April 24th, 2004, 12:51 PM
i am having the most problems i've ever had with my mim standard strat. recently i've added two springs to the tremelo to increase tuning stability and so i can add heavier gauge strings. This, so far, has only caused problems. i started by using .10-.46 gauge. i put them on tuned up and then adjusted the bridge accordingly. I then moved on to .12-.52's. I followed the correct procedures when adjusted the bridge and no matter what my b and e will not stay in tune. It only takes a few notes played, one bend, or one use of the whammy bar to knock both the b and e completely out of tune. i tried every method on the site to stay in tune and nothing seems to work. this is my favorite strat: please help!
April 24th, 2004, 01:09 PM
IMO, trem guitars are best suited to using quality locking tuners, so that the string "wrap around lash" won't become an issue for whammy dips and string bending.
If you've got significant trem spring tension - enuf so that it takes a bit of picking hand palm pressure to make the trem dip - and couple that with locking tuners, yer Strat will be a most happy and capable instrument, as you will be as its player-master.
Along the string path, a string could also be hanging up in a nut slot, or string tree. Saddles could be an issue, but typically less likely.
Both my Strats are set this way - Grover 18:1 locking tuners, 4 trem springs, .011-.050 roundwounds - and double stop bends and palm dips have no effect on tuning whatsoever. YMMV.
April 24th, 2004, 01:25 PM
so would you suggest grovers over other locking tuners?
April 24th, 2004, 02:56 PM
so would you suggest grovers over other locking tuners?
For myself, I prefer the 18:1 Grover top locking tuners. YMMV.
April 24th, 2004, 03:54 PM
Before you go spend $80 on tuners try this.
Go back to the 10-46 size strings use 3 tremelo springs and have the tremelo set so it lays flat against the body not floating. Lube the nut slots and anywhere the string touches metal be sure there is a lubricant.
That has always worked for me in all strats I have never had to buy locking tuners. What the locking tuners are really good for is quick string changes.
Play the guitar without using the tremelo after the strings are streached out and if it holds tune without using the tremelo I'd say your tuners are ok. If it goes out of tune when your not even using the tremelo then you definatly need new tuners.
April 24th, 2004, 04:53 PM
Absolutely what Mark just posted - you *must* get the butt of the bridge down flat and reasonably hard against the guitar top (why I use 4 springs). Tweak the trem claw to suit the amount of trem pressure required for dips but *never* set it too light let alone to float. This is the most stable setup for any non-locking trem. The only drawback is that you can't pull up on the bar. IMO, good locking tuners (and IMO, that excludes any Sperzels and the older top locking Gotohs), a well cut and lubed nut, and smooth string trees are all a major improvement if you like to use the whammy even a little bit. YMMV.
Roel from Holland
April 24th, 2004, 07:39 PM
When I had Strats (not anymore) I replaced the 3 regular springs with 5 galvanized springs. The guitars never went out of tune and they sounded better, tighter as well.
April 24th, 2004, 09:04 PM
see with the five springs the bridge IS flush with the body...
April 24th, 2004, 09:16 PM
The next step is to see where the strings are binding.
Be sure your strings can freely slip thru the nut slots. If you have a 6 hole tremelo detune the guitar loosen all 6 bridge screws and tighten the 2 outer screws down hard and tighten the inside 4 snug. This helps the bridge pivot and return to pitch easier.
April 24th, 2004, 11:02 PM
I totally disagree with Rob and Mark on this one....
I, personally, find that a strat stays in tune much better if the trem is set to float about 1/8" off the body. That way the trem balances between the tension of the springs and strings -- no hard "thunk" to pull your strings out of tune when the trem hits the body.
The secrets to setting up a trem this way are:
A) a well-cut and lubricated nut
B) lubricated string retainer
C) lubricated contact points on the trem
D) stretching the strings out
E) locking tuners or locking wraps
I use the outer two screws to hold the trem in place; the inner four are just there to provide stability, but the heads never touch the trem.
I use three springs on the trem.
My strats stay in tune remarkably well and I use the bar quite a bit and quite aggressively. I can also pull up on the bar.
The disadvantage is that bending one string will make the others go slightly flat during the bend. Also, if you break a string, your guitar will go out of tune...
Just wanted to throw these comments in to note that there is never just one way of doing something.
