Tremelo sag.............?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Blueswede, Dec 23, 2004.

  1. Blueswede

    Blueswede Gold Supporting Member

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    I have a really nice McInturff FLE that I love to play. The only problem I'm having is with the tremelo. When I bend up the G string, and then play a note on the B string, I have noticed that the note on the B string is flat, due to the fact that bending up on the G string pulls up on the bridge and makes all of the other notes flat. Is there anything I can do to rectify this? I love using a trem, but the tradeoff of flat notes bugs me. Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Steve
     
  2. 908SSP

    908SSP Supporting Member

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    If you can live without being able to pull up on the bar to raise the pitch the fix is easy add a couple of springs and block the trem so it stays flat. You can still lower the pitch but not raise it if you understand what I am trying to explain. If you want a fully floating bridge there isn't anything you can do you have to live with it. There are some temporary blocks like that tremolo-no thing but you have to switch it in and out.
     
  3. Blueswede

    Blueswede Gold Supporting Member

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    Alex- Thanks for the info. I'm not so concerned about being able to raise the pitch as being able to lower it. Where do I place the block, and is the block just something that I should size and fabricate out of a piece of wood? Thanks. Steve
     
  4. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    You can have a fully-floating (or at least fully-usable) trem and avoid this problem.

    With a Trem-Setter.

    This is a little device that replaces one spring in the cavity, and has two counter-acting springs so you can set a 'detent' in the middle of the travel. It does involve a small permanent mod (two small drilled holes in the cavity floor and one in the cavity end) to the guitar.

    You do not have to switch it in and out, unlike the Tremolo-no - it's fully automatic.

    The reason I said fully usable, not fully-floating, is that in order to cure the double-stop bend detuning problem it's necessary to set it so there is a noticeable 'step' in the trem movement at the normal rest point. Some people don't like the feel that this gives to the trem.

    BTW, you may hear some people say that the Trem-Setter doesn't work properly, or causes trouble - if so, they most likely haven't got it set up properly. It's quite tricky (and the instructions aren't the clearest), but if you do get it right it works perfectly.

    I have them in both my PRSs.
     
  5. Blueswede

    Blueswede Gold Supporting Member

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    John- Thanks for the heads-up on the Tremsetter. Now the question is- where do I find one? Is there a website I can go to? Thanks again, and do have a very Merry Christmas!!! Steve
     
  6. Kevan

    Kevan Member

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    The TremSetter and Tremol-No are two different beasts.

    http://www.tremol-no.com
    Go from full-floating, to dive-only, to hardtail...in 2 seconds. NO DRILLING into your guitar AT ALL. The Tremol-No is *not* spring-loaded, so it won't affect the feel of your trem either. There's no "switching out" really; going from "Trem" to "Locked" involves turning two small thumbscrews. Fairly painless.
    TGP member Ed DeGenaro has one in his Shur. Ask him what he thinks about it.
    (I'm workin' as fast as I can to get these out to you guys....)

    http://www.hipshotproducts.com
    The TremSetter can be found there. Only one problem- you gotta drill into your guitar. Also, since it's spring loaded, it'll take a little while to get used to the new feel of your trem. On the full-floating trems I've played with, the TremSetter gave me a "detent" or bump in the feel. Not really good for smooth dives. The lighter (less tension) you set it up, the less of a detent, but then your compound bends fall out of tune. It's a catch-22 of sorts.

    I was thinking about making a TremSetter-compatible version of the Tremol-No, but....
     
  7. 908SSP

    908SSP Supporting Member

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    I am not arguing that any solution is any better then any other that depends on what you want and how you use your trem. To answer your question the block goes between the tremolo block and the guitar body neck side. It is real obvious when you look in the back. If your bridge is set up to float then the pitch goes up when you add the springs or tighten the hook. If your trem sits flat on the body which means you can't raise the pitch with bar you don't have to do anything but put enough spring pressure on the trem to keep the trem down when you bend the string.
     
  8. Kevan

    Kevan Member

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    My major problem with the TremSetter, in this case, is that the gentleman's guitar is a McInturff, and drilling into one doesn't make my naughty place tingle.
    At all.

    Alex- your wood block method (also called the "Stack Of Nickels" or "Lego Piece" method) does work just fine....until you want to use your trem, then you have to pull it out each time.

    Tightening up the springs in the back (or adding springs) changes the "feel" of the trem. Most players setup their guitars so the trem feels the same on each one.
     
