Premier Vibe Note Pegs (Job No: 1264)

wpid-wp-1438675862114.jpg

This little item has been causing issues for a long time now!  It is the rubber note peg cap off a Premier 751 vibraphone, but it has been used on several generations of Premier’s vibraphones.  Of course Premier stopped producing the 751 and the 701 vibes a long time ago now; it was probably around 2008 when Premier asked me to come and relieve them of all their obsolete spare parts which had been hanging around in their factory for years.

The root cause of the problem with these note peg caps is difficult to avoid; rubber degrades in light and air.  Ultra violet light, but mainly Ozone that are main the culprits, so the only way for you to prolong the life of them on your vibraphone is to remove these two factors.  So from now on practice in the pitch black within a vacuum; I hear that NASA have space suits going cheap now they are being undercut by China.

Back in 2008 I also obtained access to Premier’s tooling for injection moulding these parts.  I dutifully went off and requested quotes from rubber moulding companies to have some made up.  The received quotations were ridiculously high, with the quantities ridiculously large that I just could never see a time when I could afford the £47,000+VAT to have 20,000 made.  Obviously they did not want to make them using the old moulds, and new moulds would also be too expensive, so a non commercially produced method for making the parts had to be developed.

My solution was to use a two part synthetic “rubber” that can be mixed and injected by hand into a mould.  This brought the required investment down to around £1000, which is still a lot of money in my world!  Along with the financial investment into tools and materials, I have also had to invest a lot of time in learning how to use them.

This whole project has, in reality, been a massive spanner in the works – whole days would be lost producing a pattern or some “bit” I needed, only to discover the next day that it wouldn’t work.  This continuous distraction has been the reason for my absence!  Below is a highly condensed video of how I went about it.


Having finally made a sufficient number moulds for me to replace all the pegs on a vibraphone, I had eventually got to the position when I could completely use up the two pots of gunk I will use when making up the kits and thus discover whether my idea is actually cost effective.  Because the original note pegs cost £3.75 each, but are sold (by me) singly due to their scarcity, I certainly want my replacements to be cheaper than this, but what I really want is to get a whole instrument done for less than £200, which is a unit cost of £2.25.  The material costs for one pair of pots are currently £19, so I had to form more than 6 to beat the cost of the original spares, and more than 8 to achieve my target.  In reality I got 20 note pegs reproduced out of one pair of pots which is fantastic, so the main costs associated with the job, will be the moulds.

Replacement Kit for Premier 750 series Note Peg Caps.

Initial Kit at currently £60 contains: 2 moulds, 1 x 50ml part A (black), 1 x 50ml part B (white), 10 mixing pots, 10 x 5ml syringes, 20 tea spoons, 20 nitrile gloves, 5 cocktail sticks, 2 Kebab skewer.

Refill kit at currently £20 contains the same minus the two moulds.

Below is an instructional video on how to use the kit from preparation to completion.


12 comments on “Premier Vibe Note Pegs (Job No: 1264)

    • pauljefferies

      Thank you for your comment. 3D printing is an interesting suggestion, but I have my reservations:

      As I understand it, 3D printing is a prototyping tool so the cost of making a lot of components would be expensive. Furthermore, the several businesses that I have talked who offer 3D printing have not been particularly helpful, certainly with regards to technical specifications and were reluctant to send me samples that I can strength test. I am reluctant to use printed components without testing them to see if they offer any advantage, and only use businesses where I receive good service. What I don’t see are 3D printed components used in, for example, Formula1 or MotoGP, which leads me to suspect that the results are a bit inconsistent or weak. Finally I don’t even know whether 3D printers have the variety of materials available.

      All in all I have too many unanswered questions about 3D printing, I have failed to be impressed by the printing companies, and can’t justify making the investment in a printer myself, and of course I would also need a 3D scanner…

      Paul

      Reply
      • willy

        OK,thanks for your advice.
        I have a friend who is using 3D prints and scan in is day to day job. So I will probably make a test with a hard plastic for my old premier vibraphone support. They are different from yours : U shape, with metal plate inside. See pictures here :
        http://img11.hostingpics.net/pics/977843DSC0162.jpg
        http://img11.hostingpics.net/pics/582422DSC0163.jpg
        http://img11.hostingpics.net/pics/686518DSC0164.jpg
        Sorry for the bad mobile phone pictures.
        The second picture is an intact one.

