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The Frequensator

#1 User is offline   Greasy Ivan 

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 10:26 PM

Letís talk about the legendary and patented tailpiece that Epiphone started using almost 80 years ago.

The shorter fork should provide a deeper tone on the bass string and the longer fork more brilliance on the treble strings.
But does it really work?
Iíve discussed this with a luthier and his opinion is that shorter fork provides more tension on the strings and therefore creates a sharper sound (as with a mandolin).

At first I couldnít believe that the sound of the string could be influenced by anything that happens after the bridge. Untill, Iíve wrapped a piece of cloth around the strings on my Broadway.
Before my guitar made a annoying 'zing-zing'-oversound when unplugged but now itís gone.
If anybody has an idea how I can eliminate the Ďzing-zingí-sound in a more discrete manner please let me know.

So apparently it DOES make a difference.
What do you think about the Frequensator?

#2 User is offline   carverman 

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 10:40 PM

Quote

Letís talk about the legendary and patented tailpiece that Epiphone started using almost 80 years ago.

The shorter fork should provide a deeper tone on the bass string and the longer fork more brilliance on the treble strings.
But does it really work?
Iíve discussed this with a luthier and his opinion is that shorter fork provides more tension on the strings and therefore creates a sharper sound (as with a mandolin).

At first I couldnít believe that the sound of the string could be influenced by anything that happens after the bridge. Untill, Iíve wrapped a piece of cloth around the strings on my Broadway.
Before my guitar made a annoying 'zing-zing'-oversound when unplugged but now itís gone.
If anybody has an idea how I can eliminate the Ďzing-zingí-sound in a more discrete manner please let me know.

So apparently it DOES make a difference.
What do you think about the Frequensator?



Well it's an Epiphone exclusive but IMO not the best tp. Howard Roberts didn't like them and
insisted on either the ES-175 cast tp or the L5 tailpiece on his models. According to
the patent issued to Herb Sunshine (on behalf of Epiphone back then), there was
several versions of it considered in the patent application. The best design would
have been more expensive to make, so they settled on the cheapest design
to manufacture and that's what it is. The longer bass section allows the bass strings
to be longer and you get more harmonics from them. The shorter treble section
is made short on purpose to get more "zing" out of the strings being tauter.
Some legendary jazz players decided to make both sections the same..others
experimented with it reversed.
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2005 Epi LP Custom
1995 Epi Joe Pass
2006 Epi Broadway Elitist
and some other guitars

#3 User is offline   layboomo 

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 12:35 AM

You can get rid of most of the sympathetic vibrations behind the bridge by simply weaving a pipe cleaner between the strings as a damper.













#4 User is offline   carverman 

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 01:02 AM

Quote

You can get rid of most of the sympathetic vibrations behind the bridge by simply weaving a pipe cleaner between the strings as a damper.


or rubber grommets between the strings near the string bars. I've seen those as well.
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2005 Epi LP Custom
1995 Epi Joe Pass
2006 Epi Broadway Elitist
and some other guitars

#5 User is offline   Guest 

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 01:12 AM

A guitarist I admire the "Funk Brother" Dennis Coffey had photographs of his 5 guitars on his old website. One was a Gibson Byrdland and on this beautiful Byrdland between the bridge and the tailpiece were about 5 wraps of masking tape making a broad, ugly, efficient dampener for any unwanted input to his sound from that area of the guitar.

Dennis, or someone mixing the goods in the studio must have heard something they wanted to cut out.

I have a Levin 335 and the Levin designers made a very long tailpiece that reaches very close to bridge maybe for the same reason.

Posted Image

In 10 days I pick up my first guitar with a frequensator looking forward to the experience. I think aesthetically the Freaky-Sators are beautiful. Being an amateur any adverse elements it may have will be attacked with pipecleaners and masking tape if I ever become a session musician......LOL [drool] :^o #-o

#6 User is offline   carverman 

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 01:23 AM

Here is a photo of the various frequensator options that Herb Sunshine filed in his
patent application. I don't understand the stepped adjustable screw principle
because it would need something more than the flat screw heads to anchor
the strings, but I like the idea of compensating the strings according to tuned
pitch of the strings.

