Vintage whammy weirdness

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Phil M, Dec 29, 2005.

  1. Phil M

    Phil M Member

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    I have a Strat with the 60s style tremolo that screws in. Last night I swear I kept putting the bar in the guitar and I thought it was screwed in, but it was just pull out. The bar just slides in and out now and I can't get it to begin threading. It goes all the way in too. The tremolo functioned fine.

    This USED to screw in just fine. Ever had this happen?
     
  2. pedalpat

    pedalpat Guest

    is it the right arm? sounds like either the wrong arm or the threads are worn. but its weird to have it just drop all the way in like that
     
  3. Phil M

    Phil M Member

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    Yup, it's the only arm I have. I've been using it with no problems for awhile now.

    I agree that it's weird that it just drops in. If anything I would think it would get stuck.
     
  4. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Sounds like you have stripped the thread in the block.

    What kind of Strat? Anything other than a US model most likely has an alloy block (even the current Highway 1s do, as did mid-to-late 70s US Fenders) which is too soft and often do this.

    There are only three solutions - replace the block (if it isn't a good quality one you may as well upgrade to something like a Callaham while you're at it); tap it out for a larger diameter thread (eg M6) and replace the arm to match; or have it drilled out and a threaded insert fitted (brass or steel) - this is quite a tricky job and only worth it on a 70s Strat you want to keep original IMO.

    BTW, one major cause of stripped threads is constantly taking the arm out to put the guitar away. Don't - the whole point of the angled hole is so you can swing the arm round over the body and put the guitar in its case without removing the arm. Leo Fender designed it like that on purpose. But many cheaper modern Strats have a vertical arm hole so you can't do that, and of course they tend to have soft alloy blocks too...
     
  5. Phil M

    Phil M Member

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    This is a Nash '60s S-type--which has seemed pretty high quality, but I honest don't know where he gets his trem blocks. I have not been taking the guitar arm in and out often. It's usually not installed and I've probably taken it off less than 20 times in the 6 months that I've had it (I'm the first owner).
     

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