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Should I set my flying bridge free?

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Ha ha, stupid thread name, I know. :D

I usally keep the flying bridge of my Fender flush against the body because I've never been a really big fan of using the whammy bar AND I've heard that over time keeping it even slightly elevated can damage the bridge, the body, and screw up the strings staying in tune. Is this true, any of it?

I just happen to have the guts spilled out for my annual six month 'clean & restring' and I thought before I put the back guard back on (if I haven't lost the screws already) that I'd ask about this for a more definitive answer. As I get better will ever desire to use a whammy? I realized today that I've seen a lot of legendary players who have never once to my knowledge ever actually used it so I'm beginning to think it's more of a personal style thing more than a "once you get good enough you can start experimenting with this gizmo" thing.

Sorry to be long winded. :D

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What kind of guitar is it?

Fender has several different vibrato systems, but none is actually called a "flying bridge."

Fender uses a synchronized tremolo (2-point and 6-point) on Teles and Strats, a floating bridge tremolo on Jazzmasters, and a dynamic vibrato on Mustangs. In fact there is a fourth, the Fender vibrato tailpiece on the Bronco, though that was discontinued in 2005.

Each one has its own little idiosyncracies, so a little more info would be helpful

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Sorry. :D I've just always heard it refered to that way as almost a slang term. It is the tremolo bridge on the Stratocaster. I knew I wasn't using the exact term but that's never really been a problem before.

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Then by all means, set that bad boy free!

It will not harm the guitar in the slightest.

If you release the bridge, but don't actually use the whammy bar at all, it should have zero effect on tuning. If you use the whammy bar to really dive bomb ( a la Eddie Van Halen), it will eventually go out of tune as you do not (presumably) have a locking nut. If you use it gently to add a little nuance, it should stay in tune prety well.

I agree that the use of the whammy bar is stylistically determined, but if you get to know it and learn how to use it properly it expands your options.


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