Help with vintage 6-screw bridge

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Retroe, May 10, 2021.

  1. Retroe

    Retroe Strat-Talker

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    So over the weekend I completed my partscaster build.

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    She plays well and sounds sweet, But I have an issue with the bridge/tremolo.

    First off, the body is from an AVRI 62' hotrod that I bought used. However I'm not sure if the bridge and tremolo-unit is original. The block feels kind of like plastic or like it has a some type of plastic coating? Doesn't feel like metal.

    Please take a look at the pics below. Does it look like it's the original bridge and trem-unit from an AVRI 62' ?

    The main issue: Despite it not being decked and looks like it's floating, I can't pull back on it at all. And it also doesn't feel right when I push down on the bar, either. Feels stiff and doesn't seem to move like I would expect.

    I did some research and found an older post here on Strat-Talk that seems to suggest this is normal for it not to move. I also watched a couple YouTube videos but I'm still not sure what the problem is.

    Bottom line, I need some advice on how to approach this issue. It's a nice body and I don't want to screw it up. Hoping someone can walk me through what to do to make it float and work normally.

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  2. Impulsive guppy

    Impulsive guppy Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    Personally I would turn down the two outside screws that attach the trem to the body.
    Until they just touch the top of the plate.

    Then loosen the four in the middle.
    Just a bit, so the outside screws bear the bulk of the force and the middle ones don’t interfere.
     
  3. Deebs3

    Deebs3 Senior Stratmaster

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    There are plenty of videos on how to float a bridge, the 6 screws for eg need to be set up to allow the bridge to float, they all look tight to me.
     
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  4. Impulsive guppy

    Impulsive guppy Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    I see space between the bottom of the outside screw head and the plate.
    I don’t think that’s correct.
     
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  5. Retroe

    Retroe Strat-Talker

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    Well I've watched a couple videos but I'm still confused.

    I don't understand why the bridge isn't decked if the screws are tight. Doesn;t it appreat as though it's floating? I also don't understand why I can't pull back on the bar when it looks like the bridge is floating.

    And I'm not sure if you guys looked at the post I linked to but it stated the following:

    The front of the bridge should have a bevel, meaning if you tighten all 6 mounting screws all the way it's going to be tilted permanently in a floating type position, raised off the body at the back of the bridge....but it won't move....

    Is that true? Is that why it won't pull back and feels stiff?
     
  6. marksound

    marksound Strat-O-Master

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    OK
    In a word, yes.
     
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  7. Retroe

    Retroe Strat-Talker

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    OK, so I guess it's normal.

    Should I first loosen the strings before attempting to adjust the bridge screws, or doesn't it matter?
     
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  8. Retroe

    Retroe Strat-Talker

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    Yes, good eye! I looked at it again and the two outer screws have space between them but the four inner screws are tight which is just the opposite of how it should be?
     
  9. rockon1

    rockon1 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    Easiest to set the screws with it unloaded. Its harder to tell if they are allowing the trem to sit flat when its all together. With the strings and springs removed back out the screws a bit. You will know they are loose enough if the bridge plate is flat against the body. Turn them in , one at a time until you see it trying to lift the bridge. If it does back off a small bit. Do the same with all the screws. Done. The bridge should now pivot freely from flat on the body.
     
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  10. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    As described by Guitarmageddon, IF the screws are cranked down, it will look like it's floating, but it won't move.
    But that is not "normal"... that is improperly adjusted.

    Loosen all 6 screws
    deck the plate
    tighten the screws just enough to touch the plate, then back them off 1/4 turn.
     
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  11. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    None of them should be tight.
     
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  12. Retroe

    Retroe Strat-Talker

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    Yes, that is what the issue was. Four inner screws were tight, the outer two were not.


    When you say loosen all six screws to deck the plate, would it be correct to do this with the strings tuned up to pitch? I know once I start adjusting and deck the plat it will take it way out of tune. Just asking if I should have her tuned to pitch when I start?
     
  13. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    It's really not a big deal on a vintage bridge, but it's a good habit to detune any time you make adjustments to the bridge. On a 2-post bridge, turning the screws under tension quickly wears on the knife-edge and can hurt the plate.
    You're going to have to retune anyways, so I would say, ya... go ahead and detune before adjusting them.
     
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  14. Deebs3

    Deebs3 Senior Stratmaster

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    With the strings off you should have the bridge able to move up and down, then its a balancing act between the strings and claw as to where the bridge should sit.
     
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  15. kylekumar

    kylekumar New Member!

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    I had this same issue with my partscaster build. It was those 6 screws being tightened to far into the plate, causing it to get jacked up, instead of flush with the body. Had to back off of them just a quarter-turn or so. Only then did it deck properly and intonate lol. Your EAD saddles look just like mine did.
     
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  16. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    A 2nd possible issue is the routing not being correct, or the finish too thick, causing the block to bind on the cavity.
    But that is unlikely with a factory body... that's something you'll run into on some cheap import bodies.
     
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  17. Retroe

    Retroe Strat-Talker

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    Fixed!

    The screws were too tight causing the bridge plate to be jacked up. I detuned the strings and backed off the screws and it immediately became decked. I then did as you said, tightened the screws just enough to touch the plate, then backed them off slightly about a 1/4 turn. Tuned her back up and made adjustments to the claw and retuned again. Now the bridge floats and the trem works properly.

    This was my first time working with a vintage six screw bridge. So thank you to everyone for your help. My 60's partscaster plays great now and sounds sweet.
     
  18. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

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    Strings off and springs off too and the guitar flat on it's back.

    Starting with the two outside screws, tighten them one at a time until the back of the bridge lifts slightly. Loosen until it drops back to the face of the guitar. Then back off a quarter to half turn.

    Repeat this with the four inner screws, but back off a half to a full turn.

    Put on your springs and strings.
    Tune it up.
    Adjust the claw to float or deck.
     
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  19. Retroe

    Retroe Strat-Talker

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    Great advice, next time I'll know what to do.

    Trem and bridge are fine now, only thing I need to do is make intonation adjustments.
     
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  20. CeltRocka

    CeltRocka Senior Stratmaster

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    It is the correct bridge and block for an AVRI - they do have a very thick painted finish