Decked Trem - an in-depth question to sound, not handling

albala

Dr. Stratster
May 10, 2012
10,819
Hilton Head, South Carolina
5 decked and 1 blocked

9-42s on everything

I never got along with whammy bars and the day my wizard decked the trem on my Strat Plus in '93 was the day I fell in love with Fenders.
 

T-Model

Strat-Talker
Feb 4, 2022
154
USA
I have an old affinity Strat I had given to me. The only thing that bothers me are the Allen screws sticking up. How do guys avoid that ?
The front of your bridge plate(part closest to your bridge pickup) is likely too high off the body.
This condition causes the saddles to have to be set too low in order to compensate and thus the Allen screws stick up.
Lower the front of the bridge plate to either touching the body or almost touching the body. Then you can raise the saddles to return the action to where it should be. Your Allen screws will recess back into your saddles.
Common issue that many don’t understand.
 

CraigG58

New Member!
Oct 16, 2021
2
Florida
I’ve encountered numerous tuning issues on my American HSS Strat, which has a vintage tremolo bridge that I only use for dives. Short of having a Floyd Rose system installed which obviously would have cost beau-coup bucks, I think I’d tried just about everything in the book in attempting to solve the problem:

- Decking the block using claw and bridge mounting screws.
- Installing block-style bridge string saddles.
- Various numbers and configuration of springs.
- Modifying bridge plate mounting (example: 2 outside screws tight as pivot points, middle 4 raised slightly for stability).
- In-cavity tremolo stabilizers.
- Half-loop string wrapping around the machine heads.
- Nut and saddle lubrication using Burt’s Bees and the like (always a good idea anyway).

I’m probably forgetting some other things, but I’m sure you get the picture..

The one thing that helped most was to install 5 Fender springs, but then far too much pressure on the arm was required to press it fully down.

What finally took care of the issue for me was this product:
Raw Vintage RVTS-1 5 Piece Tremolo Spring Set

Since they apply less force than Fender springs, I was able to install all 5 for stability while still being able to easily dive bomb the arm. In fact, it actually feels like I only have 3 springs installed.

No noticeable difference in tone whatsoever, and the guitar now stays perfectly in-tune.
 

paulyaya

New Member!
Apr 30, 2017
5
Bend, Oregon
Hey guys and girls!

my whole life I am asking myself the old question regarding my vintage style strat: deck or float the trem?
besides obvious reason (sustain, not going out of tune when a string breaks, staying in tune when only one string is bend and the outers are being picked) there is one special thing that I observe with my strat:

when the trem floats (with .010’s on and 3 springs) it sounds great, all strings ring clear - basically like a more or less new guitar. when the trem is decked (4 springs) the sound changes quite a bit: it then sounds more organic, very woody so to speak and much more vintage/old to my ears.

did you have similar experience? What do you think what the reasons may be?

peace, freeed

p.s.: how many trem-springs do you use to deck the trem and what type of springs?
Oh my gosh I love this... Ding Ding Ding we have a winner!!! well actually it's a tie or that dang up and comer personal preference, the best part is hearing the history of your personal preference, that's the fun stuff.
1980 I'm 20 and I buy my first strat, a 1960 hardtail and little tube amp. Legend has it that it belonged to Hank W Jr... it had be refinished into a barn-stain red and brass parts, you know the drill swamp ash and rosewood... and yes I got rid of it because I'm stupid and repulsive.

Now I have a few strats a couple of brain injuries and a stroke but I made these all but 2 while undiagnosed and just finishing them up.

One hardtail and the rest 5 springs locked... what can I say... Thanks
 

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Ibmorjamn

Strat-Talk Member
Jan 12, 2022
15
Oregon
The front of your bridge plate(part closest to your bridge pickup) is likely too high off the body.
This condition causes the saddles to have to be set too low in order to compensate and thus the Allen screws stick up.
Lower the front of the bridge plate to either touching the body or almost touching the body. Then you can raise the saddles to return the action to where it should be. Your Allen screws will recess back into your saddles.
Common issue that many don’t understand.
Thanks T-model!
 

