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Tremelo angle after string stretching

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  • Tremelo angle after string stretching

    Hey guys, so I took my guitar (locking tremolo) in for a setup and it felt perfect immediately afterwards. However, since the strings were new, when I got home I unlocked the nuts and stretched them out (manually between thumb and fingers and tuning with the peg tuners, not fine tuners). This caused the back of the tremolo to angle up slightly, not horribly but enough to create a small gap between the body and base of the trem. Is this normal after a setup since the strings weren't fully stretched, or did I go about stretching them the wrong way? I was under the impression that after a setup as long as i didn't change gauge or string brand I wouldn't have to mess with it. Also the guy that set it up said there would be no need to adjust the claw in back after he had set it. So with that in mind, in hesitant to correct it on my own since I'm new to Floyd style trems and have little experience in even the simplest procedures. But the guitar feels out of sorts with the angle this way. Thanks a lot for any insight.
    Last edited by RyanzGuitarz; 02-27-2013, 06:15 PM.

  • #2
    If you adjusted the tuning of the guitar using the tuning pegs then you must have tuned higher, causing more tension to be applied on the strings, thus pulling the bridge forwards. For future reference, you don't have to unlock the nut to stretch the strings. What i do is just play multiple chord bends up and down the neck on all the strings for five minutes or so. That's all you need to stretch them adequately.

    I recommend you learn how to set up a Floyd yourself - it's really not as difficult or painstaking as some make it out to be and it'll save you time and money in the long run. Check this article out for starters:
    It's all about the blues-rock chatter.

    Originally posted by RD now I have this massive empty house with my Harley, Guns, Guitar and nothing else...


    • #3
      Next time you pay a guy to setup a guitar and it's playing great, enjoy that feeling for as long as you can. By immediately messing with it, work you've just payed for is undone.

      did the guy not stretch the strings as part of the setup? I make sure the strings are stretched & retuned before locking down the nut. Not much point in getting it just so when the strings will continue to stretch & lose tune. The fine tuners will only adjust so far and you end up unlocking the nut again. Stretch, tune, adjust the claw if necessary, repeat until tuning is stable & bridge is level, then lock the nut.

      If the strings weren't fully stretched, you stretching them further would have dropped the string tension, causing the trem to lower at the back. As Devotee said, that the bridge has pulled up suggests that you have tuned the guitar too high. You should be able to get it back in to tune with the bridge level without adjusting the spring claw. If not, adjusting the claw is easy. It's just a matter of balancing the string/spring tension whilst keeping the guitar in tune. Make small adjustments front and back until the bridge is level.
      Hail yesterday


      • #4
        Thanks a lot to both of you, I really appreciate it. Im still a little confused about a couple of things though. Firstoff, In regards to the setup, the guy did in fact stretch the strings but they went flat really quickly over time. So idk if that means he didnt stretch them enough or if that's a normal thing to expect, but I did not want to have to mess with anything and wouldnt have if the guitar wouldve stayed in tune and stopped going flat. Anyways, going along with what VitaminG said, I didn't want to unlock the nut and use the pegs, but I ran out of room with the fine tuners and had no other choice to get the guitar in tune and further stretch the strings. So then Devotee when you said it's not necessary to unlock the nut, how else should I have gone about doing it? I know u mentioned what u do but that is essentially what I tried before running out of room with the fine tuners. So is there an alternative when that scenario arises, or should that scenario never have come up in the first place with proper stretching during the setup? Also when u guys say I must've tuned too high all I did was stretch the strings until they went flat and then tuned them right back up to pitch until they stayed in tune. I did that one by one. Then I just locked the nut and made fine tuning adjustments. The guitar is in tune and stays in tune now, the angle is the problem that's bothering me. So I just don't see why this is happening if I didn't tune too high. And then VitaminG, if you could just clarify what u mean by "You should be able to get it back in to tune with the bridge level without adjusting the spring claw". I don't know exactly what u mean and how to alter the angle without adjusting the claw. Thanks again guys, sorry for the repetitiveness and my lack of knowledge, hopefully I'll be setting up my own stuff in no time. In the mean time once again I greatly appreciate the help.
        Last edited by RyanzGuitarz; 02-27-2013, 05:23 PM.


