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Shtew

ZT3 Setup Issue

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Hi Folks,

Thanx for letting me post here!

I've got an issue with a ZT3 I'm in the process of getting it set up.

Hopefully someone can offer a solution.

Info:

I'm a "seasoned" guitar technician/luthier with over 25 years experience.

I've worked on a few of the previous versions of Steinberger Trans Trem models, but this is my first exposure to the ZT3.

It's brand new, tho the customer futz with it a bit prior to bringing it into my shop.

Yes, I'm using the "calibrated" official Steinberger strings made in China....gauged .010-.046

Standard A440 pitch

Yes, I've watched Ned's video...about 6 times...[and didn't even fall asleep...man, he is a dull guy...;-) ]

Yes, I've got the fabulous "manual" for this guitar.

The Issue:

No matter what I do, I cannot get the range of the vibrato to be correct...from F sharp at the highest position to D at the lowest position...it ends up about a half step up from standard [F as opposed to E] when you get back to the fixed or the "idle" position.

Retuning to standard pitch yields F at the highest position and C sharp at the lowest position.

In other words...it's either live with that range of positions tuned to standard, of tune to F in order to acheive the F sharp to D positions.

I've done this 4 times now, and it's repeatable every time.

The bridge works fine in either tuning...staying in tune to itself...and I don't feel or experience anything sticking or slipping.

I've not taken the bridge off...yet...to see if something's amiss.

 

Is there something that I'm missing...?

 

This is getting really aggravating and time consuming...nothing quite as much fun as tuning a guitar several hundred times...I can feel hair folicles falling out and many others turning grey..er...;-)

Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated!

 

Best Regards, Shtew

 

http://stewsguitarworks.com/sgw.htm

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Not sure I fully understand your problem from your post but I have the a ZT3 and the wheel on the back of the guitar is what determines what tuning the trem will float after it is tuned to pitch locked. Is that what your problem is, when unlocked it does not return to E A D G B E tuning?

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Hi,

Thanx for the reply.

 

OK...I'll try to explain again...

I get the guitar tuned to standard pitch, with the bridge in the fixed position.

Adjust neck, action, intonation.

I put the trem into the floating position, and adjust the wheel on the back so that it's the same pitch in the fixed and floating positions.

Then, I go through the procedure of adjusting the trem so that it's correct from the high position F# to the low position D.

Then when returning to the locked or the floating position, the guitar is now approx 1/2 step up from standard E tuning, at F.

I retune the fixed & floating positions again, via the tuners & the wheel,

The Trem range is now F at the high position and C# at the low position, with it tuned to standard E.

Rinse & Repeat...same thing consistantly...it will NOT achieve the range of F# to D at standard pitch, it ends up as F to C#.

 

I don't get it...WHAT am I missing or doing wrong...???

 

Shtew

 

 

 

Not sure I fully understand your problem from your post but I have the a ZT3 and the wheel on the back of the guitar is what determines what tuning the trem will float after it is tuned to pitch locked. Is that what your problem is, when unlocked it does not return to E A D G B E tuning?

 

 

 

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Hi,

Thanx for the reply.

 

OK...I'll try to explain again...

I get the guitar tuned to standard pitch, with the bridge in the fixed position.

Adjust neck, action, intonation.

I put the trem into the floating position, and adjust the wheel on the back so that it's the same pitch in the fixed and floating positions.

Then, I go through the procedure of adjusting the trem so that it's correct from the high position F# to the low position D.

Then when returning to the locked or the floating position, the guitar is now approx 1/2 step up from standard E tuning, at F.

I retune the fixed & floating positions again, via the tuners & the wheel,

The Trem range is now F at the high position and C# at the low position, with it tuned to standard E.

Rinse & Repeat...same thing consistantly...it will NOT achieve the range of F# to D at standard pitch, it ends up as F to C#.

 

I don't get it...WHAT am I missing or doing wrong...???

 

Shtew

OK, you must not be getting the trem in the middle position when you are locking it to tune to EADGBE. You must lock the trem arm in the middle position to tune. Then unlock and use the wheel on the back to tune it again. If you unlock and the pitch goes high, then you will loosen the thumb wheel and if the pitch goes low you will tighten the wheel on the back. You will do this until the trem locks in the middle position and is tuned to EADGBE and then when unlocked it will stay in tune. There are 5 positions, two up and two down. Make sure you are in the middle or it will do something like what you are getting.

