#1
Long story short, I have a strat that I'm very fond of, and I'd like to start using its tremolo. Nothing extreme divebombing or going up and down a fifth at a time, for now at least I just want little flutters and whatnot. Unfortunately, like most strats, it tends to detune when I use the tremolo much. Aside from the "Graphite on the nut and saddles" trick, what can I do to help add some stability to it? For what it's worth, the stock tuners were replaced with a set of Sperzels by the first owner, and the bridge is the modern two-point style, rather than the vintage six-screw. The bridge is also flat to the body right now, though I'm open to floating it if that'll help.
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#2
It depends on the quality of the trem system itself. But you might want to look into nut replacement (especially if your guitar has a standard plastic one) and proper stringing and string stretching.
#3
Keeping the bridge sitting flat to the top will most certainly help to ensure the bridge always moves back to exactly the same position it was before you moved it, which is essential for tuning stability.

Buy roller string trees. Or alternatively use staggered tuners to eliminate the need for string trees altogether.

Ensure the path of the strings from the nut to the tuners is as straight as possible.

Ensure the nut slots are ever so slightly wider than the strings they fit into and lube the slots with a pencil to keep nut binding to a minimum. If this doesn't work well enough, you may consider purchasing a roller nut.
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#4
Quote by tsc86
It depends on the quality of the trem system itself. But you might want to look into nut replacement (especially if your guitar has a standard plastic one) and proper stringing and string stretching.


It's an American Standard, so I'm hoping that its tremolo is at least decent

I usually spend a good amount of time stretching the strings after restringing, and it's hard to mess up restringing with locking tuners since they don't need much of any wrapping, so I'm pretty sure it's good there. A nut replacement might not be the worst idea, since I'm pretty sure it's still the standard synthetic nut that Fender uses on just about everything.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Keeping the bridge sitting flat to the top will most certainly help to ensure the bridge always moves back to exactly the same position it was before you moved it, which is essential for tuning stability.

Buy roller string trees. Or alternatively use staggered tuners to eliminate the need for string trees altogether.

Ensure the path of the strings from the nut to the tuners is as straight as possible.

Ensure the nut slots are ever so slightly wider than the strings they fit into and lube the slots with a pencil to keep nut binding to a minimum. If this doesn't work well enough, you may consider purchasing a roller nut.


I think the tuners on it right now may be staggered. They look like they might be, and I know that all of Sperzel's current tuners are staggered, but the guitar is a '98, and I don't know when they made staggering standard or when the original owner bought them, so I'm not sure if they are or not. Will provide a picture to tomorrow to find out.

As far as I can tell, it's about as straight as possible. Any way to measure that other than eyeballing it?

There's a chance that the nut may be a hair small. I'm pretty sure Fender strings and sizes everything for .09 strings, and I'm using .10s. I messed with a Jeff Beck strat a few years ago and was really impressed with the roller nut on it, but I read that they require some routing work to put into the nut slot of most standard strats. I don't trust my hands to route and glue it in straightly, and I don't have the money for a new neck right now if I screw up, so I'd likely end up having to pay a shop to install it along with the cost of the nut itself, so for now that's a last resort.


Not sure if this changes anything, but it's rock solid with everything except the tremolo. Stupidly big bends, yanking and stretching the strings, the only thing that makes it go out of tune is the tremolo.
THE FORUM UPDATE KILLED THE GRADIENT STAR

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Last edited by necrosis1193 at Sep 28, 2016,
#5
Picture of the tuners

Like I said, they look like they're different heights, so I think they may be staggered, but it looks like such a small difference to me that I'm not sure.
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#6
The tuners seem to be fine. You can try to remove the string trees and see if that help, as they may be the culprit.

Modern MIA Strat bridges are usually prety stable, unless you bought it used and somebody beat the shit out of it.

Before you go and by a new nut rub some graphite on the slots and see if helps. Also check if the slots aren't simply to tight for the strings.
Last edited by tsc86 at Sep 28, 2016,
#7
Quote by necrosis1193
Picture of the tuners

Like I said, they look like they're different heights, so I think they may be staggered, but it looks like such a small difference to me that I'm not sure.

Yeah those are staggered.

