Floating, decked or blocked tremolo?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by gene machine, Mar 13, 2021.

Floating, decked or blocked tremolo?

  1. Floating

    52.9%
  2. Decked

    35.7%
  3. Blocked

    11.5%
  1. Arkadian

    Arkadian Strat-Talk Member

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    Most people today don't realise that the Stratocaster vibrato unit was designed for much heavier tension strings than what most use today, and also for flatwounds, which has much less friction. That's why people have tuning problems. On all my vibrato-equipped guitars, I use Thomastik-Infeld 12–50 flatwounds (that would have been considered quite light in the 50s and early 60s). I set up the vibrato to have a halfnote upbend on the high E string, and it stays in tune no matter what.
     
  2. Kalio

    Kalio Strat-Talk Member

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    The tremolo on Stratocaster was meant by Leo to be floating hence bar goes angled in the base.
    If I want non floating trem I would get a hard tail strat. Which I'm thinking more and more of. A 55 or 56 hard tail reissue with ash body mmmm...
     
  3. Arkadian

    Arkadian Strat-Talk Member

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    Exactly! So many people don't understand this. Tuning problems are always caused by friction and/or bad setup, never the tuners. Ever.
     
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  4. Zippofan

    Zippofan Strat-Talk Member

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    Floating, though I just went back to three springs, I had four and it was a little too stiff for the way I like it to feel.
     
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  5. stylemessiah

    stylemessiah Strat-Talker

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    SRV Strat - decked

    I suspect if i wasnt already a 25+ year deckist, id be hung for doing anything else with it...
     
  6. Bloodtrails

    Bloodtrails Strat-Talk Member

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    Hardtail
     
  7. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Most Honored Senior Member

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    If you string them up like any old tuner, then no tuning benefit.
    The point of locking tuners is to pull the string straight through with no slack and lock it into place, so that you end up with a minimal amount of winds around the post - this helps reduce the downward angle between the nut and post, which in turn helps reduce the amount of binding that occurs.
    Now, as with anything, tuners are only one part of a whole system - they are not a magic bullet that will cure all ills - but again, if used as designed, locking tuners can help.
     
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  8. Kalio

    Kalio Strat-Talk Member

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    They eliminate string windings on the tuner post. Those windings move when you use the trem and make strings go out of tune.
    So no, they are not only for easier string changes. :)
    Yes, friction is the major problem and it is present in string windings too.
     
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  9. Surf Green

    Surf Green Strat-Talk Member

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    Floating. Never had any significant tuning issues.
     
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  10. ak-25

    ak-25 Strat-Talker

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    floating, to me it sounds a little more 'airy' I use it like a Bigsby for subtle bends not dive bombs. A little graphite in the nut slots means it holds tune fairly well
     
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  11. GeeDub

    GeeDub Strat-Talk Member

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    Decked and blocked. Some day I may try removing the block and just lightly decking to see if I like that. I mostly play blues and do lots of bends so a floating setup, to me, is not ideal in this regard.
     
  12. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

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    I do whatever moves me man...

    dylan.png
     
  13. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Most Honored Senior Member

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    On my decked strats I set it up so that the back of the plate only starts to lift off the body surface with a 1.5 step bend or more - that way if I want to add vibrato to a really wide bend I can use the bar, but all other bends stay a little more stable.
     
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  14. rockon1

    rockon1 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    I disagree. If youre going to use the trem aggressively they are invaluable. I tried everything one step at a time. Nothing worked until I added locking tuners and removed the trees.Locking tuners eliminate the wraps that become untensioned/unloaded during heavy use. Plus they eliminate friction with the elimination of string trees. I wont bother using a strat trem wothout them. Maybe under light use they arent necessary but I am aggressive with the trem and only with locking tuners will it stay in tune.
     
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  15. Richard McKay

    Richard McKay Strat-Talker

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    Currently all of mine are decked. I float my dirty blonde from time to time but I don't really do a lot of whammy stuff. Also, when playing out, if I break a string on a floating bridge, the guitar is worthless for the rest of the show. Not worth it.
     
  16. Wayne Adams

    Wayne Adams Strat-O-Master

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    The tremolo on my Strat is set to float, BUT: it's the first guitar I've owned in nearly thirty years that wasn't a hardtail, and the only one I currently own. It's a Warmoth Strat with Schaller locking tuners, GraphTech nut, and Wilkinson trem. Don't know exactly what I did setting it up, but it must have been something right, because it's the first tremolo I ever owned that stayed in tune, and I don't exactly wail on the whammy bar.

    The other guitarist in the band had so many problems staying in tune with the trem on his (real) Player's Strat that he eventually gave up trying to adjust it and had me block it down solid. That was the only thing he didn't like about the guitar, other than that it plays and sounds great.
     
  17. 57Strat777

    57Strat777 Strat-O-Master

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    I have two Strat Plus 2-point tremolo guitars and 2 PRS guitars with tremolo. All are setup floating & have locking tuners. I can literally play Voodoo Child for 3 or 4 straight hours on any of these guitars and they will still be in tune. With constant heavy tremolo use they all stay in tune just as well as my fixed bridge guitars.

    IMO blocking a Strat tremolo takes something away from the Strat tone. If you're going for SRV or Hendrix tone, adding a block seems to take away something that is needed for that kind of tone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2021
  18. Doc538

    Doc538 Strat-Talker

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    Block em with a nice piece of wood instead of 9v battery. I have a collection of unused bars :) Even removed the arm and spring off mu 1960's Uni.
     
  19. jsegovia

    jsegovia Strat-Talk Member

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    I've owned three Eric Johnson Strats - I bought my third used last year from a luthier who builds custom guitars and really knows about setup. I love this guitar - I just change the strings and it feels absolutely perfect and always stays in tune. When I started paying attention to these things I found out Eric Johnson always decks his guitars and uses five springs (for tuning stability, I think) so that's what I've always done. But when I first saw this thread I actually looked at my Strat and then I saw it: the previous owner had set it up floating. I can easily pull up a full step on any of the strings.

    Before then I would've told you decked is the only way to go, but judging from this particular guitar, floating is how I like my Strats. The previous owner did leave all five springs on so it's still some work to use the tremolo - you have to really want to use it, which is fine by me.

    Floating forever, apparently! :)

    Jesse
     
  20. train

    train Worlds largest private army Silver Member

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    Decked. Never could get the hang of the jb. Style. I got an old Jackson set to float so I do know the fun that can be had . I just suck . So tuning stability . With springs.but my passion is in shaping the sound going down the lead . I guess it’s more of an electronic guitar. Beam me up scotty