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  1. #1

    Hardtailing a Stratocaster

    I don't use the tremolo on my strat. I sort of hardtailed by adding 2 more tremolo block springs and flushing the tremolo claw. The thing is tremolo block weights almost a pound (including springs and claw and screws). I know Eric Clapton prefers hardtailing this way because he thinks it preserves a springy strat quality. But I rather preserve a pound of weight.
    So I'm thinking getting a small solid block of wood. Say 1/2 inch deep. 2inches to 2inches. And glueing it in the tremolo cavity. It won't need to fully cover it. It'll be stuck in the cavity flush against the head side, aligned under the the rectangular whole tremolo block normally resides. I'll put holes in it for springs. I might put Tele inserts to support the string balls if need be. The whole thing can be done in half an hour.
    Would you recommend an alternative method? Would there be a tonal advantage of gluing the piece instead of screwing it?
    EDIT: I noticed that "alternative method" isn't very clear. I don't mean alternative method to cut weight, but an alternative method to hardtail a Strat that allows removing the tremolo block.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-26-2018 at 07:25 AM.

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  3. #2
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    As long as you get the screws tight and have nice wood surfaces between the block and cavity I would imagine it would sound just as good as if it were glued in. I have a hardtail Strat partscaster. It is a true hardtail though. You might want to look at the stock bodies that Warmoth offers. I found a light weight hardtail alder body already finished for my last iteration of this guitar. Kind of begs the question of whether this is still the same guitar since I changed the body. Another topic altogether.

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    I don't expect it would sound good, but the one thing I can say about Strat variants after decades of fooling around with them, is predictions/generalizations don't 100% correlate with results.

    That said, here's why I'm a naysayer on this.. Obviously sound transmission through the bridge is completely different on the trem vs hardtail. And IMHO, what you propose would compromise both designs in an effort to merge them.

    Trem style has the bridge pivot against the 6 screws (vintage) or 2 posts (modern.) The block you would be swapping out effects the energy and resonance, but it is really there for mechanical reasons: to act as a lever for the counter balance springs, and to anchor the strings. The path into the body is via the pivot screws (or studs) and string / spring tension keeps the bridge pulled hard against those pivot points.

    A fixed hardtail bridge is literally screwed to the body. You'd be replicating that with the glued-in wood block, but then what happens to the pivot screws (or studs)? The bridge then not getting pulled against them by strings & springs, so they lose effectiveness for transmitting sound, and are not really effective to help clamp the bridge to body. That turns those former pivot points into ineffective loose joints, which is not acoustically optimal. They'd dissipate energy this way, and you could even chase rattles. The hardtail attachment done this way, with the trem bridge plate screwed to a glued in wood block filling a small portion of the large cavity is not going to be much like a traditional solid body/fixed bridge strat.

    I'm just being devil's advocate with this argument, and would not be completely surprised to hear it all worked great. I do think the trem cavity body works well together with the trem bridge, and am speculating that having that large cavity with a small glued block anchoring the bridge is too much of a compromise. Get another slab body to best anchor that bridge and you'd likely get more "good" out of the wood.

    John

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by john_a View Post
    A fixed hardtail bridge is literally screwed to the body. You'd be replicating that with the glued-in wood block, but then what happens to the pivot screws (or studs)? The bridge then not getting pulled against them by strings & springs, so they lose effectiveness for transmitting sound, and are not really effective to help clamp the bridge to body. That turns those former pivot points into ineffective loose joints, which is not acoustically optimal. They'd dissipate energy this way, and you could even chase rattles. The hardtail attachment done this way, with the trem bridge plate screwed to a glued in wood block filling a small portion of the large cavity is not going to be much like a traditional solid body/fixed bridge strat.
    Thanks John for the detailed response.
    Quote Originally Posted by john_a View Post
    trem bridge plate screwed to a glued in wood block
    Actually what I am suggesting is not screwing to bridge plate to the wood block. Wood block would be glued to the claw/spring area of the cavity but going all the way to the head side covering the rectangular hole. There will still be a cavity under the bridge plate, between the bridge plate and the block. Block would have holes for the strings balls to rest against.
    I hear what you're saying about the importance of the transmission through the 2 tremolo posts. If you compare this with a block tremolo design where a wood piece and/or additional springs secure tremolo block in such a way that bridge is flush (my current set up). I think forces acting on the posts would be the same. Strings will go down from the saddles with the same angle as now. Instead of the metal block being secured with springs, the glued wood piece will be stopping the string balls. In other words, the bridge plate won't know the difference between whether the ball end of the springs are attached to the block or a glued wood piece.
    Now there is a caveat, in the current design metal block is also directly attached to the bridge plate. But that's to enable the rocking motions with the whammy bar. In terms of pushing the plate against the posts, there shouldn't be a difference. I'll pay attention to this when I set it up. Worse comes to worse I can get a fixed bridge and screw it directly to the body I think.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-25-2018 at 06:15 AM.

