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'[OT] Immobilizing my Fender Stratocaster tremolo'
2011\04\11@082754 by V G

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Hey all! Since I've noticed theres a few of you on the list who know a thing
or two about guitars, I figured I'd ask here.

I have a Fender Mexican Standard Stratocaster (humbucker, single, single
pickups) and a floating bridge for the tremolo which I do not use. I want to
immobilize the floating bridge because it won't let me do full tone string
bends. If I try to bend a string more than a semitone's worth, the
spring-loaded bridge moves with the string and partially relieves the
applied tension. This won't allow a full tone bend due to insufficient
tension. I want to somehow immobilize the bridge and fix it in place so it
doesn't bend whenever I bend the strings.

Story: I'm trying to nail that David Gilmour sound on the neck pickup (as
heard in Shine On You Crazy Diamond from the album Wish You Were Here by
Pink Floyd), and there's a lot of full tone bends in there. Right now, I'm
just playing a fret higher to begin with and bending there in order to
simulate a full tone bend. But that's annoying and I don't want to do that

2011\04\11@083306 by Jacopo Monegato

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hmm i am not a guitarist, but as far as i know there should be screws to regulate the springs' hardness... have you tried to ask in an instrument shop?

{Quote hidden}

> -

2011\04\11@085658 by IVP

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> I want to somehow immobilize the bridge and fix it in place so it
> doesn't bend whenever I bend the strings.

Clapton used to bang a wooden wedge in there. And if it's good
enough for "God" .......

2011\04\11@092108 by V G

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On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 8:50 AM, IVP <joecolquittspamKILLspamclear.net.nz> wrote:

> Clapton used to bang a wooden wedge in there. And if it's good
> enough for "God" ........
>

Just because one knows how to (subjectively, of course) play an instrument
well, doesn't mean one knows how to take care of the instrument well

2011\04\11@093849 by M.L.

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On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 9:20 AM, V G <.....x.solarwind.xKILLspamspam.....gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 8:50 AM, IVP <EraseMEjoecolquittspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTclear.net.nz> wrote:
>
>> Clapton used to bang a wooden wedge in there. And if it's good
>> enough for "God" ........
>>
>
> Just because one knows how to (subjectively, of course) play an instrument
> well, doesn't mean one knows how to take care of the instrument well.


He took care of them well enough to make them worth tens of thousands
of dollars. Your guitar isn't going to be worth anything in a couple
years. Do whatever works.

-- Martin K

2011\04\11@100244 by V G

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On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 9:38 AM, M.L. <mspamspam_OUTlkeng.net> wrote:

> He took care of them well enough to make them worth tens of thousands
> of dollars. Your guitar isn't going to be worth anything in a couple
> years. Do whatever works.


Really? Value due to demand. I'm pretty sure I can sell the last cup of
brackish water on the planet for a million bucks.

I'm personally not a fan of that attitude. I like to take care of my things,
no mater what arbitrary value others put on them. To me, they're priceless

2011\04\11@101629 by RussellMc

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> Really? Value due to demand. I'm pretty sure I can sell the last cup of
> brackish water on the planet for a million bucks.
>
> I'm personally not a fan of that attitude. I like to take care of my things,
> no mater what arbitrary value others put on them. To me, they're priceless.

You may well find that Clapton used very selected values of "... bang
...." and " ... wooden ...".
eg wooden may have been eg PTFE or UHMWPE, (or Jarra or Balsa, or ...).
And "banged" may have been "custom fitted". Or not.

The original point of what Joe was saying is that somebody who cared
very much about how the instrument sounded used mechanical
imobilisation' to address the issue that you raised. Many other
substances can be used to effect this solution. May be worth a look.

2011\04\11@103932 by John Gardner

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Or try a Les Paul - Also Deity-approved, I believe..

