To identify stable cutting conditions with a high depth of cut, stability lobe diagrams are used. In order to predict these diagrams, frequency response functions (FRF) at the tool tip are required for every tool, holder and machine combination. To reduce the number of experimental tests, receptance coupling substructure analysis (RSCA) is proposed in the literature. In order to take full advantage of this method, contact parameters between holder and tool must be known. To identify these parameters this paper presents a new method based on free-free measurements. The obtained contact parameters led to good results for various tool lengths. Based on this, an extensive investigation is performed for the ER32 holder interface. Afterwards, the RCSA method is tested. Therefore, different spindle-holder-tool assemblies are modeled for two machine tools. Prediction and measurement of obtained tool-tip FRF shows a good match, especially for the frequency position. (C) 2016 CIRP.