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Author Topic: How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly  (Read 5821 times)

Offline Noodler

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How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly
« on: August 05, 2009, 08:19:29 AM »
Some of you may have caught my recent posts about finally getting my tremolo working properly.  Here's the info on what was wrong and how I fixed it.  I recommend that if anyone is having problems with their trem staying in tune that they look into these same issues on their Fly.

The obvious stuff that every talks about, the nut slots and the proper way to use a locking tuner, have been discussed at length in many posts.  I was confident that my guitar was fine in those areas.  Of course then there was the issue with the saddles on my guitar.  It seems that any of the trem systems that are chrome plated (gold or silver) are actually using a brass bridge with the plating over the brass base metal.  Parker wrote to me about this and stated that it is a known issue.  Funny how they use this plating on many of their high-end models and limited editions.  In my opinion they should be sticking to the aluminum and stainless steel combo that Ken designed and finding another way to "dress up" the trem for these "luxury" models.

However, the big problem with my trem was the bearings.  It wasn't just that they were now damaged and unable to work smoothly.  I believe that they were damaged when they were installed on the guitar - literally from day one the trem system wasn't working correctly.  I say this based on the replacement bearings that I received from Parker.  The replacement  bearings were different in two key dimensions than the originals.  They were smaller in the outside diameter and larger in the inside hole diameter.  This means that the replacement bearings easily slid into the black aluminum bridge post couplers and over the fulcrum pins inserted into the tremolo body.  

My original bearings were literally jammed onto the fulcrum pins.  Not only were they jammed onto the pins, but they were pressed on too far.  There's a "collar" on the fulcrum pin (check the pics below) that is designed to keep the bearing at a certain distance from the tremolo body.  This collar and the bearings itself were pressed too far into the body on my system.  They were jammed into the system so hard that I had to damage my trem's chrome plating to get them off.  I tried everything (including heat and lube), but ended up having to pry them off the block.  That totally sucked, but luckily the damage is in an unseen area once it's all reassembled.

I had to come up with a "rig" just to get the fulcrum pins out of the original bearings.  Once I was able to get the bearings off the trem they came out with the fulcrum pins attached.  To knock the pins out of the bearings I had to find a metal tube to place the bearing on and then a small rod to hammer the pin out of the bearing - the pins were that solidly jammed into the bearings.  Just crazy.

One of my original bearings also was jammed into the bridge post coupler.  Why one bearing was larger than the other I have no idea - lack of consistency from the original bearing supplier I guess.  I believe that the bearings being pressured from the inside (from the fulcrum pins) and from the outside (from the couplers) created problems for them to be able to operate smoothly.  However, I really think (based on how difficult it was to remove them) that the only way these bearings could have been installed would have damaged them at that time.  You have to be really careful with these types of bearings so that the internal tracks don't get marred during install.  The original bearings were jammed on so hard that they must have been hurt in the process.

There was also a small issue with the slot plate that's attached to the trem body.  I had to cut my piezo wire and completely remove the bridge to pry the bearings off without damaging the guitar body.  Once I had the trem completely removed I noticed that one of the allen screws that holds the trem's slot plate was completely loose and the other one was on its way too.  This allowed a small degree of "shifting" of the slot plate and would obviously lead to inaccurate return to center of the trem.  I applied some loc-tite to the allen screws and reattached the slot plate to the trem body to prevent this from happening again.  This is definitely something everyone should check on their trems.

I also followed through on another idea from a previous thread - I smoothed out the slots on the slot plate and the anvil and also the ends of the flat spring.  The difference was very obvious and there is no creaking in my system any longer.  I did not use any kind of lube in the slots though as was discussed as another idea.  I decided to go totally "lube free" in my first attempt at bringing all the parts back together and it's working so well that I don't think I need to worry about lubing anything, but I may change my mind down the road (just to possibly reduce wear-n-tear).

Pics follow...

How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly

Offline Noodler

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How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2009, 08:25:43 AM »
This first shot is of the fulcrum pin properly positioned in the tremolo body.  Not how the "collar" of the pin is designed to prevent the bearing sides from sitting directly against the tremolo body:




In this shot we can see the bearing now placed on the fulcrum pin in the proper position - completely clear from the trem body:




Here's the slot plate after smoothing out the slots with 400 grit alu-ox sandpaper.  What I did was place the sandpaper over the edge of the spring and used the spring as a "form" to press the sandpaper into the slot and smooth it out.  I only smoothed out the innermost and outermost slots.  Note the middle slot and how rough it looks in comparison:




I also used the sandpaper on a flat surface to smooth over the ends of the spring:




Finally, here's the damage that my trem body sustained in the operation.  There was just no other way to get the bearings off of it unfortunately:



« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 08:26:43 AM by Noodler »

How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly

Offline Noodler

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How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2009, 08:34:54 AM »
I just noticed looking at that final pic that you can actually see the outline of the original bearing scored into the surface of the trem body.  That shows how the original bearing was actually rotating against the body of the trem and leading to wildly inaccurate operation.

