Sloppy trem arm on Hwy 1

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by seeker66, Jan 13, 2008.


  1. seeker66

    seeker66 Member

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    I have an older Highway One Strat with the synchronized tremolo which I bought used. The problem is that for some reason the trem arm is very loose when screwed into the tremolo itself. There is a 1/4 inch of play at the tip of the arm! I have tried other arms and they are the same. I figure the previous owner must have somehow damaged it. Anyway, I was thinking of drilling and tapping the hole out and making up a new arm. I am a mechanic and have experience wielding a drill. The original thread was a 10-32 and I was going to go with a 12-28. Has anyone else ever done this? Are there repecussions that I am unaware of?
     
  2. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    If you have 1/4" play at the tip of the arm, somebody must have already done something to it - Fender would never have it that tight and precise out of the factory. :p

    Really though, that doesn't seem to far out for most Fenders. If you tap and die a new hole and arm, I'd guess you'll get just as much slop. Perhaps if you cut the arm threads on a lathe you could tighten it up, but if you're doing that I don't know if there's be much reason to enlarge the hole. Just cut some oversize threads on a piece of 3/16" stainless, bend, polish, and off you go. If the threads in the block were damaged I would probably choose to helicoil it back to the original size - makes it easier to replace an arm or even a tip if you have to.

    Then there's always the spring, which kinda-sorta works sometimes, or as I know some people do, just wraps some 0000 steel wool around the threads before screwing it in. I'm sure you'll get plenty of other quick fix ideas here. many of which will probably work fine.
     
  3. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    Oh, another quick fix that works for some is to slightly crimp the upper threads on the arm with a pair of pliers or vise grips. These methods all sound a bit crude, but they work.
     
  4. seeker66

    seeker66 Member

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    Thanks for your input.
     
  5. Mike9

    Mike9 Supporting Member

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    Maybe there is a "Helicoil" that will fit the hole - check with your auto parts store. I usually just wrap teflon plumbers tape on my sloppy trem arms - it lasts a good while and is cheap to boot. I also like "the '64" arms from Callaham, but they are standard 10/32 thread like the Fender AFIK.

    I thought about trying epoxy putty and coating the arm with release agent and one wrap of thin teflon. Insert epoxy then thread in the arm & remove when cured.
     
  6. Bob V

    Bob V Member

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    Fender told me my '06 upgrade Highway One has a different thread than the USA arms, since it's the same bridge used in the MIM strats. I don't believe that information is correct, and the 10-32 American trem arm is the closest thing to fitting properly. There is a lot of slop there, and I cure it with teflon tape.

    The most expensive solution would be a Callaham block and maybe even one of their arms, which I have not tried since I'm satisfied with the teflon and a magnet sticks to my trem block so I'm convinced it's more steel than zinc and the aftermarket block wouldn't seem worth it to me.

    By the way, I thought the thumping feeling at the center balance point of my trem when I had a Trem-setter was from the stop mechanism on the trem setter; turns out the real culprit was the arm banging back and forth in the loose threads making it feel notchy.
     

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