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  1. #1

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    Anyone try the String Butler? On my newer Eastman AR503CE there is substantial interference where the 3rd and 4th strings pass the 2nd and 5th string tuners.

    https://www.string-butler.com/

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  3. #2

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    I have a few. On the Eastman style headstock, it's very useful. Some guitars need them more than others, and I don't use one on my main guitar because the headstock is narrow and the string pull is close enough to straight. But I think they're almost essential on that broad Eastman headstock.

  4. #3

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    Might be interesting provided they don't add too much weight, might be an issue on neck heavy guitar if so
    Best of both world, one can still have a nice headstock and get the functionality of an Heritage style headstock

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    I have a few. On the Eastman style headstock, it's very useful. Some guitars need them more than others, and I don't use one on my main guitar because the headstock is narrow and the string pull is close enough to straight. But I think they're almost essential on that broad Eastman headstock.
    On what model guitars have you installed it on? I was concerned there may not be enough threads on the tuners to accommodate the thickness of the mounting ears. I have not been able to determine how thick the mounting ears are. Seems they have a liberal return policy but with Covid 19 I am trying to avoid returns.

  6. #5

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    I had it on an Eastman T145, Epi ES-175, and a Wu Super 400 copy. On the Eastman I had to leave off the thick washer that goes on the top of the headstock because it's so thick. The String Butler serves as the washer, so it's not really much of an issue for me. Weight is also not an issue, because there isn't much weight. I haven't weighed one, but I think it's under an ounce, and I don't notice it at all. I did notice the metal tuner buttons on the T145, and I replaced them with ebony because they made the guitar neck-heavy, but the String Butler didn't affect it at all as far as I could tell.

  7. #6

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    I have one installed on one of my Eastman ElRey 4's. I haven't installed it on the other becuase frankly I don't play that one. It is an improvement and the latest Eastmans have a better designed headstock that improves on the string spacing. My custom Elrey 4 has a thinner headstock than my stock Elrey 4 but with the custom Elrey, I installed the tuner washers on top of the String Butler. I also used a black enamel paint stick and painted the tops of the rollers so it is almost invisible against the black painted headstock.

  8. #7

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    I had one on a 339 and didn’t notice any extra weight at all. Seemed to help stability of tuning on the guitar.

  9. #8
    Thanks for the comments. I will give one a try. I placed the order.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielleOM
    Thanks for the comments. I will give one a try. I placed the order.
    I will be interested in the results here as I have been thinking of one for my AR503 as well.

    I look forward to hearing how it works for you.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by thelostboss
    I will be interested in the results here as I have been thinking of one for my AR503 as well.

    I look forward to hearing how it works for you.
    OK, That will give some incentive to install it when I get it. I think only my newer AR503CE needs it. On that one the tuning machines for strings 3 and 4 tend to feel stiff, even after lubricating tuning machines and adjusting the button screws. On the older AR503CE I do not have interference where 3rd and 4th strings pass the 2nd and 5th tuners.

    Danielle

  12. #11
    I received the V3 chrome black String Butler yesterday. I found it easy to install on the Eastman AR503CE guitar. I did not use the included washers, as I did not want to lose any more room than necessary for string wrap, and I was not convinced there is a lot of extra threads on the tuner nuts to accommodate much more thickness. I think I will need more time to evaluate the effectiveness of this device. I was hoping that having some clearance between the 3rd and 4th strings and the 2nd and 5th string tuners would make things a little easier, when it comes to effort required to turn 3rd and 4th string tuning machines. I did not notice a large difference in that regard. If there is a difference it's very subtle. I can say that I have not noted anything negative.

    So I am still not sure what causes the 3rd string tuner stiffness. Tuner itself, tuner installation, perhaps just the angle of the tuner and the way it feels to the hand, tight groove in the bridge saddle?

    I play to leave the device installed for further evaluation. At minimum it should make a good talking piece, next time I manage to go an open mic and see music friends. (not sure when that will ever happen again, in this Covid 19 world.)
    Last edited by DanielleOM; 07-31-2020 at 11:10 AM.

  13. #12

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    Thanks for the update.