How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly

Offline 908ssp

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How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2009, 09:57:11 AM »
Great thread thanks for writing it.

Alex

Alex

[IMG]http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r245/908ssp/ThumbNails/_1010802.jpg[/IMG

How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly

Offline wkcchampion

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How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2009, 10:49:38 AM »
uhm I didn't understand much. In synthesis, what did u do? Did u replace the bearings and the spring?

---------
Pregno Splatter
http://pregnosplatter.altervista.org
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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)
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How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly

Offline Noodler

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How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2009, 06:48:48 PM »
Yes, the bearings and spring were replaced, but the real key is where the bearings are positioned on the fulcrum pin.  Also note that my slot plate was loose and that definitely would not be a good thing if you actually want your trem to return to center reliably.  I guess the "undercurrent" issue too is that Parker has clearly changed bearings along the way.  Who knows when this occurred or how many times, but the original bearings in my guitar and the replacement bearings were different sizes and had different markings on them.  I wonder if the replacement bearings Alex suggested (in another thread) easily slip on the pins and into the bridge post couplers.

How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly

Offline 908ssp

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How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2009, 10:35:48 PM »
Did you save the numbers off the bearings so we could look them up? Remember the numbers are assigned by the manufacturer and different numbers from different manufacturers could be the same bearing spec wise. We need the numbers to check the specs. The numbers from the old bearings and manufacturers name would be just as good as the new ones assuming they both fit your guitar.

Alex

« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 10:36:37 PM by 908ssp »
Alex

[IMG]http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r245/908ssp/ThumbNails/_1010802.jpg[/IMG

How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly

Offline Noodler

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How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2009, 09:31:43 PM »
Hah - good idea.  I'll need to get them out of the garbage, but at least it's my "music room" garbage so it's mostly just empty string wrappers, old strings, and stuff.

I also plan on taking the trem apart on last time (I hope!) to reattach the aluminum foil "shims" I had originally used the first time I pulled apart the trem - these were to stop the bridge from pitching too far forward.  When I rebuilt it this last time I had removed them and didn't replace them - oops.  I was so caught up in the new bearings and trem I forgot about the foil shims I had come up with.

So I should be able to get pics of both the old and new bearings.

BTW - I picked up my Fly Mojo yesterday, started playing and was amazed that it was still in tune.  That was a first for this guitar.  I guess the new strings had completely settled down.  I checked it with my strobe tuner and it was so darn close to perfect that I was just ecstatic.  So now I'm completely happy with the Parker trem system - one of the best I've ever used...  when it's been put together correctly. [:D]
« Last Edit: August 09, 2009, 09:34:52 PM by Noodler »

How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly

Offline sfw

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How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2009, 10:17:56 AM »
Wow noodler, GREAT thread. Thanks for posting it.
- Scott

PM10; Few Nitefly's; Franken-Fenders
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Re: How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly

Offline Tosh

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Re: How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2016, 08:04:34 PM »
Noodler,

Any alternate links to the pics, or updates on part numbers?
 

Re: How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly

Offline Noodler

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Re: How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2016, 11:05:17 PM »
Noodler,

Any alternate links to the pics, or updates on part numbers?

Happen to see your post (although I rarely frequent the forums these days).  I did manage to find the original pics.  Which ones are you specifically interested in?

Re: How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly

Offline jb63

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Re: How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2016, 01:22:39 PM »
I'm trying to
Dismantle an entire trem, all the way to the posts, so I'm interested in all of them. If you want to email them to me, I'm happy to post them!

Re: How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly

Offline billy

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Re: How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2016, 07:33:55 PM »
I know people were really interested in your (leaning post) delrin bushings install pics too
Billy

[always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.  e. e. cummings]

Re: How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly

Offline Noodler

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Re: How I fixed the tremolo on my Parker Fly
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2016, 12:31:58 AM »
I have uploaded all the pics I could find from some of the Fly "surgery" I've performed.

Here is where you can find them all: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AuO-yekyeUuXgf1UAZ5Ue93HtvOYww