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Early and later TB2000 specs

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edp242

Joined:
22 Feb 2009
Posts: 41
PostPosted: 03/08/2009 at 6:59 PM    Post subject: Early and later TB2000 specs link

Howdee folks - this is my first post, been lurking for a bit but never posted.

I have a couple of beans and just got myself a bass (143, was on ebay, probably lots of you folks saw it), and took it over to my friend's place to compare and contrast. She has number 708.

I figured the two would be pretty similar, but i was dead wrong. Here are some of the differences we noticed:
- body shape is totally different. the older bean had a more bulbous (pleasing, i would say ;)) bottom, more curvature at the middle, and a thicker body (probably at least 1/8 of an inch thicker)
- the body of the older bean was 1 piece, vs 2 piece for the newer one
- the neck was noticeably thicker on the older bean, and was wider as well
- the nut width was also noticeably thicker (i didn't measure it, just eyeballed, but looked like 143 had an 1 3/4 or 7/8 nut width vs 1 11/16 for 708). Also the shape of the nut was different, with the older one being much larger.
- the fingerboard on 708 was a two piece construction, with strip of aluminum glued to the neck and then a thin fingerboard glued to it. 143 had a thicker wood fingerboard with no extra piece of aluminum.
- Lastly the saddle on 708 was longer (probably about 1/2 inch).

I really wish i had had my camera with me, i could have uploaded pics to show everyone...

Anyhoo, i was just wondering if anyone knew when these changes were made on the basses and why. It looks like a lot of the changes were made to preserve materials usage...

Best,
Tim


-- ADMIN EDIT --
Changed subject from TB200 to TB2000 to prevent confusion

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Joefish

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Posts: 106
PostPosted: 03/08/2009 at 8:15 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

Hey Tim greetings from a Philadelphia Wedge guy 3000 that is ( this really is a cool site isn't it thanks Hank!)

Hopefully one of the more knowledge folks ( hint hint Peggy) will provide a general timeline regarding some of the changes

I sure did some head scratching after reading a recent post specifically, I got the impression that Travis and Friends took what was basically two blocks of aluminum that for lack of a better word, were hollowed out (please see the demo/cutaway guitar) with the fret board glued on then both necks w/fret boards were somehow attached/held together and put on the lathe and machined (man, I'm scratching my head again)

my point, if the above is correct, is that only two necks/ that were machined at the same time will be extremely similar and I guess this may explain the difference that you are talking about

Joe



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edp242

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Posts: 41
PostPosted: 03/09/2009 at 8:39 AM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB200 specs0 link

Thanx - and, yea, any further input from the boards would be much appreciated. Its amazing to me how different the two instruments are, considering they were probably only built a couple of years apart.

One thing i didn't mention in my original post was the sound. We played the two side by side on the same Treynor amp.

First, I want to make clear that #708 was my benchmark for what a bass should sound like and was the reason for me purchasing #143 in the first place. I love it and think it sounds awesome. Also, i should point out that #143 had new strings on it, so the comparison may not be entirely fair.

That said, there was no question which one sounded better. #143 won hands down (there were four people in the room, so this is not just a case of a father saying his kid is cuter). If #708 was like a 12 gauge shotgun (big, powerful, grand piano-like), #143 was like a canon (bigger, more powerful...no, no...bigger than that). It was like the difference between a suped up Mustang Cobra and a Shelby 500. They are the same, but they are just not. The Shelby makes you fear for your life. #143 has that quality.

Best,
Tim

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charlie

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PostPosted: 03/09/2009 at 10:27 AM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

All the bean guitars and basses went through a transformation that included thinner, wider bodies and the addition of the aluminum flat plate on the neck you mentioned. If you look at the database it appears that the basses changed somewhere in the 400's (serial numbers)

There is a brief transition period where the guitars had thick bodies and the wider horns. I am guessing that this is true for the basses also. The necks did not have the aluminum plate during this transition. In other words they were the same necks in terms of thickness at the body connection which makes these necks interchangeable between early and middle period body shapes.

I have noticed that the heavier thicker guitar bodies have more "umph" in sound and I would imagine that the basses are similar. The extra mass of body weight contributes to the sustain and tone IMHO. The advantage of the lighter, thinner bodies is that they don't hurt your shoulder and back as much....and they still sound awsome.

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peggyfoster

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Posts: 83
PostPosted: 03/09/2009 at 11:37 AM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

Charlie knows more than I do about that (and many other things).

