Replacement tuning lugs for Cuban congas

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Replacement tuning lugs for Cuban congas

Postby jorge » Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:39 am

I need some replacement tuning lugs for 4 old Cuban congas of different makes. 2 need 5/16" and 2 can use 3/8", all have 6 lugs. The side plates are mounted a little lower than is usual on U.S. congas and the current lugs are mostly 7" long from end to end. I have not been able to find the rod diameter or length for most of the commercial tuning lugs I find online from LP, Toca, Pearl, etc.

I would ideally prefer stainless steel for rust resistance, with long nuts 9/16" size, but if stainless is too expensive I would settle for chromed steel. No gold tone. I am looking mainly for durability of the threads and the rest of the lugs under very heavy professional use, tuning and untuning one or more times a day. The quinto has a pretty thick skin so the tension is high. The length is about 1/2" longer than most commercial U.S. lugs seem to be. Probably normal length would work for the skins on the drums now but could be a problem in the future putting new skins on.

What do people recommend?
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Re: Replacement tuning lugs for Cuban congas

Postby ABAKUA » Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:26 am

prob easiest and cheapest option is getting LP replacements, unless you want to go down the route of Matt Smith or SOS if they got some around the place.
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Re: Replacement tuning lugs for Cuban congas

Postby blavonski » Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:53 am

Hello Jorge,
Are the threads on the lugs you want to replace totally shot?
If not, I would consider taking them to a Machinists to have them give you their opinion on the condition of the threads. They may be able to simply refresh the threads for you. However, in the case that they are all or in part unsalvageable, I would recomend having new Lugs fabricated from normal or stainless steel by a Machinist or an experienced metal worker. I believe it would be cheaper than buying new commercial Lugs.
To skin my congas recently, I made ten inch lugs out of 8mm all-thread that I bought from the Hardware store. Of course that's not a desired option for a finished look, but my point is that an experienced Metal worker can make them to shape and size and thread them rather simply and normal steel, round rod is not expensive at all for this.

Also, I don't know what you use for nuts on your tuning lugs, but a rule of thumb in regards to tension bolts and nuts is that the nut should be of a softer grade of metal, in this case steel or other metals such as brass. The rational is that the part that wears down should be the least expensive to replace, that being the nut. I replaced the steel nuts on my Schalloch congas with brass ones. And as far as I know most reputable commercial drum makers, eg. LP / Meinl, use nickel plated brass nuts.

Good Vibrations,
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Re: Replacement tuning lugs for Cuban congas

Postby jorge » Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:35 am

Thanks for those ideas. The threads are completely shot, many of the lugs are rusted, the nuts are 1/2", 9/16" and 13 mm requiring 2 or 3 wrenches to tune even one drum, and we just need to replace them. LP lugs seem to be a bit shorter than ideal. SOS and I believe Matt Smith lugs are 3/8" dia and only 2 of the 4 congas will fit those. They are also a little short. Any other commercial lugs that are 7" long or close to 7" and 5/16" dia?

Of the custom congamakers, who makes 5/16" dia lugs? I tried calling Moperc and left a message yesterday but have not heard back.

Any other suggestions for high quality lugs at a reasonable price?
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Re: Replacement tuning lugs for Cuban congas

Postby RitmoBoricua » Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:45 am

Jorge,

Try Manito, I am pretty sure he can do the job for you.

https://www.facebook.com/#!/ManitoPercussion

I hope this helps.
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Re: Replacement tuning lugs for Cuban congas

Postby jorge » Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:19 pm

Thanks RitmoBoricua. I had seen his website and the tuning lugs are 53/4" long and the current lugs are 7" long. He does say on the website he can make lugs to custom specs. I will call him today.
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Re: Replacement tuning lugs for Cuban congas

Postby buckoh » Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:49 pm

I had some made in Havana very inexpensively but, they are now in use (sorry). I had a welder buddy near me cut off the bad threads and weld new ones on. Not real pretty but very functional and not real obvious.
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Re: Replacement tuning lugs for Cuban congas

Postby Psych1 » Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:27 pm

I also need 7 inch 5/16 lugs for a tall bongo. Googled "7 inch conga lugs" and got here - guess I should have just come here first.

Jorge - any luck in finding them?

The old 3/8 LP Galaxy lugs seem long enough but they are expensive - $22 - and too big & heavy.

I'm getting ready to go to Manito but thought I'd check here first.
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Re: Replacement tuning lugs for Cuban congas

Postby jorge » Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:58 pm

Nope, I called Moperc several times and left messages and got no response. I guess he is not interested in selling just lugs. I never got around to calling Manito but I see he now advertises extra long lugs on his Facebook page (link in post above). My friend has 4 Cuban congas and only 1 needed the real long lugs (side plates mounted very low) so we were able to find 6 long lugs on the other congas and replaced them with LP Matador chrome lugs, which are readily available. It still takes 3 different size wrenches to tune the set of 4 drums, though, so I will try calling Manito when I get a chance.
3/8" is definitely overkill for bongos, so see if Manito's extra long lugs are 5/16" and please let us know.
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Re: Replacement tuning lugs for Cuban congas

Postby 440ranch » Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:37 pm

Check Vega Percussion website, Florida.I can't seem to manipulate my ipad to provide a link, but they have stainless lugs and side plates.
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Re: Replacement tuning lugs for Cuban congas

Postby jorge » Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:44 pm

Thanks 440ranch. The lugs look like long 5/16", I will have to call this week to find out if the nut is 1/2" or 9/16".
http://vgadrums.com/products
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