The other one next to it should have been the one that would have made more
sense than the current one, but for some reason, the current design was chosen.

Posted Image

Truth be told, the nicest tp that EPI NYC produced was the one on this 40s Deluxe
Posted Image
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2005 Epi LP Custom
1995 Epi Joe Pass
2006 Epi Broadway Elitist
and some other guitars

#7 User is offline   Guest 

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 02:58 AM

Here is another example of older designs leaving shorter string length between the tailpiece and the bridge 1941 Epiphone Ritz just posted by Epinder it is for sale on Craigslist....

1959 Levin
1940's Epiphone Deluxe
and
1941 Epiphone Ritz
all similar in this respect

Posted Image

#8 User is offline   Greasy Ivan 

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 10:16 PM

Thanks everyone for your tips and reactions.

Here's a picture of Dennis Coffey's Byrdland, Joe was referring to.

Posted Image

I've solved the problem at the moment in a simular way.

Posted Image

Pipe cleaners are cheap and easy to get but not very aesthetic as a durable alternative.
Rubber grommets would be the best solution but I couldn't find any smalls ones on the amazon and others sites yet (for strings the diameter should be very small).
They should even exist in transparent rubber like the ones on the cables of my mountain bike.
If anyone knows a site where I can order them, please let me know. It would be very much appreciated.

Most modern archtop guitars have wooden tailpieces (mahony I think), the sound is probably better but it has less sex appeal. But Jazz guitarist often don't care too much about that.

Thanks to for the picture of Herb Sunshine's design, Carverman. If you have more of that please post.
I hope you don't mind that I post this picture on my blog somewhere in the future.

SamBooka, another forum member, made the forks on his frequensator longer.
He actually cut pieces of rod to the desired size and bend them to fit the fixed part of the frequensator.
Here's a picture of the very well looking result:

Posted Image

#9 User is offline   Guest 

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 10:30 PM

Quote

Thanks everyone for your tips and reactions.

Here's a picture of Dennis Coffey's Byrdland, Joe was referring to.

Posted Image

I've solved the problem at the moment in a simular way.

Posted Image

Pipe cleaners are cheap and easy to get but not very aesthetic as a durable alternative.
Rubber grommets would be the best solution but I couldn't find any smalls ones on the amazon and others sites yet (for strings the diameter should be very small).
They should even exist in transparent rubber like the ones on the cables of my mountain bike.
If anyone knows a site where I can order them, please let me know. It would be very much appreciated.

Most modern archtop guitars have wooden tailpieces (mahony I think), the sound is probably better but it has less sex appeal. But Jazz guitarist often don't care too much about that.

Thanks to for the picture of Herb Sunshine's design, Carverman. If you have more of that please post.
I hope you don't mind that I post this picture on my blog somewhere in the future.

SamBooka, another forum member, made the forks on his frequensator longer.
He actually cut pieces of rod to the desired size and bend them to fit the fixed part of the frequensator.
Here's a picture of the very well looking result:

Posted Image




"Van" that is one beautiful Broadway you have there, are they M90's or P94's in there... I bet that sounds beautiful....I pick my Zephyr Blues up in 9 days hollow box with P90's and I want it here right now!!!!!.....

Yes and as you can see having the image of the very Byrdland I referred to, if that method was good enough for "funk brother" Dennis, I suppose it is a good enough fix for us...#-o

Thanks for posting the photo of your Broadway very nice....

#10 User is offline   smips65 

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 10:45 PM

#-o

Must have missed this thread...

Tape, and pipe cleaning stuff wound up around the strings, just looks bad, IMOP

I simply use tortex picks, slide em between the strings that need muting, right above the tailpiece.