I remember that Travis & Marc were forced to make quality changes that they were very unhappy about after Gary abscounded with the company's money and they had to sell the company to some middle-easterners to make payroll. Suddenly they became employees of businessmen who didn't know much about guitars but knew a lot about cutting corners to make a profit.

And by the way: I knew Gary. I hung out at the shop several times a week. I was there the day he disappeared and everyone was worried about him. I was there a few days later when they had learned that blueprints disappeared the same night that Gary did. And I was in the shop a few weeks later when the bank statement had come in with the checks Gary wrote to himself - the checks were posted on the wall - everyone saw them. I never write inflammatory things like "Gary is a scum-bag" or any other arguable opinions. I tell you what I saw and you can form your own opinions if you want to.

I don't remember any more details about the quality changes or thickness changes that started this interesting thread but I hope Hank's movie weaves the pieces into a coherent story.

I have a fun idea ... When Hank's movie debuts let's all do a field trip to see it together ...

Peggy



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Joefish

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Posts: 106
PostPosted: 03/09/2009 at 5:34 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link


Correction to my above post .

"Terry McInturff wrote:1) The Bean necks were turned on a lathe and therefor the shape of the back of the neck is always a section of a circle.

2) The all-important side of the fretboard was always rather square as opposed to rolled-over. This is because the fretboard was epoxied to the completely shaped neck shaft. There never seemed to be any sort of teased-in blended transition. In fact, due to the mfg process, if the fretboard did not match the width of thew neck shaft, there would sometimes be a very small "step" at the glue-joint transition.

http://www.electrical.com......php?f=5&t=41840&start=80


Peggy regarding Hank's movie sounds like a plan!

Joe



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Joefish

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PostPosted: 03/09/2009 at 5:39 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

rlrlrl ....thanks for the link

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edp242

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Posts: 41
PostPosted: 03/09/2009 at 5:57 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

peggy - i had this sickening feeling when i read your post. the implications for the value of later year beans is not good. not good at all. I'm surprised the market hasn't made much distinction between the the lower and higher serial numbers. Maybe it has and i haven't noticed it. I can tell you that after trying #143 and #708 side by side, my next purchase will definitely be a low number even if the cosmetic condition is inferior.

BTW - i read Hank's piece on his car website and he mentioned that the later generation beans have an aluminum shim between the neck and the fretboard. And it is interesting to read Joe's comments (thanx, by the way) that this may have been a better method at getting grading and better adhesion. What Hank's piece doesn't mention is that the neck itself was quite a bit thicker on the older one. I wish i had had a scale, it probably weighed at least 1-2 lbs more than the newer one...

Best,
Tim

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admin

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PostPosted: 03/09/2009 at 6:00 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

@edp242
BTW - i read Hank's piece on his car website and he mentioned that the later generation beans have an aluminum shim between the neck and the fretboard.

Car website? I don't have a car website.

Thanks
admin/hank

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edp242

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Posts: 41
PostPosted: 03/09/2009 at 6:15 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

sorry - i thought this was you...

http://www.autohobbydiges.....m_guitars/travisbean.html

Best,
T

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admin

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PostPosted: 03/09/2009 at 6:59 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

edp242

Throughout the Bean run they would work on modifications of the Beans to improve quality and playability. Some adjustments were due to player complaints and some adjustments were to streamline production of the instruments. For instance the thinner bodies and imron necks were the affect of player complaints of Beans. Thinning the bodies would lighten the instrument, and the imron was to answer the 'cold' feel problem with the neck.

The alumi-plate addition was to solve a couple of issues. Without the plate, there was less surface area for the fingerboard to adhere to. The early instruments would have basically three rails for the epoxy to adhere and would sometimes pop off. With the alumi-plate, the fingerboard had a larger surface area to adhere to. They mounted the alumi-plate using a metal bonding adhesive. They also gained additional strength with this, and could mill down the center spine and lighten the neck even further. During production, Beans had life time guarantees on the necks, so obviously they needed to solve the fingerboard issue.

The Kaman article breaks down these changes even further. He states that horns were widened on basses starting around #440. It also mentions that bodies became thinner for basses around #580.

As for the discussions the quality decreasing toward later years, Travis has mentioned to me several times that he felt the best instruments were the last ones that left the shop in 1979. The discussions for streamlining and cheapening the guitars for mass production is what eventually ended the company in 1979. It ended before quality was ever compromised. Travis and Marc would not have any of that.

