While I'm at it, who keeps their Fender tremolo floating and why?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Uchison, Jan 6, 2006.


Who keeps their Fender tremolo floating

  1. Floating

  2. Resting (on the body, that is)

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  1. Uchison

    Uchison Supporting Member

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    I've always had my trem floating, because I insisted I wanted it like this as I figured that that was the original design. But lately I find it more disturbing that double stops are always out of tune. That's why I'm thinking of resting it on the body.
    So let me know what you think, feel and use.
     
  2. stratovarius

    stratovarius Supporting Member

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    I was under the impression that it was originally designed to lay flat. If you wish to keep it floating, try a Tremsetter. This changes the feel of the vibrato a bit, but it will solve the problem.
     
  3. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Supporting Member

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    I've always kept mine floating just a bit because I use it to vibrato notes and I like to be able to bend the note both up and down a bit. Like you, I have been tempted bring it down against the body to tame the double stop-problem. Lots of people say it helps your tone too, but I'm not sure I buy that. Only one way to find out I guess...

    A
     
  4. Uchison

    Uchison Supporting Member

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    Not if you look at the way the holes were made in the backplate (not sure that is the correct name...:confused: ). That's why I gues it was made flaoting.
     
  5. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    It was quite definitely designed to float - the original advertising said something like "to flat or sharp a chord by a whole tone while maintaining relative tune" (which it doesn't quite) - and the patent application drawing shows it like that.

    I prefer them floating, because they sound much better like that. I don't get the 'better sustain and tone' with it flat on the body at all, I think it kills the life in the sound and makes it more one-dimensional.

    I've tried setting them just lightly against the body - so they don't go out of tune if you break a string - but it seems to be enough to affect the vibration; the best compromise I've found is a Trem-Setter, although a very small block of wood to just stop the bridge going back and no more seems to work well too. Either way I set them to not affect the movement in the downward direction at all - this doesn't cure the double-stop problem, but that never bothers me.
     
  6. Uchison

    Uchison Supporting Member

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    By compromise you mean in this case that: sounds better with a tremsetter as opossed to against tbe body?
     
  7. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    2 springs, upward pull of at least a major 3rd on the open G string.
     
  8. Uchison

    Uchison Supporting Member

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    That's a lot more than I can. Mine is set for a major 2nd on the open G and a minor 2nd at the 1st.
     
  9. illinimax

    illinimax Gold Supporting Member

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    If you're a floater like the way Leo and Co intended, the key to keeping in tune and avoiding double-stop issues is to use 4 springs (5 if you use heavy strings) and get the 6 screws tightened just right. I hold the back of plate down with the palm of my hand and tighten each screw until it just starts to press the back of the plate upward. Works like a charm and the tone really comes into focus.
     
  10. pesocaster

    pesocaster Member

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    Two words:

    Jeff Beck
     
  11. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

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    I play with 11's and use 4 or 5 springs as well. I adjust my screws, but not quite the way you do. Anyway, my trem feels great and floats. No real issues with double stops---if I'm concerned about it for whatever reason, I use my palm to keep the bridge more rigid.

    I learned a trick from Matte in a previous post---Carmex works great at the nut for keeping it all in tune. Plus, it smells like springtime.:D
     
  12. hogy

    hogy Member

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    Yeah, same here, I like the sound better with the trem floating, 4 springs, and always have the back plate on. With it off your shirt dampens the springs and there goes your cool reverb/chorus effect.

    Hogy
     
  13. Uchison

    Uchison Supporting Member

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    :hiP this I've never tought of. Keep it always of as you can change strings a lot easier. Never tought of this. Gonna try it. Thx.

    Also my repair/technician adjusted it floaitng, but then with 3 springs. 2 on the bass side and one on the treble side, maybe this is the other reason I have trouble. Altough the tremolo feels great like this. Not too stiff....
     
  14. eric-d

    eric-d Member

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    11-50 Boomers, all 5 springs cranked as tight as it'll go... I like it stiff. :D
     
  15. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    I do way too many full step double stops to keep it floating. The unbent strings going down in pitch is worse to me than any tonal advantage the float may have. Doesn't matter how many springs or how tight they are....if the bridge isn't on the body, those strings are going flat. They may go *less* flat with tighter/more springs, but they're going flat! Hit an open low E string and bend the D string up a full tone from F# to G#.....see if your floater doesn't make that E drop.
     
  16. Uchison

    Uchison Supporting Member

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    Tried the Backplate on.....:eek: ..not a better sound. Sorry :rolleyes:
     
  17. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    Flat against the body. I barely use the Tremelo, I have one set up for its' use - the Chapin Hankahoula - but prefer the sound of the Strat with Tremelo, the Hogy thing but I'm not convinced that it is only when played acoustically that I actually hear that!
    All my Strats have back plates for this reason (and I think my Chapin is the only one so to do).

    Best, Pete.
     
  18. Dr Rico

    Dr Rico Member

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    Ditto (except dead on major 3rd on open G, not "at least"). One of the more endearing features of the breed, methinks...
     
  19. monstermike

    monstermike Member

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    All five springs, cranked all the way in, no trem bar, and backplate on for the same reasons Hogy has.

    I set it up for trem use for a while recently, and subtracted a spring and loosened them until it felt comfortable (i.e. no bridge movement when bending a string). As much as I'd like to be Jeff Beck on some days, the floating trem completely changes the geometry of bending strings, confuses my muscle memory, goes out of tune, and breaks so many more strings that I can't keep it that way for a whole gig. A good setup and lubricant can help the tuning issue, but the rest of it is too much for me to deal with.

    So it's basically a Tele with a reverb tank for me...
     
  20. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    Excellent way to put it!:AOK
     

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