Guitar Players

502 members

PLUS
Sterling / Jean-Marc Tessier 7 days ago
I have a few electric guitars that won't stay in tune because of cheap tremelo bridge & springs that won't level out. I've followed several youtube videos on doing it with string heights, truss rod adjustments, etc. One solution would be to place a wooden wedge to bypass the floating bridge. Some of these solutions might change the tonality of the instrument. Any recommendations on a commercial product other that cutting a piece of wood... Thanks!


   

Comments

Login to Comment
comment.user.userName PLUS

offthewall   commented 7 days ago


For strat style trems I've found the easiest solution, which works well, is to remove the springs and stick in a wood block, exactly as you say, and also make sure you tighten down all bridge plate retaining screws. Never go out of tune now .... unless your tuners are crap, of course. :))

comment.user.userName PLUS

Sterling   commented 7 days ago


Do you know if the wood type makes a difference for a wedge or its all the same... Thanks....

comment.user.userName PLUS

WalterPaulOwen   commented 7 days ago


Good post James ! I do the block and screw down all the way on all my strats. I use stainless steel washers on the 6 screws. Never did like whammy bars. Tone is much better and bending strings becomes more natural. As for the necks.. My studio is in the basement, so necks move as the seasons change. Rule of thumb for me. Assuming your frets are good. adjust your neck to slight backbow, then adjust to level with straight edge. Then string up. Then let sit overnight . string tension should be enough to get the neck to upbow a little. Check your strings for action. For me low action sucks. I like medium action . (personal preference) Then their is proper clearance at the nut . (another story) Just my 2 cents. Good Luck!

comment.user.userName PREMIER

RobAsh15   commented 7 days ago


Really good point on the nut, Walter. Amazing how much a worn nut can affect how the strings sit on the neck. Can make playing near the head impossible without buzz in extreme cases. Not so much a problem with a locking trem system, I guess. Nut is a metal saddle. But it can still be a nightmare if not seated properly. 16th of an inch out of alignment can mean the top or bottom string is sliding off the neck when you don't want it to. Not to mention making tuning a class "A" bitch.

comment.user.userName PLUS

Sterling   commented 7 days ago


Yah! I play my guitars in the basement and depending on the humidity they either stay in tune or go out of tune & the bow will change. A little frustrating at times....

comment.user.userName PLUS

sriracha   commented 7 days ago


it's worth managing that with dehumidifier or AC as well as heat.

comment.user.userName PLUS

sriracha   commented 7 days ago


First, go to a good luthier near you and have them intonate the guitar - unless you really know what you are doing, you can serious muck yup a neck. I try and fool with that stuff as little as possible myself. Second, I highly recommend the Babicz trems if you are looking for replacements. I replaced the one on my strat with one of theirs and it was a huge difference. [ http://www.fullcontacthardware.com/ ] YMMV. And again - have a luthier do the work unless you are one. And locking tuners are well worth the investment.

comment.user.userName PLUS

Sterling   commented 7 days ago


Do you know what a luthier charges for typical guitar adjustment. I'll have to check the local music store I guess...

comment.user.userName PLUS

sriracha   commented 7 days ago


Depends on the issues, but an intonation and general once over should be like $60-$70 US I guess. I get it done on all my guitars in rotation every 2 years - every year for the first 2 if they are new.

comment.user.userName PLUS

Sterling   commented 7 days ago


I'll have to email Long & Mcquade for an estimate. Thanks!

comment.user.userName PREMIER

RobAsh15   commented 7 days ago


With a floating tremolo, you can also insert a block so that the travel is only restricted in one direction. Meaning you can still bend "down", but not "up", or, away from the body of the guitar. I've had this done on several gits with FR trems that wouldn't stay in tune for shit. Helped a lot. There are tons of vids on youtube showing how to do the block thing on lots of different models. May cut down on the techniques you use to bend notes, but if the only other option is to never play that guitar, it could be a solution for you. Also, sounds to me like you may have either a bent neck or bent trusses compounding the issue. In either case, you're gonna need a luthier, and a good one, to evaluate the instrument in question and see if it can be fixed at all. Your best solution may be a new neck. Which could be a more cost effective, and strategic solution than you might first think. Especially if you can do some or all of the work yourself.