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Hi,

Nope...

I'm first putting the bridge in the locked middle position, tuning to standard, then put the bridge in the floating/middle position, re-tuning via the wheel in the back, then double checking that the two are the same/adjust as needed...at standard pitch, EADGBE

Then go through the set up as in a regular guitar.

Then, dble check fixed & floatng/middle positons again at EADGBE standard, & slightly tweak it...as neck, action, intonation changes it slightly like any guitar.

Then, do the trem adjustment procedure exactly as per the video...F# [high position,where Ned says to retune] & D [low position, where you adjust the claws].

When it's done & I get back at either the locked or middle/floating position, it's then up a half step, "F standard'...they're both the same, within a cent or so.

Retune those two positions again to standard EADGBE, and then the Trem range is at F [high position] & C# [low position]

 

And then I count the grey hairs that have fallen out of my head and landed on my bench...sigh...WTF!?! & other assorted cussing...sigh...

 

Shtew

 

OK, you must not be getting the trem in the middle position when you are locking it to tune to EADGBE. You must lock the trem arm in the middle position to tune. Then unlock and use the wheel on the back to tune it again. If you unlock and the pitch goes high, then you will loosen the thumb wheel and if the pitch goes low you will tighten the wheel on the back. You will do this until the trem locks in the middle position and is tuned to EADGBE and then when unlocked it will stay in tune. There are 5 positions, two up and two down. Make sure you are in the middle or it will do something like what you are getting.

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So at this point (no longer adjusting saddles) finish up by tuning the middle position with tuners and wheel only to EADGBE, you're done. One notch up F, two notch up F#, one notch down (from middle) D#, two notch down D.

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I think that I understand you problem:

You adjust everything bla bla bla

F# stays in perfect tune, D the same

but then you go back to standard E and it's no perfect tunning or not even close. and F and D# are closer but not perfect.

 

I never tried but I'm pretty sure that the screw below the tuners are the main thing.

I think that the little one unlocks the big one (like when adjusting action and octavage). So you loose it.

And then if you look what's there below the big screw, there is a stair (the one that let the guitar get locked in other tunes...

That mean something I think (and it's not on the uncomplete manual of the ZT3, neither in the Ned's vids, suspicious...)

 

I think that adjusts the stair so you can get tuned in every half tune.

 

I hope I'm right I never done it because i'm afraid not to be right and lazy to do so. But the chances of me being right are really high I think.

 

I hope that the problem is resolved. And I'm waiting for some feedback. Thanks!

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Hi,

Well...that's what I've settled with..except that...it WON'T go two notches up to F#, only one, to F...but it will go an extra notch down to C#...

The entire Trem assembly has shifted 1/2 step down...it's crazy!

 

Shtew

So at this point (no longer adjusting saddles) finish up by tuning the middle position with tuners and wheel only to EADGBE, you're done. One notch up F, two notch up F#, one notch down (from middle) D#, two notch down D.

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Hi,

Hmmm...interesting theory...I'll check into that...

 

Shtew

 

I think that I understand you problem:

You adjust everything bla bla bla

F# stays in perfect tune, D the same

but then you go back to standard E and it's no perfect tunning or not even close. and F and D# are closer but not perfect.

 

I never tried but I'm pretty sure that the screw below the tuners are the main thing.

I think that the little one unlocks the big one (like when adjusting action and octavage). So you loose it.

And then if you look what's there below the big screw, there is a stair (the one that let the guitar get locked in other tunes...

That mean something I think (and it's not on the uncomplete manual of the ZT3, neither in the Ned's vids, suspicious...)

 

I think that adjusts the stair so you can get tuned in every half tune.

 

I hope I'm right I never done it because i'm afraid not to be right and lazy to do so. But the chances of me being right are really high I think.

 

I hope that the problem is resolved. And I'm waiting for some feedback. Thanks!

