Real tools - get legit parts if you want your tremolo to stay in tune

brokenbar

Strat-Talk Member
Sep 10, 2021
75
Los Angeles
We all love guitar here and you are a savvy lot, so maybe it has been said already. Say something once, why say it again? For the young ones then.

So I cheaped out on that Jungle site with off brand Fender style two pin sealed tuners. Within a month they developed a maddening slop as the gears quickly wore out. I've read here that locking tuners can be matched by standard if the strings are wrapped right. In my experience, not quite.

Instead of that toxic jungle site featuring counterfeit or knock off parts in its random search results, I broke down and spent some money in a civilized place where the water is drinkable.

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Fender 0990818100 locking tuners. I read that two were longer, but this is nicely matched with three long and three short. The shorty holes for the trebles right at the limit to the bushing on this cheap, but maple, headstock. (Those same nines have been on and off this thing a dozen times during its construction!)

Sure, that Jungle site will shed string trees like Tipu seeds, dozens for the price of one real Fender. But they do not allow the string to glide! Look carefully at Fender 0994910000 on the right. Real tools are used to make a curve in the stamp, so the string only contacts at one point. Not so with the cheap ones. A long groove with sharp edges to catch your strings. Fender 0994911000 looks interesting with a pivot point but takes an extra hole to position it, maybe later.

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Blackmore was wild with the whammy early on. He had solved several of its technical troubles. Key thing I noticed in a video close up, the rear of the tremolo is 1/8 inch or more above the body. On the unwounds he can bend up a step or more. Here, my guitar.

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Fender Six Point does not have a true knife edge in each of those little countersunk holes. But by angling the bridge enough, the edge of the top of the hole rests against the screw, creating a knife edge. Why Six Point? Because two point inserts in a guitar made of less than the best hardwood will pitch forward with heavy use. This one is basswood. (This is a recurring trouble on my Floyd guitars, but remediated some with an anchor plate. Floyd does not make one, my pleas ignored, so the plate bolts have coarse threads.)

String past the nut, past the saddle on non-locking needs to be reduced for best return to tune after left hand bends. Mostly noticeable on the G string. This Squire body git has a GFS steel block. You may have noticed I carved a chunk of it out to make room for a real Floyd bar as I am sick of stripping out the wimpy stock type. The block string holes are drilled within 16mm of the plate. The over wraps end just before leaving the saddle. Not much there to grab tension. Your wraps on the tuner do the same. They move when they lose tension. Even the way I wrap them on standard tuners - immediately folding back under to clamp with the shortest amount of string on the trebles. Those are GraphTech saddles, the first string narrowed to clear the Floyd bar nut. They sound a thousand times better than the stamped Fender saddles I tried out, I also like the cast steel as they also provide some bass and mid-range.

After installing the locking tuners, there was so much less string to bring up to tension I had to back out the claw screws as the tremolo was nearly decked.

The trem works really, really well now. Even with this stock terrible plastic nut, the cheap neck allowing me to resurrect this cast off art work Squire body. I did not have a stock Fender type guitar, and am well pleased with this one, it sounds, plays and looks great. With more time than money, still I don't know that I would do this again. Total cost is less than $150. Used Fender neck plate and jack, used GFS loaded pickguard. But little things take so much time. Fitting the neck. Scraping the pickguard. Whittling on that steel block. Oy Vey!
 
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revtime

Senior Stratmaster
Jun 17, 2014
1,001
kansas
Really you go on a rant about quality parts and then show a Jay Turser headstock??
It should say Fender and only the original parts please otherwise you wont get 20k when its old and busted.


Jeez I am in a mood tonight.
 

brokenbar

Strat-Talk Member
Sep 10, 2021
75
Los Angeles
Really you go on a rant about quality parts and then show a Jay Turser headstock??
It should say Fender and only the original parts please otherwise you wont get 20k when its old and busted.


Jeez I am in a mood tonight.

Thank you for your reply. Indeed, not a good investment. Collector vs. Player.

Squire is not exactly a Fender anyway, and the neck was made elsewhere on the China coast. You may find threads about the old Jay Turser. It is maple and rosewood, the fingerboard level, wide, straight and I like the C neck shape. The price was right at $15. The older import stuff helped deforestation move along, the body is three piece. it is tough to get these things on inexpensive gits now. And better to reuse than refuse. The Benton DC-60 is cool but I'm allergic to amaranth.
 
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revtime

Senior Stratmaster
Jun 17, 2014
1,001
kansas
I was just kidding.
I am redoing my guitar room as a monument to cheap guitars.
IYV
Harley Benton
Eart
Some clandestine china made stuff.
Zuwei
Hard luck kings
Any good stuff I can find for 300 or less.
 

