Anyone prefer "vintage" strat trem spacing to "narrow"?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Crowder, May 15, 2011.

  1. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    I've got three strat-style guitars. On the two I've had longest I've replaced the stock bridges with Callaham Vintage Narrow bridges. The newest one has standard vintage spacing and I can hardly wait to replace the bridge, which is a bitch because it is set up perfectly now and the trem stays in tune really well. But I am having trouble keeping the E strings on top of the frets, and the humbucker in the bridge sounds weak on the high E so I really have to make the change.

    I honestly don't understand how anyone can prefer the vintage spacing. There seem to be zero advantages to keeping the wider spacing. Am I alone here?
     
  2. jaytea4

    jaytea4 Member

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    Callaham vintage spaced plate 2 7/16 with 2 1/16 spaced saddles. I just bought one - it's perfect.
     
  3. bmutlu

    bmutlu Member

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    I prefer vintage space.
     
  4. Lolaviola

    Lolaviola Supporting Member

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    I'm wondering this myself. I remember I avoided strats for years because the E pulled right off the freatboard.

    Now I am wondering if vintage radius vs. flatter radius makes the vintage spacing react differently?

    Do folks who play with fingers like vintage spacing?
     
  5. thesjkexperienc

    thesjkexperienc ^^^ I made this guitar^^^ Supporting Member

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    I HATE the narrow spacing! If I wanted a Gibson I would buy one.

    I also prefer 7.25" radius with 6105 frets. Bunch of sissies and your flat boards!
     
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  6. Steve Dallas

    Steve Dallas Supporting Member

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    You are not alone.
     
  7. shg

    shg Senior Member

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    Nope, certainly not alone. All my Strats have AmStd bridges on them.
     
  8. beerijuana

    beerijuana Member

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    7.25"r, Spaghetti frets, and the Leo spacing...
     
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  9. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    Well, then the narrow spacing is too narrow. Gimme Telecaster spacing, 2.125 inches more or less. ;)

    Now, you can buy a "Chimemaster" from Glendale Guitars and it is a Strat bridge but it has 3 barrel saddles. I have 3 of these and love them, because I have them adjusted where the spacing is about 2.125. Neat.


    My approach has been to think ahead about what I'll be playing, a choose amongst my wider and my narrower "conventional" Strats and just choose accordingly. Which neck you have on your Strat can play a role on whether the wider array can be made to work. Can depend a LOT of the individual player AND how precisely straight the neck is and how true it has been installed in the neck pocket.

    I see more string fall off on:

    1) Badly set up guitars;

    2) Guitars with American or Highway necks that were never intended for wider bridges anyway, not really;

    3) Guitars with thinner strings, since tension can keep the string from bending - remember Mr. Fender and Mr. Fullerton designed this bridge in the early 50s when strings were big and heavy, not for 9s or even 11s.

    4) Guitar necks with "runout" or which are cockeyed in the pocket; and

    5) Guitars with worn out or damaged frets.
     
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  10. K-Line

    K-Line Vendor

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    I like 2 1/8" the best, 2 7/32" (callaham Vintage) is a bit too wide and 2 1/16" seems too narrow. 2 7/32" cannot be set up for everyone without someone having an issue with the E strings pulling off. I also am looking from a perspective of a "stock spec" guitar that most people would prefer.
     
  11. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Zero advantages? No way. I definitely prefer vintage as do so many pros. ESPECIALLY for fingerpicking, hybrid chick'n pickn, slap stuff it feels great. I like a little room for my fingers. I guess I'm used to playing Fender vintage type and they always use that spacing, on the USA versions, Custom Shop, and actual vintage guitars. I don't have long fingers, but the vintage spacing allows room for the fingers to move freely. The narrow spacing like on many Wilkinsons feels like it's made for kids or beginners.

    Another thing to think about is the narrow spacing means dinkier saddles too. So another advantage no one really notices is bigger saddles. You might think it's just a little bit, but think about all six and sitting tight for coupling effect. Best I've seen is the Gotoh vintage trem. No saddle slop, saddles are robust (11.3mm string spread), and very solid feel and sit snug. The trem sounds great and gives a huge tone compared to a Fender. I think that's part of it. Saddles make a diff.

