How To Set Up A Strat Floating Tremolo | Two Pivots Tremolo

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by binge, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. binge

    binge Member

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    I got a Fender Jeff Beck Strat and I was going to give it a little set up and I found this very good video:



    I watched it and everything made sense and seemed easy enough. The bit that troubles me is when he uses the two pivot screws to adjust the action at the end of the video. Can anyone explain why he used them and not the string saddles?
     
  2. fumbler

    fumbler Member

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    Arghh, I disagree with a lot of what he does. Especially this: you should NEVER adjust the pivot screws under full tension. You'll chew up the knife-edge on the plate where it pivots. Always detune the strings and back out the claw before you adjust those screws.

    Fender's set-up guide says to set these up so that "For a two-pivot model such as the American Series bridge, use your tremolo arm to pull the bridge back flush with the body and adjust the two pivot screws to the point where the tremolo plate sits entirely flush at the body (not lifted at the front or back of the plate)."

    I would do it this way: strings ALMOST slack, claw backed out (very little spring tension), guitar on its back. Gravity causes the back of the trem to rest on the body, low (but NOT zero) spring and string tension gently pulls the tremolo into the pivot screws. Now adjust those screws so that the FRONT of the plate also just barely sits down on the body. Then NEVER ADJUST THEM AGAIN (under normal circumstances).

    Adjust action with the saddles. If you run out of room or want to get the saddles at a certain height (I like 'em low on the plate for tuning stability) then you can shim the neck pocket.

    Getting the step-and-a-half pull-up on the G is pretty easy to achieve with a bit of trial and error. Adjust the claw less than you think. And it's not necessary to get the exact tuning right on the pull-up; the other two strings won't be exact anyway; trust me on that. The post-it notes are clever, though. I might steal that idea.
     
  3. Ronsonic

    Ronsonic Member

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    I'm with you on protecting the fulcrum / screw joint.

    There are a few different ways to skin this cat and yes, you'll never get those intervals perfect. Not with reasonable string heights matching typical fingerboard curvatures. Now the post-it stack? That I'll have to try.
     
  4. binge

    binge Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    A few things I'd like to say:

    Firstly, I didn't have my guitar with me when I posted this thread but I checked it out and I roughly have the minor 3rd on the G, whole step on the B and half step on the E so I'll leave well enough alone. I don't really use the whammy bar that much anyway. I was actually toying with the idea of adding in the two extra springs but I'll leave well enough alone for the time being.

    Secondly, maybe I'm just fussy, but did you notice how he doesn't protect the body of the guitar when he has the bridge sitting against it? That is bound to marr the finish. If I sent my guitar to a tech I would expect him to take reasonable care with things like this.
     
  5. Pyrrhic Victory

    Pyrrhic Victory Member

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    I've got to second this.
    It didn't happen from an adjustment (because fortunately Fumbler gave me this exact advice before I adjusted mine) but I currently have a bridge plate that is chewed and it can mess with your tuning stability if you float your trem.
     
  6. Ronsonic

    Ronsonic Member

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    Adjusting that bridge down against the finish won't do anything to it that grabbing the bar and pulling up won't inevitably do.
     

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