comment.user.userName PLUS

Sterling   commented 7 days ago


I have a few good guitars that stay in tune. My Hagstrom XL-5 works best. The Sterling John Petrucci signature model sound best but would require a luthier to give it new life. The others are cheap Ebay or B grade models that could benefit from a wedge or something similar.

comment.user.userName PREMIER

RobAsh15   commented 7 days ago


Not sure how things are in Canada. Here in the states there are giga-tons of cheap guitars. Every damn major line has an entry level model or three for sale at places like Guitar Center. You can get an entry level Ibanez that looks very similar to models costing more than twice as much for $200 US. I hate to buy any guitar online. I need to play an instrument before I agree to buy it. I've bought a couple online where the deal was irresistible, but only in cases where I had a 100% guaranteed return policy covering my ass. Makes it hard to think of spending a ton of money to repair or rescue a guitar that is that cheap and so widely available. I'm not rich by any means, but I can afford to go down a couple times a year to the local Sam Ash and spend $500-600 on a guitar. Add $100 to get a luthier to set it up right, and you've got a great, middle-of-the-road player's guitar. I'd rescue a really good guitar, even one I got cheap, price to fix it be damned... but a "cheap" guitar? Can you say kindling?

comment.user.userName PLUS

Sterling   commented 7 days ago


When I met my wife, she told me you can buy guitars but you can't get a motorcycle, so before you know it I had at least a dozen guitars. I've been giving them away to brothers and nephews just to make room because they are so cheap. A lot of them are china made, even the Ibanez, etc. I guess I'll get the better ones adjusted before resorting to a $1000-2000 model ... Retailers like to charge Canadians an extra 30-40% more than the US price.

comment.user.userName PLUS

Sterling   commented 7 days ago


When I met my wife, she told me you can buy guitars but you can't get a motorcycle, so before you know it I had at least a dozen guitars. I've been giving them away to brothers and nephews just to make room because they are so cheap. A lot of them are china made, even the Ibanez, etc. I guess I'll get the better ones adjusted before resorting to a $1000-2000 model ... They like to charge Canadians an extra 30-40% more than the US price.

comment.user.userName PLUS

marshall2550   commented 7 days ago


It sounds like what you are trying to do is get the trem to be level while in tune? If so: Find something to stick in between trem and top of body to keep the trem at level. Finding this "something" is actually the hard part. I will typically use a piece of hard plastic or steel then wrap it with carboard so I don't scratch the body. You could also place "something" between the block and body to keep it at level. Step 1) if trem is up off of body: detune guitar and then tighten trem spring claw screws so that it holds the trem down to your "something" and is level. Step 2) tune guitar to pitch. If at any time the trem raises before getting in tune, tighten the trem springs some more. keep repeating if you must. At this stage it is better to have more tension on the "something." Step 3) after guitar is in tune and trem is still level, remove the "something" piece. If at this time the trem falls down into body, Then just loosen trem spring claw screws so that trem returns to level position. At this time you are tuning the guitar with the spring claw screws and not the tuning keys. If when you start the trem is sunk down into body. Then just use bar and dive down and place the "something" between the bridge and body and start at "step 2".

comment.user.userName PLUS

Sterling   commented 7 days ago


Yah, I've done that in the past with limited success. The Floyd rose was easiest because of the locking mechanism. The strats were more problematic. I'll probably bring it to the music store as suggested. The trick is to use the same string gauge once it is done right... Thanks!

comment.user.userName PLUS

marshall2550   commented 7 days ago


Yeah, that is the exact same thing a luthier is going to do except for maybe adding another spring or using different springs that have more or less tension depending on the needs. If you go higher gauge strings you will always have to adjust the spring tension.

comment.user.userName PREMIER

RobAsh15   commented 7 days ago


And raise the risk of pulling the whole spring mechanism right out of the body by the screws. Everything being talked about here is a matter of degrees. Make sure you use a luthier who isn't afraid to tell you; "Man, this guitar is just fucked." Not saying that it is (they are), but some of the things you describe are not usually what one would consider "small" issues. At some point you have to face the reality of diminishing returns... which is way cool, because then you get to go to wifey and tell her it's time for a new guitar... :)

comment.user.userName PLUS

Sterling   commented 7 days ago


or a US made guitar...