        So my problem is a bit different from yours: I need complete piece, the metal U inside is to large I think for injection. My main worry is about the hardness of 3D printed plastic: maybe to hard not to break…

      • pauljefferies

        Hi Willy
        I have a different mould for those vibes. Because the vibes are so old I didn’t make a full set only the moulds I needed for the repair. Of course I still have those moulds available to use.
        The main problem with your 3D printing I think will be hardness – they will be too hard. The note pegs need to be rubber, not plastic otherwise they will buzz.
        On your instrument the note rails can be removed individually (except the inner pair), so you can just send them to me and I will make the moulds and do the repair.
        Paul

      • willy

        you know that model ? it seems to be between 55 and 65 but I don’t know the year. You say you have the mould, so you already refurbished one of those (think it’s model 700) ? I don’t have the pedal too, I will have to rebuilt it, if you have some technical drawings that might help a lot.

        For the hardness you are right. I will have to make a test before rebuilding it. If it doesn’t work I will come back to you.

      • pauljefferies

        Yes I know that model of vibraphone, repairing percussion instruments is my job, by which I mean that it is my only source of income and I only do percussion instruments. I am not an amateur enthusiast who tinkers in my spare time, I spent 5 years training to be and becoming a qualified instrument maker.

        Because I have been repairing instruments for a long time, I have seen a lot of different models of vibraphones, so I have seen and worked on the Premier 700. I will be writing a post about the last one that I repaired which will be of use to you. I do not however have technical drawings commercially available.

      • willy

        No doubt about your skills or professionalism ! It’s just that old premier vibraphone seems less common than Musser or Deagan, so I hardly find information on that one.
        Your opinion on the 700 will interest me a lot as you have seen so many instrument, your expertise is far more interesting than many others. I will wait your post to discuss about the 700.

  1. Chris

    Hi Willy,
    I have the 700 vibe as well with exactly the same problem (among others ! ). My Idea is to use wide U shaped steel cut from square tubing and then put slightly flattened rubber or silicone tubing over it to cushion it from the bars.
    I can confirm that Paul know what he is talking about as he sourced some genuine Ludwig Machine Timp parts for me a while back for a 23″ timp I was restoring.
    Thanks Paul 😀

    Reply
    • pauljefferies

      Hi Chris,

      It is all about perspective; my perspective is that these older vibes sound better, so financially if it were my vibe, I would be willing to invest whatever it took (up to the price of a new M55 for example) to restore it to the highest standard.

      With that in mind, I would build a whole new frame for the 700 and dispense with all the problems going forward. However it is a lot harder than people think to build an instrument. I have to repair instruments that have been made wrong by major manufacturers all the time – just read the blog posts. Furthermore all of these internet DIY instrument kits are just garbage by “people” who profess themselves to be experts, for them just look at their work, it is shit. I could almost guarantee that mistakes would be made, but at the end of the day it depends on the standard of workmanship that you aspire to.

      So the next best solution is actually fairly easy on the 700. I would cut away all the rubber off the existing note pegs and weld U and C shaped note pegs to the metal bracket. The note pegs would be the same as every other instrument manufacturer, and similar to them use rubber tube for insulation and suspension. All of the modifications can be done off the instrument, and then the metal parts finished and then riveted back onto the frame.

      The reason why I don’t do this when I am repairing instruments is down to money and cost effectiveness, I have to do repairs to a budget, and I have to earn a living.

      Paul

      Reply
      • Chris

        Hi Paul,

        I couldn’t agree more .
        If I could weld (properly) then I would do as you suggest, but I can’t which is why I’m looking at making new pegs from scratch. Someone in the past has done the same to a few pegs but made a complete hash of it using far too big metal without any rubber tubing, the result is the notes sit too high and clank on them.
        I bought my vibe as a complete wreck with the aim of rebuilding and improving it. I don’t have the funds available to have it repaired by someone else which is why I’m gonna do it myself, slowly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *