Tricone mods

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Tricone mods

Postby The Breeze » Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:04 pm

NB - This is one of the early Hot Rod Steel guitars, and Len sold it to me at a very good price. Later ones have different T-bridges fitted.

Though I'm happy with the guitar I felt it lacked volume, sustain and needed opening up a little. I spoke to Len and he said that the very early bridges were a "little chunky". So I've filed mine down. Here are some pics of the finished bridge:

Tricoe_bridge_sRGB_sm.jpg


First I removed a fair bit of metal with a file. The bulk of it came off the bass side. This had a noticeable effect on the 6th (D) string and a less pronounced effect on the others. So off it came again and I balanced it out and scalloped the ends of the arms.

Tri_bridge_fitted_sRGB_sm.jpg


That did the trick. More volume and sustain I've also noticed it sounds a lot less damped when fretting now, the fretted sound is a lot closer to the static slide sound.
A useful mod for the lower priced Tricones out there. Thought I'd share it with you. :D
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Re: Tricone mods

Postby Jakeblues » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:13 pm

I'm not quite seeing it from the pix. This was to reduce the mass, not to change the dimensions?
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Re: Tricone mods

Postby The Breeze » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:22 pm

They're both 'after' shots.

A bit of both Jake, I started off reducing the mass but kept the profiles tapering to guard against sympathetic vibration. Then I saw the Nationals with the scalloped ends. Must have taken 20% of the mass off.
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Re: Tricone mods

Postby Freeman » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:12 pm

Interesting - did you happen to take any before and after clips? The theory says that the reason a spider, and to a lesser extent, a tricone have longer attack and sustain than a biscuit is due to the fact that they do have more mass - once you get that bridge moving it tends to stay in motion. It would seem like reducing mass would shorten attack and sustain.

If you did take clips, particularly of individual strings, you can look at both the time domain and frequency domain with a program like Audacity - time domain will show you changes in both volume and sustain, frequency will show if there are more or less partials (ie complexity) in the note.

I once saw a discussion that said John Dopyera experimented with different saddle materials include brass before determining that maple or ebony capped maple sounded best - I always thought that had to do with mass.
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Re: Tricone mods

Postby Jakeblues » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:18 pm

Interesting. I've only been brave enough to take apart my first low end spider bridge. Even that made me a little nervous. It was pretty dead sounding, but I was able to squeeze some volume and life out of it. I did end up trading up to a Gold Tone, which is still an off shore build, but had a good set up (by Paul Beard).

I'd love to hear before and after on your mod.
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Re: Tricone mods

Postby The Breeze » Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:25 pm

Freeman wrote:Interesting - did you happen to take any before and after clips? The theory says that the reason a spider, and to a lesser extent, a tricone have longer attack and sustain than a biscuit is due to the fact that they do have more mass - once you get that bridge moving it tends to stay in motion. It would seem like reducing mass would shorten attack and sustain.


I'm not sure about the mass is better Freeman. Any tricone will have a lot more mass than a biscuit, and National bridges are fairly paired down.
I reasoned that:
It takes energy to move mass. The more mass you have then the more energy it takes to move it the same amount. i.e. The heavier your bridge then the harder you have to vibrate the string to get it to move, and not forgetting that it has to accelerate in one direction, then stop and move in the other.
Also after some investigation it seems that National scalloped their bridges to give more flexibility and improve bass response. Perhaps this is where the energy is stored for the sustain? I really don't know, and am only guessing, (and of course copying!).

That is about as technical as I am ever likely to get I'm afraid. :(

Jakeblues wrote:I'd love to hear before and after on your mod.


'Fraid not Jake. I did a half hearted mod about 6 months ago. Since then it's been work,work, work. Trouble is that you have to mike the guitar and it would be impossible (for me) to get exactly the same set-up. I know it is more fun to play now, and that's good enough. :D
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Re: Tricone mods

Postby The Breeze » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:39 pm

Found an older recording, made after the first mod to the bridge many months ago.

The left channel is the older recording, the right channel is the fully modified bridge.

https://myspace.com/tim_t7/music/song/tricone-mod-comparison-94735868-105481528
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Re: Tricone mods

Postby Freeman » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:27 pm

Interesting way to compare. I like the right side better (assuming my speakers are right and left like you recorded LOL) but I can't tell you why. Thanks for posting.
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