  14. #13

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    The most obvious thing that could cause a tuner to be stiff is the screw holding the button. If it's too tight, the entire tuner becomes stiff. The screw tightness is somewhat subjective, and they should be just tight enough to hold, but not tight enough to make the tuner hard to turn. Adjustment needs to be done with no string tension. I loosen the screw, then tighten just to the point where I feel resistance, but it does take some practice to find the perfect tightness. You just have to find the Goldilocks setting, not too loose and not too tight. Fortunately, this can be redone as many times as necessary, since it's completely reversible.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    The most obvious thing that could cause a tuner to be stiff is the screw holding the button. If it's too tight, the entire tuner becomes stiff. The screw tightness is somewhat subjective, and they should be just tight enough to hold, but not tight enough to make the tuner hard to turn. Adjustment needs to be done with no string tension. I loosen the screw, then tighten just to the point where I feel resistance, but it does take some practice to find the perfect tightness. You just have to find the Goldilocks setting, not too loose and not too tight. Fortunately, this can be redone as many times as necessary, since it's completely reversible.
    In past I have put a couple drops of tri flow lubricant in each tuner and have adjusted the button screw. I can't say I have tried adjusting the button with the string removed. They are easy to turn until the string comes close to normal tension.

    I suspect Eastman or Ping has changed something over the years. If you look at the tuning machines from the back of the head stock, you can see the end of the black shaft, through the opening of the tuner housing. On the older AR503CE the shafts when adjusted seem line up with the shaft opening. The end of the shaft is close to being flush with at all points of that opening. On the newer AR503CE that shaft seems to extend beyond the opening, but one side of the shaft seems to protrude much more than the other side. It almost looks as if something is forcing the shaft to be out of alignment with in the housing.
    "String Butler"-img_20200731_133848-jpg
    Last edited by DanielleOM; 08-01-2020 at 08:13 AM.

  16. #15
    FYI, Photo of String Butler installed on Eastman AR503CE.

    "String Butler"-img_20200731_135018-jpg

  17. #16

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    I had something similar happened with Grover tuners on my archtop. On the tuners that were stiff, the shaft protruded farther beyond the body of the tuner than it did on the tuners which were easy to turn. One time when I had the strings off, I realize there was a certain amount of play in the end of the tuning adjustment shaft. So when I restrung the guitar, I took my thumbnail and pressed the shaft so that it was flush with the tuner body. That seemed to fix the problem.

    I will be curious to see if you notice a difference in ease of tuning to pitch and whether the tuning stays more stable.

  18. #17

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    I didn't mean to suggest adjusting the button with the screw removed. I just loosen the screw enough to be sure it's looser than it should be, then retighten it on the button and shaft. That might not be the problem, it's just the first thing I would try because it's the most common and the easiest to do. If the shaft has so much play that it gets out of alignment, I don't know of much to do other than replace the tuner. But I would first try tightening the button screw a little more. If it's too loose, it can allow some play. With the string loosened, tighten the button screw until it's tight, and it's somewhat difficult to turn the button without string tension, then back the screw out just a tiny bit. Too loose, and things can get slightly out of alignment inside, too tight and it's always hard to turn. If that doesn't do it, I would think about new tuners.

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    I didn't mean to suggest adjusting the button with the screw removed. I just loosen the screw enough to be sure it's looser than it should be, then retighten it on the button and shaft. That might not be the problem, it's just the first thing I would try because it's the most common and the easiest to do. If the shaft has so much play that it gets out of alignment, I don't know of much to do other than replace the tuner. But I would first try tightening the button screw a little more. If it's too loose, it can allow some play. With the string loosened, tighten the button screw until it's tight, and it's somewhat difficult to turn the button without string tension, then back the screw out just a tiny bit. Too loose, and things can get slightly out of alignment inside, too tight and it's always hard to turn. If that doesn't do it, I would think about new tuners.
    Sorry for the confusion. I had inadvertently typed "screw" where I should have typed "string". I just edited my earlier message.

    New tuners do seem to be in order. It would nice to find a set of tuners that would drop right in there without any need to drill or ream.

  20. #19

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    You don't have to remove the string to adjust the tuner, just loosen it enough to relax the tension. At pitch, the tension on the tuners prevents accurate adjustment. You can have the action in the tuner way too loose, but the button screw feels tight. The only way to get an accurate adjustment is to loosen the string, but you don't have to remove it.

    Sorry, I don't know what tuners are on the AR503, so I don't know what a drop-in replacement would be. Perhaps someone who does will come along and chime in.

  21. #20

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    The Eastman site lists the tuners as being Gotoh SG360-EN01GG but whether this is just the latest iteration or if it applies to all AR503s is not clear. I will check mine when I get a chance and see what are on there.

  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by thelostboss
    The Eastman site lists the tuners as being Gotoh SG360-EN01GG but whether this is just the latest iteration or if it applies to all AR503s is not clear. I will check mine when I get a chance and see what are on there.

    Interesting. The EN01 indicates a "wood" button. I have not yet seen an AR503CE for sale with wood buttons. SG360 - G-GOTOH