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Steinberger Spirit R-Trem


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I just bought a used Steinberger spirit guitar to see what I thought of it, and I really like the guitar, but the R Trem leaves much to be desired.

 

In order to set it up so that you can use the locking feature, when you unlock it, it is so stiff it is almost unusable. I played around with it a bit and if you back off on the master tune knob and let the trem

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they aren't the greatest. I just don't use mine much, leave it locked most of the time.

 

the posts for the knife edges will wear out soon.....don't worry about the angle, they'll wear out anyway.

 

I think the 'real' steinie trem drops right in, but they're really expensive.

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I think the 'real' steinie trem drops right in, but they're really expensive.

 

Yes, they are expensive (see above) and no, they won't drop in. They use a different routing. There are only two things you could build into a Spirit: another R-Trem, or a Fixed Bridge.

 

Bernd

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It looks to me like the OP understands this, but many people seem to believe that the spring-knob is to adjust the spring-tension/action of the tremolo.

 

Of course that knob's real purpose it to allow the player to bring the tremolo back to a floating position that is the same was the locked position. Locked is where the guitar should be tuned--the the lock is released, and the knob is adjusted to bring the trem back to "Zero".

 

As far as the spring-rate (feel) is concerned, I imagine someone out there must have found replacements springs with different rates that will fit, but I don't know about them.

 

I keep mine locked.

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The trem on mine seems pretty good.


Having trouble finding a hex key that'll let me sort the intonation though.


:thu:

 

I knew that in the UK there was a bit of resistance to full integration with the EU, but don't you have metric Allen (hex) wrenches over there?

 

If my memory is correct it's a .5 mm wrench (FYI: my memory is rarely correct)

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I knew that in the UK there was a bit of resistance to full integration with the EU, but don't you have metric Allen (hex) wrenches over there?


If my memory is correct it's a .5 mm wrench (FYI: my memory is rarely correct)

 

Yeah...I dunno if the actual hex bolt is knackered...I've got metric and imperial keys here, but nothing seems a good fit....

 

:thu:

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If my memory is correct it's a .5 mm wrench (FYI: my memory is rarely correct)

 

 

Everything behind the "." is correct ;-)

 

It's 1.5 mm for saddle height adjustment and the locking screw on the side.

 

Bernd

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To add to what Be.eM has already said, you should also check both the posts and knife edge for wear as the metal used in the construction of the R-trem isn't the greatest, which can result in damaged/ worn contact points & therefore a trem that won't float properly.

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Yeah, I'll rip it apart and check the knife edges and posts, but that can't address the main stiffness problem, and I have googled this problem and others with the R Trem have had the same problem with too stiff, unuseable trem action. I have also read somewhere online that this trem is for dives only, and you can't pull up.

 

Funny thing is with the master knob backed off a bit to where the angle of the float of the trem is leaning forward a bit, it operates much smoother and stays in tune like my floyd equipped guitars. With it locked and adjusted in both unlocked as well as locked positions, there is no back play at all, is really stiff and won't stay in tune.

 

Wierd.

 

Any of you change the posts and knife edges, and have a link to anywhere that tells how?

 

Thanks!

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Any of you change the posts and knife edges, and have a link to anywhere that tells how?

 

Your best chance is to find a Hohner dealer who also does service. As I said, they still use this trem, and they should have spare parts. If this fails, I still have a couple of old (but not bent) posts, but no knife edges.

 

Bernd

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This part isn't a surprise. Loosening the spring tension has the same effect as doing the same (or removing a spring) in a FR system. Of course you get a balance(d position) again, and of course it works also this way. You just can't lock it now.





This is a possible indicator for one of the problems I've mentioned above, and to understand this you must know the principle of the trem. I suspect bent posts:


From the (moving) top of the bridge, there's a lever that goes vertically down into the base plate. The spring presses against this lever from the back of the base. If you bend down, the lever moves towards the back of the trem, compressing the spring. If you bend up, the lever moves into the other direction. Now if the posts are bent, the whole upper part (including the lever) moves towards the bridge pickup, and there's no space left for the lever to move forwards. If you're interested, you could download an article I wrote about fixing the KB trem, which has a similar working principle. Too bad the posts I've developed for the KB trem won't work on an R-Trem, but the story will help you to understand the principles. Don't miss to download the PDF file linked in the
KB trem story
.





Your best chance is to find a Hohner dealer who also does service. As I said, they still use this trem, and they should have spare parts. If this fails, I still have a couple of old (but not bent) posts, but no knife edges.


Bernd

 

Thanks Bernd. I will check it out and look for a dealer, though I'm a kind of hands on guy.

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Just a thought, but if the post/knife edges are OK, then perhaps it'd be possible to create new notch in the locking-arm, which would be placed in the spot that you find the spring to have the best "feel".