You shouldn't need to have string trees on the guitar if you have staggered tuners. Remove them and your tuning stability will really improve.
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#8
properly cut nut is pretty key. personally I prefer the trem to float as usually a quick pull up will un kink any strings. both of my current strats have roller nuts and yes its a mod that requires a small route to the neck. a good setup will solve a fair amount of problems and is you have staggered tuners by all means get rid of the string trees.
#9
Took off the string trees, it's made a world of difference with the tremolo. It's not 100% perfect, especially with more excessive use, but the strings are a little old, so I imagine that's part of that.

One thing I have noticed is that, while the strings are more stable now with the tremolo, they're less stable with stupidly-huge bends and the like. Given all four of the previously-tree'd strings have markings on them where they were held, I'm going to assume that it'll be back to normal with a new set of strings that haven't had those things wearing on them?
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#10
Quote by necrosis1193

One thing I have noticed is that, while the strings are more stable now with the tremolo, they're less stable with stupidly-huge bends and the like. Given all four of the previously-tree'd strings have markings on them where they were held, I'm going to assume that it'll be back to normal with a new set of strings that haven't had those things wearing on them?

It's possible that the trees that were causing the strings to bind were to a limited degree not permitting the strings from slipping through the nut, which sort of created a pseudo locking nut effect.

Even if the trees are mounted against the top 4 strings, those are the strings that people tend to bend the most.

Restringing the guitar is never a bad idea though.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Sep 30, 2016,
#11
^Exactly.
Try rubbing graphite into the grooves in the nut or check if they are not to narrow and don't require some filing down.
#12
Quote by tsc86
^Exactly.
Try rubbing graphite into the grooves in the nut or check if they are not to narrow and don't require some filing down.


I already put graphite in the nut, so unless the nut is damaged, I don't think it should be the problem?
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2017 NFL Pick 'Em: 92-54
#13
Quote by necrosis1193
Took off the string trees, it's made a world of difference with the tremolo. It's not 100% perfect, especially with more excessive use, but the strings are a little old, so I imagine that's part of that.

One thing I have noticed is that, while the strings are more stable now with the tremolo, they're less stable with stupidly-huge bends and the like. Given all four of the previously-tree'd strings have markings on them where they were held, I'm going to assume that it'll be back to normal with a new set of strings that haven't had those things wearing on them?


if you mean that the strings aren't coming back in tune then that's a nut issue. if you mean the strings go out some when you are playing then that's just normal. you change the tension of the springs when you do bends so that throws things off a bit when you try to bend more than one string at a time.
#14
That guy on youtube - FruduaTv - has detailed videos on how to turn your Strat's tremolo into a floating tremolo through bridge adjustments. I haven't tried it but it's tempting.
#15
i would get a new nut fitted.

also, i have started using graphtech saddles on my strats. you will have less string breakage, i haven't broken even one string at the saddle since. ~$20 that is well spent. tuning is a little better on them as well.
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#16
From what I understand there are usually 3 answers for this behavior:

A. A shitty nut, you need to keep the nut extremely slippery for proper tremolo and bending action, a Graphtech TUSQ nut is a self lubricating nut that supposedly does the job.

B. Locking tuners: This one is regarded as a myth by some. The point of them is that they lock the string in place INSIDE THE HOLE of the tuner which allows you to cut the string as short as possible to prevent you from having to winding it. No windings and locked up strings = stable strings.

C. Strings: Old strings cant hold their tension and usually go out of whack, fresh new strings need some time to stretch though.
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#17
the problem is the nut.

all my strats stay in tune fine with whammy use, cause i've had all the nuts cut and properly set up.. i've got ones with locking tuners, standard tuners, string trees, no string trees. the common denominator is a properly set up nut
#18
Roller string guide. That'll help out your higher strings a ton. Did that on my Jazzmaster and it's been great. It won't solve all your problems, but I was surprised to see no mention of it.
Try adding more delay.
#19
Floating will definitely not help. You have a few options. First, I would start by increasing the spring (not string) tension. If it comes back flat that means it's not returning to the zero position completely. If that doesn't work locking tuners or nut; locking tuners may be better as it is much easier to install and doesn't require fine tuners to work optimally.
If none of these works try a tremolo stabilizer such as a tremolo-no.
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