PRS Trem question

Fuchsaudio

Member
Messages
7,755
My PRS SC-Trem seems to have a problem staying in tune when I use the trem. Is there any trick I need to know about setting it up properly ?

It can bend notes up slightly (I have 3 springs on it, so it's easy to bend down), but some strings don't seem to return to pitch unless I shake the bar up and down once or twice. The guitar was bought used, so I don't know if the settings were played with, but any pointers are appreciated.
 

shallbe

Deputy Plankspanker
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
11,621
Andy,

I had the same problem, and my guitar was new. I do all my own setups and have never had a trem guitar perform as poorly as my CU22 Artist.

After examining the guitar, it was evident that the bottom plate of the trem had a slight reverse radius wne machined. However, the 6 screws were set in a straight line---so many were not having the plate's knife edge contact with the indented pivot point on the screw. It was actually chewing up the bridge--I could see metal shaving around my saddles.

I posted about it here (and old thread). John Phillips (and others) had the same issue, and told me how to fix it. I took off the strings, held the trem in the playing position and adjusted each screw to meet the knife edge (only the outer 2 were right on mine). You can feel them when they are in place--the screw is easier to turn.

Anyway, I contacted PRS about this---they acted like it was the first they heard of it, which was ********, according to other posters. I examined a dealers stock----he had a Singlecut trem and a CU22 that both had the same problem. I told PRS about it, directed them to the thread and sent them pics. They acknowledged it was real---saw it on some bridges there, and offered for me to ship them my instrument and they would replace the trem.

It works fine now, I did tthe fix and I did not ship it back to them. When confronted with conclusive evidence, they admitted the QC error, but they should have done a press release to at least inform folks/dealers how to fix the instruments.
 

Taller

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,879
Something else you might want to check -
I've heard that there is a problem that occurs [very rarely], evidently during machining of the trem, whereby the bridge may have a slight concave arc to it.
Holding the guitar in playing position, sight down the edge of the bridge where it makes contact with the trem screws. That edge, of course, should be dead straight. If it has this slight curvature to it, the trem screws would have to be adjusted to compensate.

This problem was mentioned here or at BaM, and is quite rare, but it is something I asked about when purchasing my latest trem-equipped PRS.

Other problems are way more common - the most common being the string slots in the nut needing a little touch with a nut file if you have one, or I've found a lite touch with some 600 grit sandpaper in the nut slot helps.
 

Fuchsaudio

Member
Messages
7,755
I may be down in "PRS land" before year's end, so I might just bring it to the factory and get a setup done by a pro. My buddy has a PRS with the same trem setup and it doesn't have this problem, so I know it's not normal.

I'll check these things though. I did notice the 6 screw heads going into the body do look a little "chewed" so maybe it's been toyed with.
 

shallbe

Deputy Plankspanker
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
11,621
Taller and I seem to be talking about the same problem. A curvature of the trem bottom plate that is opposite of the fretboard radius. However, I disagree about it being rare. When you look at 10 new PRS guitars and find three with the same problem, that is not rare. This was addressed with PRS over a year ago, so the QC problem may have been fixed. For all the grief other guitar companies get about QC, my biggest gripes have been with PRS, FWIW.
 

908SSP

Member
Messages
5,801
I know this isn't the question at hand but the PRS trem is a throw back to the dark ages. For all their advertised advancements the trem is illogical and nearly impossible for it to work as it should. The degree of accuracy required for 6 screws and 6 holes all to line up so that the pressure is evenly distributed among them is not within the capabilities of any wood metal structure. They need to get over it already and put two screws in like any competent engineer would.

When I had a PRS the trem was bent as well.
 

Funky Chicken

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,350
I've never turned a screw on the bridge of my 10 year old CE (bought new) and have never had a tuning problem. I've heard of the bridge curvature problem, but just as often some hack has "set up" :( a guitar with crappy or damaging results. I'd go back to basics (lube the nut, fresh strings, etc.) and if that doesn't work find a good set-up guy.
 

Taller

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,879
Originally posted by shallbe
...However, I disagree about it being rare. When you look at 10 new PRS guitars and find three with the same problem, that is not rare. [../QUOTE]

I think 'rare' is a relative term. Neither my '89 or my Y2K have the bridge problem nor have I personally seen it on any PRS guitar. Perhaps the problem was isolated to a particular time period?

PRS has put close to 100,000 guitars into players hands by this point - probably more than that, as their CE line carries a different serialization system...and not to forget about the number of Private Stock instruments built. I wouldn't be surprised if the number of complaints about flaws in workmanship was merely a tiny fraction of whatever the total output is.

Here's to at least 20 more years of PRS! :dude
 

shallbe

Deputy Plankspanker
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
11,621
On a brand new guitar, that has never been played by anyone else, the problems are the ones that came from the factory. Metal shavings accumulating on your bridge have nothing to do with how a nut is cut.

I agree that this has not always been a problem with PRS---but this was happening in 2003. How many guitars went out like that? I'm sure PRS knows, but they don't want anyone else to know. Rare in the total picture, but possibly not for a particular time period. I've owned 3 PRS guitars with trems---only the 2003 had this issue. When it's your money and you actually perform with the instrument, and it won't stay in tune (but your cheap Strat will), rare means nothing. It typically means you have to convince someone there is a problem. I was able to do that with the help of other forumites here that also owned these rare guitars.
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,704
Originally posted by 908SSP
I know this isn't the question at hand but the PRS trem is a throw back to the dark ages. For all their advertised advancements the trem is illogical and nearly impossible for it to work as it should. The degree of accuracy required for 6 screws and 6 holes all to line up so that the pressure is evenly distributed among them is not within the capabilities of any wood metal structure. They need to get over it already and put two screws in like any competent engineer would.

When I had a PRS the trem was bent as well.

The two screw trems suck. Give me a six screw Fender style any day and I'll show you how to keep it in tune all day long. The two posts are flimsy and soggy feeling. They don't snap back as well.

The locking tuners are just as bad. Don't need 'em if you know how to work a trem.

I don't own any PRS and dislike PRS' tuners and the huge, clunky nut. Lot of possible sticking in that thing.
 




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