Hello. A Gibson Ball Bearing tone ring has 48 flat washers, 24 ball bearings, and 24 springs. They are notoriously easy to lose and difficult to find.
Anybody know a likely source for replacing these parts if they go missing?
The springs are die springs, the ball-bearings are ball-bearings. I had the machine shop at the community college fabricate the washers for me as a class project.
Great idea on the washers, and nice of the college to help you out. I'm curious about the ball bearings and springs, though. I'm not a machinist or engineer and I wasn't sure if those bearings and springs were standard production today. I also wonder if the spring tension, diameter, and depth, etc. that Gibson used are available on modern versions.
It seems to me (once again untrained and ignorant about these things) that the old specs might not be available today.
You may find it easier to buy abandoned ball bearing parts than make new. LOTS of ball bearing banjos have been turned into flat heads, leaving plenty of orphaned small parts.
Several years ago I was able to purchase an entire set of Ball Bearing parts, tone ring, ball bearings, springs, and washers, for $150. So I know that complete sets are out there. It is just a matter of finding them.
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