Setting the trem on a strat

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BarneyBarney Frets: 357
I use the trem quite a bit on other guitars like Allan Murphy sort of thing
...only not as good... for bending into notes ...when trying it with the strat the trem seems out of reach...like it's not under my hand when playing I was thinking maybe bending the arm to get it in the right place..is this a bit drastic and is there another way ..
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  • BillKatBillKat Frets: 1120
    I've bent them, chopped them, whatever gets them feeling right. Just part of setting it all up to be comfy I reckon.


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  • sweepysweepy Frets: 1940
    If you screw it up you can always buy a replacement arm. I drill d a hole through my workbench expressly for bending trem arms as the wood gives a little and doesn’t mark up the arm 
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  • BranshenBranshen Frets: 833
    Strat tremolo tension spring would tighten up the arm and let it stay put wherever u leave it instead of flopping down.

    https://m.thomann.de/gb/fender_tremolo_arm_feder.htm
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  • RandallFlaggRandallFlagg Frets: 5858
    edited December 6
    PTFE tape on the trem arm screw thread should make it tight enough to stay put and I always find the natural place to strum when using a Strat trem is between the neck and middle pickup just in front of neck pickup. That's the place to play the strings to get that mellower Hank Marvin type sound.

    if you play nearer the bridge pickup the trem arm is too long. It's all part of playing a Strat to me.

    After many Strats and many years playing them I came to the conclusion that the best place for the trem arm on a Stat is in the case, use 5 trem springs, deck the bridge and wind in the claw.

    Michael Fish is God

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  • boogiemanboogieman Frets: 5301
    Definitely bend the trem arm to taste, I’ve never found one that felt right without some modding. Put it in a vice with some strips of wood between the jaws to stop it getting marked, then bend it a bit at a time until it feels right.

    It definitely needs a spring in the trem block hole first to hold the arm in the right place (that’s how they come from Fender, it’s why they put a sticker over the trem hole on new guitars, but a lot of people lose the spring as it’s pretty small). Get a proper spring: people use biro springs and all sorts, but the tension is never quite right.

    PTFE tape works if the block threads are worn and the arm is a sloppy fit in the trem block, but it doesn’t hold the arm in the correct position for very long, especially if you take the arm out regularly to put the guitar in the case. 
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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 11403
    BillKat said:
    I've bent them, chopped them, whatever gets them feeling right. Just part of setting it all up to be comfy I reckon.
    Yeah, I've bent and chopped. Whatever is necessary. I also need a nice stiff one (as the actress said to the bishop), any floppyness and you are losing something in feel.
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  • sweepysweepy Frets: 1940
    Fender US springs don’t fit Jap trem blocks, they are too long and the thread is too short, might save someone getting one stuck ;)
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  • nonesuchnonesuch Frets: 18
    Following on from this, I've got no problem with the position and angle of the arm when I'm using it, but sometimes I'd like it to stay put (i.e. pointing towards the neck).

    It's a Mexican Strat I got a few months ago, and I'm sure when I first got it the tremolo arm would tighten up fully into the correct position, but now it swings loose and it only tightens up when it's pointing 180 degrees in the totally opposite direction (away from the neck).

    Is this what those tiny springs are for? Do they stop the arm from swinging about?
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  • NeilNeil Frets: 2352
    nonesuch said:


    Is this what those tiny springs are for? Do they stop the arm from swinging about?
    Yes. 
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  • boogiemanboogieman Frets: 5301
    edited December 8
    Neil said:
    nonesuch said:


    Is this what those tiny springs are for? Do they stop the arm from swinging about?
    Yes. 
    Yup, plus the spring also stops you screwing the arm in too far and it bottoming out in the block hole. Do that for too long and you eventually end up knackering the threads. 
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  • RandallFlaggRandallFlagg Frets: 5858
    edited December 8
    boogieman said:
    Neil said:
    nonesuch said:


    Is this what those tiny springs are for? Do they stop the arm from swinging about?
    Yes. 
    Yup, plus the spring also stops you screwing the arm in too far and it bottoming out in the block hole. Do that for too long and you eventually end up knackering the threads. 

    The problem with the little screws is that they compress over time and can be a bit crunchy and clicky when turning the trem arm. I preferred the pop in arm of the old Fender deluxes, not sure if they still have them, not looked in ages.

    Michael Fish is God

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  • boogiemanboogieman Frets: 5301
    boogieman said:
    Neil said:
    nonesuch said:


    Is this what those tiny springs are for? Do they stop the arm from swinging about?
    Yes. 
    Yup, plus the spring also stops you screwing the arm in too far and it bottoming out in the block hole. Do that for too long and you eventually end up knackering the threads. 

    The problem with the little screws is that they compress over time and can be a bit crunchy and clicky when turning the trem arm. I preferred the pop in arm of the old Fender deluxes, not sure if they still have them, not looked in ages.
    The old Dr Robert fix, if you’d lost the spring or it had compressed too much, was to put a bit of cotton wadding in the hole first, or use a bit of shaved down pencil rubber. Thing is, where do you find cotton waste? And the rubber works, but it just as prone to getting squashed or falling out as the the proper spring. The spring is the best solution; as usual Leo got it right first time. 

    The pop in arms are good, but they’ll only fit a few Fender models. Most are threaded. 

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