2011\04\11@105143 by V G

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On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 10:39 AM, John Gardner <@spam@goflo3KILLspamspamgmail.com> wrote:

> Or try a Les Paul - Also Deity-approved, I believe...
>

I'll get a Les Paul somewhere down the line, but not now :

2011\04\11@110408 by Mark E. Skeels

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Here's a couple of suggestions.

1.) Remove the cover on the back of the guitar to expose the whammy bar springs. Replace them with a solid bar(s) or maybe solid wire to prevent movement. It should be possible to rig this up for a test w/o any machining of the guitar itself.

2.) Try Guitar Center or Musicians Friend for a "hard tail" bridge. I'm guessing (haven't looked) that Fender makes such an animal that would install w/o too much trouble, being it's a Strat.

Some times the problem with whammy bar intonation problems has more to do with the nut than the whammy mech. Take a close look at the nut on Jeff Beck's Strat. He has a special one and I believe it uses rollers to facilitate return to the proper location after a "whammy event." This may also solve your problem.

Les Paul's are nice, but don't have the wide tonal range of a Strat, IMO. However, they do seem to have augmented "punch" when compared to a single coil pickup. Even the HB in the bridge position on a strat sounds thinner to me.

Mark Skeels
Engineer
Competition Electronics, Inc.
TEL: 815-874-8001
FAX: 815-874-8181
http://www.competitionelectronics.com

On 4/11/2011 9:51 AM, V G wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 10:39 AM, John Gardner<KILLspamgoflo3KILLspamspamgmail.com>  wrote:
>
>> Or try a Les Paul - Also Deity-approved, I believe...
>>
> I'll get a Les Paul somewhere down the line, but not now :

2011\04\11@113218 by M.L.

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On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 10:02 AM, V G <RemoveMEx.solarwind.xTakeThisOuTspamgmail.com> wrote:

>
> Really? Value due to demand. I'm pretty sure I can sell the last cup of
> brackish water on the planet for a million bucks.
>
> I'm personally not a fan of that attitude. I like to take care of my things,
> no mater what arbitrary value others put on them. To me, they're priceless.

Then don't play a guitar that has a tremolo that won't stay in tune.
Either way, criticizing how Eric Clapton handles a guitar makes you
look like a fool.

-- Martin K

2011\04\11@114050 by Oli Glaser

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On 11/04/2011 15:39, John Gardner wrote:
> Or try a Les Paul - Also Deity-approved, I believe...

Yep, never had that problem with mine. Tremolos are fussy things at the best of times, but they can be useful. I used to use an old strat for certain stuff, and did a lot of fiddling with the tremolo.
If you want to bend the strings without affecting others, remove the back cover and check how many springs you have installed - if three (or less) you can add a couple more (up to 5 IIRC), or tighten the screws until the tremolo sits flat on the body. Either way you need to increase the tension, but not too much as it will put undue stress on stuff.
A piece of hardwood will do just fine if you want to block it, plenty of folk do it this way.

2011\04\11@120151 by Oli Glaser

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On 11/04/2011 14:20, V G wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 8:50 AM, IVP<spamBeGonejoecolquittspamBeGonespamclear.net.nz>  wrote:
>
>> Clapton used to bang a wooden wedge in there. And if it's good
>> enough for "God" ........
>>
> Just because one knows how to (subjectively, of course) play an instrument
> well, doesn't mean one knows how to take care of the instrument well.

True, although picking up this kind of knowledge is almost unavoidable if you play it for long enough.
I think we can safely assume Clapton knew a thing or two about how to setup and care for his guitar.
Guitars are usually made to withstand a hammering anyway, the people who make them probably have a rough idea of what's in store - I have given mine some real grief over the years and it's stubbornly refused to give in - been dropped out of the back of a moving van, dropped off stage, had beer spilt on it, ash dropped on it, left next to radiator, etc, etc... - sounds better now than it did when new :-)
Even without the above, just playing the thing can put plenty of stress on it.
With the wood, sometimes the simplest. least "aesthetically pleasing" option works best - as engineers it's usually the results we are interested in anyway.. ;-)

2011\04\11@120732 by V G

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On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 11:31 AM, M.L. <TakeThisOuTmEraseMEspamspam_OUTlkeng.net> wrote:

>  Then don't play a guitar that has a tremolo that won't stay in tune.
> Either way, criticizing how Eric Clapton handles a guitar makes you
> look like a fool.


