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Author Topic: Whammy bars and staying in tune.  (Read 2714 times)

Offline Putt

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Whammy bars and staying in tune.
« on: October 06, 2016, 02:38:14 PM »
If this has been answered elsewhere, forgive me. I just picked up a 90’s Parker classic with the whammy bar missing (I’ve ordered a replacement). I haven’t touched the tension wheel ‘cause it scares the hell out of me. On it’s maiden voyage last night the Parker kept dropping out of tune with the accordion that my fellow musician was playing. Normally I’d blame the accordion, but as I repeatedly re-tuned the Parker it kept slipping.

Am I missing something about how to lock the bridge down or is there some other issue?

Another question. Decades ago I had a Fender Jazz-Master with a whammy bar, but I’m mostly inexperienced with them—but still desiring to learn. Do I want to use the Parker system or replace it with a different system?

I already am planning to gut the electronics. As I purchased this Parker with the expressed purpose of adding a Hexaphonic pick-up to drive a Roland synth, the ability to stay in tune has more importance than usual. Any feedback? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.

Offline JamieCrain

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Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2016, 03:36:01 PM »
Hi there, a few suggestions.
1) The tuners are locking, check them first. If it's been strung like a normal guitar maybe they aren't locked.

2) stretch the strings. Always stretch the strings.

3) why gut the electronics so quickly? It's like moving into a new house, you wait a little while before proceeding with renovations because your preferences will change several times as you get used to it.

4) Changing the trem is a major job, and you'll lose the piezo unless you put another one in. The Parker system is great, and is constructed *very* differently to other trems. Best leave it.

Parkers are unique and are nothing like normal guitars, especially fenders. I recommend keeping it as is for a while and seeing how you go...you may change your mind.

Cheers, Jamie
Parker NiteFly RF622
Parker DFMV7
EB Music Man Majesty 6
Ibanez UV777BK

Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.

Offline sybersitizen

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Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2016, 03:42:44 PM »
^ In addition to the advice above, problems with tuning stability can often be traced to the nut. It should be kept lubed (I use graphite powder) and checked to make sure the strings are not hanging up there due to friction.
'01 Fly Deluxe|'69 SG Standard|'69 EB-3|Pignose Strat|Savannah SGO-16CE|Glen Burton GE47|Dean Vendetta 7-String|Loog 3-String|Fishman Aura Spectrum|Roland Amplifiers

Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.

Offline Big Swifty

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Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2016, 05:01:37 PM »
Hiya,

First thing, check the first three sticky threads in the FLY GUITARS section of this forum, there's some good info on how to set up the bridge/tension etc.

The Parker system is very good, i use the vibrato/whammy bar with abandon and it works fine, no tuning issues.
IMHO don't change it, you will be creating much heartache for yourself or your tech, and the results probably won't be much better. Figure out how what you have works before you go changing it.

It can be done though.

The tailpiece doesn't actually "lock" The "step stop" only stops it going backwards/tightening the strings/whammying up. In other words, as you tighten the strings, it will still pull the bridge forwards, which will in turn make the strings go a little flat, etc until the equilibrium is reached.
Once you get the replacement bar and have a wiggle i'm sure it'll become apparent how this works.

The whole floating bridge/string tension thing is something that you will have to adjust with the big scary wheel.

Read the guides, approach with caution, offer it a sandwich, and you should be right.

If all else fails, continue to blame the accordion. Works for me!

B.S.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2016, 05:04:56 PM by Big Swifty »
94 Fly Deluxe
2010 DF 524
The system can't get you in your dreams.

Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.

Offline Putt

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Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2016, 05:39:47 PM »
Thanks Everyone,

It’s good to hear nice words on the Parker tremolo. Between my online observations of missing whammy bars and complaints on wrong string/spring gauge, I was getting rather dubious.  I’m planning on a professional set up on when I get the whammy bar—guess I’ll also check the spring and string gauge. In the meantime, I’ll put the superglue away.

I did check the tuners after the first pitch drop and they seem to be locking fine. It is new to me, and if the seller had recently changed the strings, perhaps a bit of settling in will remedy that.

I used to hear techs recommend running a graphite pencil down the channels of a nut to keep it lubed. Never tried it, but maybe it’s time.

I have a Parker Bronze, a Jazz Cat 24 and a P-36, along with several Parker acoustics. The P-36 has a Roland GR-3 but the darn thing is way too heavy as my other Parkers have spoiled me. I decided long ago to keep the Bronze and Jazz Cat vintage, for obvious reasons.