As for what's "better" older Beans.. or newer Beans. This would be a matter of personal opinion and vibe. I think they're all great and crafted with a lot of attention to detail and care. The Koa wood is another factor that is often overlooked. The Koa is very unique and can produce different tones and different weights.. even if the body is cut the same thickness, etc.

Hope this helps.
admin


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admin

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PostPosted: 03/09/2009 at 7:08 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

@Joefish
"Terry McInturff wrote:
2) The all-important side of the fretboard was always rather square as opposed to rolled-over. This is because the fretboard was epoxied to the completely shaped neck shaft. There never seemed to be any sort of teased-in blended transition. In fact, due to the mfg process, if the fretboard did not match the width of thew neck shaft, there would sometimes be a very small "step" at the glue-joint transition."

This is actually incorrect (no disrespect to anyone.. and especially not to Terry McInturff ).. if I'm reading this right, and depending if this is post lathe. Item #1 states the lathe, so this would be safe to say it's 'post-lathe'.

The process for the neck/fingerboard shaping and adhering is as follows.
- The neck would be roughed
- Alumi-plate (depending on year) would be added and affixed
- Fingerboard would be adhered to the plate or rails depending on year
- Two necks would be placed together.. fingerboard to fingerboard
- The necks would be spun and shaped WITH the fingerboards already in place

Due to the high RPMs, there would be little chipping of the fingerboards, but sometimes it would happen. Fret slots would be added later in the line.

I'm not sure what the 'step' could be the result of. I would guess it could be from older models (pre-lathe) where they did it by hand?? Possible fingerboard separation repair? New fingerboard added later after production?

Looking at my Bean, it's perfect to the edge, and I can see the contour of the neck.

admin

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edp242

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PostPosted: 03/09/2009 at 7:11 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

Thanx!

Yes, that helps a lot. Much appreciation to all the replies!

Best,
Tim


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charlie

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Posts: 250
PostPosted: 03/09/2009 at 7:28 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

Hey Hank, that is great detail on the neck production! No wonder they never made any money..each one of these guitars were a labor (and I mean ALOT of labor) of love. Each Travis Bean is a precision honed piece of industrial art....no question about it!

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JohnBR

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Posts: 223
PostPosted: 03/09/2009 at 9:12 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

WOW! this is all fascinating stuff. Thanks to ALL!!! I would like to share my input on these issues. First though, maybe that is why the fretboards had zero radius, the fact that two were lathed at one time. Very interesting.
I would have to agree that the later Beans had just a touch more quality. For some reason, maybe they just got a sweet palet of wood, but the later koa seems to be extra special and beautiful. Also, the last ones finally did have a slight radius. The radius, the imron, the thiner balance and the extra beautiful koa combine to make an extraordinary guitar.
As for the necks: I received an early one in the dead of winter. the cold had caused the fret board to come unglued up to about the 5th fret. i could see the two hollowed chambers and the three "channels" the board rested on. they are actually very thin and sharp. I have a neck without the fretboard on and can post a photo when I get home.
I used to own one that had an imron neck, but the piece of aluminum between fretboard and neck was not painted with black imron. So, you could see the three pieces sandwiched together. I now have one with the same 3-slab construction and the middle slab is invisible. You would not know it to be there unless you knew about it. The fret board also was much thinner for these late models. I also always wondered how they got the aluminum fret markers in there. I do also have a neck with MOP fret markers.
One final thing that comes to mind which is also confusing, is how they would do one colored guitar, and then the next one might be wood or a different color. They did not do, say, 10 white ones, then 10 black ones. Like you say charlie, each guitar is basically a 1-off and is unique in almost every way.
finally, the necks and the nut width. i am starting to believe that every neck and nut width was different. I have at least 4 or 5 different nut widths. I have one that is SO thin, it is nearly 3/4" wide. Crazy thin. And I find no continuity of the neck profile. Each seems to be unique. I have one that I can barely fit my hand around and another that is too small. To me, this is part of the charm. Uniqueness and wood that went from dark brown to deep orange to yellow to pure gold.
I also have one guitar that you can feel a sharp ridge where the fret board meets the aluminum neck. I am sure it is the original board, but kind of an odd anomaly. (woops, I wrote the above paragraph in between this one).
This is all GREAT stuff! i hope to learn even more from the documentary. Who knows, maybe the old crew will set up shop with travis' blessing and teach a new generation of luthier's how to do it, then bring back the Travis bean guitar! Third time's a charm!!!!!
(P.S. I'm sure it's just me, but I don't recall ever seeing a one piece body.)