No one's criticizing, just making a valid and true statement.

If Clapton mugged a hobo, would you

2011\04\11@122155 by M.L.

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On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 12:07 PM, V G <RemoveMEx.solarwind.xspamTakeThisOuTgmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 11:31 AM, M.L. <mEraseMEspam.....lkeng.net> wrote:
>
>>  Then don't play a guitar that has a tremolo that won't stay in tune.
>> Either way, criticizing how Eric Clapton handles a guitar makes you
>> look like a fool.
>
>
> No one's criticizing, just making a valid and true statement.
>
> If Clapton mugged a hobo, would you?

If the question was:
"I want to somehow immobilize the bridge and fix it in place so it
doesn't bend whenever I bend the strings."

and someone said:
"Clapton used to bang a wooden wedge in there."

Then yes, I would "mug a hobo" if "mug a hobo" means "bang a wooden
wedge in there."

Or I would make it a non-floating bridge by increasing spring tension.
--
Martin K.

2011\04\11@125600 by V G

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On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 12:21 PM, M.L. <EraseMEmspamlkeng.net> wrote:

> If the question was:
> "I want to somehow immobilize the bridge and fix it in place so it
> doesn't bend whenever I bend the strings."
>
> and someone said:
> "Clapton used to bang a wooden wedge in there."
>
> Then yes, I would "mug a hobo" if "mug a hobo" means "bang a wooden
> wedge in there."
>

The point of that question was to highlight that my philosphy doesn't
involve doing things just because someone else does them, as a form of blind
faith. Doing so, would be almost... religious.



> Or I would make it a non-floating bridge by increasing spring tension.
>

Probably the route I'm going to go

2011\04\11@130933 by Olin Lathrop

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V G wrote:
> The point of that question was to highlight that my philosphy doesn't
> involve doing things just because someone else does them, as a form
> of blind faith.

Except that Eric Clapton wasn't just "someone else".  He was a renowed
expert at the top of his field.  Therefore it would be wise to assume
whatever he did in that regard was a good idea until proven otherwise, not
the other way around.


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Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000

2011\04\11@133631 by V G

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On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 1:10 PM, Olin Lathrop <RemoveMEolin_piclistEraseMEspamEraseMEembedinc.com>wrote:

> Except that Eric Clapton wasn't just "someone else".  He was a renowed
> expert at the top of his field.  Therefore it would be wise to assume
> whatever he did in that regard was a good idea until proven otherwise, not
> the other way around.
>

I have nothing against Eric Clapton, but he's just a musician. The same kind
that got addicted to various "hard" drugs and what not. I don't disrespect
him, but I'm not going to follow him blindly. To me, he's just "someone
else".

And whether or not someone is an "expert" in music is subject to much
debate. Yes, there is some science behind music, but specifically, what
makes one an expert and another one not? And how do you define "top of his
field" for a musician? Many people like it? Well that's nice, but so what?
Made a lot of money? So what, that was back when people actually bought
music.

He is a musician. Like many, he does things on a whim. Whatever comes to
mind, whenever it does. Whenever he feels like it. Again, not an attack on
him, but this is not someone I would follow blindly in anything.

If he jammed a piece of wood in his guitar, that's wonderful for him, but
I'm most certainly not going to do it without looking into it and seeing
what effects it could have. I don't want to risk damaging my baby

2011\04\11@140839 by Lyle Hazelwood

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On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 12:55 PM, V G <RemoveMEx.solarwind.xspam_OUTspamKILLspamgmail.com> wrote:

> The point of that question was to highlight that my philosphy doesn't
> involve doing things just because someone else does them, as a form of blind
> faith. Doing so, would be almost... religious.