  9. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Yes, they are two different beasts. Each has different applications.

    The Tremolo-No is a complete non-starter for me because it requires you to physically switch it in or out. You cannot use it in a song where you need to both keep the trem locked, and also use it, at different points (not unless you have time to reach around the back, which I never would being the sole guitarist in my band). It also won't help with a string break, since you'd have to pull the guitar back into correct tune with the arm, then lock the trem. Even if you could do that (quite hard with only two hands I think), you couldn't do it instantly during the course of playing a song.

    The way I have my Trem-Setters set up, they're not actually for stopping the double-stop bend problem, they're purely for stopping detuning after a string-break. I have them set up exactly on the point of float going down, so they don't affect the feel that way at all - you can't actually tell it's there. But going up, extremely stiff, so a broken string doesn't let the bridge move back. You can set them up in a variety of ways to solve either problem.

    Some people don't like the way they affect the feel, it's true. I'd rather have a fully-floating bridge as well... but not if it means going out of tune if a string breaks. The Trem-Setter has saved me more than once.

    No, I have not got one on my '64 Strat - I just don't want to drill into it. If I was gigging with that guitar, I'd set it up with the bridge just resting on the body, to give the same effect, although not allowing pull-ups which I can with the Trem-Setter on my PRS. But I'd have no hestitation on fitting one to any modern guitar. The holes are not large or destructive, and barely visible if you ever do remove it since they're hidden by the claw.
     
  10. Kevan

    Kevan Member

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    If I asked nicely, would you spell it right? :D

    NOT TRUE!
    The Tremol-No with a Deep-C set correctly *will* allow you to blow a string (or cut them all off) and still remain in tune, AND have dive-only trem use. It also allows for detuning while retaining dive-only trem use....without having to re-setup the guitar each time.

    As far as locking/unlocking goes, some of my testers have gotten damn quick at doing that. One guy even does it mid-solo! Like anything new on the guitar, it takes a while to get it down, but when you do....you're all set.

    I'm curious about this: In my testing (OFR, TRS, Ibanez Edge/LoPro), when a TremSetter is installed, and I blow a string, I *always* had to adjust the fine tuners to come back into tune. It wasn't much, but the TremSetter certainly didn't return it to "song finish-able" tuning.
    Do your TremSetters come back dead-on every time?

    I still cringe at the thought of drilling into a superstore Strat, let alone a PRS or a McInturff.
    Don't forget about re-sale too.
     
  11. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    OK :).

    Ah, but will it allow down-bends with no change in feel and pull-ups - admittedly with a very stiff feel, but still possible. The Trem-Setter does, the way I have it set.

    But if you break a string mid-note, you're still going to go out of tune until you can lock it, yes? I need to avoid that.

    Mine can get me through a song. It's not dead-on perfect - the neck moves back slightly as well with a string gone, which probably makes any tremolo-lock less than 100% perfect. That's with 11s on too. And you do have to set it up very severely - full tension on the main spring.

    But once I broke a B string, and the drummer said to me at the end of the song - "That was a funny solo you played! Good, but different from normal..." to which I pointed out that it had to be with only 5 strings! But they didn't notice me being out of tune. I've broken a couple of others and been able to hear that I was slightly out, but survivable to the end of the song.

    I'd maybe even do it to that '64 Strat if it was really mine (it's just on loan). In fact, the holes are small and no big deal - to me at least, others may see things differently. But I didn't buy my guitars to resell, I bought them to play and gig. And for a gigging guitar, that means no tuning trouble on the (rare) occasions I break a string.


    I'm not saying the Tremol-No :) is a bad product at all - just that it has different limitations from the Trem-Setter. And the Trem-Setter itself is much maligned - mainly by people who don't understand what they're for (which is not making a guitar which won't stay in tune do so - in fact it makes things worse if the guitar won't return properly to pitch anyway) or have them set up badly...

    There is a flaw with it as stock, which is those silly little spring hooks. I fixed that by modifying a normal claw... like this:

    [​IMG]

    BTW, I don't work for Hipshot! It's just that I've found an excellent product which works very well - for me - and which often gets a bad press.
     
  12. Kevan

    Kevan Member

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    That's the thing I tried desperately to avoid- changing the feel of the trem. If "down bends" means diving the trem (using the trem to lower the note pitch), then- Yes. It also won't change the feel on the "up-bends" (using the trem to raise the note pitch). It's not going to change the feel of your trem at all. It's invisible to the touch.
    Ok- probably not to EJ, but....to human beings it's undetectable.