In the past 24 hours I’ve already abandoned my plan to install my usual EMG 81/85 Pups. The sweet sounding DiMarzios that came with the Classic have turned my ears around. I got what I thought was a good price ($900) on the guitar, as it was sold with non-working piezos. It seems like the perfect candidate for an  Acoustiphonic/Hexaphonic system. I’ll finally replace the miserable Godin that currently drives my Roland GR55.

Cheers,

Lucius

Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.

Offline Big Swifty

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Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2016, 11:27:42 PM »
Cool.

Yes, match the spring gauge!

The Parker tremolo system works just fine, in fact better than most i'd say.

But it is different, and that can be a source of consternation to some...

Good luck, let us know how it turns out!

B.S.
94 Fly Deluxe
2010 DF 524
The system can't get you in your dreams.

Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.

Offline wkcchampion

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Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2016, 02:07:10 AM »
Have you downloaded and read my tremolo setup guide?
---------
Marco

My Fly bridge setup guide:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-bURNmuDq2-a0VPd3lPZldwVmc/view?usp=sharing

Pearl White 2008 Fly Mojo (Fralin PUs)
"Eldy" / Majik Blue 1995 Fly Deluxe (Gen1 PUs)
Various vintage and modern Marshall/Vox/Laney amps
Rockman + other rack stuff
Boss GT-100

Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.

Offline neilderemer

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Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2016, 09:58:56 AM »
That's the nice thing about them, if you aren't into the parker trem you can just lock it, and you basically have a hardtail. But, they are great. I have a nitefly so mine is somewhat different it uses springs instead of a leaf spring. To go changing things about on them would be like going to the mona lisa and painting a smile on her face and changing her hair color... it's already a work of art!!

Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.

Offline Paul Marossy

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Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2016, 08:54:01 AM »
Once the strings are stretched out (and if the bridge is set up right), a Fly should stay in tune remarkably well. I rarely have to tune mine. But I do have to stretch the non-wound strings a lot (B & E) when I first put a new set on because they stretch quite a lot and of course that makes the guitar go out of tune.

Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.

Offline wkcchampion

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Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2016, 08:58:10 AM »
Paul? I thought you sold your Fly a while ago!
---------
Marco

My Fly bridge setup guide:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-bURNmuDq2-a0VPd3lPZldwVmc/view?usp=sharing

Pearl White 2008 Fly Mojo (Fralin PUs)
"Eldy" / Majik Blue 1995 Fly Deluxe (Gen1 PUs)
Various vintage and modern Marshall/Vox/Laney amps
Rockman + other rack stuff
Boss GT-100

Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.

Offline Mr303

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Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2016, 09:07:56 AM »
Once the strings are stretched out (and if the bridge is set up right), a Fly should stay in tune remarkably well. I rarely have to tune mine. But I do have to stretch the non-wound strings a lot (B & E) when I first put a new set on because they stretch quite a lot and of course that makes the guitar go out of tune.

I find the same thing, once in tune it stays in tune, but that holds true to all my Parkers including the PDF series.

  Good design endures.

Cheers!
"I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure."
- Mark Twain

Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.

Offline neilderemer

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Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2016, 01:15:26 PM »
I usually tune the guitar up a half step when I put new strings on and then pull up on the whammy a few times and then tune to regular tuning and it seems to work fairly well.

Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.

Offline Paul Marossy

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Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2016, 08:46:30 AM »
Paul? I thought you sold your Fly a while ago!

I sold one of them. I still have my gold one, which I will not sell.

Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.

Offline Noodler

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Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2016, 11:31:02 PM »
Putt - you never mention whether you really want to be able to use the trem.  Is this something you really use in your playing style?  If not, I recommend blocking the trem (many of us can provide instructions on how to do this properly if you're interested).  A properly blocked trem on a Parker works well (I used this method for some time until I could figure out my trem system woes).

Also, do NOT bring a Parker to any old guitar tech if they're unfamiliar with Parker trem system.  These are highly advanced instruments and most of these "monkeys" would be clueless on how to properly setup a Parker.

Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.

Offline JamieCrain

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Re: Whammy bars and staying in tune.
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2016, 04:55:01 PM »
Interestingly I've recently been having the same issue lately: Using the whammy on my Nitefly results in large pitch shifts on multiple strings, even after following my own and others' advice, the problem remained.

I finally discovered the fix last night, and I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere so I thought I'd share. There is a small screw on the head of each tuning key that adjusts the friction of the tuner. I tightened these up and voila, the problem has been fixed. Now I can do anything with the whammy and the guitar returns to correct pitch, every time. The tuning keys are stiffer, but small price to pay and a very simple fix.

Parker NiteFly RF622
Parker DFMV7
EB Music Man Majesty 6
Ibanez UV777BK