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admin

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PostPosted: 03/09/2009 at 11:12 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

@JohnBR
"One final thing that comes to mind which is also confusing, is how they would do one colored guitar, and then the next one might be wood or a different color. They did not do, say, 10 white ones, then 10 black ones. Like you say charlie, each guitar is basically a 1-off and is unique in almost every way."

This is a great point. The reason why they didn't do large runs of colors was due to inventory. They wanted to avoid having guitars sit on the rack.. because they were colored, etc. Their bread and butter was the natural finish bodies, so they would focus on the naturals, then do a few colors. They probably did 'batches' of colors.. but not 10 in a row of each, etc. They would always want to have a few colors of red, white and black available... and was largely dependent on guitar store orders.

They usually had a few hundred bodies (different styles) at a time on the wall (wall-o-dicks) at different stages of coats/drying, etc. But would occasionally run into times when they were short on colors for large orders.

Interesting to note the nut width. I've seen that too. It was mentioned they ran with two different nut widths options early on... and that was always a pain, and they discontinued that practice down the road, but I'm sure they 'tweaked' necks throughout the production based on musician feedback, etc.

Thanks!
admin

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JohnBR

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PostPosted: 03/09/2009 at 11:28 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

for example, I own or have owned #702, #704 & #706. 702 is white pearl, 704 is super flamed koa and 706 is plain white. I always wondered what colors #703, #705 and #707 were. I have to check, but I don't think any of the latter 3 are in the database. very interesting indeed. Thanks Admin !!

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edp242

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PostPosted: 03/10/2009 at 12:46 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

Re John "(P.S. I'm sure it's just me, but I don't recall ever seeing a one piece body.) "

I looked a little closer at #143, and, sure enough its a two piece, not a one piece as i had initially thought...damn!

Re Admin/Hank
"Interesting to note the nut width. I've seen that too. It was mentioned they ran with two different nut widths options early on... and that was always a pain, and they discontinued that practice down the road, but I'm sure they 'tweaked' necks throughout the production based on musician feedback, etc."

Any idea if the nuts were actually made after the fact to fit the necks? Also any thoughts on whether the variation in neck width was completely intentional given that this stuff was mostly done by hand?

Best,
Tim

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admin

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PostPosted: 03/10/2009 at 12:57 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

Hello edp242

Only the earliest of necks were done by hand. Those were pre-lathe days, when it was an extremely small shop (single unit shop). After they got the lathe and the machinists to work on the necks it became a precision operation. All changes would be intentional. Those super narrow nut width Beans were for people with smaller hands, and have heard them referred to as 'faster' necks. I had a real hard time using the narrow necked Beans myself. Again.. it just comes down to personal preference.

The nuts were added towards the final assembly phase of the guitar. Basically the neck would be completed minus the inlays, frets and nut. The neck would have been transferred to the final assembly shop where work on the neck was completed, electronics and final assembly of all the parts.

admin



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peggyfoster

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PostPosted: 03/10/2009 at 1:48 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

Thanks to Hank and several more of you for providing lots of information about the construction of TBGs (and for stemming a panic that one of my posts may have unintentionally created).

This is so funny: I don't recall ever seeing a two-piece body! I do remember that Marc and Travis and I really enjoyed the beauty of the wood ... they showed me (and probably everyone) the natural art in the grain designs in the new bodies they made. They enjoyed examining their new planks and discussing how to place the patterns to yield guitars with the most beautiful natural designs possible. They loved the book-matched tri-color Koa wood of my fretless bass and Glen's guitar (cut from one slab split down the middle on the largest plane and opened like a book). We brought the guitar and bass to the NAMM show one year where they were put on display in the Travis Bean booth. I wish I had a photograph of those two instruments together.

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Obie

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PostPosted: 03/10/2009 at 7:59 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

Peggy wrote;

"They loved the book-matched tri-color Koa wood of my fretless bass and Glen's guitar (cut from one slab split down the middle on the largest plane and opened like a book). We brought the guitar and bass to the NAMM show one year where they were put on display in the Travis Bean booth. I wish I had a photograph of those two instruments together."

Hmmm, just maybe.......

http://img124.imageshack......24/7320/tbgnamm7716ed.jpg


Kurt O.



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Obie

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PostPosted: 03/10/2009 at 8:06 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

Or maybe this one...

http://img124.imageshack......24/9010/tbgnamm7711ed.jpg


Kurt O.

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edp242

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PostPosted: 03/10/2009 at 8:16 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

those pics are great! mid if i ask where are they from?