  6. #5
    I once did the same thing as you described with a Floyd Rose that was driving me nuts. Just made a piece of hard wood custom size and stuck it in there. Sounded so much better and stayed in tune.

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    Through the years, this is the main method every guitar tech/luthier I knew blocked the tremelo, meant to be quickly reversible. It usually involved a maple block.

    I do it whenever I get the urge, it's so easy and effective. I mainly do it because when I do country style double stops with a bend, the bend moves the tremolo and detunes the pitch of the string not being bent.





  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Through the years, this is the main method every guitar tech/luthier I knew blocked the tremelo, meant to be quickly reversible. It usually involved a maple block.

    I do it whenever I get the urge, it's so easy and effective. I mainly do it because when I do country style double stops with a bend, the bend moves the tremolo and detunes the pitch of the string not being bent.




    This is similar to my current solution too and I know it's pretty common. But it has the downside of keeping the heavy tremolo block in the cavity.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank67 View Post
    I once did the same thing as you described with a Floyd Rose that was driving me nuts. Just made a piece of hard wood custom size and stuck it in there. Sounded so much better and stayed in tune.
    Did you solder the grounding wire directly to the bridge?

  10. #9
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    No need to solder, as long as there is reliable contact. Ground wires to archtop tailpieces aren't usually soldered, just laid underneath the tailpiece, and contact is maintained through pressure. The same can be done on a solidbody bridge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Actually what I am suggesting is not screwing to bridge plate to the wood block. Wood block would be glued to the claw/spring area of the cavity but going all the way to the head side covering the rectangular hole. There will still be a cavity under the bridge plate, between the bridge plate and the block. Block would have holes for the strings balls to rest against.
    Not what I had imagined, I had assumed the metal block was getting replaced with wood, which would be glued in place. And the bridge would be still get screwed to the block (now wood.)

    I think using the wood as you described in more detail is actually less able to secure the bridge -- you now have essentially a floating bridge weakly hitting against the two posts, without the full benifit of string & spring tension against what had been the pivots. That sound transmission path into the body is not going to be effective as either the original trem OR a hardtail, which was the position I took in my first reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    I think forces acting on the posts would be the same.
    Here is the problem in my view -- you really won't have anywhere near the same forces against the posts, which were previously acting as a pivot point for a lever (bridge/block) balancing the full tension of strings and springs. With your new setup, you would have just the string break angle to both nudge the bridge against the posts and to push down against the body.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    In other words, the bridge plate won't know the difference between whether the ball end of the springs are attached to the block or a glued wood piece.
    It sure will be different, as that bridge plate would not get acted on by the same full tension that the original design used to make it contact the pivot (the two studs.) It will be a significantly weaker connection between bridge and body.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Now there is a caveat, in the current design metal block is also directly attached to the bridge plate. But that's to enable the rocking motions with the whammy bar. In terms of pushing the plate against the posts, there shouldn't be a difference. I'll pay attention to this when I set it up. Worse comes to worse I can get a fixed bridge and screw it directly to the body I think.
    The original attachment of the plate to block is not just needed when the bridge is rocked, the block has to be secured to plate for the assembly to counterbalance string tension with spring tension, and have that full tension pull the assembly hard against the pivots. That arrangment needs the block secured to plate whether it gets rocked or not. The point I keep going back to is you are going to lose the primary tension against the pivots that were the path into the body, which compromises bridge coupling to the body.

    If you're set on this idea, and follow through with it, please let us know how it turned out. I've shared my opinion on this conversion idea, but it is speculation and I can't 100% say for sure what will happen. I do believe you missed how the bridge plate is held against the studs, and that's why I made this second reply to clarify the difference when you'd lose that full tension.

    Even going to a hardtail bridge on a trem body just seems like too much compromise, if you did end up filling the cavity with solid wood and screwing a real hardtail bridge in place, there'd be cosmetic issues for covering the stud holes. Neither of these glued-in conversions are easily reversible, which is why I'd want to proceed with as complete an understanding as possible. If this was mine, I'd just replace the steel block with a lightweight material and block it the traditional way. You'd not lose as much weight, but it would likely not have such an adverse effect on the tone, and of course would be reversible.