April 25th, 2004, 06:57 AM
If I needed a nicely functioning non-locking trem, I set mine up exactly as Kevin describes.
April 25th, 2004, 09:42 AM
When you went to heavier strings did you cut the nut slots for the larger diameter? The strings could be binding at the nut.
April 25th, 2004, 12:07 PM
i did but i think the strings need a little more room to breathe
thanks for tips guys. this is the best board ever!
i'm waiting to test out these new methods til mid-week when my meguiar's care kit should come
April 25th, 2004, 11:46 PM
Here's how I set up my 6 screw bridge strats , & BTW, my MIM is my #1, over a '57 RI & an early 80's MIJ -
* Flat & flush. I agree with what Kevin said; there's never just one way of doing anything, & this stuff is often real specific to the player's touch - floating is just not as stable for me, I've tried.
* Four springs. Looks like this, viewing the back of the guitar ---> /|||
* Outer two bridge screws tightened down until they're flush, plus about 3/4 of a turn or so tighter; inside four screws hovering about 1/64" or so.
* Stew Mac "Guitar Grease" graphite everywhere the string makes contact - saddles, nut, under the string trees. Speaking of which, try raising the string trees a bit if you're still binding up. I hear that "Nut Sauce" is an excellent lube, haven't gotten around to ordering it yet.
* Spring tension - different for all of my strats. I just dink around with it until it holds tune, no rhyme or reason that I've found.
* Fender Super Bullets, .010-.046. These strings are key with Strats for me; nothing else has been nearly as stable.
* String wrapping - People tend to overlook this detail, but it's absolutely essential in my opinion. Make your string wraps at the post very neat & tidy, with no overlap or binding. On the low E & the A, two wraps are all you need.
My $267.12 MIM strat has standard, non locking tuners. I have to totally assault this guitar to whack it out of tune, it's fantastic. I recorded a few takes with this guitar about a week ago... the part had wang bar moves throughout the course of the tune, & I'm not talking the subtle stuff. After each take, I checked the guitar with an Intellitouch tuner - it wasn't just close to being in tune, it was dead nuts accurate.
April 26th, 2004, 10:24 PM
Are the nut slots wide enough for the new strings? when ever my guiters won't stay in tune...it's that darn nut or a string-tree.
April 27th, 2004, 04:52 PM
i filed down the nut slots last night and i think it's helping
April 27th, 2004, 07:18 PM
ok put the strings on today
i filed the nut slots quite a lot before
i made two wraps on the lower strings
i have 4 springs in but they are in this form || ||
i raised the string tree a little
the b and e still go slightly out when i use the bar, but not as much-just enough to bug me
April 27th, 2004, 08:36 PM
Assuming that the trem is properly set up and all contact points are well-lubricated....
When tuning a strat, it's best to tune all of the strings to pitch and then dump the bar. Check the high E and retune in the direction it needs to go only until it's right (i.e., if the string reads sharp, tune down; don't take the string flat and then come back up). Dump the bar again, and recheck it. Do this on the high E until it stays in tune after dumping, and then repeat with each string.
If you do this, the guitar will NOT go out of tune by dumping the bar. It may go slightly out if you pull up, but that is remedied by dumping the bar (not pulling up). Everyone I know tunes strats incorrectly, so they have to pull up on the bar to get it back in tune (even though most people normally don't pull up on the bar in regular use); this way takes advantage of the natural slippage at the nut and tuners, and compensates for it.
April 28th, 2004, 02:58 PM
thanks kevin! the guitar stays in tune with the whammy...BUT...the b still goes out of tune on bending...my best guess is it's the string tree. i believe i've stretched the strings thoroughly, but how can you tell?
April 28th, 2004, 03:30 PM
It's going flat when you bend?
It's binding either at the nut or the string tree.... Take some find-grade sandpaper and de-burr the string tree. Lubricate it well, also. Do the same with the nut.
That should take care of it....
April 28th, 2004, 04:10 PM
sounds good to me!
April 28th, 2004, 06:49 PM
i do believe i goofed on the nut. heh i'll have to get another one i believe because i filed too deep and the action's too low on the b and e now. But it stays in tune! hahahaha
well, ya gotta try things, so i'm not upset.
how do you replace/install a nut?