Which Vibrola

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by NICQ, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. NICQ

    NICQ New Member

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    Hi Guys

    First post - I'm building a Firebird this year and in my research on what's a good Vibrola unit this place here seems to be the most knowledgeable :smile:


    From what I read the Allparts unit gets mixed reviews - some say the quality of build or steel is not the best, some installed it and it worked fine...


    On my search I found a unit from Hosco - the picture on the store's homepage shows the difference between a Montreux Vibrola unit and the Hosco:
    20151024_115623_resized_2-z.jpg

    -> the Montreux's spring curve is too round while the break angle looks good
    The Hosco unit looks like it's designed correctly from the picture


    I went on and ordered a nickel Hosco Vibrola and received this:
    Screenshot001860.jpg Looks more like chrome to me than nickel...



    And the spring curve also looks exactly like their Montreux example from the picture above
    Screenshot001861.jpg


    When I layed it on the Firebird body the problem with this spring curve was obvious:
    Screenshot001862.jpg The strings are situated too high - even with string pull and less angle I would have to raise the bridge quite a bit to make this work...



    another thing - when I layed it on a flat surface you can see that the spring is actually higher than the base of the unit :
    Screenshot001863.jpg

    When I press the plate down flat like it would've been mounted there is some pressure on the spring against the surface - if you apply some string pull or push down the lever too the pressure will raise the baseplate again or apply some serious force on the screws holding it in place...
    Screenshot001864.jpg
    The tremolo wouldn't have any room for travel because it is pushed against the surface from both sides by the forces applied... I guess this is not normal and looks like a incorrect design (spring bent too much) ?



    I'm sending that unit back - I need a nickel one anyways...


    Any recommendations on an aftermarket vibrola?
    How's the WD vibrola? Or should I give the Allparts unit a try?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated :smile:
     
  2. Gahr

    Gahr Well-Known Member

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  3. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    This has been an exasperating subject for me too! I have tried to restore quite a few older Gibson's that had their Vibrola's removed & ended up not coming with the guitars by the time I picked them up.

    Surprisingly, there has been many spring variations over the years and finding a reliable Vibrola that also offers low string height is a real challenge!

    I know Biddlin has used a modern repro model Vibrola with much success. I'm not sure on which manufacturer it was specifically (maybe WD or All Parts?? can't be certain)

    I'll send off a PM & ask him to check out the thread & spread his guitar love & knowledge.
     
  4. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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  5. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    I have heard that vibrolas from anyone, even Gibson, will often need the spring bent to a proper angle.
     
  6. NICQ

    NICQ New Member

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    Thanks for the replies so far!

    I read some old threads on here and on the lespaul forum where someone stated that the metal used for the allparts unit is not the best quality wise... also bending the spring part or the part where the strings are mounted can result in breaking the thing...

    Crazyparts.de used to have a aftermarket one that was quite good judging from the feedback of people who bought it - it seems as if they have switched to only offering the Gibson unit now? With 259eur it's a bit much - I would consider that when putting it on an expensive guitar but not my DIY firebird kit build...

    I have searched for the Hosco Unit which was reported to have the right break angle and is well built but I couldn't find it anywhere...

    Will try the Allparts or WD Tremolo next..
     

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