 

But (assuming the above mentioned parts are OK), I like the idea of exchanging the stock-spring for one with a different rate. (still haven't found any info for this type of swap).

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Thanks Bernd. I will check it out and look for a dealer, though I'm a kind of hands on guy.

 

Oh, you can do all the repair work by yourself. It's just about finding the parts without paying ridiculous ebay prices :)

 

Bernd

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I gave up on mine also because I couldn't get it to stay in tune. It stays locked down. However, I didn't have any instructions and I didn't try all that hard.

 

Hmm...just for the shits and giggles, back off the big knob a few turns and let the trem lift in the back a little bit, retune the guitar and see if it works better. It takes a minute to change it back if you don't like it.

 

I would rather lose the locking feature and have the trem actually work smoothly and stay in tune.

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  • 2 years later...
  • 7 years later...
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Posted (edited)

Late to the party here!

I have encountered the same problem. The R-Trem *was* OK (though it does still require significantly more effort than a Fender floating bridge or a Floyd Rose). I wanted to examine and lubricate all the components, so I unlocked the trem, took off the strings, loosened the master bridge screw completely and gently removed the R-trem bridge. Nice design. Quite simple, really...

After reassembly and tuning up, the trem was so stiff as to be unusable. The effort required to drop more than a semitone was sufficient that I was worried something would break. Excessive force with these guitars can apparently result in bent knife-edge trem posts. NOT good!

Something was wrong... What the heck had I done? I disassembled the unit again and had a look...

That long master bridge screw. Look where it goes when you screw it in (raising the pitch of all strings as it pushes the bridge back). It pushes into a metal receiver on the end of the (very strong) spring. That receiver has a little hole a few mm deep drilled into it; the end of that screw needs to enter that little hole.

In my case the master bridge screw was just impacting a bare millimetre away from that hole, but not entering it. That meant the screw started pushing against the spring significantly earlier as you tuned up the master bridge to equalise the string-pull tension. In the attached image you can clearly see the dent off-centre where this screw was impacting the receiver.

By making sure the screw enters the metal receiver properly, the trem worked perfectly again. I did this as follows...

With the bridge off, start screwing the master bridge screw in until you can see it protruding about 4mm inside the guitar. Now fit that spring, making sure that screw goes properly into the receiver end. Keep screwing in the master bridge screw until the receiver starts pushing it towards the other side. You should now have the spring loosely hanging off this master bridge screw with enough space at the other spring end to fit the metal tab that protrudes from the bridge itself. Fit the bridge onto the posts and tighten the master bridge screw until it pushes the bridge fully back. Fit the vibrato bar and depress a little so you can lock the bridge. Fit your strings (doesn't take long on a Steinberger!) but periodically release the lock and tighten the master bridge screw to counteract string pull, and re-lock the bridge. When fully tuned, release the lock again and tighten the master bridge screw until the string pitches are the same whether locked or not. At this point I had a working-ish trem, albeit a bit stiff. The opposite side of the spring (without the receiver end) has to properly work its way into the circular recess in the metal tab protruding from the bridge. I had to (quite gently) dive-bomb (i.e. depress) the vibrato bar all the way a few times to do this at which point there was a loud 'clunk' from inside the guitar as that spring snapped into position. The master bridge screw had to be tightened a bit more after that. Voila, one perfectly working trem...

Hope this helps someone! 🙂

IMG_20200621_153010.jpg

Edited by Mattster
added pictures!
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This shouldn't be a persistent problem with the Steinberger Spirit. I can't see myself taking the bridge off on anything like a regular basis. If, however, I do have this problem again, I'll consider chamfering and rounding the edges of the holes in both the receiver (pictured in the previous post) and bridge tab by a couple of millimetres in order to facilitate the spring snapping itself into position more easily.

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I wore the fulcrum blade that rests on the stud down to the point where the bridge rubbed on the wood.  As a temporary fix I made the fulcrum longer by bending a piece of steel over then end then gluing it in place.  The spring/string pressure did the rest.  

About a year or two back I found generic versions of the bridge available on EBay.  Bought one for $10 then used its fulcrum plate and swapped out some of the cheaper parts with the original.  Worked out very well and haven't had an issue since.  

As far as the stiffness goes, The bridges do have stiffer springs then most but this does preserve the tuning when the lock is released.  

One thing you should realize.  Those guitars were designed to be used with Labella double ball strings, either 9/42 or 9/46.  Anything heavier will force you to crank the set screw don too much making the tremolo unusable.  I don't think you can even use 10/46 strings because it puts too many pounds pull on the strings.  

They made an adaptor for using regular strings on those guitars. I suggest you use 9/42 gauge, then you can back off the counter balance screw and the whammy becomes more flexible because you're using lighter spring tension on lighter strings.  

They are fun guitars once you get used to them. The stock EMG Select pickups don't sound bad either.  

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