    I'm pretty sure that your trem feels different than mine, and EVH would hate both 'em. :) Thankfully, we're unique...just like everyone else.

    No.
    Here are a few of the 'modes' the Tremol-No can be in:
    -Tremol-No UNlocked: Full trem usage. If you blow a string, you're going out of tune.
    -Tremol-No LOCKed: Hardtail Mode. Guitar is basically a hardtail. If you break a string....well...now you're down to 5 in-tune strings.
    -Tremol-No UNlocked w/Deep-C LOCKed: Dive-Only Mode. You can only drop string pitch. If you break a string, your other 5 WILL remain tune, *and* you can use the trem to dive (lower the note pitch).
    -Tremol-No Locked w/Deep-C LOCKed: Mega-Hardtail Mode. Call your buddy with the Les Paul over; have a Sustain Fest.

    That reminds me: With the Tremol-No locked, your sustain will dramatically increase, and your tone will improve. That's something that spring-loaded devices can't claim. Springs are major sustain/tone suckers.

    There are other 'modes' to the Tremol-No, but those are the main ones that 90% of the players will probably use.

    Yeah, those are about the same results I got when I tried them out. The other thing that drove me nutty was the "zero point" detent. I always felt the 'click' when coming out of the zero positon (when the TremSetter springs were cranked to keep double stops in tune). I'm sure it's something I could get used to, but if you're recording or playing live, that 'BOINK' at the begining of a dive, or in the middle of a big Satch scream....not really workin' for me. :)

    Keyword: DRUMMER.
    :D

    I've seen guys here break out bibs and drool cups for uber-rare NOS Mullard tubes. Drilling into a '64 Strat might get you ostercised to the HC forums. :D
    Of course. No one sells their guitars. Well, no one on TGP anyway.
    :D LMAO

    If you're looking for gigging guitarists with Tremol-No units, check out Norm Hammer: 4-5 nights a week with a Tremol-No in his main guitar. He's emailed me about several "ass saves" because his unit was locked when a string blew. Tremol-No spokesmodel (man, I love calling him that. LOL) Rob Keeler does a bunch of session work, live weekend gigs with a couple of different bands, and is a Prof. of Music at UMASS, teaching every day. His main guitar, an Ibanez RG3120, has had a Tremol-No in it for more than a year and he won't shut up about the sustain increase when locked, and has about a dozen "ass-saving" stories. He's one of the guys that can lock/unlock mid-solo. He's also got some cool detuing setups that he does now, but couldn't do on a full-floating trem guitar.
    These are guys that do guitar for a living. Norm and Rob can't afford to have a POS controlling their bridge.

    Thanks for the compliment, and I happen to agree with you. There are a few different ways to solve the problems that players encounter. Hell, some guys *really* like their Lego-Stop and will continue to use it until they day they're found dead in front of their amp. That's great, but I sought a different, non-invasive, non-"feel-changing" solution. If that's what they're looking for, cool. If not, then their search continues.

    Your bring up a good point- if your guitar can't hold tune prior to installing either a TremSetter or a Tremol-No, it's not going to hold tune after either. Proper setup and maintenance of a guitar is necessary for it to provide years of playing pleasure (wow..I sounded like Dan Erlewine right there...). Neither of these devices will cure your tuning issues or make you play like Shawn Lane. They're simply tools for players to take advantage of, utilize in their playing, and then go on to give us the great music we love so much.

    Nice design! I like it....very pro. I always thought the "bikini hooks" were fairly limiting too, and didn't allow proper (semi-even) tension adjustment of the trem springs. My Tremol-No + TremSetter design is a little different, but still allows for a 3-spring setup. That'll handle most 9's and 10's. 11's might be pushing it. I'll see what I can do.

    If we ever hook up, I'd like to try your PRS with the TremSetter on it. I've only played it with SuperStrats and 'big plate' trems. I'm also curious as to it's feel difference.

    Some players like vanilla ice cream. Some players like chocolate ice cream.
    And some players are lactose intolerant.
     
  13. Blueswede

    Blueswede Gold Supporting Member

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    So Kevan- How do I go about getting one of your Tremol-nos? I went to your website and saw that it said that they are not currently for sale. Was looking forward to trying it out............? Thanks. Steve
     
  14. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    I'm interested now. That's effectively no different from the way I would set the Strat up for a gig, except that actually I don't want to, since I don't like the sound or feel of it with the bridge flat on the body - I know some people think that it improves the tone... I prefer it with the bridge up a bit.

