Yep, I'm thinning the herd. My first "good" amp was a Musicman RD112 100 watt amp with an EV speaker. Musicman stopped making amps shortly after that. I purchased the amp from Nolde's Music Box in Flemington NJ back in 82 or 83. Nolde's is no longer there, but I still have that amp today. The amp has an incredible clean sound and a good distortion channel. These amps were supposed to be Leo Fender's redesign of his original fender amps when he founded Musicman. In reality Leo focused on guitar design while at Musicman, before leaving to start G&L.
"GUITARISTS TEND TO COME IN THREE SCHOOLS AS far as vibrato tailpieces, or “whammy bars,” are concerned: those who can’t live without them, those who can’t live with them, and those who tolerate them on their guitars, but rarely touch them—either for reasons of style, or for fear of spiraling out of tune. Love ’em or loathe ’em, vibrato tailpieces do change the sound of any guitar they’re mounted on, even when they’re not in use. If you do actually want to use one, however, and thereby indulge in the world of manual pitch-bend effects these ingenious contraptions can offer, it pays to know something about the form and function of the different types of vibrato systems that are available"
[Update 8/8/2009: Decided to go with a Bigsby B5 for my Telecaster. The downside is that it requires a number of holes to be drilled so there is no going back. But that's why I bought this guitar. I just want to say, there is nothing inherently wrong with the Stetsbar, it's just not really built to handle my unusually heavy strings and I really didn't want to switch back to 10's]
[Update - 8/3/2009: Eric Stets, the founder of Stetsbar responded within a few hours of my email yesterday and we also chatted via phone. He talked me through is personal Stetsbar setup procedure and he's also going to forward some new springs to see if that helps. He's been very responsive and helpful, but it does sound like 12's may be a bit too heavy. I'll give it another try and see if I can get it working. Otherwise I'll have to consider if I would use lighter strings or actually consider altering the guitar in order to add another whammy bar alternative (Bigsby?, Kahler?)...]
After installing and reinstalling the Stetsbar three times on my tele without it working properly, I'm giving up and call the manufacturer to find a "certified" installer. I suspect the unit just doesn't work well with heavy strings but here is some of my frustration...
1) you need to install a shim under the neck. Granted it only raises the neck about 1/8" up, but it also increases the angle off the guitar. I followed directions to the tee drilling all the proper holes in the shim and reset the neck. After I replaced the bridge with the Stetsbar unit, I had to raise the new bridge so high I questioned why I would even need the shim. But I continued to setup per the instructions. When done, the whammy bar barely had an inch of play. Also, the guitar sounded very thin. I attributed this to the fact that the bridge was as high as a NJ Tutnpike overpass.
2) next I decided to pull out the shim from the neck and use the fender patented micro-tilt neck adjustment to align the neck with the stets bar. I was able to setup the guitar with great action and it sounded much better. One problem though, no matter how I adjusted the stetsbar, the whammy was full flat against the body with no play. Basically looked like the stetsbar springs could not compensate for my heavy strings.
3) so I decided to bite the bullet and switch to a normal set of . 010's which the Stersbar should handle without problem. No dice. Same problem as before. 1AM last night I cried "Uncle"!
This morning I'm going to restore my Telecaster to it's original condition. Tomorrow I'll call the manufacturer with some hard questions.
I guess this is why having a good tech do all your work is worth the money. They can deal with all the headaches and aggravation.
[Update 8/03/2009: - PS. You know you have a wonderful and fantastic Wife when she is nothing but consoling and sympathetic as you wrestle with your guitar instead of doing all the things you're supposed to be doing over the weekend!]
[Sent from my iPhone 3GS]
I've moved from Les Paul's to Semi-hollow body guitars (Johnny Smith and Carvin) to pointed headed super strats (Hair Metal Red Guild Aviator), custom 7 strings and finally ended up with Fenders I first fell in love with a Strat and eventually a Tele.