Strat Tremolo Setup: Blackmore pic & content...

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Free, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. Free

    Free Member

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    In a mid-'70s interview Ritchie stated how a friend set up his tremolo bridge at a certain "perfectly balanced angle with four springs" and claimed it was incredibly stable. I came across this 1975 pic and wondered if that is the exact spring arrangement. Anyway, I'd like to get more insight into RB's tremolo setup, if anyone has some.

    Early on in Deep Purple it looks like he's floating it quite high with the brutal tremolo arm pulling he does around 4:50 and other places in the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiNriG8KpDI


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2008
  2. wildschwein

    wildschwein Member

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    That would be hard work for me to use. I usually find the regular 3 spring arrangement is a bit stiff so I take out the middle spring and just have 2 and that works for well for what I play. I like to be able to bend down a whole step and up a half step, as well as getting the regular vibrato sound. Blackmore must have been a real tough guy. Thanks for the pic though - it's an interesting arrangement. I notice the claw is screwed right into the body, so maybe they're lighter gauge springs than normal - or it's not set up to bend up in pitch.

    BTW - I love Blackmore's wood finish Strats - like he played at California Jam - I want one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009
  3. wildschwein

    wildschwein Member

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    Yeah that's right - I remember now that he had special termelo arms made that were much more heavy duty. With all those springs he probably needed something more hardcore to actually be able to bend the pitch of the strings at all.

    I think too, if you block of the trem so it ownly goes down in pitch you can apparently get a better, more meatier tone because the tremblock trasfers more string sound into the wood; as it's butting up into one wall of the cavity. I always thought Blackmore got a good sound between 1974 and 1980 at live performances with Purple and Rainbow - may have had something to do with it. I haven't done it myself, so can't confirm any sonic improvement - but it makes sense. But I'll be sticking to my floating trem though and pull out the Les Paul or Tele when I want some more meat.
     
  4. Free

    Free Member

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    Exactly right.
     
  5. acwild

    acwild Member

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    There's a video on Youtube showing a Strat setup where you're supposed to set the spring tension relative to the string tension. Basically you set the claw tighter on your low E string than your high E. That's with three springs. It looks like Blackmore's is set up with the same concept.

    I've got my Strat setup to float (one-and-a-half pullup on the G string), vintage bridge and tuners, brass nut, and a standard string tree. It doesn't go out of tune. I use Chapstick in the nut grooves and string tree. The main reason that I believe for the tuning stability is the brass nut since I have another Strat setup similarly and it's not quite as stable.

    Blackmore uses a custom set of 10's, right?
     
  6. acwild

    acwild Member

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  7. RMstrat

    RMstrat Member

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    those dont look like stock springs to me. His trem claw is flush with his body.Maybe on a 70s strat the springs were longer(im no expert) but my strat springs dont look that long. I also read an interwiew with him where he stated that he puts his bridge plate at an exact 45 degree angle to his body and said his guitar rarely goes out of tune because of it. Now if his trem claw is flush and hes got 4 springs on it he would have to have monster strings (tension)on it to get his 45 degrees. Just my opinion but again im no expert
     
  8. acwild

    acwild Member

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    If you look closely in the video, you can see that his trem is actually set at an angle that's gonna give about one-and-a-half tone pullup (definitely not 45 degrees). Also, he likes to screw around with people, so it's hard to tell if he's being truthful in an interview or not.:rotflmao

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=3dHa6LbEKXc&feature=related
     
  9. Free

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  10. Free

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    Right - You can see a few in this '74 pic. I don't see any of the trems past 10 degrees or so - most look flush with the body even.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2008
  11. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    Nice player but that set up info on the tension affecting the individual strings is total BS .
    The strings are all on the same bridge plate and there differential pitch change is ONLY affected by the relative saddle positions (intonation and action,) when the guitar is set up all you can change is the amount of up pull in the bridge plate .
    If you have 1 spring or 5 springs set the bridge with a 1/8" gap under the back of it and the amount of up pull will be identical .The only difference will be the feel of the bar .(2 tight springs is easier to bend down than 5 loose ones providing the same equilibrium.
     
  12. oldgtarz

    oldgtarz Member

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    Wow, I've actually used the same spring setup for years. After some problems with tuning stability playing strats with 11s, I found this is the only way to get them the play just as easy as they do with 10's and stay in tune. You also get some extra 'reverb' from the springs which makes your guitar sound much richer. It does require some attention with the setup, there is an actual sweetspot, take your time, it is worth it!
    BTW. It works for floating setup of a vintage bridge as well, just give the trem claw some space!
     
  13. Free

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    You're right, Wildshwein. Here's a front pic I found with the bridge apparently screwed down flush. I've never seen him use that guitar though - it has humbuckers in it!

    It's hard to make out how RB has his bridge set floating with the poor resolution of all the pics and videos I see, but again, he is pulling on the tremolo like a monster in the Mandrake Root video. Wish I could find some more clear pics, like this one below.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Amplite

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    What's with the Lefty Strat Ritchies playing in the photo? Strung for a Lefty??
     
  15. Free

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    I've seen him playing lefty strats (upside down) around '74 at some shows. He must have wanted a Hendrix thing that year - he was indeed a Hendrix fan.
     
  16. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    the lefty burst against the wall there is strung for a righty. maybe he had just got the one he was holding and hadn't converted it yet?
     
  17. Free

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    Right - I agree. RB definitely had it strung righty live, and a couple of those guitars are clearly brand new in the pic with tags and all.
     

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