Pickaxe

Strat-Talk Member
Feb 14, 2011
70
Manchester
Hey guys and girls!

my whole life I am asking myself the old question regarding my vintage style strat: deck or float the trem?
besides obvious reason (sustain, not going out of tune when a string breaks, staying in tune when only one string is bend and the outers are being picked) there is one special thing that I observe with my strat:

when the trem floats (with .010’s on and 3 springs) it sounds great, all strings ring clear - basically like a more or less new guitar. when the trem is decked (4 springs) the sound changes quite a bit: it then sounds more organic, very woody so to speak and much more vintage/old to my ears.

did you have similar experience? What do you think what the reasons may be?

peace, freeed

p.s.: how many trem-springs do you use to deck the trem and what type of springs?
I float the trem with 3 springs, I usually have the trem arm in my last 2 fingers so over the years I can bend notes and compensate for the de-tune without it de-tuning. I can't envisage life with a strat without a floating trem as I literally use it ALL the time. I notice Jeff beck does a similar thing but uses different fingers to hold the trem arm.
 

Zappastectomy

New Member!
Jan 2, 2022
1
USA
Hey guys and girls!

my whole life I am asking myself the old question regarding my vintage style strat: deck or float the trem?
besides obvious reason (sustain, not going out of tune when a string breaks, staying in tune when only one string is bend and the outers are being picked) there is one special thing that I observe with my strat:

when the trem floats (with .010’s on and 3 springs) it sounds great, all strings ring clear - basically like a more or less new guitar. when the trem is decked (4 springs) the sound changes quite a bit: it then sounds more organic, very woody so to speak and much more vintage/old to my ears.

did you have similar experience? What do you think what the reasons may be?

peace, freeed

p.s.: how many trem-springs do you use to deck the trem and what type of springs?
I have an American Deluxe strat with the newer 2 point trem bridge and roller but. I just decked it a couple of weeks ago because I was too lazy to adjust the springs properly after a bridge setup adjustment and loved it “decked” with 5 springs. I preferred the feel of the guitar, the accurate bending, tighter action and a little more bark (mids?) to the tone. The way I played it changed immediately.

However, I mainly play a Tele and the whole reason for this fancy strat geetar was to float the trem and do nutty whammy things or more subtle pedal steel tricks with a very loose 3 spring float.

I set it back to floating, tuning is excellent again. The bends are not as accurate now and I play it differently which is what I wanted. It seems to sound clearer, like the PUPS now have slightly less output when floated. David Allen Echoes Pups are awesome!

Moody and loveable, strats…
 

Ibmorjamn

Strat-Talk Member
Jan 12, 2022
15
Oregon
The front of your bridge plate(part closest to your bridge pickup) is likely too high off the body.
This condition causes the saddles to have to be set too low in order to compensate and thus the Allen screws stick up.
Lower the front of the bridge plate to either touching the body or almost touching the body. Then you can raise the saddles to return the action to where it should be. Your Allen screws will recess back into your saddles.
Common issue that many don’t understand.
It is actually flat I raised the 6th string (dropped the screw down) to see what it does. First action is higher. I am thinking about the Wilkinson Tremolo. It is engineered to not have the screws stick up.
 

Scott Baxendale

Most Honored Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
May 20, 2020
5,985
Sante Fe, NM
Hey guys and girls!

my whole life I am asking myself the old question regarding my vintage style strat: deck or float the trem?
besides obvious reason (sustain, not going out of tune when a string breaks, staying in tune when only one string is bend and the outers are being picked) there is one special thing that I observe with my strat:

when the trem floats (with .010’s on and 3 springs) it sounds great, all strings ring clear - basically like a more or less new guitar. when the trem is decked (4 springs) the sound changes quite a bit: it then sounds more organic, very woody so to speak and much more vintage/old to my ears.

did you have similar experience? What do you think what the reasons may be?

peace, freeed

p.s.: how many trem-springs do you use to deck the trem and what type of springs?
I use 5 springs on most of my Strats. I go through the bin and get the stiffest springs which vary quite a bit.
 

