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 Post subject: Futura questions
PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:20 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:07 pm
Posts: 3
Hello.

I own a 1983 Electra X2RD Futura that's pretty beat up. It still plays great, though I've been having tuning stability problems since I got it. Now I don't want to butcher the instrument to put in a Floyd in, so I've considered installing a Kahler locking nut in it, since they go behind the nut and I don't want to compromise the sound that the regular nut gives. I'd like to know if this is possible on this Electra. The Bridge is stock too, but I feel that it's had its day in the sun so I'm thinking about replacing it. Which bridge would be the best for that? Thanks for answering.

Pictures
Headstock - http://i.imgur.com/Sz27TnH.jpg
Bridge - http://i.imgur.com/ounOR4v.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: Futura questions
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:29 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:52 am
Posts: 1924
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Welcome aboard. The Futura's are that kind of guitar that either make people smile or cringe when they see them. Despite their unorthodox shape, they have the same neck and pickups that the Phoenix guitars used, and understandably feel/sound similar to them.

Do you have tuning issues when just playing and stretching strings, or does it slip or pinch the strings when using the tremolo? The vintage tremolos have their limitations, and while you could mount a locking nut behind the stock nut, the stock bridge doesn't have any fine tuners built into it, so you're going to have tuning issues once you tighten the locking nut down.

The first thing I would try is lubricating the stock nut. There are a number of products out there, I use the stuff from 'Big Bends' which isn't cheap, but does a great job. This will keep the strings from pinching at the nut, and may solve some of the issues you're describing. Even if you don't use the bar, when you stretch a string the bridge will rock, and cause the strings to slip (or potentially kink) in the nut.

The Futura (and Phoenix) necks don't have an angle at the headstock, which means you're dealing with string trees, which can also pinch the strings when using the tremolo bar. You can try lubing those surfaces too, but it is never going to completely eliminate the kinks, at least it never has for me.

What many players have resorted to is blocking off the tremolo. Slipping a piece of wood between the Tremolo block and the body keeps the tremolo from moving at all, essentially turning your guitar into a hard tail, or non-tremolo guitar. This is not a perfect solution, but does get rid of most of the tuning issues. When Leo designed the 'Vintage' tremolo back in the 50's, no one dreamed it would get used like Jimi Hendrix or Eddie Van Halen taught us, they just were not intended for that kind of dive bombing technique.

Many players will blame the tuners for tuning issues. I've owned dozens of Electra's, with lots of different tuners and have found them to be pretty solid overall. It is much more likely that the string is slipping because of being kinked somewhere, or the way the string is wound around the tuner, than the tuner itself slipping in my experience.

Best of luck, and tell us how it behaves once you lube up the nut and block off the tremolo.

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 Post subject: Re: Futura questions
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:50 pm
Posts: 431
Location: Saint Louis
Or take it to a good guitar tech and have them do maintenance/adjustment on it after telling them the issues you're having.

Putting in a Kahler or Floyd would fall under the category of trying to make this guitar into something it's not. proendorser's recommendations are good ones, namely don't expect this type of hardware to do something it's not designed to do. Let this old guitar be what it is! Though, the idea of blocking off the tail piece is a good one, and my Strat has been set up that one on and off over the 25 years that I've owned it.

If you want a Floyd, go buy a guitar that already has one. No regrets.


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 Post subject: Re: Futura questions
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:43 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 2:06 am
Posts: 1040
Location: Hervey Bay, Australia
And just to expand on the string trees on the headstock, I've replaced some of mine with roller string trees which work well!

Lubricating all the points of contact is vital - nut, and make sure the nut is OK, i.e. that the strings are sitting in it correctly - and saddles; I use Nut Sauce and like all of this stuff it is outrageously expensive but you use very little of it!!

As stated, with a traditional trem like this, you'll never be able to do the whole EVH thing; it just wasn't built that way and I would second the suggestion that if that's what you want to do, then get a guitar with a FR already installed!

I'm sure we'd all like to see this thing, too!!

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Every guitarist I would cross paths with would tell me that I should have a flashy guitar, whatever the latest fashion model was, and I used to say, 'Why? Mine works, doesn't it? It's a piece of wood and six strings, and it works.'

Angus Young


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 Post subject: Re: Futura questions
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:48 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:07 pm
Posts: 3
Thanks for the replies, didn't know that the string trees could pinch the strings. In any case, most of the tuning problems come from directly shaking the hell out of my tremolo (well it looks like an axe that's fit to play speed metal isn't it?). I'll try the Big Bends stuff and the roller string trees and I'll see if it works. Don't think I'll block the tremolo since I like using it. Thanks for the help.

Also here's a picture of the axe.
http://i.imgur.com/w9O3CaB.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: Futura questions
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:23 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 2:06 am
Posts: 1040
Location: Hervey Bay, Australia
FuturaMetalman wrote:
(well it looks like an axe that's fit to play speed metal isn't it?).


Yeah; it's a funny thing, isn't it; I have two guitars that really look the part for shredders - Vantage Invader and APII U-60 - but neither could be manhandled a la EVH because of the traditional trem!!

Not a lot of joined up thinking going there, perhaps?!

_________________
Every guitarist I would cross paths with would tell me that I should have a flashy guitar, whatever the latest fashion model was, and I used to say, 'Why? Mine works, doesn't it? It's a piece of wood and six strings, and it works.'

Angus Young


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 Post subject: Re: Futura questions
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:24 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:07 pm
Posts: 3
corsair wrote:
Yeah; it's a funny thing, isn't it; I have two guitars that really look the part for shredders - Vantage Invader and APII U-60 - but neither could be manhandled a la EVH because of the traditional trem!!

Not a lot of joined up thinking going there, perhaps?!


Heh, I'll say. Most companies in the early 80's had a token weird shaped heavy metal guitar but they always stuck a vintage trem in them. Everyone and their mother modified their guitars to hell anyway so it's pretty much a given Floyds were put in them. In anycase I'll probably will keep using the trem, since I don't want to butcher the instrument and I like vintage trems more than Locking trems (too much maintenance imo).


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