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  1. #1
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 06:56 PM
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    Vintage Trem Help

    Hey boys, I have an issue.

    On that relic Strat I have, when I first set it up I noticed it had 3 springs on the trem (I always have 2 on my Floyds) and it was really hard to push the bar down. So what I did was back out the 6 trem screws on the bridge a little. I don't know if you're supposed to do that or not. Anyway I noticed it didn't stay in tune great, even though it was easier to use the bar. Way easier obviously.

    So I was reading around and I guess you're not supposed to loosen those screws or you can have tuning issues. So I tightened them back up and it stays in tune great especially with the locking tuners I just got. But it is harder than hell to push the bar down, in fact I really can't. I even took a spring out and it's still hard.

    What the hell do I do? The whole reason I got the locking tuners was so I could use the trem a lot, but I can't even push that fucker down now.

    Help!!!!! I only know Floyds!!
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  2. #2
    Baluchitherium
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    10.01.15 @ 06:45 PM
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    I'm sure others can give better advice. I have two strats with normal trems. They really aren't much harder to push down than a Floyd. They don't stay in perfect tune though if you abuse the trem. If you use it for nuance it's fine. If you divebomb it definitely puts it out some. I guess thats the point of a floyd as u know. sorry I can't help more...it sounds to me like you might want to loosen it a little and find a middle ground of it being easier to depress without too much tuning issues. Make sure you wind the strings nice below and above the extra popping out of the tuner hole(hows that for technical names lol) so that it locks it down a tad. Guitars need to be wound right to help keep them in better tune when not using a locking nut. You likely wound yours ok.

    I doubt you can go whammy happy with it and have it even close to staying in tune as a floyd style. Didn't Ed do weird things to keep his early strat trems in better tuning...like brass nut and putting graphite in the grooves and boiling strings and all that rigmarole?


    Well good luck. Beautiful guitar either way.
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  3. #3
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 06:56 PM
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    I don't want to go whammy happy, I want to be able to push the fucking thing down. That Custom Shop Strat I have of my friend's, has 3 springs and all the bridge screws are tight and it's like butter. So easy to push down.

    It's not a tuning issue for me, the thing stays in tune, quite well. I was divebombing it was fine, of course I had to use every ounce of strength to push the dumb thing down. I just notice it's stays in perfect tune with all the bridge screws tightened down which I think is what you want.

    I gotta be missing something.
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  4. #4
    Baluchitherium
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    10.01.15 @ 06:45 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett View Post
    I don't want to go whammy happy, I want to be able to push the fucking thing down. That Custom Shop Strat I have of my friend's, has 3 springs and all the bridge screws are tight and it's like butter. So easy to push down.

    It's not a tuning issue for me, the thing stays in tune, quite well. I was divebombing it was fine, of course I had to use every ounce of strength to push the dumb thing down. I just notice it's stays in perfect tune with all the bridge screws tightened down which I think is what you want.

    I gotta be missing something.
    Well if you can dive bomb where the strings go limp ish or close on both strat style non locking nut trems and stay in reasonable tune you're better off than me. Your custom strat and my strats are official fender guitars I take it and fender parts. Mine are also easy to depress. Don't know. Maybe it's not you and it's that custom made guitar, the trem he used and how he installed it. You may want to talk to him about it. Hopefully someone with better info comes along to help. GL
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  5. #5
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 06:56 PM
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    It's not a Fender trem, but I find it hard to believe that's the issue. When I had the screws loose, obviously it moved much easier. Now that I tightened them down...wow.

    It's staying in tune because I put $70 locking Schallers on it, they work pretty damn well.

    I posted something on a Strat board too, I am sure I will look like an idiot, but I don't care.
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  6. #6
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 06:56 PM
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    I don't know I read someting about loosening the middle four screws, so I tried that....seems a little better.

    Actually I just loosened it all a little, it's just better that way.

    What a pain in the ass though.

    Now I'm fixing the string height...again.
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  7. #7
    Top Of The World Benjami's Avatar
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    08.12.11 @ 01:51 AM
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    i had the same problem on my strat, take 1 spring out and loosen up the screws (all of them) and it will go very easy i did it as well and it worked
    you might want to check the action and the intonation after though but you already knew that i think

  8. #8
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 06:56 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benjami View Post
    i had the same problem on my strat, take 1 spring out and loosen up the screws (all of them) and it will go very easy i did it as well and it worked
    you might want to check the action and the intonation after though but you already knew that i think
    Yep pretty much what I decided to do.

    F these vintage trems, give me my Floyd.
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  9. #9
    On Fire
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    04.25.10 @ 09:16 PM
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    Brett- The middle 4 screws should be backed out so that the non-thread part of the screw is facing the bridge plate holes they are in. The middle 4 screws really will have nothing to do with securing the bridge and should not be tightened down at all. They are neutral. Without tension on the strings, the outer screws should be screwed down just to the ever so slightest point where you see that you are tightening too far and the back of the bridge is starting stick up/not flush with the body (it's right at that point for both outer screws). The outer screws really are the fulcrum points like a floyd... the middle 4 are in a neutral position and have nothing to do with the fulcrum. I adjust the claw screws on my springs inside (2 outer at an angle like a triangle.. the middle one being straight) to the point where the bridge floats just a bit... where you can pull up a half a note if you wanted. This allows me to give the strings a waiver ala Lenny, Chris Isaak stuff, etc.,. With locking tuners and a bit of clear silicone in the nut it's a reasonable setup.

