Tremol-No First Impressions

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by aleclee, Mar 10, 2006.


  1. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    I came into a Tremol-No about 10 days ago. A business trip and some other distractions kept me from writing this sooner.

    One of the reasons I got a pre-production review unit was that I was going to put it in an "interesting" guitar. Kevan (the Tremol-No's designer) knew how the Tremol-No worked on regular Strat & Floyd bridges but had limited experience with PRS bridges and was very interested in my Driskill bridge, which is very similar to that of a PRS. As my band is in the process of recording a CD, this unit quickly found its way into my Driskill.

    Construction and Materials

    As you can see below, it's a nicely machined unit. Most of the device is aluminum. The round shaft is stainless and the thumb screws are brass. The choice of those materials ensures durability (stainless) and good grip with the brass thumbscrews.

    The leftmost thumbscrew operates on the Deep C part of the device. When tightened, it puts the unit into dive-only mode. It allows the use of a D-Tuna on a floating trem. When the Deep C is engaged, you can break a string without going out of tune.

    The other two thumbscrews totally lock down the unit, effectively making your floating trem a hardtail.

    [​IMG]

    Installation

    At NAMM, I got to see Kevan install one on a Floyd-equipped Hamer in a little over six minutes. My experience wasn't quite that fast. As it turns out, there was a good reason for Kevan to be interested in how it worked on my Driskill.

    Unlike most trems, not only is the trem block made of brass, it's polished and gold plated. That makes it a bit harder for the clamp to get a good grip on the block. That caused me to tighten the clamp more than usual. My tightening, combined with the lever action of the thick Driskill trem block caused the plastic stabilizer rods (far right of the unit) to flex a bit. Applying some tape to the block allowed the clamp to get enough grip to secure the unit to the trem.

    Kevan indicated that to address that issue in production units, they will ship with metal replacement rods that can be used on thicker trem blocks. Once I had attached the clamp, the rest of the install went smootly and quickly. The trem claw had to be adjusted to avoid binding and then was tightened on to the claw screws using set screws visible on the top of the claw.

    Production units will not have the crimp ring for the grounding wire. You can just wrap the wire around the screw and tighten it down. I also suggested that the ground screw have a phillips head instead of the hex head. It was kind of awkward to tighten with my allen wrench set and I think it would be more convenient to be able to use a phillips screwdriver instead.

    If you wish to work the thumbscrews, you either need to cut an access slot in your trem cover (templates are available on the web site) or leave it off. Since my Driskill's trem cover is made from carbon fiber (with mahogany veneer laminated to provide an all-wood appearance).

    In Use

    Simply put, it works as advertised. Tightening the Deep C keeps things in tune even when a string breaks (I simulated a break by slacking my low E string). Tightening the thumbscrews on the receiver locked things down. Oblique bends stayed in tune just like on a hardtail guitar and the instrument resonated like never before due to the greater coupling between the bridge and body.

    Perhaps "lock" isn't quite the right word. Applying sufficient force to the trem bar will move the bridge. This is to avoid damage to the trem bar (it's no fun digging a broken bar out of a Strat) or the unit. That said, things are stiff enough that one probably needs to be deliberatly trying to overwhelm the T-No to get it to slip.

    When the unit is disengaged, you can't tell it's there. There's no "detent" feel like you have on a Tremsetter. Engaging the Deep C yields a feel akin to that of a partially blocked trem. When fully engaged, it's pretty much like a hardtail.

    Conclusion

    This product actually lives up to its promise. It requires no irreversible mods (e.g., drilling) and, even with my problems with the clamp, I had it installed in about half an hour. Once installed, it does everything it's supposed to, whether disengaged, dive only, or fully locked.

    This product should be generally available in April. My only trem-equipped guitar that won't be getting a Tremol-No is my Aria, which has a Kahler--one of the few trems that's not supported. The other five will be getting the Tremol-No treatment.

    Update (3/12/06)

    I received a set of metal rods yesterday and installed them today. Swapping the rods took less than ten minutes and reattaching the clamp and readjusting the trem claw took less than five minutes. The metal rods seem to address any issues with clamp slippage.
     
  2. Fuzzdawg

    Fuzzdawg Member

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    does is effect the tone or sustain?
     
