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Can't keep in tune when using the Fender vintage tremolo

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  • Can't keep in tune when using the Fender vintage tremolo

    I love my 62 reissue Strat. I really do. But I can't keep it in tune when I use the tremolo. And by the way using is an overstatement. I only gently caress is ala Gilmour and never dive.

    I've got he Strat set up according to Fender specs - 1/8'' off the body, 3 springs, both nut and saddles well lubed. The guitar plays in perfect tune when bending, but as soon as I tap the tremolo, the whole thing goes out of whack.

    This is what happens:
    Let's say the guitar is in tune.
    I tap the tremolo and B and G strings go sharp, D string goes flat.
    I then bend a few notes on the B and G srings and they both go flat. whereas the D returns to its original position more or less.

    I could have lived with going sharp when using the tremolo if the post tremolo bend was to restore the original tuning, but going flat with the post tremolo bend just makes the whole thing unusable.

    Any suggestions?

  • _pete_
    replied
    Good question. Not in ALL its parts... In fact, to gather al the specs I wish to have on a tremolo I build mine by hand (but I am a bit of a crazy maniacal guy as you guess...)

    But there are a few which are 80% ok and I like a lot though.

    The Gotoh/Wilkinson VSV tremolo for example is cool. The one on the Shredder shown in the video is more basic but also pretty cool. It has slides for the saddles (to keep them stable) deeper strings inserts, big sustain block and the price is convenient.

    It sounds good also.

    Consider that I like the 6 screws better than the 2 pivots ones.

    Write if any.


    I watched all your videos today and loved them. I've been using pretty much the same techniques for years and I never have tuning problems.

    What I found very interesting is that the modifications you point out for a Fender 6 pt. bridge makes it very similar to a PRS bridge. PRS trems stay in tune beautifully and your vids show why they do.
    It never occurred to me to notch the pivot screws and sharpen the knife edge of the pivot holes in the bridge plate on a Strat trem.

    Excellent job.

    Leave a comment:


  • Frudua
    replied
    That's a great series of videos.

    I'm not a big fan of the first one where you tune to where the strings get stuck in the nut and go out of tune when you bend. That seems kind of useless.


    Yes, you mean what's the use of this if then I have to push the tremolo arm to put it back in tune?

    This has been the buzz on this video but it's actually a misunderstanding.

    First consider that to get so much out of tune in that video, if you notice, I bent the strings really A LOT. Much more than it is normally required. If you try this method and bend mornally you rarely will have to touch the tremolo arm to keep the tuning.

    Then keep in mind that the guitar was off the wall. Never setup at all.
    The more the guitar is properyl setup (like shown in the other 5 videos) the less you will need that tremolo arm push trick to go back in tune.

    Leave a comment:


  • Frudua
    replied
    Fantastic Frudua. Great videos.

    Do you know if anyone sells a vintage style trem that is already modified as you suggest?


    Good question. Not in ALL its parts... In fact, to gather al the specs I wish to have on a tremolo I build mine by hand (but I am a bit of a crazy maniacal guy as you guess...)

    But there are a few which are 80% ok and I like a lot anyway.

    The Gotoh/Wilkinson VSV tremolo for example is cool. The one on the Shredder shown in the video is more basic but also pretty cool. It has slides for the saddles (to keep them stable) deeper strings inserts, big sustain block and the price is convenient.

    It sounds good also.

    Consider that I like the 6 screws better than the 2 pivots ones.

    Write if any.

    Leave a comment:


  • Brewski
    replied
    Floyd and Locking Nut - mission accomplished.

    not a fan ata ll of the fulcrum trems or the Bigsby's

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris Gansz
    replied
    If your string tree is flush to the top of the headstock, you may want to put a spacer (1/16") between the tree and the headstock. The tree may be so far down that it is causing binding. I have put a spacer like that on all of my strats and the tuning problem disappeared.

    Leave a comment:


  • RifRandall
    replied
    Turn the 4 middle trem screws counterclockwise for 1/2 or 3/4 a turn if you haven't done already


    Thank you for this pearl of wisdom. It has made all the difference in the world with keeping my strat in tune. ITs amazing that a little thing like that can make all the difference.

    Leave a comment:


  • doc oc
    replied
    Fantastic Frudua. Great videos.

    Do you know if anyone sells a vintage style trem that is already modified as you suggest?

    Leave a comment:


  • GCDEF
    replied
    I recently posted a new series of video in which I cover how to mod a strat in all its parts to achieve a perfect tuning stability, including solving the bending problem. Maybe you could find this interesting.

    I am not sure i can post the link here but I try:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgfMyJ76p4o


    That's a great series of videos.

    I'm not a big fan of the first one where you tune to where the strings get stuck in the nut and go out of tune when you bend. That seems kind of useless.

    Leave a comment:


  • RaVenCAD
    replied
    I've seen string trees that were grooved out, and they were binding the strings. The little bent metal ones are especially band for it. The bar type that come on MIA strats aren't so bad. Rollers are the only way to go though.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ancient Mariner
    replied
    Good point - replace that lump with a proper roller tree too.

    FWIW I have roller trees on a strat with a standard trem that won't return to pitch with the standard trem - it's not a cure all, so much as one final detail that should be fixed.

    Leave a comment:


  • RaVenCAD
    replied
    Why did no one mention the string tree?

    Leave a comment:


  • csm
    replied
    On my real-life (non-RI) 1963 Strat, I had the trem system thorough worked over around 15 years back. The tech who did it (a) installed a carefully-cut new nut, (b) actually REMOVED the middle four screws so it's a 2-point system now and (c) drilled out the string tunnels in the trem block so that the ball-ends anchor far further in than standard.

    Works pretty good -- not quite as slick as the LSR nut/Sprezel locking tuners/American Standard 2-point on my Jeff Beck sig, but close enough for rock and roll ...

    Leave a comment:


  • colintrav
    replied



    It's very much like a Kahler on that principal I've seen other footage using that very same technique

    Leave a comment:


  • Ancient Mariner
    replied
    I use 3 springs with 10-46s and it's fine - you may just need to screw the claw in a bit further to compensate for the extra tension.

    Leave a comment:

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