Posted Image
3 Generations...life is good
2009 Dot Deluxe
2008 Zephyr Regent
2006 Emperor Regent
2005 Limited Edition Custom Plus 3 Les Paul
2009 Guild GAD 50
1970ish Aims (Martin D-35) AKA Joey, RIP my friend. 5.1.10
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#11 User is offline   Guest 

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 10:51 PM

Quote

#-o

Must have missed this thread...

Tape, and pipe cleaning stuff wound up around the strings, just looks bad, IMOP

I simply use tortex picks, slide em between the strings that need muting, right above the tailpiece.


Posted Image




Smips you have given me an idea......what about a piece of clear, transparent plastic just over the width of the strings same thickness as a plectrum and about an inch wide interwoven between the strings between tailpiece and bridge would hardly be noticeable and would certainly dampen any unwanted sound from that area...Dennis probably just saw the Byrdland as a tool of his trade I know what you mean about the tape from an aesthetic point of view...

#12 User is offline   Greasy Ivan 

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 10:53 PM

Thanks!

Those are GFS Dream 90's.
They look great and are nicely priced but have a very high output.
I am not too satisfied with the sound.
I have to turn down to volume, lower the tone knops to 4-5 and turn the bass all the way open on my amp before I get some warmth.

I guess my quest for a nice sound that keeps the mid between jazz, rockabilly and blues continues.

I just gave the tip from Smips65 a try and the pic works perfectly too.
Rubber grommets keep their first place in the aesthetic chart for me.
But as they say in french: les gouts et les couleurs ne se discuttent pas (colours and taste are just a matter of opinion).

#13 User is offline   carverman 

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 11:19 PM

Quote

Thanks!

Those are GFS Dream 90's.
They look great and are nicely priced but have a very high output.
I am not too satisfied with the sound.
I have to turn down to volume, lower the tone knops to 4-5 and turn the bass all the way open on my amp before I get some warmth.


The high output can be tamed down somewhat by substituting a 250K volume instead
of a 500k. It provides more load on the pickup. Gibson used 300k volume controls
on some of their LPs, and the 300k are available from some online vendors, but
expensive. The easy experiment is to bridge a 500k resistor across the volume
control outer taps..because of ohms law..the resistance will be cut in half.
That's easy to do, and won't result in expensive mods.

Quote

I guess my quest for a nice sound that keeps the mid between jazz, rockabilly and blues continues.


I like their vintage 59s and have a few sets of those..but looking at the lastest version
of their pickup offerings, it doesn't seem that they are selling those
anymore..just the Classic IIs, alnico IIs these days..their pickup section seems to
be more sparse these days than last year.
=======================================================
2005 Epi LP Custom
1995 Epi Joe Pass
2006 Epi Broadway Elitist
and some other guitars

#14 User is offline   carverman 

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 11:45 PM

Quote

Thanks everyone for your tips and reactions.
Rubber grommets would be the best solution but I couldn't find any smalls ones on the amazon and others sites yet (for strings the diameter should be very small).

Try automotive supplies or fastener stores..that's where you would likely find them.
A 1/2 inch OD and a 3/8 inch (or less) ID would do it. All you would need is 4 of them.

EDIT: Home Depot sell these in the fastner section in 3 sizes (5/16, 3/8 and 1/2). The
1/2 inch looked a bit large for some reason, so most likely the 3/8.

Quote

Most modern archtop guitars have wooden tailpieces (mahony I think), the sound is probably better but it has less sex appeal. But Jazz guitarist often don't care too much about that.


You mean like the Benedetto violin style ebony tp? I'm sure they do the job, but I'm a traditionalist when it comes
to tp,my favorite is the style they use on the Es-175..the cast one..not the thin metal one with the crinkle wires
beside it.

Quote

Thanks to for the picture of Herb Sunshine's design, Carverman. If you have more of that please post.
I hope you don't mind that I post this picture on my blog somewhere in the future.


It came out of my book "House of Stathopoulo"..the original Epiphone NYC company. I didn't take a picture
of the entire drawing, so being a patent (and an expired one at that), I believe you could post it.
Personally the nicest tp and the my choice if I had the bucks is the D'Angelico solid brass tp.
There is something about solid brass and string tone....can't put my finger on it..but there is a reason
brass is used in so many musical instruments.

