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Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by stechmann, Feb 3, 2005.
Please share your tips to get that tremolo working. What's the secret?
You might find it with a search. Rob DiStefano has detailed some stuff before IIRC. Screw only the outer two screws tight, lubricate friction points etc.
I could never do it on mine, so I haven't tried for a while.
My MiM works pretty good, by my AmSer is almost dead on. I'm surprised it consistently stays in tune.
I'm not going to Jinx it. I'm keeping the same brand and gauge of stings. I don't want to change the formula of this wonderful fluke.
This is what I do... Now.... I've tried a lot of stuff.
With 10's... Three springs.. I put the two end springs towards the center so they are at an angle going to the block. I tried straight, but I had problems with it staying in tune between strings 1 and 6. The theory and I don't know if its right or wrong, but it works.. Is closer to a central pivot point so the variance it spring tension between the outer springs has less of an effect.
I also measure the distance between the claw and the block and try to make it the same on both sides.
It takes a lot of time, and you have to keep doing this over and over again, but when it finds the sweet spot, it really works great... well so far...
And when I tune, I tune from the outer stings in. This keeps equal tension on the springs. If you go from one side to the other, the first side will be out of tune by the time you finish all 6 stings because of un-equal spring tension on one side of the bridge.
Example 1, 6, 2, 5, 3, 4.....
This works for me.. It may or may not work for you. And in fact, in 6 months from now, it may not even work for ME!
Invest in some of that Nut Sauce that's available in the States (never seen it over here though, perhaps someone will supply it online?). Play some early tracks recorded by The Shadows, featuring Hank Marvin on lead guitar and listen to how it should be done. Good luck!
Here's what I've done to my '93 American Standard Strat [2-point trem, of course]:
Graphtech nut, staggered Sperzel tuners [thus no need for string trees], I adjusted the trem so I can only push downwards, 3 springs pretty tight, Callaham trem block [that one for the sound] and Callaham trem handle which is fantastic.
Stays in tune pretty well!
Just ordered some Nut Sauce on a US wedsite, I'll give it a try. Thanks
Use the two outermost screws, raise the four middle...
--and float that baby...that is, adjust the springs (three springs; one on each on the outside, and one spring right in the middle) so that, playing the G-string, you can pull up one full step to an A or lower it an octave plus. It takes a lot of tweaking, but once you get it, it's a beautiful thing.
Another important factor: I use a .009" string set (GHS Boomers GBXL: .042", .032", .024", .016", .011", and .009"). with the nuts filed for .009s or .010s. If you use .010s, make sure the nut grooves aren't "pinching" the strings too tightly.
I don't use Nut Sauce or graphite or graphite nuts or the like, and my Synchronized (i.e. "vintage"-style) Tremolos stay in tune, even after a low-E "divebomb" and other sundry wild yankings. (Well, they stay in tune 95% of the time, anyway; the other 5% of the time, I just pull up on my vibrato bar, and all is well and in tune.)
I do mine pretty much the same as Joel does. You really don't need gimicks, just a good setup with some careful attention paid to the nut. If your nut is too tight, all the nut sauce in the world won't help. I do use GraphTech nuts and locking tuners when I build a new one, but my number one Strat has a bone nut with a bit of pencil lead (graphite) "drawn" in the grooves for lube.
Along with the tips listed above, I've also found that removing the D and G string tree (on those Strats that have one) can help with trem tuning issues.
Here we go...I'm 2 years into two Strats, my tremolos float and I've had zero tuning problems. One has Graphtec saddles, the other has stock saddles. I start with the basic setup on Mr. Gearhead:
Tune to pitch, and adjust the trem springs until the back of your bridge plate floats 1/8" off the body if you want to be able to pull up on the trem as well as bend down in pitch. It takes some retuning and spring adjustments until you get the measurement right AND the guitar tuned to pitch. Once you have that down, the rest is EASY...I repeat, EASY! Make sure your nut slots are clear of burs-you can slide a nut file or string through them to make sure they are clean. Use some chapstick under each string tree-apply it with a toothpick. It'll last the life of a set of strings usually. I use a product called "Lock Ease", found in most hardware stores. It's an oil/graphite mixture designed to lube locks-just a small drop in each nut slot and wipe off excess.
As Joel Terry posted, you'll find the Mr. Gearhead site also recommends resetting the 6 screws that hold your trem plate in place. Basically what happens in this adjustment is that the outer two screws hold the plate in place, while the inner 4 screws are raised slightly to allow more freedom of movement-it does work.
I frequently use my tremolo for vibroto as well as my fingers-I use the trem alot, mostly for subtle things, but I can yank on it pretty good for the vibrato stuff and no problems. I like the vintage bridges better than the two point systems...they feel looser and now that I know how to set them up, they work great. If you're not comfortable doing it yourself, by all means take it to a tech. You can print this out as well as the Fender specs and if the guy is any good at all, he'll be able to get it rolling for you easily.