    Chris

  10. #10
    Baluchitherium
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    04.02.15 @ 07:26 AM
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    Donor

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    Quote Originally Posted by nast2112 View Post
    Brett- The middle 4 screws should be backed out so that the non-thread part of the screw is facing the bridge plate holes they are in. The middle 4 screws really will have nothing to do with securing the bridge and should not be tightened down at all. They are neutral. Without tension on the strings, the outer screws should be screwed down just to the ever so slightest point where you see that you are tightening too far and the back of the bridge is starting stick up/not flush with the body (it's right at that point for both outer screws). The outer screws really are the fulcrum points like a floyd... the middle 4 are in a neutral position and have nothing to do with the fulcrum. I adjust the claw screws on my springs inside (2 outer at an angle like a triangle.. the middle one being straight) to the point where the bridge floats just a bit... where you can pull up a half a note if you wanted. This allows me to give the strings a waiver ala Lenny, Chris Isaak stuff, etc.,. With locking tuners and a bit of clear silicone in the nut it's a reasonable setup.

    Chris
    agreed, when it comes to standard fender style trems....the 2 outer screws should 'just' be touching the baseplate (or maybe 'just' off) and the middle 4 then backed out about 1/32". i like mine tight as hell, 3 springs and the claw real tight, i can still push the bar down till they slacken off and divebomb all over the place, (i'll post a video one day and give closeups of my setup and nut alterations which keep the guitar in perfect tune no matter how much abuse i give it with only cheap as hell tuners)...the key is keep the nut lubricated well, my tip is ground up pencil graphite and vaseline...and only use a string retainer on the E and B strings.

    what string gauge are you using anyway?
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  11. #11
    Good Enough SLEEPER5150's Avatar
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    12.03.10 @ 03:16 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommywho5150 View Post
    agreed, when it comes to standard fender style trems....the 2 outer screws should 'just' be touching the baseplate (or maybe 'just' off) and the middle 4 then backed out about 1/32". i like mine tight as hell, 3 springs and the claw real tight, i can still push the bar down till they slacken off and divebomb all over the place, (i'll post a video one day and give closeups of my setup and nut alterations which keep the guitar in perfect tune no matter how much abuse i give it with only cheap as hell tuners)...the key is keep the nut lubricated well, my tip is ground up pencil graphite and vaseline...and only use a string retainer on the E and B strings.

    what string gauge are you using anyway?
    This is pretty much the way mine is set. This is just a possibility but, also keep in mind that not all springs are created equal. Sometime you just get a bad batch. I had a hell of a time no matter what I tried screw hight wise on a reissue Strat I have. I set the screws pretty much the same on all my vintage style trems but this one (a mexican 57' reissue) was a nightmare. Turned out to be the springs that came with the guitar where stiffer than hell and what my tech called "dead". maybe they were from a different manufacturer but a good trem spring should almost have a progressive pull, which is essentially what Floyd, Wikinson, and American Fender springs have. This is what gives you that ability to dial in that perfect feel on the bar. Their excellent quality. In fact what I ended up doing was going to my luthier and bought some Gotoh Floyd springs. it made all the difference in the world. I use two springs with 9 guage, in the "V" position and I can get away with the claw backed about a 1/4' inch out. It feels great. Very balanced. With the old springs, the Fender's bar would actually deflect. If the spring is too stiff, it's almost impossible to balance out the trem because the spring is lifeless, and you never get that dialed in feel on your bar. Obviously backing out the screws more than normal on the plate will help the action of the bar, but then you have to keep in mind that too much can cause the knife edge to "drif" or scuff along the screw side as opposed to rocking uniformly, causing wear over time. The only guage those things would have been useful for would be 12's in my estimation. Changing the springs out for better ones made it feel like a whole different trem. You may have tried swapping springs already, but just putting it out there.
    Last edited by SLEEPER5150; 07.25.09 at 08:25 AM.
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  12. #12
    Sinner's Swing! Zahzoo's Avatar
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    11.04.17 @ 06:01 AM
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    nast2112 has it correct Brett. Loosen the 4 middle screws to where the heads aren't hitting the base plate.

    A little patience and gentle tweeking on raising the 2 outer screw to find the right spot to where it moves freely but stays stable.

    Another tip... get a can of 3-in-1 oil or sewing machine oil. Don't use WD-40... Everytime you change strings, put a tiny drop on each string saddle under the string and also on the bridge plate just under the screw heads that mount it to the body. This will help keep everything moving smoothly and prevent any tiny hang that can cause a tuning issue.

    Like a good woman... a little extra care and some lube and you're good to go!!
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  13. #13
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 06:56 PM
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    I did exactly that, seems to be working pretty good. I also put some vaseline and a pencil in the nut grooves, I read that somewhere (oh and tommy said that too). I'll try the 3-in-1 oil.

    I only have the string retainer on the E and B and I'm using 9's, which I use on everything. Are those graph tech saddles worth getting?

    It's staying in tune decently, I can't divebomb the shit out of it over and over, but it's not bad. I guess I shouldn't expect Floyd action on a vintage trem of course, just have to live with the limitations or change it out. But I like the look.
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  14. #14
    5150 A&Z Guitar Repair's Avatar
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    Brett, the graphtech saddles are great for Floyd's and non-Floyd trems. They really seem to help with tuning stability and sound.

    I've personally found that anywhere there is/could be friction, I need to lubricate. I generally use "Big Bends Nut Sauce" http://www.bigbends.com/

    It really does a good job.

    Also, as discussed, the type of spring/springs used on the trem vary as well. I have a box of springs that I go thru when a customer is complaining about trem feel etc. It's amazing the difference from spring to spring.
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  15. #15
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    10.06.12 @ 06:27 PM
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    Brett ,try this link here and scroll to the bottom of the page,it's the last video called "Carl Verheyen's Strat set-up 1.01". I used his method on my Road Worn and it worked beautifully.Make sure you lube all areas of contact as well.
    http://www.gitaarnet.nl/magazine/wor...lverheyen.php3
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