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Obie

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PostPosted: 03/10/2009 at 8:25 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

My brother worked at TBG back in the day. He took them.

Kurt O.

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Joefish

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PostPosted: 03/14/2009 at 7:45 AM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

edp242: Excellent first post!

Obie: Thanks you for all the cool stuff - the log books are extremely cool I must have looked at the wedge in this photo http://img124.imageshack......24/9010/tbgnamm7711ed.jpg a million times and checked the 3000 database two million times there is a chance ... that the Wedge in the photo is my Wedge #29 (with white cap on the toggle switch)

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peggyfoster

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PostPosted: 03/15/2009 at 12:26 AM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

Cool Photos, Kurt!

My bass and Glen's guitar were sitting in stands next to each other on the counter part of the booth (not hanging on the wall).

I have one photo of part of my fretless bass. I have just copied it to my desktop but I don't know how to put a link here ...

Peggy


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edp242

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PostPosted: 03/15/2009 at 12:08 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

This probably should be a new thread, but anyone else have pics from the seventies, of the actual workshop, shows, people involved in the process, or anything else of historical interest? I would absolutely love to see them. I suspect others on this forum might also.

Best,
Tim

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admin

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PostPosted: 03/15/2009 at 5:50 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

Hello edp242

Throughout the documentary process we were able to find a few photos of the inner workings of the shop. We'll be posting all of them eventually within a historic photo gallery here, but want to show a few of those in the documentary and provide a bridge between some of the individuals from past to present. Thanks for your question.. and your patience!

Thanks!
admin

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Joefish

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PostPosted: 03/17/2009 at 10:52 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

Since this is such a cool thread I was going to ask the following wiring question

Is the solder connected to everything (pots, jack, switch and cover) unique to Beans and is the purpose to ground everything/noise reduction?

However, prior to posting I did a quick search and found a few great threads like the following:

http://www.travisbeanguit.....fuseaction/forum.view.htm

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admin

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PostPosted: 03/17/2009 at 11:02 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

Hello Joefish

I'm hoping that frankintank will see this question. Talking with him, the wire that connects the pots was his concept. Basically, he created "sub assemblies" of the electronics based on a jig set up. Instead of working directly within the electronics cavity of the body, he would work on the electronics outside of the guitar. He did this for a couple of reasons.

- more room to work, and less chance of damaging the finished bodies while working on them
- to wire multiple sets of electronics and have them available so others could wire the guitars if he was not there.

Basically, once he would have the pots and caps connected, he would drop those into the guitar and complete the rest (ie: wire the pickups, etc) of the work. I'll double check my notes, though.

Thanks!
admin

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peggyfoster

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PostPosted: 03/18/2009 at 6:48 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

I just uploaded the only photo I have of my fretless bass into this website's gallery in the miscellaneous category. The body of Glen's guitar looked exactly like it only reversed and guitar-shaped. It was gorgeous and sounded incredible. If you want to hear it, I played it on Steve Vai's Flexable Album and also the Anthology Album on a song named "Salamanders In The Sun".) Peggy

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admin

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PostPosted: 03/18/2009 at 6:54 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

Hello Peggy

I thought the bass was #428?

http://www.travisbeanguit.....ction/database.detail.htm

admin/hank

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peggyfoster

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PostPosted: 03/18/2009 at 7:04 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

Maybe it was 428, Hank, or 468. I forgot. I have a piece of paper somewhere in a file cabinet in my garage that tells the serial number. The next time I clean out the garage I will look for it. Peggy

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edp242

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PostPosted: 03/19/2009 at 6:44 AM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

Peggy, that's a great pic! You look very happy. :)

BTW - there is another pic in the Misc gallery that has a...dare i believe my eyes?...a TB Flying V?!!

Flying V's may be the only other guitar in the world that i like as much as my TB's...anyone know how many V's TB made? was it a one off?

Best,
Tim

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Joefish

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PostPosted: 04/08/2009 at 6:09 PM    Post subject: RE:Early and later TB2000 specs link

Kurt's pickup for sale got me thinking about the following:

As Kurt indicated, .... "I've been told that all Travis Bean humbucker pickups were built to the exact same specs."

So, I was wondering what makes the bridge pickup sound different from the neck pickup?

I asked the local genius Dave and he thought it might because the strings are "tighter" at the bridge.

Prior to posting, I took a quick look inside and see nothing that could explain it.

BTW, those are some very cool wood screws!



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