  3. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    Probably a bit. The increased coupling when the unit is locked down has a very pronounced effect on the body's vibration.
     
  4. autopilot

    autopilot Member

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    thanks for the heads up, just finished watching the video it's an outstanding product, any idea in the prices this babies will go?
     
  5. Fuzzdawg

    Fuzzdawg Member

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    i think allparts sells them for $65
     
  6. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Does anyone know if these will work on G&L's dual fulcrum bridge?

    Thanks,
    Bryan
     
  7. Shredcow

    Shredcow Member

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    Thanks for the review... I guess, this will be one of the things to grab when it comes into production.
     
  8. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    My understanding is that it'll work on most bridges that don't have a beveled trem block.
     
  9. Kevan

    Kevan Member

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    Alec- I'm glad to hear the Tremol-No is working out for ya. Some installed pics would sure be cool. :)

    Bryan- the guys at G&L have a custom (non-standard) spring claw that they use for their guitars. On their claws, the screws are spaced very close together...too close together to properly install a standard claw, or the Tremol-No claw.

    The G&L design is fine and works great, but it does hinder owners/players from making changes inside the trem cavity using devices with standard claw screw spacing, like the Tremol-No.

    With their claw/claw screw spacing, G&L owners will probably experience difficulty with other trem cavity devices as well, like the Tremsetter. Due to their design of having the claw screws so close togther, the trem springs will most likely angle hard enough that they 'bump' into the Tremsetter body, causing either unwanted performance or freaky spring sounds.

    If someone does have a Tremsetter installed on a G&L, I'd love to see pics.

    So, with all that said, you *could* install a Tremol-No on a G&L, ***if*** you are willing to drill new claw screw holes using the standard spacing found on 98% of the guitars out there. If you decide to go that route, please talk to a qualified tech before doing anything.

    Big ups to you and the other guys over at the G&L forum for the pics. They were fantastic and greatly appreciated.
     
  10. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    For those who were wondering what it looks like in my guitar. This was before replacing the plastic rods in the clamp.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Kevan

    Kevan Member

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    I hope you're having fun with the unit Alec.
    Keep me/us updated on it's performance as you get more time with it.
     
  12. Fuzzdawg

    Fuzzdawg Member

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    hey, do you have to remove/ uninstall the tremol-no to change stings?
     
  13. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    The way it's designed, the clamp should fit between string holes in the trem block so there should be no change with string changes except it can simplify things by letting you you can lock down the bridge or make it dive only.
     
  14. Kevan

    Kevan Member

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    In most cases, all you will need to do is 'help' the ball end fit through by turning it sideways and it should slip by without any problems.
     
  15. HarryJ

    HarryJ Member

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    You just have to set it up so the clamp is not covering one of the drilled holes in the block. As Kevan said, you may have to help it out a little.

    Great device! Changing from locked to unlocked is a matter of seconds.

    Another super cool thing is it saves some frustration and time if you lock down before you change strings (same set). You don't have to go through the usual floating bridge tuning nightmare. Usually just a tweak. That alone is worth the price of admission!

    I have yet to try the tremol-no on my Floyd's, but I don't see why it wouldn't help that as well. I always changed the strings one at a time to avoid the floating blues, jeez, I may even be able to clean and oil my fingerboard :)

    Harry Jacobson
    www.harryj.net
     
  16. dbeeman

    dbeeman Gold Supporting Member

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    could not find them on allparts website
    Still not in production?
     
  17. Kevan

    Kevan Member

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    In the Search box, type: "tremol-no". Comes right up.

    It can also be found at the bottom of the page here:
    http://www.allparts.com/categories.php?cat_id=428&cat_name=MISCELLANEOUS BRIDGE PARTS
    (I'm not sure what's going on with the missing images on the site. I think it's a server issue.)

    They are absolutely in production. The factory is busy building them, and AllParts will begin shipping them sometime next month.


    Harry- glad to hear you're still enjoying yours.
     
  18. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    Not yet, but there is a listing on Allparts for part # BP_2005-010.
     
  19. dbeeman

    dbeeman Gold Supporting Member

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    DOH :jo I only tried tremelno
     
  20. Madsman

    Madsman Member

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    I don't know how much longer I can wait. I think I may switch to drums. :)
     

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