    I also have only 3 springs on the Strat, even with 11s! They must just be good springs... but that should give me room to put in a Tremol-No.

    Actually the PRSs sound slightly more 'solid' and seem to sustain a tiny bit better with the Trem-Setters, but I do have them set up very differently from 'normal'.

    Me too - that's why I have it set exactly on the point of free movement going downwards, which means it can't cure the double-stop problem (which doesn't really bother me). For down-bends, there's no sensation of the Trem-Setter being there at all - I wouldn't have it any other way personally. I do like to pull up occasionally, but I could live without it.

    :D

    Yes, but she does sing harmony vocals too! The others didn't notice either. That's with a B string gone - lowest tension string in the set. With a D gone - second highest in the set after the A - it was noticeable that it had gone out, but still (just) livable with rather than stopping the song. High Es don't throw it out much more than the B, which is good as I mostly break those...


    I now think I'd like to try a Tremol-No!... since I didn't know about the Deep-C mode.

    :)
     
  15. Kevan

    Kevan Member

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    I'm working as fast as I can to get the Tremol-No out to you guys. I'm doing same-hour replies to all phone calls and emails. There are a bunch of potential licensees working on getting prices from their respective factories, but the holidays slow things down a bit.

    Here's a thread that I'll post in the very second Tremol-No's are available:
    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?s=&threadid=57418

    I wasn't really trying to talk you out of something you're comfortable with. I just thought you might like an alternative that isn't spring-loaded so you don't have to change the feel of your trem, or drill into your guitars. I don't think the Tremol-No is the greatest thing since the discovery of deoxyribonucleic acid, but from what folks tell me, it takes care of many issues they've had with trem-equipped guitars in the past.

    With the Tremol-No, you can run 1, 2, 3 or 4 springs. One of my testers, G.E. Jones, runs 13-58 on his Strat copy with an awful trem. He installed the Tremol-No and locked it down (Hardtail Mode), and now can play his great sounding guitar without worrying about the tuning stability issues he had in the past. He yells at me for playing my 9's and 10's; calls them 'girly strings'. LOL

    I got the same results in my tests. A *slight* increase in sustain and a little bit of better overall tone, but....just above EJ level. With the Tremol-No, a non-ear-trained guy like me could hear the difference when locked. I didn't do the "GC Employee Test" yet. I'm too afraid.
    :D

    I've heard other TremSetter players talk about this, and they all try to find a 'middle ground' where the detent isn't bad, but then they can't hold their double-stops in tune.
    Man, I'm so glad the Tremol-No isn't spring loaded. Way too many tuning issues to grapple.

    A drummer like that is a keeper. Let her suggest one of *her* songs. Pay her what she wants. Get her a ring. :D

    Cool. I swear you guys will be the 1st or 2nd to know when they can be purchased. I'll post here before I call my folks. Sound good? :)

    Oh, and about the Deep-C...
    I spoke with Rusty Cooley (settle down, whole-noters) a couple of weeks ago. He's got his Tremol-No/Deep-C in his backup RG-7. The thumbscrew setup in the Deep-C seems to work good for 6-strings, but can slip a little if you're drop tuning 7's. Rusty was drop tuning TWO FULL STEPS, so I can understand a little slippage. LOL He replaced the thumbscrew with a set screw....no more slipping. He was diggin' it.
    He also came up with an idea for utilizing the Deep-C in a different way. He was going to try setting it up where if you pulled up (raised pitch) it would go to a specific note (full step, 1.5 steps, 2 steps, etc.). Every time he pulled up on the bar, he could go to the exact note he wanted. I thought it was a cool idea. With guys like Rusty, boundaries are simply lines to cross. $5 says some of the members here come up with other cool ideas on how to utilize the Tremol-No/Deep-C in new and interesting ways. I've heard some frightening players on this forum.

    Thanks a ton for interest guys, and for asking cool questions. Again, I'll let you know the very second they're available.
     
  16. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    That's cool. I'm very happy with the Trem-Setters in the PRS, but the old Strat is another issue - I can't fit one since even though I have the use of it, it's not mine and there's no way the owner would allow me to drill into it. Even though it has Sperzels up at the other end to fix the hacked headstock that someone else did... :eek:

    She's definitely a keeper. She writes the odd song too! However, she has plenty of rings already, inserted in various places, so any other kind of one is not really an option... ;) :D
     

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