Following Eric Clapton would include a study of "Blind Faith", at
least as a part of his earlier career.

And I can't find my way home..

:

2011\04\11@144013 by Olin Lathrop

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V G wrote:
> And whether or not someone is an "expert" in music is subject to much
> debate.

Some, but we're not talking about musical taste or something as nebulous or
hard to measure.  The point is not that Eric Clapton was a great musician or
not, but that he was a expert guitar player.  Whether you like his music,
his life style, or anything else about him, I think you have to agree the
guy knew how to play a guitar.  He also had enough resources that if he
wanted a guitar to be a little different, he could get that to happen.

If someone like that choses a particular way to solve a problem squarely in
his field of expertice, the first assumption should be that it's probably a
good idea.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000

2011\04\11@153753 by Sergey Dryga

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Olin Lathrop <olin_piclist <at> embedinc.com> writes:

>
> V G wrote:
> > And whether or not someone is an "expert" in music is subject to much
> > debate.
> <SNIP>

> If someone like that choses a particular way to solve a problem squarely in
> his field of expertice, the first assumption should be that it's probably a
> good idea.
> Very often experts in the field can also get "set" in the way they do things. But, times change, technologies develop etc, and there may be another, better,
way to accomplish that thing.  I have seen this many times in biotech. Heck, my
whole career is based on doing things that everybody "knew" cannot be done. But, technologies changed, our understanding changed, we pushed systems to the
extreme and -voila -made something that was not "doable".  
If people have always did only what experts say, we will still be using stone
axes to hunt wild animals.

Sergey Dryga
http://www.beaglerobotics.com


2011\04\11@155841 by Michael Watterson

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On 11/04/2011 18:10, Olin Lathrop wrote:
> He was a renowed
> expert at the top of his field.

I'm sure he's not dead yet.

I'd agree it's more than likely he knows how to take care of a guitar.

2011\04\11@182225 by fred jones

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> I'm personally not a fan of that attitude. I like to take care of my things,
> no mater what arbitrary value others put on them. To me, they're priceless.

If you consider your things priceless, then why not spend a little money on it to improve it.  I have lots of USA made Fenders and Gibsons.
I will not modify them and reduce their value.  So I bought a Mexican strat to improve.  I replaced the factory bridge with a fishman bridge
that has a piezo pickup in it.  I replaced the tuning keys with Schaller locking tuners.  This guitar will NOT go out of tune.  You would just
about have to drop it on the floor to get it to go out of tune.  I can bend strings or use the whammy bar and it snaps right back in tune.
Wasn't free but worth every penny.
FJ                                          

2011\04\11@201616 by IVP

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> Just because one knows how to (subjectively, of course) play an
> instrument well, doesn't mean one knows how to take care of the
> instrument well

That's true, although his livelihood kind of depends on not playing
out of tune. Plus he will have his techs to advise

> If Clapton mugged a hobo, would you?

Probably, seeing as Slowhand has already softened him up. Eric
wouldn't be interested in the brown bag anymore so I'll have that,
maybe have a rummage through his bindle

But I get your point

Joe

2011\04\11@202039 by RussellMc

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Who'd have thought we'd get so much mileage (and discover such a large
group of lurking guitarophiles) from  a query about how to bend a
Fender?

Must be about time for jokes re consulting your local panel shop.




2011\04\13@204433 by Joseph Bento

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On Apr 11, 2011, at 6:50 AM, IVP wrote:

>> I want to somehow immobilize the bridge and fix it in place so it
>> doesn't bend whenever I bend the strings.
>
> Clapton used to bang a wooden wedge in there. And if it's good
> enough for "God" ........

I guess my American Hardtail Strat is comparatively rare.  
Joe

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