Silverman

Strat-Talker
Feb 28, 2016
415
Chicago
Hey guys and girls!

my whole life I am asking myself the old question regarding my vintage style strat: deck or float the trem?
besides obvious reason (sustain, not going out of tune when a string breaks, staying in tune when only one string is bend and the outers are being picked) there is one special thing that I observe with my strat:

when the trem floats (with .010’s on and 3 springs) it sounds great, all strings ring clear - basically like a more or less new guitar. when the trem is decked (4 springs) the sound changes quite a bit: it then sounds more organic, very woody so to speak and much more vintage/old to my ears.

did you have similar experience? What do you think what the reasons may be?

peace, freeed

p.s.: how many trem-springs do you use to deck the trem and what type of springs?
I don't put much faith in the idea that decking gives you better tone. BUT, having a floating trem might effect the way you play, and that may translate to a different sound.
 

kharrisma

Strat-Talk Member
Apr 6, 2020
13
Bristol, NH, USA
I"ve got 9's on mine, floating trem, 3 springs. Replaced the nut with a Tusq, got rid of the string trees. Tuning is very stable as far as using the trem and returning to neutral-in-tune; only thing I don't like is if I'm doing a heavy bend on the third string and go to bridge the first & second for a three-note chord, the first & second go quite noticeably flat when I bend the third. Maybe going to five springs might clear this up? Or are the other two always going to go a little flat with a floating trem?
 

stratblast

Strat-O-Master
Jan 17, 2015
559
OMAHA, NEBRASKA
I"ve got 9's on mine, floating trem, 3 springs. Replaced the nut with a Tusq, got rid of the string trees. Tuning is very stable as far as using the trem and returning to neutral-in-tune; only thing I don't like is if I'm doing a heavy bend on the third string and go to bridge the first & second for a three-note chord, the first & second go quite noticeably flat when I bend the third. Maybe going to five springs might clear this up? Or are the other two always going to go a little flat with a floating trem?
can 2 extra springs be added to the tremolo cavity?.. is there space?..I have 3 in most of my strats...
 

Siameser

Strat-Talker
Feb 27, 2021
116
Muskegon, Michigan
Oh my gosh I love this... Ding Ding Ding we have a winner!!! well actually it's a tie or that dang up and comer personal preference, the best part is hearing the history of your personal preference, that's the fun stuff.
1980 I'm 20 and I buy my first strat, a 1960 hardtail and little tube amp. Legend has it that it belonged to Hank W Jr... it had be refinished into a barn-stain red and brass parts, you know the drill swamp ash and rosewood... and yes I got rid of it because I'm stupid and repulsive.

Now I have a few strats a couple of brain injuries and a stroke but I made these all but 2 while undiagnosed and just finishing them up.

One hardtail and the rest 5 springs locked... what can I say... Thanks
Stupid and repulsive? Darn!
 

T-Model

Strat-Talker
Feb 4, 2022
154
USA
It is actually flat I raised the 6th string (dropped the screw down) to see what it does. First action is higher. I am thinking about the Wilkinson Tremolo. It is engineered to not have the screws stick up.

Ok, try this:
Usually the outer saddles (high E & Low E) have shorter Allen screws because they sit lower. (due to the fretboard radius) Take the short screws out of your high E string saddle and swap them with your A string saddle screws. I find it’s the low E and the A saddles that mostly cause palm scratching if they stick out. As you get closer to the high E saddle it doesn’t matter as much if the screws stick up.
 

Ibmorjamn

Strat-Talk Member
Jan 12, 2022
15
Oregon
Ok, try this:
Usually the outer saddles (high E & Low E) have shorter Allen screws because they sit lower. (due to the fretboard radius) Take the short screws out of your high E string saddle and swap them with your A string saddle screws. I find it’s the low E and the A saddles that mostly cause palm scratching if they stick out. As you get closer to the high E saddle it doesn’t matter as much if the screws stick up.
I am going to try that. Today I went by guitar center and tried to get a look at a new import. Most of the ones I saw had either a 2 point type trem or hard tail bridge. That being said almost all screws were flush. Not saying it would be properly set up but I would hope it would be close. Anyway I will continue , thanks for the reply. I am so new to strays but I am liking them!
 


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