Strat Trem Question

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Wayne8, Sep 24, 2005.

  1. Wayne8

    Wayne8 Member

    Messages:
    524
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Location:
    Mississippi
    This question is about snugging down the trem on a Strat by adding extra springs (since I don't use the trem anyway). A friend set mine up so that the back part of the trem bridge is sitting on the body by adding two springs. He said that would keep the whole guitar from going out of tune if one string breaks plus he said it ought to help tone/sustain. I read a thread here the other day about this but I can't find it now. Seems like I remember someone saying that the screws on the front of the bridge also have to be tightened. Is this true? Near as I can tell, the back part of the bridge is flush on the body. Do I need to adjust the screws on the front of the bridge too?
    I keep reading about Callaham blocks. Are these for folks who don't want to use their trem at all? Would the added spring thing do the same job as far as tone/sustain?
    I know that's a lot of questions but this is my first Strat so there's a lot I don't know.
    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. BPlexico

    BPlexico Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    544
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2002
    Location:
    Central Texas
    If you don't plan on using the trem on your Strat - then you have a number of options - including blocking the trem - which I won't get into here.

    What it sounds like you have had done so far is gone from 3 springs to 5 springs. If your Strat has a vintage bridge - you will find five screws at the front - these can be tightened down to secure the bridge and reduce movement as well.

    If your bridge is already flush with the body of the guitar - than there is no need to tighten the trem claw as well.

    When you bend a string - does the bridge lift at all? If not - then you are all set. If it does lift - you would want to tighten the claw a tad (there are two screws that secure the claw to the guitar).

    As to the Callaham blocks - they are not targetted at folks who do not want to use a trem. Not having used one - I cannot attest to any thing they either add to or take away from the instrinsic tone of the guitar. I actually bought a Titanium block to reduce the overall weight of my guitar....

    To block the trem - you could also fit a piece of wood behind the block in the cavity.

    Plus there are a number of manufacturers who make aftre market devices to lock the trem...

    ie,

    http://www.dircksons.com/

    http://www.tremol-no.com/

    Hope that helps.

    -- Barr
     
  3. Wayne8

    Wayne8 Member

    Messages:
    524
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Thanks a lot! I checked it out, bending all strings as much as possible, one at a time, and the back of the bridge doesn't budge. I've struck chords and individual notes, then pressed down on the back of the bridge and the notes remain true. Guess that means I'm done, huh? Great! Thanks again for your advice.
     
  4. Neill

    Neill Member

    Messages:
    2,514
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2002
    Location:
    the big smoke
  5. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

    Messages:
    13,080
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Location:
    Scotland
    Even if you don't plan to use the trem, DO NOT overtighten the six screws at the front of the bridge. This is a very common mistake, and can cause not only tuning problems, but damage to the body or even in really extreme cases snapped screw heads.

    The reason is that the bridge-plate is angled away under the front edge. If you tighten the screws too much, the front edge of the bridge will be pulled down so hard that the back will try to lift up as the angle presses against the top. If you then pull the back down hard with more springs, the angle will dig into the top finish, which will cause the bridge to bind against the top and may damage it, as well as causing a lot of friction which will allow the bridge to stick out of position and affect the tuning. If you're really brutal you can even snap off the screw heads - I've see this happen on a Strat where someone screwed the pivot screws right down then drove a wooden wedge into the cavity in a misguided attempt to block the trem as firmly as possible.

    This is how to adjust it correctly:

    1. Loosen the strings a bit.
    2. Raise the six pivot screws about a turn or so - enough to get them clear of the bridgeplate.
    3. Tighten the springs or add more if necessary so the back edge of the bridge is resting on the top.
    4. Carefully tighten the pivot screws (starting with the outer ones) until the bridge is just pulled down flush to the body and the back edge does not lift. It's usually quite easy to do by a combination of feel (as the screw head makes contact) and looking at the back edge of the bridge to check for rise.

    The correct final adjustment is with the bridge resting precisely flat on the top with all six screw heads touching the top of the bridgeplate (there is no real advantage to raising the middle four screws as is sometimes advised). This is the same whether you want the bridge flush or floating - if you want it floating, you just need less spring tension and the bridge will rise at the back.

    This only applies to the vintage-style Strat trem with plain screws, not a US-Series type (or a PRS) with grooved screws or posts, they can be set higher than this and still work properly, although they also must not be set lower than this either.
     
  6. Wayne8

    Wayne8 Member

    Messages:
    524
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Thanks for all the info, guys.
    I guess I should have been more specific. Mt Strat is a 2005 American Series HSS. Must not be a vintage bridge because I don't see six screws at the fron of the bridge. Just one at the top (of the front of the bridge) and one at the bottom. These look like they just hold the bridge on.
    Anyway. We didn't tighten any screws on the outside of the guitar.
    This is my first Strat (previously played LP's and Tele's) and my friend had told me that, with a Strat, if you break a string, ALL the strings go out of tune. I've never used a trem arm before and don't plan on starting. I've never even put the trem arm on this Strat, it's still in the package. He said that you could adjust the bridge so that it's flush with the body and that, by doing so, stabilize the tuning (when you break a string) and also, arguably, maybe add sustain. Sounded cheaper and as good as converting to a hard tail (I was thinking about the routing for the trem arm showing if I converted to a hard tail bridge). I had read a little about various blockers, but thought that his way might accomplish the same thing.
    What we actually did was, first, tighten down the claw screws inside the back cavity and, when that didn't completely bring the back of the bridge down flush with the body, added the two extra springs. As I said before, no other adjustments were made to the bridge.

    Okay, having said all that, am I good to go or have I maybe caused a problem that I need to undo?

    Thanks.
     
  7. Wayne8

    Wayne8 Member

    Messages:
    524
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Location:
    Mississippi
  8. Wayne8

    Wayne8 Member

    Messages:
    524
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Hey John,

    It's completely flat, flush and parallel to the body. Absolutely no gap and there doesn't appear to be any gap toward the front of the bridge, though it's kind of hard to tell with the pickguard in the way. But I can't imagine that it's not flush by the way the bridge appears from the side. Looks to be completely flat on the body.
    What do you think?

    Wayne
     
  9. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

    Messages:
    13,080
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Location:
    Scotland
    That sounds like it's perfectly adjusted!

    :)
     
  10. Wayne8

    Wayne8 Member

    Messages:
    524
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Great! Thanks!
     
  11. Kevan

    Kevan Member

    Messages:
    479
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Location:
    New Albany, OH
    +1 on John's comments and tips.

    And if you have any questions about the Tremol-No, feel free to email me. I'd be more than happy to answer them for you.
     

Share This Page