What to do about a strap button on a vintage epi (plastic endpin, w/pic)

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by brad347, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    [​IMG]

    So the guitar above... i play it a lot. I'm always careful but I like keeping strap locks on my guitars. The nature of the endpin strap button leaves me scratching my head as to how to install a schaller strap lock compatible strap button.

    Removing the plastic endpin (if I could manage to do it!) would of course leave a sizable hole and no wood to hold the new strap button's screw anyway.

    Would it be utterly ridiculous to just screw the strap button straight into the plastic endpin? Totally retarded, right?

    What would you smart people do?
     
  2. alltone

    alltone Member

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    I don't know how smart this would be but...I might try removing the trapeze and seeing how the plastic pin is attached. If you can remove it the pin without damage, then replace it with your strap-lok by placing a small washer on the back side of the pin plate to cover the pin hole . (Assuming there is a hole in the body behind the pin for relief of the washer/nut) .Instead of using a wood screw to attach the strap- lok button ,get a small bolt that will recess into the strap-lok button and fasten through the trapeze pin plate and washer and secure with an appropriate nut . A drop of crazy glue may have to be applied to the mating surfaces of the (new )washer an pin plate to keep the washer from moving.Make sure the glue is dry before install. If, in the future you want to remove this(assuming it works in the first place), removal of the tailpiece and a few drops of lacquer thinner on a Q-tip applied to the washer will loosen the glue.. I think that screwing the strap-lok directly into the existing pin would be a mistake,and in time it would probably strip out and crack. :NUTS
     
  3. alltone

    alltone Member

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    Hi Brad..thinkin' about this..you may have already done this ..blah.blah.blah..the plastic pin is probably held on by a screw from the back side..If so, a bolt with a similar head profile to that of the screw and the proper length to allow for a small profile nut to be fitted into the strap-lok button, allowing the strap /pin assembly to seat into the button. :crazyguyP.S. Looks like a nice guitar.:bow
     
  4. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    Thanks for the tips. It gives me a lot to think about. I'm not in a major hurry so I'm still considering options... if you or else has any more ideas, I'm all ears!

    However, I'm sure that like most endpins, this one is held in place by pressure. It's a big deep plastic piece with a huge hole it sticks into, almost the diameter of the pin itself. At least if it's like other similar ones I've seen.
     
  5. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    How about using a regular strap?

    Sorry, I know that's the answer you probably knew some wise-ass would come out with, but I'm only partly joking there. I can't see any reason the old strap button wouldn't work as well for you as it has four tens of thousands of other players using them over the past decades.

    Buuuuttt, if you must have strap locks, just pop the pin out (yes, just a taper fit like normal) and you screw in the Dunlop or Schaller button with a machine screw. A threaded insert a la Taylor end pins, tubing and all would be good, probably a 10 or 12-24 thread but you'd have to check what would fit the strap lock button. You would have to turn the head of the screw to fit in to the strap button. Then you'll probably be left with too little of a rim to comfortably support the button at the end though, so you could either add an appropriate washer or even make a tapered plug to hole. I'd prefer the tapered plug myself, as the washer may leave markings on the tailpiece, and the tapered plug would steady it more on center. That, or you could pull the pin, glue in a tapered plug fit to the hole, then drill it out for your strap lock.

    Or you could just put a strap on it as it is. I just can't see any conceivable need for a strap lock there to make it worth the fuss. It's a nice old Epiphone though, and is worth taking care of. Whatever you do to it, first do no harm. Keep it easily revertible to original.



    Edit: It's also worth noting that any damage done during a poor endpin installation would pale in comparison to damage when the poor installation comes out on stage. Crash, bang, boom.
     
  6. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    Been using a regular strap for quite some time.

    Just figure that eventually fate will catch up with me. Also, I have other guitars with strap locks and I like to share straps among guitars. I have 2-3 straps that I really like, but more than 2-3 guitars. Whichever guitar I need for the night, I'll grab a strap stash it in the case and go. This guitar has needed its own strap because the others have the straplocks installed, and I want to be able to share straps among all my guitars. Make sense?
     
  7. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    One important thing to keep in mind with strap locks is that they place the strap further out from the body, increasing leverage and necessitating a stronger anchor. It's why you'll notice most strap lock buttons come with a longer screw than a standard button. This is why I would advocate the machine screw and threaded insert button.

    I'm not sure if you're familiar with the Taylor style endpin, but they use a threaded insert on the inside like this.

