the Fraken-Dynasty and the bendmaster FT saga

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the Fraken-Dynasty and the bendmaster FT saga

Post by m-m-m on Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:39 pm

Sorry about the length of these posts. I just wanted to be thorough and provide some prespective. When I started out I thought that it was a cool story, but as I got goin' I realized that I needed to edit myself a bit.

Hi there, everyone. First post and it's gonna be a doozy. I've been lurking for a while, but never felt that I had a ton to add, but I think now the time is at hand.

I started playing guitar around late '94 on a borrowed acoustic and got my first guitar in '95 (mim strat). A few years after that (must've been '97) I got an old junky flying V style guitar from my sisters boyfriend at the time. It was literally in pieces. The only parts left of the electronics was the output jack and the ground. At the time I didn't know anything about how guitar repair, so I got some strings and tried to get it all back together. The neck had tuners on it already and the bridge was more or less intact, so I figured all I had to do was mount it onto the body. I tried to put it on, but it didn't sit quite right and when I tried to put strings on it they end up just laying across the frets. I gave up pretty quickly and threw it back in the case that came with it and stashed it in the corner of my room. At the time, I was really into punk rock and whenever I got a sticker it would go on that case. At some point I got a big 8x8" flamable sticker and I put it on there. It completely covered up where it said "westone" ... The name meant nothing to me (just figured that it was some cheap brand) and I had started carrying my strat in the case.

A few years went by and I started to learn more about guitar repair ... eventually I got the neck to sit on it right. I figured out that the neck wasn't original and and a slight modification needed to be made to the neck pocket to accommodate the heel. At the time I was selling paint so I had an associate spray a new coat of paint on it with an HVLP sprayer he had access to. The original paint had been covered by a previous owner with aero-spray paint. There were a ton of runs and it just looked bad, but I started to reveal a bit of the original paint job. Off white with thin red stripes in a pattern that I couldn't quite make out. After the painting I put the neck back on and it stayed that way for some time. I just left it next to the couch and would play it while I watched TV. At some point I put a strap on it and thats when I really fell in love with the guitar. If I adjusted the strap low I found it really easy to palm mute and down stroke, but the angle of the neck (about 45°) made it so my left hand technique didn't suffer too much. Also, at that height it felt kind of natural to do a lot of the classic flying V poses. So, I decided to start putting electronics into it.

The first thing I put in was a Seymour Duncan Original Parallel Axis Trembucker into the neck position (I was all about "chunk" back then) it was about 2002 at that point.
(here's a pic from around that time. I was an 80's rocker for halloween, so I was snorting coke off my guitar, lol ... not real of course, it's flour)


To be continued!!!


Last edited by m-m-m on Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:23 pm; edited 1 time in total

m-m-m
Westone Nut

Number of posts : 52
Location : near Chicago
Registration date : 2010-12-08

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Re: the Fraken-Dynasty and the bendmaster FT saga

Post by m-m-m on Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:30 am

Sorry about the delay for pt 2 ... last night I took some cold medicine and got knocked out pretty fast. I was just now almost done with the second post and was uploading a few photos to photobucket and the process crashed my browser, deleting my entire post. pale

Hopefully I can find some time to work on it in a few hours. Got a few things to take care of ...

m-m-m
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Re: the Fraken-Dynasty and the bendmaster FT saga

Post by m-m-m on Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:51 pm

Anyways, maybe I was being a bit too long winded anyways and losing the last post has inspired me to get to the point.

Eventually I installed a EMG HZ-4 (passive version of the 81, supposedly) and an emblem I got off an old car that was on it's way to the junkyard ...

rising from the ashes, I suppose ...

Around that time I decided to take the bridge apart and give it a thorough cleaning. I realised that one of the forked string retainer thing-a-ma-bobs was a bit bent. I grabbed my needle nose pliers and applied a bit of pressure when *SNAP* ... one of the forks broke off. No parts available anywhere ... I tried to mold a new fork onto the old piece with an epoxy product called 'JB Weld' and it actually worked for a few days before it failed. So like many others that have posted here, I've been looping the string around the bar that the string retainer was installed on and through the ball end. Only problem with that is that half of the time when I try to do it I end up making the string go all coil-ey on me ... kind of like when you use scissors to make a curly ribbon on a gift. If you try to put a string like that on, you end up with all kinds of weird overtones on the string (similar to playing with a string that has been kinked).

