US3162083A - Tremolo device for stringed musical instruments - Google Patents

Tremolo device for stringed musical instruments Download PDF

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Publication number
US3162083A
US3162083A US36955964A US3162083A US 3162083 A US3162083 A US 3162083A US 36955964 A US36955964 A US 36955964A US 3162083 A US3162083 A US 3162083A
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end
plate
member
tail
rod
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James D Webster
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FRED GRETSCH Manufacturing CO
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FRED GRETSCH Manufacturing CO
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G10MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; ACOUSTICS
    • G10DSTRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; WIND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; ACCORDIONS OR CONCERTINAS; PERCUSSION MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G10D3/00Details of, or accessories for, stringed musical instruments, e.g. slide-bars
    • G10D3/14Tuning devices, e.g. pegs, pins, friction discs
    • G10D3/143Devices for altering the string tension during playing
    • G10D3/146Tremolo devices

Description

Dec. 22, 1964 J. D. WEBSTER 3,162,083

TREMOLO DEVICE FOR STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS Filed May 22, 1964 I 4 26 E g 22 Z, /4 I f I /7 /6 'IIIII INVENTOR. J4M5 Q M5575? BY IW+WEW United States Patent OflFice 3,162,083 Patented Dec. 22, 1964.

3,162,083 T REMOLO DEVICE FOR STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS James I). Webster, Northport, N.Y., assignor to The Fred.

Gretsch Mfg. (30., Brooklyn, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed May 22, 1964, Ser. No. 369,559 7 Claims. (Cl. 84-313) The present invention relates to stringed musical instruments, such as guitars and the like and, more particularly, to an improved tremolo device for such instruments.

Heretofore, various tremolo devices have been proposed for relaxing and tightening the strings of the instrument to produce tremolo eifects. However, such prior devices were unduly complex and unattractive in appearance.

Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide an improved tremolo device which overcomes the foregoing difiiculties and objections.

Another object is to provide such a device which is constructed of a minimum of readily fabricated parts.

Another object is' to provide such a device which is readily installed in an instrument.

Another object is to provide such a device which is equipped with an adjustable handle arrangement for varying the amplitude of the tremolo eflec'ts.

Another object is to provide such as device which is equipped with an adjustable spring arrangement for varying the frequency of the tremolo cliects.

Another object is to provide such a device having certain elements thereof concealed within the instrument and thus improving the appearance of the instrument.

A further object is to accomplish the foregoing in a simple, practical and economical manner.

Other and "further objects will be obvious upon an understanding of the illustrative embodiment about to be described, or will be indicated in the appended claims, and various advantages not referred to herein will occur to one skilled in the art upon employment of the invention in practice.

A preferred embodiment of the invention has been chosen for purposes of illustration and description and is shown in the accompanying drawing, forming a part of the specification, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary plan viewof the tail portion of a guitar equipped with a tremolo device in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along the line 22 on FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged sectional view taken along the line 33 on FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged sectional view taken along the line 4-4 on FIG. 1.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawing in detail, there is shown a guitar G having a body B formed with a sound box opening in the top thereof, and a tremolo device '10.

The tremolo device generally comprises an anchor plate 11, a tail plate 12, a spring mounting member or shaft 14 for imparting the tremolo effects to the strings S, a handle arrangement 15 for operating the string mounting member 14, and a spring arrangement 16 for oscillating the string mounting member 14 after being put into motion by the handle arrangement 15.

The anchor plate 11, as best shown in FIG. 2, is fitted against a tail wall of the body B and is provided with apertures '17 for receiving wood screws 18 which are threaded into a support block at the inner side of the tail wall of the body.

The tail plate 12 has its tail end hinged to the upper end of the anchor plate 1 1 at 19 and extends longitudinally across the top of the body B towards the neck end of the body of the instrument. The free end of the tail plate 1 2 has a greater width than the transverse zone occupied by the row of strings S of the instrument and is provided with a bearing '20 at each side thereof, which bearings are spaced apart so that the row of strings tits there between.

The string mounting member or shaft 14 is rotatably supported at each end by the bearings 20, and is provided with conventional means for attaching the knotted or tail ends of the strings in spaced relation (FIG. 1) with respect to each other.

The handle arrangement 15 is secured to one end of the shaft .14 which extends outwardly through its bearing 20 (FIGS. 1 and 3), whereby operation of the handle arrangement effects turning movement of the shaft. Preferably, the handle arrangement 15 includes an inner bar 21, an :outer bar 22, and a manually engageable knob'or handle member24- at the outer or tree end of the outer bar. The outer bar 22 has a longitudinally extending slot 25 (FIG. 2), and screws 26 extend through the slot 25 and are threaded into the inner bar 21, whereby the effective length of the handle and the leverage afforded by it can be varied for the purpose described hereinafter.

