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JessThrasher

Tremol-no/Tremsetter or permanent blocking?

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JessThrasher    10

I am thinking of blocking the tremolo on my Jackson because it doesn't stay in tune well (even a slight push on the brige while palm muting sends it slightly out of tune), I don't use it much anyways, and I want to be able to go between alternate tunings easier. Blocking the tremolo basically means putting a block of wood under the bridge so the tremolo cannot be used. I found out there was another alternative called the Tremol-no which can be used to temporarly "deactivate" the bridge for tuning stability, convenience, and whatnot. When the tremolo is to be used again, it can be "activated" again.

Thoughts?

This is what a blocked tremolo looks like. http://www.fretnotguitarrepair.com/images/tremolo/blocked-tremolo.jpg

Incase you don't know what a Tremol-no is. http://www.allparts.com/Pin-Type-Tremol-No-p/bp-2005-010.htm

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karcey    42

Well Jess, one of my well known faults is being tight with money. So when I saw the price of this little gadget I wondered just what the advantages are of having this invention. If it's much faster than to use than some bits of wood, or lighter, or more rigid, or gives better tone, or knows more songs or whatever, then maybe the price is worth it. For my money some wood and a few tight springs would seem to be good enough.

Let's know what you decide.

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JessThrasher    10

I don't know how to work wood too well myself, so I am going to have to get someone to do it for me. I'm not quite sure of the cost of that either, as I don't make too many trips to the tech.

I definately wouldn't mind the more permanent aspect of actually blocking the bridge, because I don't really like the tremolo on it anyways nor do I use it much. If I ever want to use it again, I guess I could always use my other guitars that haven't been blocked.

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karcey    42

The simple way to do it is some sort of block, and it doesn't have to be special, held in place by five springs. Most setups have three springs, but if you put on an extra two, that becomes really hard to move. Even a piece of kids Lego will act as a stopper, and the springs will make sure nothing moves. You don't need to block both sides, just hold that block tight with the springs and you'll be happy.

Total cost? A few dollars if you don't already have the springs.

Just have a bit of a play with it and I think you'll find a cheap solution.

Any time in the future you can take off two of the springs and take the block out and you've got a tremolo again.

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karcey    42

Another idea. I don't know what your Jackson looks like, but I used to use a Strat copy. If the springs were too tight the bridge sat down hard on the body. Didn't even need a block. Nothing moved. If your Jackson bridge cavity is anything like the Strat it'll be easier than you thought.

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carol m    64

I have no ideas on this topic, but I'm sure you could have a go at this, Jess, with Karcey to help you with advice. You're not going to break anything so you've got nothing to lose by trying.

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boroboy41    1

Hey Jess - I've been down the DIY route myself. If you just want to stabilise the floating bridge enough to stop it detuning with slight hand pressure then just use anything cheap to hand that fits the purpose. I used some thin softwood that I had lying around in the garage that was easy to cut to size with a junior hacksaw then whittle bits off with a sharp penknife or stanley knife. The wood itself is only about 5mm thick so I just packed out the rest of the spaces with some card (old business cards to be exact). As long as you pack both sides you should be okay and if you haven't got spare bits of old wood lying around then just try and find something rigid that you can cut to shape to fill in the gap(s), e.g. bits of plastic, dice, etc. If I but the trem bar in I can still move the bridge a little and a bit by hand but you need brute force on the bridge to do it, for palm muting its rock solid.

What I would advise is that you leave the springs tensioned as they are in case you want to easily go back to a floating bridge and if you're using something or things that aren't physically connected to your guitar, i.e. they're being held in place by the spring tension or packing, then these may move in the future if you remove any/all the strings. (This happened to me - I'd over tensioned the springs to clamp the block firmly on the inside under the springs and then packed the outside. When I removed all the strings at once 6 months later to change them and the spring tension was enough to unseat the bridge completely from its pivots as I had no way to secure the bridge in place on top of the guitar as I couldn't dive the trem to get a block under the fine tuners. All the packing came loose too and it was a real pain to get back together again)

Also if you do it yourself for free and your solution isn't up to the job then you've lost nothing and can explore other more suitable options

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JessThrasher    10

Thanks for the advice everyone.

So I ended up getting the tremolo blocked by a tech. He told me that if I was to ever change my mind, he can take it out for no extra cost. It is double blocked meaning it cannot move up or down, so it is essentially a fixed bridge now.

I tuned down to Dropped C for the first time in a few years. It is so easy without needing to worry about the tremolo. I'm just playing a few Chimaira and Children of Bodom now riffs to test it out.

I think in the future, I am going to at least single block (dive only) all of my tremolo guitars except maybe one or two.

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pHGTRSpider    32

SImple trick a tech did for one of my guitars was to give the springs (the three of them in my case) an extra couple of twists. Trem block sits flat against the guitar body and allows dive only. Admittedly, guitar is over twenty years old and had tuning problem like you described above. Worked fine and now I'm playing it a lot more often.

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JessThrasher    10

I am really loving the fixed bridge, especially how I can go between tunings without needing to re-setup the whole bridge (adjusting the spring tension and whatnot) each time. The only thing I'm not sure about is whether I'd be able to go a string guage higher (I'm using .10's right now and I want to go up to .11's for better tone in alternate tunings) without another trip to the tech/setup. Since it functions like a fixed bridge now, I would guess not?

Or would the difference be great enough to warrant a truss-rod adjustment?

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karcey    42

Or would the difference be great enough to warrant a truss-rod adjustment?

Possibly not. Probably not. But the build of your guitar will determine that.

I'd say give the 11s a go. If the action becomes unplayable, then it's back to the 10s. But if you still like the sound of the 11s, and you want to stay with them, then it's back to the tech.

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JessThrasher    10

I put the 11's on (actually it's a set of medium top/heavy bottom) and the action seems to be fine. It's tuned down to dropped C, so I'm guessing that it probably took the tension off the neck to compensate for the higher tension of the strings.

I've been told by the tech that bending too hard may also cause the strings to go out of tune (even with a blocked off tremolo) but I have yet to experiance that problem. For now, I'm going to stay with the 11's and if anything happens, I kept my old strings on hand.

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