowDuck

Yeah, the connection is a glued mortice,you would benifit
from a tail block,shimed from underneath tight to the top,
then the end of the neckstick shimed tight to it,
Not sure about your Johnson but the coulple Ive been in had
the same arangement as Nationals of old,

If you dont want to dissasemble the neck-joint,you could
try and cut the neck-stick a few inches inside,glue a maple
stick to it,by scabing on a piece of plywood either side,
a glued joint like this would be solid,
but it would be trickey to keep neck angle right,you would
have to make sure neck heal stays tight against the body!

Kenny,
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RE: Other Tricone Mod Thoughts

Postby dabluz » Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:23 pm

i've worked on alot of reso's as well as built a couple. before removing brace posts think of it this way. imagine a stick approximately 37" long laying on the ground in front of you. as you face the stick, on the left side it is approximately 4 times the thickness/mass for the first 20" than the portion on the right side. now put your foot on the stick approximately 20" from the left end. pick up the left end with your left hand and raise it like you where going to break a piece of branch by placing your foot in the approximate middle leaving the right end on the ground. exert approximately 120-140 foot pound of pressure on the stick with your left hand. just before the branch breaks observe the lower mass portion of the branch to the right side of your foot and watch it curve and distort as you pull on the left side. you will also notice that the portion of the stick on the left end has more mass and distorts very little. in order to offset the force applied the the neck by the string tension and hold the neck in position the brace post provide support for the lower mass portion of the right side of the "stick" to counteact the action of the higher mass portion of the left side "neck". i'm not a fan of removing the bracing from a reso. i am a fan of having the "stick" evenly and uniformly supported. a lot less "neck problems" [http://www.soundclick.com/pappad]
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RE: Other Tricone Mod Thoughts

Postby slidnslim » Sun Apr 09, 2006 7:10 pm

Dabluz,couln't agree with you more! great analagy(sp)?

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RE: Other Tricone Mod Thoughts

Postby crowduck » Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:42 pm

Thank you folks! I have a much better understanding now of what I'm dealing with. This Tricone only cost me about $75, so it's 'no great loss' if I ruin it, and maybe I'll learn something regardless.

I also have 1/2 of a Johnson 996, stripped brass body, and complete neck with tuners that I'm toying with. The neckstick looks like a replacement, ala Kenny's description, appears to be maple.

These things are fun to work on, kind of like tinkering with cars or motorcycles, only no grease and oil.

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