The spring arrangement 16 (FIG. 4) includes a rod 27 having a substantially horizontal upper end 28 fitted and secured in an aperture 29 formed at midpoint of the shaft 14 between its bearings 20 and having a'substantially vertical depending shank section 30 which extends downwardly into the body B through a hole H formed in the top of the body; a substantially horizontalpressure plate 31 having one end secured to the lower end of the rod section 30 and extending towards the tail wall of the instrument body; and a compression spring 32 mounted on the other or free end of the pressure plate 3'1 and having its lower end secured to the upper surface of the pressure plate at 34 with its upper end engaging the underside of the top of the instrument body at a point where the tail plate overlies. In this manner, the upward force exerted by the spring 32 on the top of the instrument body is canceled by the downward force exerted by the tail plate on the top of the instrument body, whereby the spring will not damage the body top.

For the purpose about to be described the pressure plate 3-1 is adjustably mounted on the shank section 30 to vary the distance between it and the underside of the top of the instrument body, so as to determine the loading of the spring 32 when the handle arrangement is inclined upwardly as shown (FIG. 2). This is accomplished by threading the lower end of the shank section 30, forming an opening 33 (FIG. 4) in the pressure plate 31 through which the shank section extends, and securing the pressure plate between upper and lower nuts 35 threaded into the shank section.

When the tremolo device is constructed and arranged as disclosed herein, the tail plate 12 in a sense floats on the top of the instrument body but is held downwardly thereon by the bias of the spring 32 which, through the pressure plate 31, the rod 27 and the shaft 14, exerts a downward pull on the free end of the tail plate 12. Downward or counterclockwise movement of the handle member 24 will turn the shaft 14 and rock the rod 27 and the pressure plate 31 to further compress and load the spring 32 whereby, upon sudden release of the handle member, the spring vibrates to oscillate the shaft 14 and cause the strings to be alternately relaxed and tightened at a frequency to produce the tremolo effects.

The frequency at which the spring vibrates and the resulting tremolo frequency can be adjusted by the pressure plate mounting arrangement. Thus, an increase in preloading of the spring shortens its initial extent of vibration and increases its frequency and, in turn, the tremolo frequency, and vice versa.

The extent of vibration at which the spring 32 is set into motion can be adjusted by the leverage aiforded by the handle arrangement 15 when about the same manual force is applied to the handle member 24 to turn the shaft 14. Thus, an increase in leverage will enable the shaft 14 to be turned more, whereby the spring is compressed more tightly to increase its initial extent of vibration, and vice versa. Also, the inertia of the handle member 24 serves to damp the vibration of the spring 32. Thus, when the handle member is at its outermost position, its damping effect will be greatest, and vice versa.

One convenient way of installing the tremolo device comprises detaching the rod 27 (with the pressure plate 31 and the spring 32 connected thereto) from the shaft 14; grasping these detached parts in the hand, placing the hand into the body through the opening and passing the upper end of the rod 27 through the hole H; fitting the rod extension 28 into the shaft aperture 29; securing the anchor plate 11 by means of the screws 18; attaching the tail ends of the instrument strings S to the shaft 14; and tuning the strings to tension the same.

From the foregoing description, it will be seen that the present invention provides an improved tremolo device which is simple, practical, readily installed, economical in construction and can be adjusted to produce a variety of tremolo effects.

As various changes may be made in the form, construction, and arrangement of the parts herein, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention and without sacrificing any of its advantages, it is to be understood that all matters are to be interpreted as illustrative and not in any limiting sense.

What is claimed is:

1. A tremolo device for a stringed musical instrument which device comprises an anchor plate, a tail plate having one end hinged to said anchor plate and having bearing means at its other end aligned transversely with respect to lengthwise direction of said tail plate, a member rotatably mounted on said bearing means having means for securement of strings of the instrument thereto, a handle having one end secured to said member to effect turning movement thereof, a rod having one end attached to said member for movement therewith and depending from said member, a pressure plate having one end secured to said rod for movement therewith and extending transversely thereof towards the anchor plate end of said tail plate, and a compression spring mounted on the other end of said pressure plate and extending upwardly therefrom with its upper end beneath the tail plate.

2. A device according to claim 1, wherein said handle includes inner and outer elements slidably mounted with respect to each other to adjust the effective length of said handle and means for releasably securing said elements to each other in their adjusted position.

3. A device according to claim 2, wherein a handle member is secured to the outer end of said outer element.

4. A device according to claim 1, wherein said rod is threaded, said pressure plate is formed with an open ing for said rod, and means are threaded on said rod for securing said pressure plate to said rod to adjust said pressure plate on said rod and thereby adjust the pressure of said pressure plate on said spring.

5. A device according to claim 1, wherein the lower end of said spring is secured to said pressure plate.

6. A device according to claim 1 wherein said rod has a transverse extension at its upper end facing away from said anchor plate, and said member has an aperture at about its midpoint for receiving said extension.

