• The Gear Page Apparel & Merch Shop is Open!

    Based on member demand, The Gear Page is pleased to announce that our Apparel Merch Shop is now open. The shop’s link is in the blue Navigation bar (on the right side), “Shop,” with t-shirts, hats, neck buffs, and stickers to start. Here’s the direct link: www.thegearpageshop.com

    You’ll find exclusive high-quality apparel and merchandise; all items are ethical, sustainably produced, and we will be continuously sourcing and adding new choices. 

    We can ship internationally. All shipping is at cost.


Stiff trem bar on strat

TheAmpFactory

Member
Messages
835
On my 56 NOS strat, the trem bar is quite stiff, so its hard to be musical with it. - the back on the block has 3 springs attached,
Is there a way to make it smoother? lighter?
(kind of hard to explain so I hope you get the idea)
 

AD_

Member
Messages
429
How tight is the claw holding the springs? If it's clamped down pretty far, the springs will pull hard on the trem. You could loosen the claw a bit, letting the springs relax some.
 

whiteop

Senior Member
Messages
2,987
You might try two springs. Have never seen a trem system in a Fender Strat that I considered to be high quality unless it was a SuperStrat built by another company.
 

fumbler

Member
Messages
1,471
Loosen the 2 screws that hold the claw in the back until the back of the bridge lifts off the top of the guitar (this is called "floating the trem"). You can choose to stop just short of that if you'd rather not deal with a floating trem.
 

gatornavy

Member
Messages
671
Yes, there are ways, and it's a fairly easy fix that can be complicated.

Is the tremolo floating or flush to the body? I would recommend floating since this eases some of the tension.

You can adjust the tension by adjusting the claw screws that the springs are connected to. If you loosen too much though, your bridge will pivot creating the "floating" set up. This is how I prefer mine, but you'll then have to readjust action and intonation, so keep that in mind.
 

TheAmpFactory

Member
Messages
835
thanks guys.
currently the whole block is dead flush with the body, no give it in at all.
but with that said.. the springs in the back are not exactly tight either?

Is there a tone loss by goign to 2 springs? floating trem?
 

AD_

Member
Messages
429
You get more tuning problems with a floating trem, since the trem will be balancing between the springs and the pull of the strings. Tune one and the rest will need readjusting - MY main reason for pulling the trem tight and leaving it. But no tone difference that I can tell.

In fact, the bridge is the weak link in the stratocaster as far as I care. Tuning woes, even using the trem bar will make the strings go out of tune unless you invest in wacky locking tuners, etc. Too much trouble, I prefer a hardtail bridge 1000x over.
 

Lotis

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,416
On the vintage type bridges if you back off the 6 bridge/body screws it will really lighten the touch/response along with the claw adjustment.
 

stormin1155

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,645
There are a couple laws of physics at work here. The first has to do with the elasticity of the spring(s), the second has to do with leverage.

You have the tension of your strings pulling against the tension of the springs. Tighten the springs, the bridge draws down against the body... loosen them or remove one, it raises. Tightening or loosening the string tension (either by tuning down or up, or by string guage) does the same thing. If you are going to use your trem, you want it set up to float with about 1/8" space between the bridge plate and body. So loosening spring tension will only get you so far in your quest for lighter trem feel.

Springs behave differently with regard to elasticity. They may take more or less energy to move them from resting position versus stretched position. If you have three springs in your trem, they will be stretched less to achieve tension equilibrium with the strings than if you have two springs.

So if the springs become easier to stretch the further they are stretched, the result will be less effort needed to move the trem. Going from 3 to 2 springs then may solve your problem. The problem with going to 2 springs is, particularly with heavier gauge strings, you may run out of room to tighten the springs enough to get the proper float of your bridge.


The other factor at work here is leverage. I've not seen that issue addressed before. Your trem unit is basically a lever. The effort needed to move that lever will depend on the length of your trem arm and the distance between the string saddles and the pivot point (fulcrum) of the trem unit. The greater this distance, the more effort needed to move it, and vice versa.

Since this distance is really determined by where the saddles are set for proper intonation, you're kind of stuck with what you have.

So, bottom line, your best bet is to experiment with various springs... try 2 if you can get that to work. Also, springs vary... some are more or less stiff than others from resting point some are more or less stiff at various points of extension. Older springs may work better than new springs.

Going to lighter gauge strings will also help.
 

JM-1

Member
Messages
23
There are a couple laws of physics at work here - the second has to do with leverage.

The other factor at work here is leverage. I've not seen that issue addressed before. Your trem unit is basically a lever. The effort needed to move that lever will depend on the length of your trem arm and the distance between the string saddles and the pivot point (fulcrum) of the trem unit. The greater this distance, the more effort needed to move it, and vice versa.

Since this distance is really determined by where the saddles are set for proper intonation, you're kind of stuck with what you have.

.
That makes so much sense. The further back the saddles are from the fulcrum of the tremolo, they move along a flatter radius, and indeed when the arm is depressed, the saddles move more ‘upwards’ and less ‘towards the fingerboard’.

So the tremolo will feel much stiffer in that you have to move it a lot more for any desired drop of pitch...
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,933
The claw screws are there to fine tune the tension of the springs, which will change with string gauge. To float the trem, you have to have the 6 pivot screws set properly so they don't slide on the screws, then adjust the claw screws until the rear of the bridge plate is about 1/8" off the body face at proper pitch.
 

Chicago Slim

Member
Messages
4,206
I angle my claw, looking at it from the back of the guitar, to position it parallel in the cavity. If you have 3 springs, with two of them angled, try 3 springs, strait. The 6 tremolo screws on the front, will need to be backed off, a bit. When you make an adjustment, check to amount of travel, from the back of the guitar.

you-tube is your friend. It's easy to show, hard to explain. This video may help.

 
Last edited:

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,933
Could you elaborate on this?

I've never really been sure how to set those 6 screws. Thanks
1)Remove the strings.
2)Remove all trem springs.
3)Lay guitar flat on its back on a table.
4)Turn all 6 pivot screws counterclockwise (on a vintage trem) enough so the bridge plate is laying flat on the body (no gap between the rear of the bridge plate and the face of the body).
5)Turn each screw clockwise, one at a time, until you see the rear of the bridge plate just start to raise up, then back off the screw just enough until the bridge plate just rests flat on the body.
6)Turn screws #1 & #6 counterclockwise 1/4 turn.
7)Turn screws #2,3,4,&5, counterclockwise 1 full turn.
8)Reinstall the trem springs & strings and adjust the claw for about 1/8" gap between the rear of the bridge plate and the top of the body at proper pitch.
 




Trending Topics

Top