US 3403588 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 1, 1968 a. DOWNING 3,403,588
MUSICAL INSTRUMENT WITH STRING TENSION ADJUSTMENT Filed Nov. 21, 1966 INVENTOR. Joe 5. Dow/Ding BY You/3g 9 7/)0/D D60D ATTORNEYS.
United States Patent Olhce 3,403,588 Patented Oct. 1, 1968 3,403,588 MUSICAL INSTRUMENT WITH STRING TENSION ADJUSTMENT Joe B. Downing, 341 S. 193rd East Ave., Tulsa, Okla. 7410s Filed Nov. 21, 1966, Ser. No. 595,841 6 Claims. (Cl. 84-306) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Stringed musical instruments having tuners or string tighteners in the form of worm gears are provided with pointers that are carried by and are rotatable with the string posts, the pointers registering with fixed indicia to show the rotated position of the string posts thereby to permit tuning the instrument by observing the position of the pointer.
The present invention relates to stringed musical instruments having tuning attachments, more particularly of the type in which a properly tuned condition can be determined by observation of a visual indicator.
The tuning of stringed instruments is effected by adjusting the tension of the string. The tighter the string, the higher the note. Accordingly, means are provided for selectively individually manually tuning each string of a stringed instrument, and these means ordinarily take the form of a peg or a string post about which the string is wound, with means for applying suflicient leverage to rotate the post to adjust the tension of the string.
Persons with absolute pitch, or who have access to a properly tuned instrument or tone source for comparison purposes, may have no difiiculty tuning their instrument. But for others, the tuning of the instrument can be quite diflicult indeed, because the player may have no really accurate idea when proper tuning is achieved.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide stringed instruments having string tension adjustments such that proper tuning can be visually determined.
Another object of the present invention is the provision of such stringed instruments which will be relatively simple and inexpensive to manufacture, easy to assemble, reliable and easy to operate, and rugged and durable in use.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from a consideration of the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawing, in which:
FIGURE 1 is a fragmentary perspective View of the underside of the head of a stringed instrument;
FIGURE 2 is a cross-sectional view of the structure shown in FIG. 1;
FIGURE 3 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view of a portion of FIG. 2 with parts further broken away for clarity;
FIGURE 4 is a perspective view of an individual indicator; and
FIGURE 5 is an exploded perspective assembly view of the novel structure of the present invention.
At the outset, it should be emphasized that the present invention is adaptable for use with all stringed instruments in which tuning is elfected by rotation of a memher about which the string is wound. For purposes of givin a specific example, however, the invention will be described and illustrated in connection with a guitar.
Referring now to the drawing in greater detail, it will be seen that a guitar 1 is provided which has a conventional neck 3 that terminates in a conventional head 5. String posts 7, parallel to each other, extend through and are mounted in head 5 for rotation about their axes. One end of a string 9 is wound about each string post 7, the opposite ends of the strings being anchored in a conventional manner (not shown). Plates 11 are secured to the underside of head 5 by means of screws 13, the plates 11 being traversed by portions of string posts 7 of reduced diameter, which terminate in shoulders 15 that abut the undersides of plates 11. String posts 7 are thus prevented from axial upward movement as seen in FIG. 2; and, in addition, string posts 7 are provided with flanges 17 that bear against the opposite side of head 5.
Fixedly secured to the ends of posts 7 opposite the strings 9 is a gear 19 that meshes with a worm 21 mounted on a shank 23 that extends laterally of the head 5 and terminates in a thumbpiece 25 disposed laterally beyond head 5. When thumbpiece 25 is grasped between the thumb and forefinger and turned, worm 21 turns gear 19, which thus turns string post 7 to tigthen or loosen the associated string 9.
Thus far, the structure and function of the invention are or may be conventional.
