Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Whole Step UP using Tremolo?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Flynman, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. Flynman

    Flynman Tele-Meister

    Dec 22, 2008
    Myrtle Beach S.C.
    Is it possible to loosen the Tremolo so that it sits off the body and tune it so that it plays 1 whole step up when you pull back to the rear of the guitar?? The guitar will be tuned in standard tuning when not using the tremolo. I have a customer who wants it set up this way but it seems way too loose and difficult to stay in tune. I have never done this or ever heard of anyone doing this....

    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
    Chiogtr4x likes this.
  2. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

    Jan 14, 2015
    If you hear a popping sound, it's your strings.
    mitchfinck and Flynman like this.
  3. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    May 21, 2006
    Assuming the trem you're referring to works anything like the one on my Strat...


    Loosen the two screws indicated by the arrows till the bridge floats how you want it. I have mine floating so that the tops of the saddles are about parallel to the top of the guitar. No special reason, that's just the way it came and I liked it, so I kept it that way, compensating for my preferred string gauge. Fender recommends something like 1/8" of float, and mine is somewhere in that neighborhood. I don't have any special difficulties with tuning, though I do have locking tuners and make sure to apply a little graphite to the nut and saddle slots with every string change. I don't think I've ever broken a string on this guitar.

    That being said, I'm not sure it's possible to float the trem such that every string bends up exactly one whole step. In my experience, they all bend up by different intervals. You can play with that, but I don't see how you can get them all exactly the same. I do remember reading of one guitarist who supposedly sets his up so his three highest strings bend up one half step, whole step and minor third, from highest to lowest. Apparently he finds it very "musical". I checked mine out of curiosity, and the intervals work out close to that. I guess some things just sound good.
  4. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2009
    I've found this method works. 1.5 step on the g, 1 step on the b .5 on the E

    Badger06 likes this.
  5. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    May 21, 2006
    Funny, replying to this thread reminded me of this old one of mine...

    ...where these videos (and others) came up.

    I basically set up everything to Fender's recommended specs, and adjusted to my taste from there, and got similar results to what's in the video. Getting to the same destination from a different route kinda seemed to vindicate it for me.
  6. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Friend of Leo's

    Mar 29, 2007
    Manassas Park, VA
    I'm not sure if this helps or not, just relaying how my Strat is setup:

    BTW mine has 3-springs, a Vintage-style Trem/saddle, with all 6 screws in front of saddles ( that adjust ' knife-edge fulcrum)
    - I use only D'ADDARIO XL's ( or try to) 10-46 on this guitar as the guitar was setup using these, as despite identical string gauge from other brands, I feel there IS a difference in string tension, which IMO affects the ' float' , feel, and ability of the bridge to return to pitch, stay in tune.
    - I have a graphite nut- something suggested many years ago, when I broke original
    - my bridge floats, less than 1/4" above body, just eyeballing

    Now I really don't pull the whammy bar UP strongly while playing ( except to return to pitch) nor do I use the whammy much on single note playing, so much as for wavering chords ( going up and down at various speeds) with the bar to change pitch, and I do that gently, but a fair amount.
    Now to answer your question! ( Sorry!)

    I just checked, and my bar does NOT raise my strings UNIFORMLY across all 6 strings, when I pull bar UP so bridge touches body ( something I never really do when playing)
    Strings 1-5 basically go up 1/2 step ( standard tuning so high E goes to F)

    BUT string #6, Low E does go up about a full step! E>F#
    * Guitar stays in very good ( not perfect) tune with this setup, but I'd be screwed if I ever broke a string because of floating bridge- but I change all strings every 2-3 gigs, and don't break.
    Would not like it if my bridge floated more- it would feel to loose, and guitar would not stay in tune just resting hand on bridge, IMO. Its just right the way it is!
    RoyBGood likes this.
  7. Flynman

    Flynman Tele-Meister

    Dec 22, 2008
    Myrtle Beach S.C.
    Ok so I tried the method in the video and it was a little off from what he had. I think it was because he has a 2 post bridge and I have the 6 screws holding it down in front. I loosened the bridge until it was about 1/8in. off the body and tuned it. You can get the G & B string to go up a full step but high E string is only able to go 1/2 step up. low E is almost a step and a half up. So I just kind of got it where it sounded best and left it there. Strings will probably stretch pretty often and more then likely not stay in tune.
  8. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    May 21, 2006
    For what it's worth, whenever I change strings I leave them overnight tuned a touch high to give them a little extra stretch, then tune them to normal. I've never had significant tuning issues of any kind. Assuming you wind your strings correctly (or use locking tuners), don't have any problems with the nut and keep the contact points lubricated, it should be fine.
  9. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia
    What the OP is reffering to is exactly how Jeff Beck does his strats.
    The problem is you cannot rest your hand on the bridge palm muting becomes a trick.
    You almost have to use a 'classical guitar' right hand technique.
    I set mine up this way too liking rasing notes as much or more than diving them.
    10-52, three springs, outer two at an angle, and two different tensel strengths.
  10. zulicious

    zulicious TDPRI Member

    Mar 12, 2017
    That's how they work.
    I set my strat for minor third (1 1/2) on the G.
    That usually does the same for the other middle string, the D.
    The two adjacent strings, A and B, go up a full step.
    The outer strings goes up by a half step.

    Understanding that, you may now map out what will happen
    when you pull up. I like to give a hair more clearance for vibrato
    but if you set up the guitar for this, the results are somewhat
    consistent. Interval and chords work very well too as long as you
    understand the target interval or chord that you are pulling to.

    David Torn does this often and has mentioned how he mapped
    it out. I try to do the same and have some pet moves now, but
    am always finding new ones, many accidentally.
  11. RoyBGood

    RoyBGood Poster Extraordinaire

    I set my Strat up this way long before Jeff Beck did. Ha Ha. If you want all the strings to stay in tune with each other (so an open E Major chord can be bent up to an F sharp major), the only way I know of doing this is on a Steinberger fitted with a TransTrem.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.