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What substitutes as a tremolo arm spring?

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by CrimsonHighway1, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. CrimsonHighway1

    CrimsonHighway1 Strat-Talker

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    I'm missing the little spring that goes in the bridge for the tremolo arm (never had a trem guitar before so I don't even know what one looks like).

    The area stores are out of stock.
    What makes a good substitute for one?

    (I did a search but didn't turn up anything)
     
  2. jgillard

    jgillard Strat-O-Master

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    You don't really need it. A good substitute is to wrap teflon tape (The kind used for plumbing) around the threads of the bar. Give it just enough to snug up the bar to the tension you want. You will have to do this from time to time but the stuff is cheap.
     
  3. hendrixfan

    hendrixfan Senior Stratmaster

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    i did this with my cp 60,s to keep the bar where i wanted it to stay,i used ptfe tape,i,m pretty sure its the same stuff,kept the spring in though
     
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  5. dman

    dman Strat-O-Master

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    Try a drop or two of blue 242 Loc-tite.
     
  6. Phat-O-Caster

    Phat-O-Caster Strat-O-Master

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    The spring out of a ball point pin is a pretty close match.
     
  7. Axis29

    Axis29 Strat-O-Master

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    I actually ran by the hardware store and picked up an assortment of springs form the loose hardware aisle... I think it cost me about a buck to have six or seven different sizes to come home and play with. I brought 'em home, found the right size and cut it into three pieces...

    Now, there a little paper bag with two more pieces laying around here somewhere...
     
  8. CrimsonHighway1

    CrimsonHighway1 Strat-Talker

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    Thanks for the replies. I suppose anyone that owns a home has got some teflon tape hanging around. (I know I do)

    So, similar to a ball point pen.
    Again, I've never seen one of the tremolo arm springs.

    How long is one supposed to be?
    What exactly is it supposed to do?
    I'm assuming it's supposed to be a large enough diameter for the threaded arm to fit through...but then how does it serve any purpose?
    (sorry if I sound stupit...)
     
  9. intoflatlines

    intoflatlines Strat-Talker

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    Hm, I've never seen or heard of one either. If mine is missing, is that the reason why either my tremolo arm is screwed all the way in and it's hard to rotate or it rotates fine but it it has a wobble to it?
     
  10. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Bill Callaham suggests losing that little spring (and going on as though it never existed) is the best thing you can do.
     
  11. jgillard

    jgillard Strat-O-Master

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    The squier guitars do not come with the spring at all.
     
  12. joeybsyc

    joeybsyc Senior Stratmaster

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    The correct spring is about 50X stiffer than a ball point pen spring, so I don't see how that could be considered as a substitute. Basically what the spring does is goes in the hole ahead of the arm, amd when you thread the tip of the arm in against it, the strong spring "pushes" out on the end of the tremolo bar, in effect taking up the slack in the threads and making it stay in place without damaging the threads. Without it, theres enough "slop" in the threads that the arm flops around like a wet noodle and doesn't stay put. wrapping tape around the threads or using loctite is essentially doing the same thing as the spring... taking up the sloppiness of the threads and making the threads tighter.

    Did you ever notice that when you first thread a new arm into a new bridge, the arm stays right where you want it to for awhile, with no spring, or loctite, or tape? Then after a few times in and out it starts flopping. This is because the threads loosen up after being threaded in and out a few times. The spring compensates for this looseness that occurs.
     
  13. Lowdown

    Lowdown Strat-Talker

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    Never seen one of these springs myself either.
    But doesn't bother me at all,as I have my arm loose and swinging baby...
     
  14. elementlax

    elementlax Senior Stratmaster

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    NEVER do the ball point pen spring thing.
    the spring gets balled up, and its been stuck in my guitar for a couple months, cant get it out!!!!!!!!!
     
  15. joeybsyc

    joeybsyc Senior Stratmaster

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    I rest my case! ;)
     
  16. CrimsonHighway1

    CrimsonHighway1 Strat-Talker

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    Do you have a couple of instrument screw drivers? I bought a little set at a discount store (cost me like 2 dollars). They're really, really narrow. Not good for much of anything except fixing eyeglasses...or maybe getting that spring out.
    Or how about a couple of tooth picks?
     
  17. CrimsonHighway1

    CrimsonHighway1 Strat-Talker

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    ok...so I went to the Fender site...did a dealer locator and called until I found someone who had one...and they only had one (package). It seems you have to buy the package of 12. So, I should now have enough for life.

    Here's a pic (modest pun intended) ;)

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Jabs

    Jabs Strat-Talk Member

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    Why would you use loctite? It still needs to move.
     
  19. dman

    dman Strat-O-Master

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    Blue 242 Loc-tite has a fairly mild adhesive property...just enough so a bolt, or in this case a trem arm, won't unscrew/ flop around/ cause other untold aggravation. There are stronger levels of Loc-tite...obviously not recommended.
     
  20. dman

    dman Strat-O-Master

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    By the way, I wouldn't recommend even the Fender springs. I bought a used Squier Pro Tone last year and put a trem arm spring in to cure the "floppy arm syndrome". I ended up with the same situation as Elementlax...the spring all balled up. To boot, I developed a weird smpathetic vibration on some notes coming from the bridge. I finally managed to dig out the spring and the vibration went away when I went to the Loc-tite trick. Was it the spring? Dunno, but both the spring and the vibration are gone now!
     
  21. CrimsonHighway1

    CrimsonHighway1 Strat-Talker

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    Well, I just put a new spring in, then screwed in the 'floppy' trem arm. The difference is like NIGHT AND DAY. The arm is not floppy, the trem works perfectly.

    I've had no spring since I bought the guitar and the trem worked so lousy I took the arm out and put it in the case. NOW I know how it's supposed to be.

    As far as putting Loctite in there...well, whatever...but a certain percentage of it is going to dry and crumble. And the teflon tape seems like it would shred. Both would leave some residue in the cavity when removing the trem arm.

    Now, the Fender springs are fairly strong (not like a pen spring, as has been mentioned by joeybsyc). I can't compress it with my fingers. I guess you could tighten the arm to the point where you crush the spring in on itself....but geeze, we're not talking about screwing the arm in like you're tightening lug nuts to hold the wheels on your car. I would think that you just screw it in until it doesn't flop around during use (MAYBE one more turn).

    Before this guitar, I never had a guitar with a trem. And before getting the spring today, I never knew how well they can work. Obviously I am NOT the voice of experience...I cannot be sure what will happen to the spring over time...but it 'seems' like it should continue to work just fine.
     

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