So I do searches of ebay and this site from time to time, but it always seems like I just miss an open listing on ebay or something similar. Frustrating to say the least. More recently, I've discovered some hair line fracture in my guitar neck (under the nut and through the headstock area). It's fine for now, I think, but I've wanted a westone neck for a long time.

Earlier this year I was at a wedding ... they had hired an 'alternative' photographer (for lack of a better term) and he had a drum kit and some other instruments setup for the guests to pose with if they liked. Cool idea, but one of the guitars he had there was an old BC rich that had what appeared to be a bendmaster FT on it. After I looked a bit closer I realized that it wasn't quite the same (can't remember now what the differences were, but it was a licensed floyd of some sort), but I decided to keep my eyes out for any old '80s guitars for possible matches or replacements)
this is the best pic I could find of a similar trem on a BC rich


Cut to me a couple of days ago at a guys house with a friend and I see an '80s style point headstock pointing out from behind his couch ... no tuners or strings on it. I ask if I can have a look and my mouth starts to water as I realize that the chrome trem is very similar to the bendmaster!

(I gotta upload some more pictures and don't wanna loose what I've got typed here so for, so to be continued one last time!)

m-m-m
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Re: the Fraken-Dynasty and the bendmaster FT saga

Post by m-m-m on Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:01 pm

here's the cheap "Memphis" (made in Korea) guitar, and a pic of the trem off next to the bendmaster



Here's what I can tell so far from a basic visual comparison ... I haven't tried taking them and interchanging the parts yet ... more on why later.
  • saddles - they seem to be the same except for the memphis ones have rollers for string slots. Surprisingly high end on such a chep ply-wood guitar!
  • bridgeplate - memphis ones seems to be just a tad bit smaller with smaller notches for smaller posts. At this point I think that the notches can be filed enough to match up to the ones on the bendmaster. I've got no experience with anything like this (IOW filing metal notches in a trem plate), so any advice here is encouraged). Keep in mind that I don't use trems ... won't need a precise 'knife edge' on the notches. Also, the slots cut into the bottom of the bridgeplate to accommodate the fine tuning mechanism are longer.
  • fine tuning mechanism - the fine tuning system is what really separates this trem from the bendmaster. The actual fine tuning screws are very similar, but the thread isn't exact. IOW, if I screw the memphis fine tuners into the Dynasty they fit, but they are a bit wobbly.
    I won't attempt to describe the mechanism for fine tuning, but I'll say that it's strung through the inertia block and and provide another picture

  • inertia/trem block - the block is shoreter, which is a bonus for me. As I said before, I don't use the trem. I decided to make the bridge "flush mount" in attempt to maximise sustain. Doing that had 2 unintended affects: 1) I had to shim the neck because the original neck angle was made to work with a floating trem. (it's hard to make a full size hardwood neck shim when you don't have access to a belt sander!) 2) - The bendmaster's inertia block now pokes out the back of the guitar a bit, which means I can't put a cover on the cavity. Kind of bugs me ... more of an OCD thing I guess Smile


The owner of the memphis guitar said that I could take it home for a few days and check it out. Tomorrow in 30 hours or so, I have to either give him $25US or give him the guitar back. At this point I'm not really sure what to do.

    [1]in a perfect world I'd be able to take the memphis block, screw it onto the bendmaster plate and use the chrome memphis roller saddles. this would mean that i'd be abandoning the fine tuning, but I've never had a neck with a lock nut for this guitar anyways. Also, I doubt that the swapping the blocks would be that easy
    [2]modify the memphis trem to fit with the bendmasters posts. should be doable, but I've got no experience and I'm apprehensive.
    [3]forget the whole thing and wait til I've got enough money to take it to a luthier and have it converted to a strat style hardtail bridge. This is what I've been wanting to do for years, and I've even got the bridge, but it's a luxury that I've never been able to afford.