comment.user.userName

insub   commented 6 days ago


I assume you've tried new springs? I had a friend who hated the trem on his strat, but he didn't want to buy a fixed bridge to replace it. So, I added a couple more springs and tightened the claw until the bridge was held tight to the body. You could still use the wammy bar by pushing down hard, but he'd lost his bar a long time ago. You should be able to find fixed replacement bridges. They may even match the existing screw holes.

comment.user.userName PLUS

Sterling   commented 6 days ago


Hi insub! I'm going to bring my guitar(s) in to the Luther. This will the first time I get it done professionally. I purchased my guitars online in 2013/14 and the factory settings were horrible. Doing it myself didn't work on these models, so we'll get it done right. Thanks! JM :)

comment.user.userName PLUS

Sterling   commented 5 days ago


Just as a follow up, I brought 3 of my Guitars to the local music store including 2 MusicMan Sterling JP100, JP70D and a Fender American strat SHH. These were brand new guitars in 2013/14 and 2 of them require fret work and all 3 standard adjustments. The adjustments go for $75 each and fret work $150x2. It will probably take 4-6 weeks but having it done professionally was the right choice. So much for quality control in assembly plants.

comment.user.userName PREMIER

RobAsh15   commented 5 days ago


Sucks, bro. But you will no doubt appreciate having invested the... WTF do you call Canadian money anyways...?...ah. Canadian Dollars......... what - you guys can't come up with an original name for your money???... lol...:)... anyhoo, you'll appreciate it afterwards when you play those gits.

comment.user.userName PLUS

Sterling   commented 5 days ago


Yes, I should have done it years ago. Looking forward to lower action necks and hybrid strings...

comment.user.userName PLUS

sriracha   commented 5 days ago


not those coated strings, eh? I've tried all of those and uniformly hate them, lol. They get dead instantly, and also the coating rubs off and fills the nut causing the strings to stick when you bend or use the trem.

comment.user.userName PREMIER

RobAsh15   commented 5 days ago


Round wound, .09 or .10 gauge, Slinky's or Duncans. Easy, Peezy, Toasty, Cheesy. Unless you are playing an eleventeen string git and like that heavy, heavy grungy sound... I tried a set of... I dunno... .14's? .16's? ...a while back, on an Ibanez 7 string I have. Could have put those bitches on my bass. To each their own, I suppose.

comment.user.userName PLUS

sriracha   commented 5 days ago


I use EB or D'Addario 10's on my 7 string, and Kalium balanced 9's on my 8 string. :D

comment.user.userName PLUS

WalterPaulOwen   commented 5 days ago


Ditto, D'Addario 10's

comment.user.userName PLUS

Sterling   commented 5 days ago


String gauge will be .009-046 on the 6 string electrics (ErnieBall) & D'addario exl 120-7 on the 7 string...

comment.user.userName PREMIER

RobAsh15   commented 5 days ago


That means .12, right? That would produce a fairly heavy sound... would make bending and such an act of will. I'm spoiled. I have my callouses and my muscle memory right where I want it. Slinks and SD's are cheap but dependable. I buy half a dozen packs at a time. If I bust a string, I grab the one I need out of a new pack and throw out the extras. My gits stay in an dry, temp controlled room, under chamois towels, so no dust to speak of. Strings last forever and a few days besides. I can't recall the last time I did a full restring. And if I bend or go for harmonics or what not, it just happens. Nu fuss, no muss. I like some heavier, modern stuff. But not enough to retrain my damn muscles and regrow my pads. I have just three electric guitars right now: Ibanez SIX6FDFM Jackson Soloist - my one and only git with a FR trem. I hardly ever play it. It's fucking beautiful, but it's an unholy bitch to keep in play-ready condition. Schecter Demon 6 - my work horse. Pulls strong and all day. Also have two Ibanez basses. One full scale and a GSRM25 Micro, itty bitty bass, but full scale... plays like a six string. I use the smaller one most of the time. I usually play bass with a pick. :)

comment.user.userName PLUS

Sterling   commented 5 days ago


Yah! My environment isn't the best but ok. I'm setup in the basement with 4 seasons & no reverberation with carpet and dry walls. Acoustics are played through piezo pickups. Mics sound to dry & boomy. In guitars, I have a 4 & 5 string bass , Ibanez RG 350, Hagstrum xl-5. Olp mm1, Yamaha SG-1000 (oldie). In acoustics I play low end Fender, Yamaha and Ovation brands.