These tp were offered separately at one time for $200US...I don't know if that is still the case now..but
this is the ideal type of tp, because you have enough mass and string compensation provided in the design.

http://www.dangelicoguitars.com/

Quote

SamBooka, another forum member, made the forks on his frequensator longer.
He actually cut pieces of rod to the desired size and bend them to fit the fixed part of the frequensator.
Here's a picture of the very well looking result:


Yes, fortunately with the design, you can diddle with customizing it easier than most. Get some brass rod
of the same OD and bend it carefully in a vise to get the rounded corners, cut the rod to whatever bent
and length you want, and then using a 4/40 tap (I believe) thread the ends with a small die.

You can extend the bass as well with this method to make both segments shorter. To fill in the open spaces
on each "fork", you can make walnut or some other wood fller piecs that slide into the round rods, then
you put on the string bar and the acorn nuts. Note, that the filler panels have to be slightly shorter than
the rods to allow space for the strings to slide out, when changing them.
This is fairly easy to do and will change the looks of the guitar giving it a more "solid look".
=======================================================
2005 Epi LP Custom
1995 Epi Joe Pass
2006 Epi Broadway Elitist
and some other guitars

#15 User is offline   peeper 

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 04:23 AM

I have been using little strips of foam for years. I also put them behind the nut to shut it the hell up. I also shrink wrap my trem springs and pup mounting springs for the same reason.

#16 User is offline   smips65 

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 05:17 AM

Quote

Smips you have given me an idea......what about a piece of clear, transparent plastic just over the width of the strings same thickness as a plectrum and about an inch wide interwoven between the strings between tailpiece and bridge would hardly be noticeable and would certainly dampen any unwanted sound from that area...Dennis probably just saw the Byrdland as a tool of his trade I know what you mean about the tape from an aesthetic point of view...





I just go for the basic fix so to speak, if someone calls me out for the pick in the strings, I claim old age....

damn, is that where it was all this time????

It works, so who cares....
3 Generations...life is good
2009 Dot Deluxe
2008 Zephyr Regent
2006 Emperor Regent
2005 Limited Edition Custom Plus 3 Les Paul
2009 Guild GAD 50
1970ish Aims (Martin D-35) AKA Joey, RIP my friend. 5.1.10
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#17 User is offline   Guest 

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 06:46 AM

Quote

I just go for the basic fix so to speak, if someone calls me out for the pick in the strings, I claim old age....

damn, is that where it was all this time????

It works, so who cares....


J that sounds like a good strategy, that's what I like about this forum there is always more than one way to skin a cat and we all do things the way that suits us and share our experiences...great stuff

#18 User is offline   Greasy Ivan 

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 08:09 PM

Quote

The high output can be tamed down somewhat by substituting a 250K volume instead
of a 500k. It provides more load on the pickup. Gibson used 300k volume controls
on some of their LPs, and the 300k are available from some online vendors, but
expensive. The easy experiment is to bridge a 500k resistor across the volume
control outer taps..because of ohms law..the resistance will be cut in half.
That's easy to do, and won't result in expensive mods.



Thanks for the tip.
The technician who installed the pickups (I really would love to learn to solder myself) gave me the same advise when I told him that I wasn't that satisfied. If the result doesn't please and I decide to go for PAF's, does the resistor work well on those too? Or should it be removed again?

#19 User is offline   Greasy Ivan 

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 08:10 PM

Quote

I have been using little strips of foam for years. I also put them behind the nut to shut it the hell up. I also shrink wrap my trem springs and pup mounting springs for the same reason.


I don't know what I should imagine about those 'little strips of foam'. Would I be too demanding if I'd ask you to post a picture ?

#20 User is offline   Greasy Ivan 

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 08:13 PM

Quote

J that sounds like a good strategy, that's what I like about this forum there is always more than one way to skin a cat and we all do things the way that suits us and share our experiences...great stuff




I couldn't agree more, Joe.

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