Mid 70's M55 Frame Update

Hey y'all, so I recently bought a 76' M55. The guy who owned it before me bought it from Musser and it never left his basement. It's in almost perfect condition and I'm hoping to keep it that way. I'll be packing up and moving the instrument 4-5 times a week and I'm wondering what frame updates I should do? I've got a set of Beiner Bags on the way, but should I be doing anything else to make setting up/tearing down less of a headache? Thanks!

Don't fix it.

That frame, with wear, will start to wobble a tad. It will also start to rattle (especially the little card table style braces that hold the outer legs in place until you put the cross bar in. When you have those issues, then cross the bridge.

For now, you have the most easily set up and portable AND reliable frame they ever made. Once they added the cross bars, it was more sturdy, but also heavier and also harder to set up. I say either leave it alone or sell it to me and go buy an Omega frame to have a silent, light and quickly set up frame. :)

It's by far the least headachy frame I've ever known.

i like randy's idea. sell it and buy an omega :-)

john piper has plans drawn up for making braces for the musser btw.

I had the 76 M55. Beautiful condition instrument. But the noise from a variety of sources just freaking drove me crazy. So I bit the bullet and put it up for sale. I was a bit sad to give up on the "vintage" instrument but happy to move on to one that sounds beautiful and is quiet. That'd be the Omega. That arrived this past week. :)

Alternative proposal:
Build (not so difficult if you have a little manual skill) or get one of the much easier to transport frame variants for the many weekly transports. It also spares your back - I did that much too late.

Variant V2 is extremely stable and suitable for fast and frequent transport, lighter than the original frame.

Varainte V4 is extremely lightweight and can be set up very quickly in conjunction with my new tube holder concept.

Keep the original frame for value retention at home.

Concept videos:

There are a lot of comments (and opinions) about this on this forum - many made by Nico years ago. I think the top three bubbled up to: (1) braces (2) gel pad dampener (3) upgraded casters.

(1) braces - I have added custom braces that I bought used from Arthur Lipner, but were originally made by...I can't remember! Piper maybe? Anybody know?
(2) The Vanderplas gel pad is a definite improvement
(3) I purchased really nice upgraded casters that have really helped with stability - and also added a little height, which I liked. I bought the casters from Fall Creek Marimbas back when Bill Youhass was running it. I know you can get the gel pad there, but I don't see the casters.

I'll try to post a photo - can't seem to figure that out at the moment...

Good luck - it's definitely a constant struggle to keep the M55 stable and quiet!

yes, if you're not a subscriber then put the photos in dropbox and link to them. :-)

post the link here, that should work.

Here's a photo of the braces and casters:



they look like pipers braces. probably him.

thanks for giving a lot of information here!

Thanks for the help! I've just been trying to chase down any weird rattles and frame noise that I've noticed since I've gotten the instrument. The upper manual bar cord still had the plastic spacers from Musser that were rattling when playing the middle of the instrument. So removing them and adjusting the chord's tension helped a lot. I added moleskin between the frame and the resonators on the top end, as well as felt around where the resonators rest on the other end. The last issue I'm having is the pedal is buzzing... it seems to be in the middle of the arm where both parts join together. I have that thumb screw as tight as it should be, and when holding on to the arm the rattle goes away? I ordered the VanderPlas dampener so hopefully that will help cut down on vibrations going through the pedal anyways. Any other suggestions?

Regarding where the pedal bar attaches to the legs, I've had some success eliminating creaks by putting a flat rubber washer between the thumbscrew (or wingnut) and the pedal bar.

thanks madu!

In that location or where the hinge for the damper bar is, or the place where the pedal attaches to the connecting rod. Simple plumber's teflon tape is worth its weight in gold, because it provides lubrication to the moving parts while padding the contact and reducing noise.

I hadn't thought of plumber's tape - going to try that out right now!