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Hi,

Well...that's what I've settled with..except that...it WON'T go two notches up to F#, only one, to F...but it will go an extra notch down to C#...

The entire Trem assembly has shifted 1/2 step down...it's crazy!

 

Shtew

You have to put it in the middle position and tune it as the last step. Lock it in the middle position as the last step and tune it with the tuners. Then adjust the main trem spring on the back so that when unlocked from the middle position it will not change pitch from EADGBE. Then you are done. There are five positions, if you tune (to EADGBE) while locked in any position other than the middle one you will never get it to work right. If you want it to have an extra half step up or down then you would tune the last step in position 2 or 4. To get it right you have to do the last step in position 3.

 

Now if it is not transposing correctly that is an entirely different situation and is usually due to strings that are not the correct length.

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Hi,

Yup...as previously mentioned, middle position #3 floating & locking has been observed, initially and in the last step of the Trem adjustment procedure.

Official Steinberger TT Calibrated strings .010-.046 made in China.

Results as mentioned previously.

 

Shtew

 

You have to put it in the middle position and tune it as the last step. Lock it in the middle position as the last step and tune it with the tuners. Then adjust the main trem spring on the back so that when unlocked from the middle position it will not change pitch from EADGBE. Then you are done. There are five positions, if you tune (to EADGBE) while locked in any position other than the middle one you will never get it to work right. If you want it to have an extra half step up or down then you would tune the last step in position 2 or 4. To get it right you have to do the last step in position 3.

 

Now if it is not transposing correctly that is an entirely different situation and is usually due to strings that are not the correct length.

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Hi,

Yup...as previously mentioned, middle position #3 floating & locking has been observed, initially and in the last step of the Trem adjustment procedure.

Official Steinberger TT Calibrated strings .010-.046 made in China.

Results as mentioned previously.

 

Shtew

If by "mentioned previously" you mean that you have an extra transpose position down then you have not tuned in the middle position in the last step, you tuned in the fouth position and just didn't realize you did.

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Hi,

I really don't believe so.

I went through the procedure 4 times, and have done setups on the previous versions of TT's.

Am very familiar with the importance of being in the mid position for the standard & fixed tunings .

I think I wouldv'e caught that, as I was going back & forth from F# to D to set the "jaws".

Tho...at this point, I guess anything is possible...;-)

Customer has picked up the gtr now, and is OK with it, as he has no need to go up that far.

Tho for my own peace of mind, I would like to know just what the deal is, in case another one comes in the shop...

 

Shtew

 

 

 

If by "mentioned previously" you mean that you have an extra transpose position down then you have not tuned in the middle position in the last step, you tuned in the fouth position and just didn't realize you did.

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Hi,

I really don't believe so.

I went through the procedure 4 times, and have done setups on the previous versions of TT's.

Am very familiar with the importance of being in the mid position for the standard & fixed tunings .

I think I wouldv'e caught that, as I was going back & forth from F# to D to set the "jaws".

Tho...at this point, I guess anything is possible...;-)

Customer has picked up the gtr now, and is OK with it, as he has no need to go up that far.

Tho for my own peace of mind, I would like to know just what the deal is, in case another one comes in the shop...

 

Shtew

The TT2 has the notches on the outside so you can see the middle position, the TT3 has teeth under the hood hidden so it would be easy to get it in the wrong one while setting up. There is no other way to accomplish what you achieved other than treating position 4 as if it were position 3 at the end of the setup.

 

All your client would have to do at this point is put the trem in Eb and tune it to E then adjust the TT main spring and he would be in business. If he wanted to. :rolleyes:

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Hi,

Thanx for the reply.

Now...with what you've said, it begins to make some sense to me...!

As you said, with the older TT's, one could see which position you were in, and with the TT3, nada...no visual indication, or in the time I spent with it, ya can't even feel just where you are position wise...it's really a bit of a guess.

And, initially, it wouldn't even go to the F# setting...my customer had futzed with things so much...I had to really play around with the jaws screws just to get it to go to F#...it was as if there was some kind of limiting screw or some such that limited the overall travel of the bridge.

And I had to really crank on the tuners & pitch wheel at the middle position to even get it to standard pitch in the first place.

