Smooth, responsive Strat trems: Hipshot, MannMade or ________?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by jbp, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. jbp

    jbp Supporting Member

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    So....I think I need a new 2 point Strat trem.

    I keep trying out the more "vintage" style Strat trems like the Gotoh 510, SuperVee Blade Runner and others. Despite all my adjustments and modifications, they all feel too stiff to me and not precise enough. I'm looking for something smoother that doesn't have to be manhandled.

    The last non-locking trem I got along with was on my old PRS, so it was a MannMade trem. That one felt right to me. From what I can surmise, the Hipshot tremolo is similar. I guess I need to check these out, but I'd love to hear some thoughts with folks who have first hand experience with the MM, the Hipshot or something comparable to what I've described.

    Two caveats:

    - No locking trems! I've got great locking keys on my guitar and a Tusq XL nut.
    - I don't have money for a Skyway! ;)

    EDIT 2/3/12: I'm using my current trem with only 2 springs.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  2. jbp

    jbp Supporting Member

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    "Paging Dr. Torn....Hipshot consult needed stat!" Are you out there, splatt?
     
  3. jbp

    jbp Supporting Member

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  4. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    The Wilkinson one. It's a two point, I think it was black, but the bar was chrome. They came on high end Brian Moores. Super duper smooth and sensitive.
     
  5. FLStratcat

    FLStratcat Member

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    You sure it's not your springs making the trem too stiff? Flip $20 toward Raw Vintage and try their springs before dropping a whole $150+ on a new bridge :)
     
  6. Sunil

    Sunil Gold Supporting Member

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    This.

    This simple 5-spring setup may be the way to go.
     
  7. fumbler

    fumbler Member

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    IME the different mounting options can certainly affect tone and tuning stability but stiffness and "sensitivity" depend more on number/stiffness of springs, string gauge and the height of the saddles (which affects the torque that the strings have on the bridge).

    What you want is a tremolo arm that seats firmly (no slop) and fewer springs for a smooth feel. I'm pretty sure Mr. Torn uses 2 springs. Raw Vintage springs have lower tension and won't break the bank if you want to give them a try.

    You can try shimming the neck in order to get the saddles where you want them while still maintaining your preferred action. Try it; it's amazing how different a trem feels with the saddles way up high. It dive-bombs much more easily. (FYI I like to have them low on the plate. It helps keep the other strings in tune better when bending - as in pedal-steel-type licks).
     
  8. Totally Bored

    Totally Bored Member

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    If it's to tight, remove some springs.

    I use 2 vintage type springs in a /\ pattern with 10 gauge strings. Works fine.

    The newer black springs are not as stiff as the older vintage style so I would use 3 if they where the black ones.




    .
     
  9. burningyen

    burningyen Vendor

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    Yep, try 2 springs before you go changing bridges.
     
  10. jbp

    jbp Supporting Member

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    Ahh, yes....I should've mentioned that I'm using my current tremolo (SuperVee Blade Runner) with only 2 springs and 10 gauge strings. And I'm not willing to change string gauges.

    It still feels a bit stiff to me, perhaps because of the added resistance of the BladeRunner's small steel plate that bends back and forth. I was excited about this design feature and I'm sure it'll last longer than a knife edge/pivot design, but I think this is what's throwing off the feel.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  11. burningyen

    burningyen Vendor

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    Yeah, just about any 2-post trem with 2 springs will probably work for you.
     
  12. Mark Robinson

    Mark Robinson Member

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    Wilkinson is good, as is Mannmade. I have several Wilkinsons, Being able to lock down the individual saddles is great, and they feel great.

    I just put together a Strat with a Mannmade and it's real nice too. I did have a little issue with needing to make a little room for clearance between the wall of the trem and the adjustable body studs, which I ground down in diameter a bit. But I'm thinking these studs I got with the used bridge are not stock. I've heard a lot of praise for the Hipshot and the Gotoh 510ts- but no personal experience with them.

    The stock trem that came on Strat Plus guitars in the '80s and '90's can work beautifully. Inexpensive too. Good luck.
     
  13. jb4674

    jb4674 Member

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    Give the Mann-Made a try. If you're familiar with the feel of them, it should make an easy choice.
     
  14. dreamspace

    dreamspace Member

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    The Two-point Gotoh trems that my Suhr S3 and S4 had were incredibly smooth. sounded good too.
     
  15. DRS

    DRS Member

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    I have the Hipshot Contour. It's flawless. Stays in tune. Silky smooth. I got the steel block option. Sounds great. They also make one that is more traditional looking. My vote!
     
  16. willyboy

    willyboy Member

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    Love the Gotoh on my Suhr - smooth, great feel, great tone, great functionality, very well made and solid
     
  17. jbp

    jbp Supporting Member

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    And perhaps I should add the Babicz Full Contact hardware trem to the mix. Anyone have experience with them? How's the feel?
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  18. jbp

    jbp Supporting Member

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    Bump for more opinions
     
  19. Mikey Likes It

    Mikey Likes It Silver Supporting Member

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    Skyway makes a great trem, but it would require a re-rout.
     
  20. Axis29

    Axis29 Supporting Member

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    I use a vintage style trem on one strat (MIM Roadworn, stock bridge/trem) with a shorter handle... I cut it off at the bend and rebent it. Fits in my hand better and gives me great control!

    I have a Wilkinson six screw vintage going in on my new build. I'll be hacking off that handle too.

    Or, you could fill in the hole and get a Bigsby? More subtle, but I love them on my Gretsches.
     

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