If I go with option 1 or 2 I think that I'd be able to sell the 5 remaining string retainers and other used parts to get back the $25. (I know that I'd gladly pay $10 + shipping for one). If I went with option 2 I might even be able to trade someone the whole bridge for a new neck. There's some risk, with both 1 and 2 because I'm not really sure that either will work (and it's likely that 1 won't work at all). Option 3 is probably my favorite, but I've got no idea on how much that'll cost ... may not be too bad, but who knows. I'd do it myself if I had the proper tools.

Any thought or suggestions would be great.

Thanx for reading my longwinded BS. Laughing

m-m-m
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Re: the Fraken-Dynasty and the bendmaster FT saga

Post by m-m-m on Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:43 pm

Here's a nice one on ebay : Dynasty
At $234 already with reserve not met. I'd love to get it, but don't have that kind of cash right now. Also, would almost feel like a crime to make any mods to a guitar like that, and I don't know if that's my style ...

m-m-m
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Re: the Fraken-Dynasty and the bendmaster FT saga

Post by Guest on Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:53 pm

m-m-m wrote:Here's a nice one on ebay : Dynasty
At $234 already with reserve not met. I'd love to get it, but don't have that kind of cash right now. Also, would almost feel like a crime to make any mods to a guitar like that, and I don't know if that's my style ...

It's no crime to mod it to what you want it to be like. Although I've always felt it is a crime when others mod a guitar in a way I don't like. I guess I'm selfish. oh well

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Re: the Fraken-Dynasty and the bendmaster FT saga

Post by corsair on Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:32 pm

But only if the mods make a difference to the sound you're trying to get...

You haven't mentioned - or I haven't read the post thoroughly enough! - whether the new bridge has the same sort of string retaining claws! We'd all like to know that as up till now, the Bendmaster FT has been an orphan bridge, and I suspect it will remain so, to be perfectly honest! It looks like the new one has the strings running up through the sustain block... I did find an old Japanese floater in a shop here in Jersey which was very similar indeed, but didn't have the same method of string retention; bugger!!! The same shop also had 1 Bendmaster FT string claw which was given to me.....

It's a right pain when those little claws bust as realistically, you're looking at an aftermarket bridge, be it a Floyd, Kahler or whatever your particular perversion may be; a few of the lads in here have done conversions; maybe they'll pipe up but check out colt933's posts...

If you're not handy with your hands and know a little about scale length etc. then you may be getting into a world of pain doing the conversion yourself but if you feel confidant, then go hard!!

Keep us posted....

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Re: the Fraken-Dynasty and the bendmaster FT saga

Post by m-m-m on Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:21 pm

corsair wrote:But only if the mods make a difference to the sound you're trying to get...

You haven't mentioned - or I haven't read the post thoroughly enough! - whether the new bridge has the same sort of string retaining claws! We'd all like to know that as up till now, the Bendmaster FT has been an orphan bridge, and I suspect it will remain so, to be perfectly honest! It looks like the new one has the strings running up through the sustain block... I did find an old Japanese floater in a shop here in Jersey which was very similar indeed, but didn't have the same method of string retention; bugger!!! The same shop also had 1 Bendmaster FT string claw which was given to me.....
I did mention it, but I don't blame you for missing it. There's a lot of info in my first couple of posts, and most of it garbage (lol - what was I thinking?). But no ... not the claw, through the block, as you suspected. You have inspired me to check a few local shops myself

corsair wrote:If you're not handy with your hands and know a little about scale length etc. then you may be getting into a world of pain doing the conversion yourself but if you feel confidant, then go hard!!
I wouldn't feel confident to do it to my beloved dynasty, I've yet to see another vee that looks even 1/2 as cool. It did occur to me while reading your post to give it a go on the piece of junk guitar that I just bought for the bridge. If that goes well, then maybe I'd try it on the dynasty, but just being realistic if it ever happens, it'd probably end up in the hands of a local guy I know that does some great work.


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Re: the Fraken-Dynasty and the bendmaster FT saga

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