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Tremolo advice for VM Strat

Discussion in 'Squier Strat Forum' started by SlopeSoarer, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. SlopeSoarer

    SlopeSoarer Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    58
    18
    Nov 22, 2017
    Clitheroe, Lancashire
    I picked up a lovely VM Strat this week to replace an Affinity Strat as I didn't like the narrower nut, I never realised how small differences in size can make such a difference! The VM feels so much nicer to me.

    Unfortunately it came without the tremolo arm but that's easily enough sorted however I read that the tremolos themselves are pretty poor on this model so am looking for advice on changing it.

    1) Should I change the whole unit? If yes what would you advise I look at?

    2) Would it be worth just changing the tremolo block? I've seen blocks in different materials, does that make much of a difference?

    I've done a bit of measuring this morning and the bridge screw spacing seems to me to be 52.5mm and the 3 screws which attach the block appears to be 42mm. Tremolo arm hole 6mmish.

    Really I don't want to spend too much but also want to make improvements where possible.

    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
     
    vlxerdon likes this.

  2. TangerineDog

    TangerineDog Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 5, 2015
    The EU
    I dropped a MIM trem into my VM - and the VM them into a MIM Strat later on.
    Yes, it did make a difference. Yes, the guitar sounds a tad brighter with the VM trem. No, the VM them does not sound inferior. Just a little different - it might very well make even less difference in a different body.

    Now the full size block usually makes a difference, but the block's material doesn't, at least not enough to be worth a penny.
    This thread explains the whole trem block procedure, but I'd suggest to just get a used MIM trem off eBay and replace the whole thing - that's a lot cheaper that going for some full-size aftermarket brass block.
    It would be even cheaper to get a new Squier trem arm, though. But if you think the guitar is too bright (can be remedies with the tone control) and thin (can't be remedied with the tone control), a full-size blick might be the way to go. That's still cheaper than getting new pickups.

    If you really want to improve things, get CTS pots and a proper switch. See if you like the sound of the pickups - they're good pickups. If any one of them rubs you the wrong way, think about what you don't like and get another pickup that does what you want.

    But apart from the electronics, you have a solid guitar there. Don't fix what isn't broken.
     

  3. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985 Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    51
    Nov 14, 2013
    Alabama
    A MIM Standard trem will drop right in. It has a full size block and only costs about $20 on Amazon.
     

  4. SlopeSoarer

    SlopeSoarer Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    58
    18
    Nov 22, 2017
    Clitheroe, Lancashire
    Thanks for the replies.

    Yes I do think the sound is bright but reading that other thread and listening to the video, I might just be wasting my time: ) I had already ordered a replacement tremolo arm and I may keep an eye out for a MIM trem at the right price (cheap). I appreciate what you say about if it ain't broke don't fix it so, would changing the pots have any effect on the brightness? Just reading through other info am I right in thinking 250k pots, volume - audio taper and tone - linear taper?

    Thanks again.

    Simon
     

  5. TangerineDog

    TangerineDog Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 5, 2015
    The EU
    Yes, changing the pots has effect on how much high end goes to ground with the tone on 10.

    But this guitar already has 250k pots. Higher value pots will give you even more top end and [edit to add: if you're thinking about using lower value pots now] nobody has ever used 100k pots in a Strat - you don't need to either.

    Quality pots, however, with the same value, will yield a tad more clarity and - in my opinion - won't scratch as much. That's why I recommended changing the electronics.

    If your guitar sounds too bright for your taste, try running the the control on something other than 10 - that's what it's for. Maybe you like it best on 4? 3? You can still turn it up if you need more high end. You can't do that if your pots swallow that 'more high end' already.

    But I think I need to make the distinction between bright and thin clear - is your guitar bright, as in too much top end, or thin, as in too little bottom end? The tone control can take away top end, but it can't add bottom end (not even the TBX does that), you'd need thicker strings for that.
    Or:
    Try lowering the pickups flush with the pickguard, then raising them one turn of the screw at a time.
    The tone will change more than you think with each turn. Stop when you find your sweet spot.

    Also, concerning linear and logarithmic pots, in theory, you got it right!
    But I have a log taper volume pot on my Strat and I hate it. I suspect my Tele has a linear volume control and I love it.
    I'll get around to putting a linear pot in that Strat one day soon.
    But you have to find out for yourself what you like.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018

  6. Seekir

    Seekir Strat-Talker

    Age:
    64
    126
    Mar 11, 2015
    Hilo, Hawaii
    I'm a bit confused by your post. I was under the impression that "higher value" meant larger numbers? I.E. 500K (higher value) pots would sound brighter and pass more treble than 250K pots? Maybe you meant to type 500K rather than 100K?
     

  7. TangerineDog

    TangerineDog Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 5, 2015
    The EU
    Nope - two units of meaning there.

    'Higher value pots will give you even more top end' - so they're off the table. This unit of meaning was thereby over and done with.

    But the OP had asked about changing pots in general and mentioned that his guitar was bright, so lower value pots were, of course, still on the table.
    Hence I said 'and nobody has ever used 100k pots in a Strat', anticipating the question if lower value pots might not be an option.

    Granted, I could have separated that a little clearer, but I think the content is still on point ;)
     

  8. SlopeSoarer

    SlopeSoarer Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    58
    18
    Nov 22, 2017
    Clitheroe, Lancashire
    Due to limited experience I'm unsure about how whether it sounds bright or thin in sound, in comparison to the Affinity especially in the bridge pickup I immediately thought it sounded shrill.

    I'll spend a bit of time adjusting pickup height and see how I go on.

    With regard to the pots when you say in theory I'm right, what will currently be in there... i.e. volume - audio taper and tone - linear taper?
     

  9. TangerineDog

    TangerineDog Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 5, 2015
    The EU
    Shrill sounds like too much high end. Turn down the tone 'til you find a spot you like - it's all about if you like it.

    The pots? I don't know what's in there, I bought my VM without electronics so I never got to open her up. I just remember playing her in the store, that's why I know the pickups are ok.
    It's either both linear or both audio, but what kind? That's all over the place. Whatever the factory had at hand. Maybe yours was the first to get audio pots after they had used linear ones for a month.
     

  10. dirocyn

    dirocyn Strat-Talker

    Age:
    43
    180
    Jan 20, 2018
    Murfreesboro, TN
    250k pots are way less shrill than 500k pots. It makes a big difference. IDK what pots are actually in this guitar, but I'd guess the Duncan pickup is not original, and that means it's anybody's guess what value pots are in this. I suggest you pull off the pick guard for a look-see, maybe even bust out the multimeter & measure how many ohms on those pots. While you're in there, do you have wiring in place for a push-pull switch to split coils on the humbucker? Sometimes you may want a bridge acting like a single coil, esp. if you want that notch sound.

    Is any tone pot hooked up to the bridge pup? If not, it'll be bright.

    I would expect a heavier trem block to have more effect on sustain than on frequencies. Heavier generally means more sustain.