Other Guitars

Lester Robot Rehab Project

1

Just got a sweet price on a minty LP 2012 Studio Limited. Beautiful fireburst nitro finish, slightly chunky neck, P90 at the neck, Burstbucker bridge. Just lovely. A nice, little Lester with great potential... with one little problem. It's a full monty 4th generation Robot - self tuners AND some other jazz built into the body that I have no idea what they do.

I'm seriously thinking about swapping the tuners with Grovers. Now if this were just about the tuners it would be no biggie BUT with this one the tuners are integrated somehow with a PCU and a control knob (an "MCK") on the body.

I haven't had a chance to look inside anything yet or even totally read the 40 page owners guide. I'm starting on a basic luthier class thus Saturday and this may be my first project, with my instructors help.

Anybody out there have any experience/opinions/resources on this sort of thing?

2

A friend recently got a new (non-robo tuner)LP; the pots and circuitry are on a pc board. If you yank the tuners you may have to completely rewire it. Are the robo-tuners really that unworkable? 40 page owners manual sounds extreme as this "innovation" was supposed to make life simpler. Please report more as you go along and have fun with the class.

3

Its not just about the tuners in the full on Robo guitars. There are a ton of other analog functions controlled by a PCU built into the body. My class starts tomorrow. This might be a very interesting dissection!

4

Rip it all out. Here is a clear picture of 50's style wiring.

5

Just might. Will see how it goes! Thanks!

6

If no-one has done this before, video document the process and upload to youtube. You might get a lot of thanks for that.

7

The Robo Tuners are easy pizzi to replace. There are some videos on You Tube showing how to do it. Basically, you just remove the Robos and there are a bunch of tuners (lots of Grovers) that are easy drop-in replacements. The Robo's have no little screws...which is good. You just have to drill holes for the little screws on the new tuners.

8

Yeah, thats what I thought when I first started looking at this. But... I think its going to be more complicated. This is definitely not a drop in unit. The battery and processor is in the body of the guitar and is controlled by a knob that would normally be a tone knob. That knob, called an MCK, also controls some analog (not digital) voicing functions including a piezo bridge and software connection for some mysterious functions I have yet to fathom.

Like I say, it has literally a 40 page owners manual and I have only had the thing about a week! Hopefully, I'll be able to know more about this after I take it to class!

Good thing I'm pretty much a full-time slacker looking for constructive projects to keep busy!

9

The Robo Tuners are easy pizzi to replace. There are some videos on You Tube showing how to do it. Basically, you just remove the Robos and there are a bunch of tuners (lots of Grovers) that are easy drop-in replacements. The Robo's have no little screws...which is good. You just have to drill holes for the little screws on the new tuners.

– Gretschadelphia

Thought I'd report in that you were absolutely right. Robo tuners dropped right out and Grovers popped right in with just adding two little screws on each one. Easy pizzi!

10

Robo tuners are silly, I know that. I know that. But now that I've been playing with a lot of alternate tunings, I feel oddly compelled to try one

11

I just (last week) had the Powertune by Tronical (aka, the ROBOT) removed from a 2000 American Deluxe Strat I have for sale. With it on, nobody was interested in the guitar. So, now I have a stock 2000 Fender Strat that should sell easier, ... and a box of robot hardware. It was a surgical removal, for sure, and my luthier's soldering gun got used a bit since it was an invasive installation, to say the least ... but, it's gone.

15

Hey Ed, you wouldn't have any interest in unloading the robot system? I'd love to try one.

16

Otter: Here's the story ... in 2006, my friend Joe spoke w/ the Tronical folks in Germany and talked them into shipping him a complete robot set-up. Joe was a pretty respected artist (paintings) w/ international connections, so I don't even know if there was any money changing hands or if they thought Joe could be useful in marketing their new technology in the USA. Both Fender & Gibson had shown interest, but I don't think either had committed yet. Joe installed the robot on a 2000 American Deluxe Strat. It worked great. 2008, Joe died from a heart attack. All 128 of Joe's guitars and assorted miscellaneous gear is now sitting in their cases in his house and his widow is not dealing with the collection. Jesse, Joe's son (then 16) starts to sell off the collection, but ... a piece here, a piece there. In January of this year, Jesse (now 26) moves out and there's still 100 items in the collection, which includes 45 guitars. Joe's widow asks me if I can take up where Jesse left off and consolidate (sell off) the remaining pieces. Of course I said SURE!!! So, I opened all guitar cases to see what was inside and many of them hadn't been opened in 9-10 years. Most still mint, but ... dusty, a fine dusting of corrosion on the strings, etc. The 2000 Strat with the robot is intriguing, but the robot doesn't work. The rechargeable batteries are dead and (after 10 years) no longer rechargeable. I called Tronical, who explained the issue to me and said they'd gladly sell me a new battery pack for $60 plus shipping. Screw it ... I had it removed and put back in its "original" Powertune by Tronical" box. So, to answer your question ... I'll ship you a robot for shipping!!! But you'd still have to procure a new battery pack.

17

That sounds like a fair deal. Do you still have the dead battery?

18

Grovers vs. Robos, my take post Robo Rehab ...

String change: Robos too fiddly, Grovers win.

Intonation: Old way works fine, Grovers win.

Tuning: Really wasn't much of a problem before for standard tuning but Robos could be handy OTOH hand tuning Robos is a pain, I give this one a draw.

Alternate Tunings: Well, Robos make it kind of fun to experiment around with different tunings. So around home I guess its fine.

So? Seems like a solution looking for a problem. My little Lester is happier with Grovers. So, I'll just keep the Robos in a baggie in the case.

I did get a good price on a nice guitar because Robos made it less marketable and tulip Grovers only cost $50.


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