        • #5
          when you returned the guitar to pitch, it was the same tuning as when the guitar was setup? The guy didn't tune it to Eb and you've tuned it to E, for example? If you've relied on relative tuning (eg, fretting the 5th fret of the low E string to tune the open A string) you're probably tuned too high now. As you increase the tension on a string (tuning it up) the other strings will detune, so things can easily get away from you.

          What I meant by not needing to adjust the claw - your tech had the guitar in tune with the bridge level, and you've subsequently stretched the strings, causing the bridge to sink. Bringing the strings back up to the same tuning should lift the bridge back to level.

          If you've used a tuner, your guitar is now in tune but the bridge is still angled, you will need to adjust the spring claw.

          A tip - reset your finetuners to middle position now. This will give you maximum adjustment up and down once you relock the nut.

          Pop the back cavity cover off, screw the claw in by a couple of turns. The bridge will lower slightly. Retune the guitar - the pitch will have risen & the bridge will lower again as you retune. Check the bridge level. Adjust the claw again if necessary. You may have to wind the claw out slightly if the bridge starts dipping at the rear. Once the bridge is level and the guitar is in tune, lock off the nut, adjust your tuning with the finetuners if necessary & pop your rear cavity cover back on. Done!
          Hail yesterday


          • #6
            Yes, I simply retuned the guitar to the pitch it was setup for. I used a tuner as well and not the relative method. The strings were only slightly flat but still needed stretching to maintain their stability. Anyways, thank you very much for clarifying and for providing me with the claw adjustment instructions. I will have to resort to that as the guitar is in fact in tune, but the back of the trem is still angling upwards. The process seems simple enough even for me and I hope with a little patience it will turn out alright. A couple of last questions: given the fact that the angle is pretty small, by a couple of turns do you mean I should do around 1 full turn at a time before tuning, and then keep on repeating until necessary? or possibly even smaller with half or quarter turns? And then lastly will the claw adjustment throw off my intonation, or should i be good since the intonation was set while the bridge was flush with the body?


            • #7
              1) Unlock the nut,
              2) Set the fine tuners to the approx half run of their thread,
              3) Tune the guitar using pegs a full step lower (DGCFAD),
              4) Tight the springs claw at least a complete turn (depending on the spings tension),
              5) Tune the guitar to its normal pitch (using pegs),
              6) Look at what happened ...
              If the back of the trem is still high, then you should re-tight a bit the springs claw. As already mentionned, it's just a matter of balance between springs/strings tension.


              • #8
                just try a single turn of each screw to start. If you feel that less than a full turn is required, try it and see how it affects your trem. You'll get a feel for it pretty quickly.

                And don't worry about your intonation. It won't be affected. You're just returning the bridge to level which is where it was at when the tech set the intonation.
                Hail yesterday


                • #9
                  Ill go a different direction here and say, call the guy that set it up and tell him what's going on. He should help you out with it. Simply stretching the strings and retuning shouldn't screw up a setup that was done correctly. Call the guy before trying a bunch of stuff yourself. Chances are that he'll take care of it without issue and you could show him exactly the process you used.
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                  • #10
                    Has your guitar been through any climate changes since you had it set up? That can affect the setup.


                    • #11
                      I know it's been a while but I'm curious what brand and gauge of strings were used. how did things iron out?
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                      • #12
                        When strings are stretched completely after a trem has been balanced the strings loose some of that tension that had the bridge level to begin with. Retuning the strings to pitch will no need a slightly higher tension pulling the bridge up. So the "tech" simply didn't stretch the strings enough before returning the guitar back to you. When ever I restring or setup a Floyd etc.whether its mine or a customers. I stretch the strings twice re-tune then play the guitar for 5-10 minutes abusing the trem pushing down and pulling up on the trem while strumming the strings with my fretting hand while the strings are changing pitch. Once the strings stay in tune without the pressure pads on. I then put the pads on and tighten to a hair past snug. Then play it for a few more minutes abusing the trem again making sure its in tune and the trem is still level.
                        Works every time.