From dnjohan–(at)– Thu Mar 10 13:34:47 CST 1994
Article: 15156 of alt.guitar
From: dnjohan–(at)– (Dave Johansen)
Newsgroups: alt.guitar
Subject: Re: Stratocaster tremelo system
Date: 10 Mar 1994 00:15:58 GMT
Organization: cisco Systems, Incorporated
Lines: 51
Distribution: world
Message-ID: <2lloru$h--(at)>
References: <08MAR94.16159008.002--(at)> <10825.940309095--(at)>

This is a common thread that has been addressed on many occasions
But I’ve never seen any “correct” answer..

Being a Strat player for the last 20+ years I’ve heard every
“theory” that’s come down the pike.. I will give you what
works for me.. (Many ideas stolen from Dan Erlewine, and various
repair persons)

First off I will address the springs in the back of the guitar

I use three connected to the 1st 3rd and 5th holes on the inertia
block. ( the block connected to the tailpiece ) and the tops of the
springs are attached to the 2nd 3rd and 4th hooks on the grappling
hook thingy that has the two BIG wood screws going into the body..

Now as far as tailpiece tension, I adjust it flat against the body
and retune the guitar to “normal” pitch (what ever that is for you)
E, Eb, Qbb what ever..
I depress the arm up everso slightly and put a business card under the tailpiece
so it stays there.. If you drop the arm of course it will drop out.
Now I adjust the spring tension in the back a half turn for each BIG
screw (see above) and retune until the card drops out.. (this is a process
that you will repeat until the card drops out) What you should end up
with a very small clearance between the back of the tail piece and the surface
of the guitar ( maybe .010″).. What I do next is lift the six screws on the
front of the tail piece up until the whole tail piece is flat or the
back of the tail piece is slightly dipped back into the guitar..
then I give a 1/4 turn to the 2nd 3rd 4th and 5th screws so it starts
to work more like a knife edge type tailpiece. What I am trying to accomplish
is to keep the tail piece rear from pulling up radically when the strings are
bent (another problem, but related to the tremelo prob.) You can get really
anal retentive and polish the screw holes on the tail piece, but I’m
not sure that really buys you anything..

Now on to the headstock…

I have a bone nut which seems to help a bit with the binding problems..
The nut grooves are about .001 over size from the string gauge that I use
and the grooves are flared, opening towards the headstock. Also the grooves are flattened
on the bottom to help keep the string from binding in the groove. I sometimes
use a pencil lead to lubricate the nut grooves as well. (See Dan Erlewine’s
book Guitar Player Repair Guide). I have used the regular string trees
that are supplied with the strats, but I now use a roller tree assembly
that is supplied by Allparts (Katy, TX). I also only have maybe two wraps around
the tuning pegs to keep the strings from grabbing each other like little
vises when the trem is depressed….

I hope this bit of drivel is of some help to you all out there…..



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