    [​IMG]

    They also put a sleeve of plastic tubing on the insert to center it in the 1/2" (or is it 15/32"?) hole they drill to accept endpin jacks. You probably wouldn't need any tubing though, as your endpin hole likely tapers down to roughly the outer diameter of the insert as it comes. I would try a 10-24 machine screw to see if it fits through your strap lock button. If it is too small try a 12-24, if too large move to an 8-32 (though inserts of this size may be harder to find). You'll then need to take a button head screw and turn/grind/file the head down to fit in to the button. Chucking the screw in a drill and turning it down with a mill file is a good poor man's lathe that will work fine here.

    Then feed a string in through the end pin hole and fish it out through an f-hole or pickup hole. Put the insert on the string, and tie off something on the end of the string to lock it on. Pull the insert in until the teeth bite in to the end block, then push the string back in and pull it out through a f-hole. The insert should stay in place well enough to get the screw started when you install the strap button.

    Now the next issue is that the size of the existing hole will leave the new button secured only around it's edge. A thick appropriately sized washer can help spread the load, though I'm not sure I'd go so large as a fender washer. I'd also try to avoid a washer that would leave a large footprint on the tailpiece. It may also be good to find or drill a spacer for inside the endpin hole. I would turn one to match the old taper and center drill it for the new screw, but you probably don't have to be this precise. You can probably find a nylon spacer in your hardware store that is close enough to do the job. The idea is provide a bearing surface for the screw toward the outside, so that you are not relying solely on friction against the tailpiece to secure that end.

    As to getting the old button out, it makes it much easier to rotate as you're pulling it rather than pulling alone. If it's stubborn, some thick leather and pliers to turn it like a knob can loosen it up without marring the button if you're careful.

    I hope I'm not making it sound terribly complicated, as it really isn't. Everything you need could be found at any TrueValue or Ace hardware store, and it doesn't take that long to do.

    By the way, feel free to call me on it when I'm being a jackass (like in the post above). :p I would still stay with the regular old button, but that's me. I still put emphasis on reversibility on things like this, especially when it's easy to do. With a hang tag for a '65 Fender Jaguar going for $400, I can't imagine what that original endpin might be worth some day. ;)
     
  8. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    Thanks. That sounds like a good way to go. Where do I get the taylor-style endpin threaded insert? I'm not in an über-hurry, so I'll probably let all the options stew around in my brain as I think it over for a few weeks.

    Preaching to the choir as far as reversibility and "first do no harm."

    I might just let a pro do it and see what they suggest seeing it in person. But I'm pretty handy and funds are tight. We'll see.
     
  9. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    You should find those inserts in the nuts 'n' bolts (likely furniture hardware and parts) section of your local hardware store. Maybe not at a Home Depot or Lowes, but a True Value hardware franchise would carry them.
     
  10. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    Oh. Are those like the things on the underside of Fender amp handles that hold them on?
     
  11. alltone

    alltone Member

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    Typically referred to as "TEE -Nuts" If you use one of these may I suggest that you anchor the Tee-nut with a bolt and washer first.Then remove the bolt and install the Strap-Lok and matching bolt. You may have to put the selected bolt in a drill bit and shave down the head diameter with a file to allow it to fit in the Strap-lok button.:crazy
     
  12. Bob V

    Bob V Member

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    Cumbersome, perhaps, but there are Dunlop ring-thingies that twist to lock over a strap and hold it onto the guitar. There's a little slot to put a small thread or cord to tether it to the strap so it doesn't get lost when the strap comes off. Problem is it means all the guitars need ordinary pins.
     
  13. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    How many times have you dropped a guitar? I've been gigging 37 years and never dropped one yet. I have some old Gibsons and Epis too and I wouldn't do this. Just my personal point of view. I just bought a really nice blonde 1953 Zephyr Regent. I hated to do it but I did add a normal strap button on the heel of the neck. That New York pickup sounds great!
     
  14. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    Twice. Once when I was 12 and once when I was 18. I haven't done it since, but twice was enough.
     
  15. Smü

    Smü Member

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  16. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    Twice? Sorry to hear that. I have had a worn out strap slip off the button a few times but my left hand was always holding the neck so it was no big deal. No more worn out straps!
    I have a Gibson ES347 that has strap buttons shaped like a football. Those are great!
     
  17. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    well, the age should give you a clue to how smart I was at the time. ;)
     
  18. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    Don't tell me about being young, dumb and full of something! Maybe I was just lucky. I know back then, we were having a rehearsal and between tunes our bass player was standing there with his hands in his pockets and his new Ripper bass way out in front because of his big belly. I watched that bass fly straight out and crash to the floor. Didn't hurt it much. that was way before straplocks.
     
  19. alltone

    alltone Member

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