The novel structure of the present invention is as follows:
A pointer 27 is provided, which has an outwardly extending indicator hand and a central truncated conical flange portion 28. A screw 29 is screw-threadedly received in the recessed end of string post 7 opposite, the attachment of the end of the string 9, and screw 29 clamps flange portion 28 of pointer 27 between the underside of screw 29 and the upper side of gear 19. At the same time, screw 29 urges gear 19 against the upper surface of plate 11, thereby adjustably to regulate the ease with which string post 7 can be turned by thumbpiece 25 or string 9. The indicator hand of pointer 27 thus extends radially outwardly from the axis of string post 7.
A casing 31 surrounds the patent head mechanism of the guitar. Casing 31 is of sheet metal and is characterized by a top wall 32 and downwardly outwardly inclined side walls 33 and end walls 35. Tabs 37 extend outwardly from end walls 35 parallel to top wall 32, and screws 93 pass through tabs 37 and into head 5 releasably to secure casing 31 on the guitar. Each casing 31 has circular openings 41 therethrough, and screws 29 and pointers 27 extend through those openings with the indicator hand of each pointer 27 disposed above and closely parallel to the upper surface of top wall 32. The outer surface of top wall 32 is provided with fixed indicia 43 with which the indicator hand of pointer 27 registers so as to indicate the rotated position of the associated string post 7.
The gear 19 and worm 21 assemblies of each string are disposed in rows along each side of head 5, and a casing 31 is common to the mechanisms of each row. Thus, each casing 31 is elongated in the direction of the row and is provided with openings 41 equal in number to the number of mechanisms covered by the casing. The shanks 23 of thumbpieces 25 extend through slots 45 that open through the free edges of side walls 33, thereby making it easy to attach and remove the casings 31 but at the same time protecting the mechanisms within the casings. The casings of course also serve to prevent the pointers 27 from protruding outwardly a great distance beyond the surrounding structure, and thus protect the pointers 27 from becoming bent or broken or misaligned.
In practice, each string will be carefully and accurately tuned either by someone with absolute pitch or by comparison with a tone source of accurate pitch. The screw 29 is loosened, preferably before the tuning is done, so that pointer 27 can be rotated about the axis of string post 7 Without any corresponding rotation of string post 7. The pointer 27 is then set to the zero position or to some other fixed reference position corresponding to a condition of perfect tuning. The screw 29 is then tightened so that pointer 27 must thereafter rotate with string post 7.
Any deviation of pointer 27 from this zero or reference position will indicate that the string is out of tune. It is then necessary only to turn thumbpiece 25 in an appropriate direction to return pointer 27 to its correctly aligned position, whereupon the string will be restored to a tuned condition.
In view of the foregoing disclosure, therefore, it will be evident that all of the initially recited objects of the present invention have been achieved.
Although the present invention has been described and illustrated in connection with a preferred embodiment, it is to be understood that modifications and variations may be resorted to without departing from the spirit of the invention, as those skilled in this art will readily understand. Such modifications and variations are considered to be within the purview and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.
Having described my invention, I claim:
1. A musical instrument having a plurality of strings, string posts about which the ends of the strings are wound, means mounting the string posts on the instrument for rotation about their axes, gears fixed on the string posts, a thumbpiece having a worm engaged with each gear to 4' rotate the string posts to tune the instrument; wherein the improvement comprises an indicator carried by and rotatable with each string post, and fixed indicia on the instrument registrable with said indicator for indicating the rotated position of the string post.
2. A musical instrument as claimed in claim 1, the indicator comprising a pointer extending radially outwardly from the string post.
3. A musical instrument as claimed in claim 2, and a screw releasably securing the pointer to one end of the string post.
4. A musical instrument as claimed in claim 1, and a casing removably secured to the instrument, the casing enclosing the gear and worm of at least one string post, said indicia being carried by said casing.
5. A musical instrument as claimed in claim 4, the gear and worm assemblies being disposed in rows, the casing enclosing all the said assemblies in a said row.
6. A musical instrument as claimed in claim 4, the thumbpiece of said at least one string post being disposed outside said casing.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 936,624 10/1909 Hale 84297 ROBERT S. WARD, 111., Primary Examiner.
I. F. GONZALES, Assistant Examiner.