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Floating Bridge - tuning issues

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by Daf57, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. Daf57

    Daf57 Strat-Talker

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    Hi,

    Just got the new strat and having some issues with the floating bridge setup and staying in tune - without using the whammy bar. I'm just getting back into playing and I don't have the chops to fight the bridge at this point.

    Seems to be a balancing game - tuning 1 string sets the rest at odds, resting my palm on the bridge (muting or bad habit...) causes tuning issues. I can't seem to play a complete song in tune.

    Should I deck the bridge? Or is it a bad setup from AMS? Every now and then, but not always, I hear a little "ping" as the string is released from the nut. Bad nut setup - or just need some wax or sanding?

    I hate to give up on the floating setup but at this stage of the game I just need to be able to practice and play. ;)

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. stratmanchu

    stratmanchu Senior Stratmaster

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    well, not sure about the rest, but just in case you were not aware, yes tuning a floating bridge is a bit of a pain, exactly because the bridge keeps raising every time you tune of the strings (making them tighter), and putting the rest you just tuned back out.

    it is like a circle. i always just give them all a little boost to compensate, then start with low e - again - tune them up, then go back and make sure E didnt go flat. It takes a few times, but eventually its all tuned up.

    other thing is, maybe you have new strings which are still stretching? they go out of tune easy. stretch them out a bit first. hope this helps!
     
  3. Vintage59

    Vintage59 Senior Stratmaster

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    If the guitar is setup properly, these issues become so minimal, they go virtually unnoticed. The "ping" sound is a string binding somewhere and that's not good. Whenever I buy a guitar, I always count on having to spend extra on a good setup.
     
  4. houseguitarshop

    houseguitarshop Strat-O-Master

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    if you like resting your hand on the bridge, and dont really use the floating bridge, then decking the bridge might work well for you.

    I used to deck my bridge, but now I prefer to use a floating bridge and wammy too,

    I still have a few that are decked, simply because its a different feel and style.
     
  5. CandyAppleHead

    CandyAppleHead Strat-O-Master

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    Tuning with a floating bridge is an iterative process - tightening one string will pull the trem up very slightly, lowering the pitch of the other strings. Usually takes 3 or 4 times to get them all in tune (disregarding the stretching process).

    The pinging means that a string is catching at the nut - usually happens when you bend, and causes that string to go sharp (and the others slightly flat, as above). Ensuring that all strings move freely at all points where they come into contact with something - trem block exit, saddle, nut and string tree - is absolutely essential. The nut slot in particular must be smooth - you can do this with a very thin piece of sandpaper; then you can drop some graphite or proprietary lubricant in the slot. A bit of grease or vaseline (oil like 3-in-1 is too thin) on the other contact points will help.

    The other thing you might want to do is check out Carl Verheyen's tuning method:

    YouTube - Carl Verheyen Guitar Lesson 2 - Whammy Bar Setup Secrets
     
  6. orcslayer

    orcslayer Senior Stratmaster

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    Two point floating bridges can easily stay in tune if you know how to set them up.

    1. Remove the Spring cover on the back of your Strat
    2. loosen off the spring claw screws about 1/2"
    3. insert wood shim (or shims if necessary) behind the string block so that the rear of the bridge plate sits off the body about 1/8"
    4. With the bridge "blocked" by the shim, tune guitar to standard pitch, then stretch the strings by gently pulling up on each one - now retune to pitch again
    5. with the guitar tuned to pitch, begin to gradually tighten the spring claw screws evenly
    6. As you tighten, the spring tension will increase until it is balanced with the string tension. At this point the wood shim will fall out or can be easily slid out from behind the string block.

    Your strings & springs are now at the same opposing tension & your guitar willstay in tune as long as you don't treat it like a Floyd Rose bridge & try to dive bomb it! Every time you change strings you will needto repeat the process unless you change onestring & tune to pitch individually before removing the next string.

    Hope this helps!
     
  7. Extra crispy

    Extra crispy Senior Stratmaster

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    Seriously, check out that Carl Verheyen vid. It solved a lot of floating trem tuning issues for me.
     
  8. Ethan

    Ethan Strat-Talker

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    Big fat +1 to this. It works brilliantly.

    The bar's easy to move, you can go up and down, you can bend strings and whammy all day long without tuning issues... it's perfection.
     
  9. bettsaj

    bettsaj Senior Stratmaster

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    3 words.... lube, lube & lube....

    I recommend Nut Sauce

    You must must must lube the nut grooves, under the string tree, on the saddles where the string passes, infact anywhere where the string touches... also make sure it's set up properly, and you'll have almost zero issues.
     
  10. Daf57

    Daf57 Strat-Talker

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    I will try all of these suggestions before I give up and deck it. ;)

    Thanks!
     
  11. scotzoid

    scotzoid Senior Stratmaster

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    Please do that. And don't think of decking it as "giving up," it's not permanent & you can always try floating again later, when you're ready to be the Whammy King ;)
     
  12. Daf57

    Daf57 Strat-Talker

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    Good point! And I do often daydream that I am, in fact, the Whammy King! :D
     
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