    Also hate when the strings sit very far inward on the fingerboard. Like I see on Am. Std and the like., and then on top of that there's a huge fret bevel. I think they do it to allow for slack in construction, and still get away with a playable guitar. I don't like how it feels. I like the more precise craftsmenship of the strings spaced nicely with the board, and the frets run out nicely. There's less tolerance for slop but when it's right, it feels great.
     
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  12. Arjan

    Arjan Member

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    What are the options if you have a body routed for the six screw vintage tremolo and you want narrower spacing? I currently have a Callaham tremolo on my strat and I find the spacing slightly too wide. Thanks!
     
  13. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I think Callaham makes one that has narrow spacing but fits the vintage sized trem holes. The Wilkinson six screw vintage, fit also. Also "some" of the highway one strats have trems like this. It's either the early ones or the more recent ones. I always forget, it gets confusing! I just stick with a vintage one.
     
  14. rrhea

    rrhea Member

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    I have guitars with all sorts of string spacing and I switch between them and play 'em all with no issues, so that line of thinking doesn't apply to everyone.

    I put the Callaham narrow spaced bridges on Strats and other guitars that need it and use the wide spacing on guitars that don't. I'd rather the thing play right than to keep some older spec (that probably was just bad design to begin with) just for the sake of it.

    For some reason my Eric Johnson Strat didn't need the narrow spaced bridge. I wonder if the neck on the EJ is slightly wider than normal. I do like the feel of the Callaham with the wide spacing... I can tell it is beefier due to added saddle mass and I'd love that for all my Strats, but again, if E strings are slipping off the board that is unacceptable to me and it will be fixed with the narrow spacing. I play much better when the strings on the guitar I am playing stay on the fretboard. ;)

    I have no idea why Fender did the wide spaced bridge on a neck too narrow to support it. If all of Strats setup with wide spacing like my EJ does, this wouldn't be an issue at all for people.

    So to answer the OP's question, for me it is not a matter of preference but a matter of function. If a builder lets a guitar out of QC with E strings slipping off the board then that is a mistake that needs correcting in my mind. So I use the narrow spacing only when needed to correct for poor design tolerances, basically.

    RR
     
  15. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Original vintage strats had approx. 1 5/8" nut width which is 1.6250" of course with all the hand work back then I'm sure that varied. But it feels so awesome when it's right, with the vintage spaced trem, but it's easy to get fall off, if neck is out of alignment or too much fret bevel...

    Fender's modern vintage nut width is 1.650" to give a bit more room and avoid fall off, Most of the vintage style guitars Fender does has this. I remember the Mark Knopfler model having a true 1.6250" width, they still used the USA trem with it. . I really love a true 1 5/8" width, it's very noticeable, so comfy. Especially doing thumb over stuff and the E strings are right there but no slip off. Oh man, just another part of a great vintage strat! All these little things add up to what made the great strats, so great. It all has to be right tho'.
     
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  16. BEACHBUM

    BEACHBUM Member

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    I've got 13 guitars. I'm not allowed to have preferences.
     
  17. Trebor Renkluaf

    Trebor Renkluaf I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse? Silver Supporting Member

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    I prefer a wide nut, 1 11/16" and narrow bridge spacing.
     
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  18. mslugano

    mslugano Supporting Member

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    I am with you! Both my remaining Suhrs are this way (one with a Gotoh 2 1/8" and one with a Callaham 2 1/16"). Finger picking is easy as is slapping strings. I do sometimes wish I had a narrower nut for thumb-over stuff (and I do a lot of Hendrix) but I have gotten pretty accustomed to doing it with a wide nut.
     
  19. sabby

    sabby Member

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    In my experience, the wide bridge spacing is only a problem when the nut is too widely spaced or off-center, or if the neck is misaligned. There's a narrow margin for error, but when it's "right" it's fine.
     
  20. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    Wow. Deep.
     

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