#1
So I've been planning on getting a Stetsbar Pro II for my SG and I was wondering about a few things on the topic of tremolo systems, as I have never owned one.
1. I use 11-54 Ernie's on my SG and this puts it's neck under slight strain. For example, I can do the old neck pushing trick just by shaking my neck, and that's at around the 7th fret. If I set up my Stetsbar to be floating, is there a possibility of me warping the neck by raising the pitch too much?
2. Does the system have adjustable tension like on a strat? For example it would be easy to operate with low tension (similar to 2-3 springs on a strat) and with mid tension it would be a little harder to operate which would be good feeling wise. (Similar to 4-5 springs on a strat) And if it isn't adjustable, how would you describe the feeling of the arm? Bigsby like? Strat like? Etc.
Thanks for your help in advance.
#2
1. It's pretty hard to warp a neck. You have to abuse the guitar pretty badly and then neglect the truss rod for a while. The stetsbar isn't going to cause any serious tension issues. Pushing on the neck is worse, for sure. The SG does have a relatively weak neck joint, which is why it's so easy to do the neck-pushing trick. Still, warped necks are rare and it's usually from humidity/disuse more than being abused.

2. There are tension adjustment screws but they're just for counteracting the string tension. The arm "feel" is more or less the same since you cannot add or remove springs like you can on a strat trem. This brings me to the next point, which is that I can't stand the Stetsbar because the action feels awful to me. It does not feel like a strat or a bigsby. The springs are very short and the arm "throw" is very short, so to me the feedback seems all wrong. On a strat or bigsby trem you have a nice tension feedback, where a little wobble is effortless and then a big dive makes you push, and there's plenty of give in the arm in between those. The Stetsbar doesn't work for me because the lever and the springs are so short that you seem to use the same amount of effort for a small wobble as for a big dive, you just push the bar farther. Some people might like that; it totally throws me off. I also don't like that the bar connects in the middle. The Stetsbar feels like a toy to me - it's not sensitive enough to do a warble with a small arm movement, and big bends seem a bit too easy. None of those things have to be a problem for you, but it's something to think about. If you just want a good solid trem that does everything you need without drilling, the Stetsbar is great. If you are picky about how it feels, you might want to think about it.

It's a perfectly good piece of engineering, I don't have any complaints with its actual function, but ergonomically and aesthetically I just hate it.

And after all of that I notice that you were asking about the Pro II Model which I did not even know existed. When I was messing around with Stetsbars I think there were just one or two models. Perhaps the new ones are improved.
#3
Quote by Roc8995
1. It's pretty hard to warp a neck. You have to abuse the guitar pretty badly and then neglect the truss rod for a while. The stetsbar isn't going to cause any serious tension issues. Pushing on the neck is worse, for sure. The SG does have a relatively weak neck joint, which is why it's so easy to do the neck-pushing trick. Still, warped necks are rare and it's usually from humidity/disuse more than being abused.

2. There are tension adjustment screws but they're just for counteracting the string tension. The arm "feel" is more or less the same since you cannot add or remove springs like you can on a strat trem. This brings me to the next point, which is that I can't stand the Stetsbar because the action feels awful to me. It does not feel like a strat or a bigsby. The springs are very short and the arm "throw" is very short, so to me the feedback seems all wrong. On a strat or bigsby trem you have a nice tension feedback, where a little wobble is effortless and then a big dive makes you push, and there's plenty of give in the arm in between those. The Stetsbar doesn't work for me because the lever and the springs are so short that you seem to use the same amount of effort for a small wobble as for a big dive, you just push the bar farther. Some people might like that; it totally throws me off. I also don't like that the bar connects in the middle. The Stetsbar feels like a toy to me - it's not sensitive enough to do a warble with a small arm movement, and big bends seem a bit too easy. None of those things have to be a problem for you, but it's something to think about. If you just want a good solid trem that does everything you need without drilling, the Stetsbar is great. If you are picky about how it feels, you might want to think about it.

It's a perfectly good piece of engineering, I don't have any complaints with its actual function, but ergonomically and aesthetically I just hate it.

Ah, thanks a heap mate! I have little to no experience with trems and after hearing your advice with the feedback, I'm now considering a vibramate conversion with a bigsby, as I adore the feel of one. If I could, I would route my guitar, but as you probably know it's miles too thin.
#4
Yeah, plus it just tanks the guitar's value. Routing is often a long sad road to take.

I've got a Vibramate on my Les Paul, and I absolutely love it. A few tricks
  • remove the felt from the Bigsby unit. You don't need that, no need to dampen sound and protect the vibramate plate, since it's metal.

  • Use a roller bridge. Really, really, really necessary. Graphite saddles are decent but a really proper roller bridge makes it a totally different experience. This is the only roller bridge I've liked on a Gibson: http://www.allparts.com/GB-0545-010-ABM-2400-C-Chrome-Roller-Tunematic_p_1579.html
    Gretsch players have all sorts of great roller bridges to use, but TOM bigsbys do not. You can try the cheaper Wilkinson and GFS and Schaller units but I did not like them. They wouldn't glide properly. Sometimes you can get them to glide right, but they almost always catch or grind or just don't turn properly and I couldn't find a good way of making them turn freely and consistently under tension. The ABM bridge works every time plus it's got cutouts at the back so you can get a better break angle over the bridge without hitting the side.

  • Make sure the nut is a decent one with low friction. Bone needs a lot of graphite. Plastic needs some too, graphite/TUSQ nuts need less but can still benefit.
#5
Yes, I was thinking of getting a roller bridge anyway. I have a Corian nut which should be fine as it is a self lubricating material (or so I have heard) but I will still use my trusty tri flow lube on it like usual. Do you ever feel the need to lube the Bigsby or roller saddles?
Thanks again for your generosity!
#7
Quote by Xeus
I have a stetsbar II I'll tell you what it did for my flying V: It raised the action, greatly reduced my tuning stability but IT DID give me a tremolo. Personally I'd get something with a floyd rose built in

Action has never really bothered me. I actually prefer heavy strings and high action just cause I love my guitar to be a torture device, it makes it sound so much better. It's strange how it reduced tuning stability! And yeah, Floyd + V = Badassery!
#8
Quote by nicholasgrgr
Yes, I was thinking of getting a roller bridge anyway. I have a Corian nut which should be fine as it is a self lubricating material (or so I have heard) but I will still use my trusty tri flow lube on it like usual. Do you ever feel the need to lube the Bigsby or roller saddles?
Thanks again for your generosity!

Corian should be great, I still like to get some graphite into any nut that isn't a roller or locking nut since there's no such thing as over-lubrication in that case.

I don't think there's any need to lubricate the Bigsby, it's already greased internally. I suppose you could try to lubricate the saddle axles but I'm not sure how much it would help. The good bridges don't need it and the bad ones are beyond help, in my experience.
#9
Alright, I should have the money to order a vibramate by next week or so. I'll probably post something when its been ordered and when it arrives.