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erok123

Strats: To trem or not to trem?

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Calm down buddy. I just can't get a mental image of the struggle. I've never claimed to be better than anyone. That's your interpretation.

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Grant: No, I don't have bridge pins in the holes, thanks for asking. I stick the string in the hole and it goes about 2/3 of the way through the guitar body and then it hits something and won't go any further. Probably the edge of the ferrule. I can see through the holes and I can't see any obstruction so I'm making an educated guess. It doesn't matter how hard I try to run the string straight through, it still gets hung up and it's a matter of trial and error and a pain in the neck, and if I'd known in advance I wouldn't have bought the guitar. As I mentioned to catscurlyear, bending end of the string doesn't do any good. I probably need to find something at a craft shop to pull the string through, maybe something like a latch hook if I can find something that will fit through the hole.

I don't use a trem but I don't tell people who do that I don't understand why. I'm primarily an acoustic guy but I don't tell electric players I don't understand why they don't play acoustic instead, etc. If I did, I just might come across as a tad arrogant, no? That's what I mean by comprehending someone else's POV. If a string through guitar works for you, that's great but they're not for me.

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Having expounded my dislike of trems I will contradict myself by saying I have always wanted a TransTrem to play with. The first one I heard played was ironically an acoustic star, the late Michael Hedges. If you haven't heard one here it be to tickle your ears :)

[video=youtube_share;BqUGC11NFeM]

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A properly adjusted Fender Strat trem works just fine for subtle trem work. The 2 point is more stable than the old 6 screw style, but both can work just fine if you a) know how to adjust it and b) don't think you're EVH.. I personally wouldn't own a Strat without a trem because the springs in the back are a huge part of the "Strat" sound..

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Having expounded my dislike of trems I will contradict myself by saying I have always wanted a TransTrem to play with. The first one I heard played was ironically an acoustic star, the late Michael Hedges. If you haven't heard one here it be to tickle your ears :)

[video=youtube_share;BqUGC11NFeM]

 

I first saw Leslie West playing one of these these Steinberger guitars with the TransTrem fit years ago, he pulled up the trem arm and it sounded like he was playing a bottle neck because the whole tuning stayed perfect with itself as he raised the pitch of the strings.

The TransTrem is great i`d consider getting one of these just for the fact that i don`t have one and they sound like they could be really useful but i don`t think you could just go out and buy one and drop it in your strat ..you`d probably have to buy the whole Steinberger guitar or you might just be able to replace a floyd type trem at least

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I have 5 guitars with Trems. Three are Strat's or use Strat bridges. Two I float and one I wang down on the springs.

 

The biggest Issue is getting light strings to return to pitch. back when Fender designed those bridges they were using really heavy strings wrapped thirds. The bridges had little problems returning to pitch after use. If you get below 11's the ability to float a bridge and have it return to pitch becomes much more difficult and if you aren't one for tweaking the thing till its right it can wind up being a nightmare for tuning.

 

The two guitars I've gotten where the pitch is ideal needed allot of tweaking. The grooves on the nut need to be smooth and lubed so there is no binding. String trees need to be lubed too. I use graphite string trees which seem to be the best.

 

Next using graphite under the bridge between the bridge and body is important too. If its just the metal bridge and body the metal will hang up on the finish. I mix graphite powder with wax to avoid any kind of oil or grease getting into the wood. Oil can leach into the wood fibers from the screw holes. Wax wont do that. Turtle wax is thin enough to mix with the graphite nicely.

 

Two other key items, I put a drop of crazy glue on the ball end so the strings cant unwind when pulled on by the tremolo. The other thing is setting the angle right. On the 6 screw fulcrum type you set them so when you pluck the G string and pull up on the bar it goes up one whole note from G to A before the bridge contacts the body. Other thing is to make sure the 6 screws allow a tiny gap when against the body too. Using a feeler gauge between the head and plate to make sure there's a gap there. If you overtighten those screws it wont float right.

 

Those items typically fix the issues along with properly wrapping the strings on the tuning pegs so they lock themselves off.

 

I've had many guitars which simply wont stay in tune no matter what you did. The constant tuning issues are usually the result of a flexible neck that cant maintain its relief. The two guitars I have which float well, have medium and heavy necks which don't seem to change at all, or they recover so fast they come back to pitch immediately.

 

 

Using a Tremolo is a real artform unto itself. The way to get good at using it, is to use strings which are too heavy to bend. You're then forced to use it for vibrato's and bends.

 

I can say I'm not a huge fan of the Fender type Tremolo's. I prefer the Bigsby type which seem to have a better feel for me.

As far as the best tuning goes, The Steinberger system is by far the best I've ever used. It allows you to lock the bar with a hooked level then its got a spring tension knob you use to adjust the tuning to match the locked position. Works fantastic. Its the only Trem guitar I can play an entire set and never touch the tuning.

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