Now, I didn't pull the unit out of the guitar to check...but...maybe there's some kind of 'under the hood" adjustment that was out-of-whack from the start limiting the overall range UP, so that position 5 would not be engaged...?

Has anyone done that [pulled the bridge off] to see...?

All this being said...then WHY would it have adjusted properly from up to F# and down to D...?

From what you're explaining, it does make sense...if it was indeed position F, and via the tuners it was actually cranked up to F#, that would indeed solve the mystery anyway...but now I'm curious as to why F# position never latched as it's supposed to...there must be something internal that's amiss.

 

Your suggestion of putting it into Eb and retuning...but how could you even do that, as if it was in the Eb position, it would be transposed & fixed, not floating, yes...?

 

Anyways...he's gonna play with it, just to make sure he digs the normal setup of it, and he'll be bringing a couple other items in for work...I'll tell him if he'd like to bring it back, and I'll dive into it internally to see WTF the deal is.

"It's the suspense that gets me!"

 

Thanx for your help!

 

Shtew

 

 

The TT2 has the notches on the outside so you can see the middle position, the TT3 has teeth under the hood hidden so it would be easy to get it in the wrong one while setting up. There is no other way to accomplish what you achieved other than treating position 4 as if it were position 3 at the end of the setup.

 

All your client would have to do at this point is put the trem in Eb and tune it to E then adjust the TT main spring and he would be in business. If he wanted to. :rolleyes:

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Hi,

Thanx for the reply.

Now...with what you've said, it begins to make some sense to me...!

As you said, with the older TT's, one could see which position you were in, and with the TT3, nada...no visual indication, or in the time I spent with it, ya can't even feel just where you are position wise...it's really a bit of a guess.

And, initially, it wouldn't even go to the F# setting...my customer had futzed with things so much...I had to really play around with the jaws screws just to get it to go to F#...it was as if there was some kind of limiting screw or some such that limited the overall travel of the bridge.

And I had to really crank on the tuners & pitch wheel at the middle position to even get it to standard pitch in the first place.

Now, I didn't pull the unit out of the guitar to check...but...maybe there's some kind of 'under the hood" adjustment that was out-of-whack from the start limiting the overall range UP, so that position 5 would not be engaged...?

Has anyone done that [pulled the bridge off] to see...?

All this being said...then WHY would it have adjusted properly from up to F# and down to D...?

From what you're explaining, it does make sense...if it was indeed position F, and via the tuners it was actually cranked up to F#, that would indeed solve the mystery anyway...but now I'm curious as to why F# position never latched as it's supposed to...there must be something internal that's amiss.

 

Your suggestion of putting it into Eb and retuning...but how could you even do that, as if it was in the Eb position, it would be transposed & fixed, not floating, yes...?

 

Anyways...he's gonna play with it, just to make sure he digs the normal setup of it, and he'll be bringing a couple other items in for work...I'll tell him if he'd like to bring it back, and I'll dive into it internally to see WTF the deal is.

"It's the suspense that gets me!"

 

Thanx for your help!

 

Shtew

I have been under the hood many times and there is no adjustment there that should be adjusted by the end user. But It is interesting to see how the trem works. The two screws that were mentioned in another's post have a lot to do with how tight or loose the trem is when engaging the trem arm in the transposing positions and that may have given you a problem.

 

When talking about the trem and using F# or D or E you should not take this as a literal description. They are really referring to positions that the trem is locked into. Position one would be call D, two D#, three E, four F, and five F#. But this is all relative to how you tune in position three. If I tune position three to Eb, then position one would be Db, and two D. If I tune position three to F then position one would be Eb and two would be E. As long as there are five positions that the trem can lock into smoothly then you have the mechanical part set up right. Then it is a matter of positioning the jaws to transpose correctly. Hope this helps! :)

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I forgot to mention that the main trem spring adjustment on the back of the guitar is what determines where the trem floats. So if you tune in number three position to EADGBE and then you unlock the trem to float the tuning jumps up toward F you must relieve some tension on the main spring. If it jumps down towaed Db then you must add some tension so the trem is balanced over position three. You want to end up where when locked you have EADGBE and unlocked (floating) you have EADGBE.

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