7. A device according to claim 6, wherein said rod extension and said shaft are releasably connected.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,781,685 7 2/57 White et al 84-312 LEY LAND M. MARTIN, Primary Examiner,

Claims (1)

1. A TREMOLO DEVICE FOR A STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENT WHICH DEVICE COMPRISES AN ANCHOR PLATE, A TAIL PLATE HAVING ONE END HINGED TO SAID ANCHOR PLATE AND HAVING BEARING MEANS AT ITS OTHER END ALIGNED TRANSVERSELY WITH RESPECT TO LENGTHWISE DIRECTION OF SAID TAIL PLATE, A MEMBER ROTATABLY MOUNTED ON SAID BEARING MEANS HAVING MEANS FOR SECUREMENT OF STRINGS OF THE INSTRUMENT THERETO, A HANDLE HAVING ONE END SECURED TO SAID MEMBER TO EFFECT TURNING MOVEMENT THEREOF, A ROD HAVING ONE END ATTACHED TO SAID MEMBER FOR MOVEMENT THEREWITH AND DEPENDING FROM SAID MEMBER, A PRESSURE PLATE HAVING ONE END SECURED TO SAID ROD FOR MOVEMENT THEREWITH AND EXTENDING TRANSVERSELY THEREOF TOWARDS THE ANCHOR PLATE END OF SAID TAIL PLATE, AND A COMPRESSION SPRING MOUNTED ON THE OTHER END OF SAID PRESSURE PLATE AND EXTENDING UPWARDLY THEREFROM WITH ITS UPPER END BENEATH THE TAIL PLATE.
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Cited By (11)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3241418A (en) * 1964-06-05 1966-03-22 Columbia Records Distrib Corp Guitar incorporating inertial vibrato device
US3250167A (en) * 1963-11-08 1966-05-10 Earl D Porter Tone levers for individual strings in a stringed musical instrument
US3457821A (en) * 1967-11-08 1969-07-29 Bigsby Accessories Inc Vibrato tailpiece
US3491644A (en) * 1966-11-18 1970-01-27 Richard C Jeranson Guitar tuner
US4892025A (en) * 1988-07-22 1989-01-09 Steinberger Sound Corporation Tremolo device having an adjustable counterspring and lock
US5305675A (en) * 1992-04-09 1994-04-26 Richard Lasner Hand actuated tremolo assembly
US8163987B1 (en) * 2011-01-11 2012-04-24 U.E. Corp. Vibrato string retainer bracket
US20130255468A1 (en) * 2011-09-19 2013-10-03 Harold John Miller Method for stabilizing guitar vibrato tuning
US20150027292A1 (en) * 2013-07-23 2015-01-29 David Young Mount For Tremolo Arm
US20150068386A1 (en) * 2013-03-08 2015-03-12 Towner USA, LLC Vibrato block
US9691364B1 (en) * 2016-04-22 2017-06-27 Geoffrey Lee McCabe Integrated pivot mechanism for fulcrum tremolo

Citations (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2781685A (en) * 1956-07-24 1957-02-19 Robert C White Pitch changing attachment for stringed musical instruments

Patent Citations (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2781685A (en) * 1956-07-24 1957-02-19 Robert C White Pitch changing attachment for stringed musical instruments

Cited By (16)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3250167A (en) * 1963-11-08 1966-05-10 Earl D Porter Tone levers for individual strings in a stringed musical instrument
US3241418A (en) * 1964-06-05 1966-03-22 Columbia Records Distrib Corp Guitar incorporating inertial vibrato device
US3491644A (en) * 1966-11-18 1970-01-27 Richard C Jeranson Guitar tuner
US3457821A (en) * 1967-11-08 1969-07-29 Bigsby Accessories Inc Vibrato tailpiece
US4892025A (en) * 1988-07-22 1989-01-09 Steinberger Sound Corporation Tremolo device having an adjustable counterspring and lock
US5305675A (en) * 1992-04-09 1994-04-26 Richard Lasner Hand actuated tremolo assembly
US8163987B1 (en) * 2011-01-11 2012-04-24 U.E. Corp. Vibrato string retainer bracket
US20130255468A1 (en) * 2011-09-19 2013-10-03 Harold John Miller Method for stabilizing guitar vibrato tuning
US8678659B2 (en) * 2011-09-19 2014-03-25 Harold John Miller Method for stabilizing guitar vibrato tuning
US20150068386A1 (en) * 2013-03-08 2015-03-12 Towner USA, LLC Vibrato block
US9142197B2 (en) * 2013-03-08 2015-09-22 Towner USA, LLC Vibrato block
US20150027292A1 (en) * 2013-07-23 2015-01-29 David Young Mount For Tremolo Arm
US20150027293A1 (en) * 2013-07-23 2015-01-29 David Young Contoured Guitar Tremolo Arm
US9286864B2 (en) * 2013-07-23 2016-03-15 David Young Mount for tremolo arm
US9558723B2 (en) * 2013-07-23 2017-01-31 David Young Contoured guitar tremolo arm
US9691364B1 (en) * 2016-04-22 2017-06-27 Geoffrey Lee McCabe Integrated pivot mechanism for fulcrum tremolo

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