Wound_Up

You can call me Duane 😁
Silver Member
Jan 23, 2020
4,293
NW LA
For some reason, I'm betting it was the user and not the parts.


Avoid Amazon 3rd party sellers, check your search settings, only use 'shipped & sold by Amazon' and then you never have to worry

Glad you got it working well now!


I use 3rd party sellers on Amazon all the time and never have a single problem. It's on the buyer to educate themselves on what they're buying. If you know what you're buying, it doesn't matter who the seller is.

I just got my Demon Fx OD pedal from a 3rd party seller on Amazon. It was an actual music store with an actual, physical storefront that you could walk in and buy stuff at. There's absolutely no reason to avoid all 3rd party sellers on Amazon. As I said, it's on you as the customer to know what you're buying. Avoiding thousands of stores because one won't do their own due diligence is crazy.
 
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Guitarmageddon

Dr. Stratster
Apr 19, 2014
26,927
Canada
For some reason, I'm betting it was the user and not the parts.





I use 3rd party sellers on Amazon all the time and never have a single problem. It's on the buyer to educate themselves on what they're buying. If you know what you're buying, it doesn't matter who the seller is.

I was trying to explain to the OP that 'if you're one of those people' that seem to have trouble getting the right product, finding it, etc - that you should avoid 3rd party sellers because you will probably have to do a return......and with things shipped and sold by Amazon, returns and refunds are super easy.....

Not that 'everyone should avoid 3rd party sellers'
 

Audiowonderland

Strat-O-Master
Silver Member
Dec 19, 2020
771
Usa
"After installing the locking tuners, there was so much less string to bring up to tension I had to back out the claw screws as the tremolo was nearly decked."

I have to disagree with this. The mass of the string and pitch its tuned to are the only things that would impact that.
 

Leofender

Plink... Need a restring!!
Silver Member
Aug 28, 2021
2,433
Australia
I was trying to explain to the OP that 'if you're one of those people' that seem to have trouble getting the right product, finding it, etc - that you should avoid 3rd party sellers because you will probably have to do a return......and with things shipped and sold by Amazon, returns and refunds are super easy.....

Not that 'everyone should avoid 3rd party sellers'

Ha ha... The devil is in the details, huh?
Watching Predator, details are what keeps Arnie alive... What an epic struggle...!
Keep fighting the good fight Ryan!
 

ToneRanger

Most Honored Senior Member
Jun 8, 2009
8,383
Area 51
Key thing I noticed in a video close up, the rear of the tremolo is 1/8 inch or more above the body. On the unwounds he can bend up a step or more.

That seems to be a key point in using the trem and keeping it in tune - my experience is that with a decked or float less than 1/8" there are more tuning issues - at 1/8" there is enough up pull to essentially pull the strings back into tune.
I set mine where you get 1 1/2 step up pull on the "G" string, 1 step on the "B" and a 1/2 step on the high "E."
Of course, maintenance on all contact points is still a must - but I have been able to use my trems much more without tuning issues once I find that sweet spot.
 

nutball73

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 12, 2013
3,487
Southern UK
"After installing the locking tuners, there was so much less string to bring up to tension I had to back out the claw screws as the tremolo was nearly decked."

I have to disagree with this. The mass of the string and pitch its tuned to are the only things that would impact that.

I dont see how you can disagree with someone's observation. You may think their assumption of the cause is incorrect, but clearly it happened.

And locking tuners do reduce the mass and length of string that is stretched, so I'm thinking it's possible.
 

brokenbar

Strat-Talk Member
Sep 10, 2021
75
Los Angeles
"After installing the locking tuners, there was so much less string to bring up to tension I had to back out the claw screws as the tremolo was nearly decked."

I have to disagree with this. The mass of the string and pitch its tuned to are the only things that would impact that.

The same strings were used, the trem was over 1/8" off the deck, and then it wasn't with the new tuners at the same standard tuning. The photo shows the B string broke and was replaced (drat! $1.50 lost!) but I detuned it completely to test and the bridge hardly moved.

This is a physics question, a source of interminable argument in subjective guitar forums and best set in a new thread.

However, perhaps it has to do with the string stretching while bringing to pitch. If there is less to stretch, less force is needed to counteract that.
 

brokenbar

Strat-Talk Member
Sep 10, 2021
75
Los Angeles
Returning it to the jungle, wasted effort. It is supposed to be 6mm.

The Original Floyd Rose threaded bar system is $22, but compatible with some of these more vertically drilled 6mm import blocks. It measures 5.84mm on the threads, 6 on the shaft for a no wobble fit because the steel base plate hole is 6mm. Sometimes you have to spend the money to get it right.

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