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Old October 17th, 2005, 07:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Do you bend the trem bar to custom angle?

I've never really played with the trem bar. But just got curious over the weekend, and screwed it back on my strat ("I like Ike" :D ). But it sits in a funny angle, too high for ease of use. I saw the Jeff Beck clip last week, he has it bent down closer to the top of the guitar. What is the best angle to bend it to? Do you have pics?

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Old October 17th, 2005, 12:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Ville, many years ago, I used to custom bend my trem bars upward, far away from the body because I read Jimi Hendrix did it to get his radical "divebomb" glissandos. However, after a bit of trial and error, I soon found out that the action of the vibrato wasn't so much in the angle of the bar as it was in the way the bridge was set up. Now, I just keep a standard clearance from the body on all of my Strats and my 0le FUZZY-custom Tele with Strat vibrato. A good example of my preferred bar height can be seen on my 0le FUZZY Tele:





My newest acquisition, a black CIJ ST57-70TX '57 Reissue Strat, came with a bar that was very high from the body--the way I used to bend them; however, like I said, I don't care for a high bar clearance anymore, so I bent it downward to a more comfortable height. On all of my vibrato-equipped guitars, I float my vibrato bridge; as a standard setting, I make sure I can "divebomb" the G-string down an octave-plus, and can pull the same string up a whole step--and stay in tune. :D

As far as an "appropriate" angle or height, I think that depends on the individual.

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Old October 17th, 2005, 01:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I play with fingers and acryllic nails. Using a Callaham '64 bar, I bend the bar the where, if swung up, it naturally fits in my palm while my pinky is on the pickguard supporting my picking hand.

All I have to do to grab it is curl my pinky around tha bar and my picking hand is nary effected. I can support it during pedal steel bends and keep them in tune and add shimmer. Also I can get a nice "in time" vibrato as I seldom have to reach for it.

The Callaham bar is very nice and very sturdy. 8)
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Old October 17th, 2005, 02:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sabby
I play with fingers and acryllic nails. Using a Callaham '64 bar, I bend the bar the where, if swung up, it naturally fits in my palm while my pinky is on the pickguard supporting my picking hand.

All I have to do to grab it is curl my pinky around tha bar and my picking hand is nary effected. I can support it during pedal steel bends and keep them in tune and add shimmer. Also I can get a nice "in time" vibrato as I seldom have to reach for it.

The Callaham bar is very nice and very sturdy. 8)
I use the Callaham, too. I love it--the Callaham S-vibrato bridge, inertia block, and '64 bar are the best things to happen to vintage-style Strat vibratos ever since Leo invented them. I love the stock clearance of the '64 vibrato bar, although I wish the bar was a bit longer. But hey, that's how the 1964 vibrato bars were made. If it was longer, it wouldn't be called a "'64 bar," would it?

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Old October 17th, 2005, 02:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I got a 64 bar and Callaham block for the 54 cs Relic Strat I sold to a friend. It was perfect!
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Old October 17th, 2005, 05:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Bend that bar!

On any of my guitars with a Fender vintage strat bridge, be it MIA, MIJ or MIM, one of the first things I do is remove the trem arm, clamp the short end of the arm in my bench vise and bend the arm downward so that the arm is closer to the guitar top and easier to manuever (for me, anyway) while picking. I started doing that about 20 years ago, and it works for me. YMMV.
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Old October 18th, 2005, 02:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks guys! I shall look into bending that thang towards the body.

The bridge on my strat is flush to the body, btw. Had one floating long time ago and the tuning, bending and muting was about impossible, but... I guess I might try that too one of these days... if I get courageous enough that is. :?
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Old October 18th, 2005, 02:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I shorten the arm rather than bend it. Much less metal swinging around that way. I only have a trem on one of my strats though, the others i bring flush to the body and block the trem unit, stays in tune better that way but it is nice to have a strat that you can divebomb on i agree, at least one in every arsenal :)

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Old October 18th, 2005, 05:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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yeah -

the nice surprise about my callaham wham was that it's shorter and, i think, a little higher than my fender bender - which makes it more comfortable to use. it's a closer grab, you don't have to wiggle your hand as much, feels like there's a little more knuckle room and space to finger while using the bar for those quavery riffs.

now ask someone who knows...
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Old October 18th, 2005, 06:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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jes' m.h.o. here, 'k ?
i do not "divebomb"....
my bridge plates are set flush to the body, with four springs fairly tight....my personal preference is for a 90 degree bend angle, and i straighten the bar lengthwise too.........
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Old October 18th, 2005, 08:24 PM   #11 (permalink)
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yessir



I like to bend it so it fits across the palm, and isn't so far to reach for when it's pushed out of the way.

But I call mine a 'talent lever'.
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Old October 19th, 2005, 09:04 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: yessir

Quote:
Originally Posted by WickedGTR
But I call mine a 'talent lever'.
"talent lever"
now, that's funny !




hey James, playing "Wicked Game" is about as extreme as my use of the bar gets ! details on your bridge set up please ? {# of springs & tension, plate flush, etc etc} Thanks !
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Old October 19th, 2005, 10:38 AM   #13 (permalink)
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-Press for (the illusion of) talent-

I like the action (of the lever) to be on the loosey-goosey side- sometimes I use two springs w/ the claw semi-tight, sometimes three with the claw looser...I've noticed most of my bends I am just touching the bar slightly- not grabbing it.

I like to have the bridge float a bit- to be able to pull it sharp, or for sharp and flat vibrato (like a violin). I've got a quick and dirty setup method I always use:

Play an E note on the G string (9th fret) and pull the bar all the way up. I adjust the spring tension (float angle) so THAT note is exactly a whole step up (F#). Seems to give the right angle for any string gauge (I use 9-42's for the most part)....heavier gauges would require more springs or tighter claw....

hope that makes sense...(?)
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Old October 19th, 2005, 07:28 PM   #14 (permalink)
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When I bought my '57 reissue Strat back in the mid '80s I bent the bar exactly the way I liked it. The length was perfect too.

I sold that Strat and have had many Strats since, but I still have that tremolo bar.

I'm expecting a new Strat tomorrow and that bar will go on it.
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