    I made a very lightweight hardtail Strat as my most recent solid body, spruce topped with polished titanium bridge plate & graph tech saddles. Lightness can be a good thing, but not all my favorite Strats are like that.

    John
    Hardtailing a Stratocaster-spruce_ti1-jpgHardtailing a Stratocaster-spruce_ti2-jpg

  12. #11
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    An excellent alternative is to install a tremel-no. I installed one on my Charvel superstrat some years ago and am more than happy.

    With small wheels you can set the tremel-no to :
    - completely lock the tremelo
    - leave it floating
    - work in dive only (no raising pitch)

    Works fine for me

    <a data-cke-saved-href="https://youtu.be/xiZnipHc1ec" href="https://youtu.be/xiZnipHc1ec">

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by john_a View Post
    Here is the problem in my view -- you really won't have anywhere near the same forces against the posts, which were previously acting as a pivot point for a lever (bridge/block) balancing the full tension of strings and springs. With your new setup, you would have just the string break angle to both nudge the bridge against the posts and to push down against the body.


    It sure will be different, as that bridge plate would not get acted on by the same full tension that the original design used to make it contact the pivot (the two studs.) It will be a significantly weaker connection between bridge and body.



    The original attachment of the plate to block is not just needed when the bridge is rocked, the block has to be secured to plate for the assembly to counterbalance string tension with spring tension, and have that full tension pull the assembly hard against the pivots. That arrangment needs the block secured to plate whether it gets rocked or not. The point I keep going back to is you are going to lose the primary tension against the pivots that were the path into the body, which compromises bridge coupling to the body.

    If you're set on this idea, and follow through with it, please let us know how it turned out. I've shared my opinion on this conversion idea, but it is speculation and I can't 100% say for sure what will happen. I do believe you missed how the bridge plate is held against the studs, and that's why I made this second reply to clarify the difference when you'd lose that full tension.
    Believe me when I originally conceived this idea, my main concern was that I had to convince myself about the forces acting upon the two pivot posts. I even thought of some experiments to check if the forces acting on the pivots be the same or not. I'm planning on testing this tonight.
    May be I haven't been able to describe the intended set up but important point to realize is that I am not comparing this design with the floating tremolo set up. I'm comparing this design with one like in the pictures of cosmic gumbo's post (post #6). Look at the string ball ends in that picture. In my set up, these string ball ends will be in the exactly the same position except they will be going through a wood block laying flat where the springs are. I simply do not see how the forces acting on the pivots from the bridge plate can be any different in my set up than the one in the picture. All bridge plate and saddles are concerned with is incoming string angle.

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Ray175 View Post
    An excellent alternative is to install a tremel-no. I installed one on my Charvel superstrat some years ago and am more than happy.

    With small wheels you can set the tremel-no to :
    - completely lock the tremelo
    - leave it floating
    - work in dive only (no raising pitch)

    Works fine for me

    <a data-cke-saved-href="https://youtu.be/xiZnipHc1ec" href="https://youtu.be/xiZnipHc1ec">
    It's seems like that would just add more weight as the tremolo block would still be there, no?

  15. #14
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    The additional weight is marginal - maybe a few ounces. Probably no heavier than adding one or two wood blocks to the existing setup.
    To be honest I feel zero difference in weight when playing - though not my main guitar

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Ray175 View Post
    The additional weight is marginal - maybe a few ounces. Probably no heavier than adding one or two wood blocks to the existing setup.
    To be honest I feel zero difference in weight when playing - though not my main guitar
    Yes but I am looking to remove weight by eliminating the unused heavy tremolo block all together (see the OP).

  17. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Yes but I am looking to remove weight by eliminating the unused heavy tremolo block all together (see the OP).
    What about replacing the tremolo block with a lighter weight metal one (like this), and decking the bridge via spring claw tension (as you have been doing)? That would give around a half pound of weight relief, would not require you to glue in anything or screw anything into the body, and not introduce any grounding issues. You could further reduce weight at the tuner end (depending on what tuners you have now). Although, TBH, if it were me (and it wouldn't, since I like my whammy), I'd trade the guitar for a hard tail.

    John

  18. #17
    Correct me if I'm wrong but my understanding as to why tremolo blocks are made of dense metals is because dense metals reflect vibration more than other common materials. The objective is to decouple strings from the wonky tremolo springs as much as possible. Not 100%, of course there is some interaction with the springs which arguably contributes to the Stratocaster sound. But extend to which tremolo blocks achieve this goal, they increase the sustain. That's why some people upgrade them to bigger, denser blocks. More sustain.
    The set up I described in the post pretty heavily relies on this understanding to be true. That is if I remove the springs, I don't need a metal block to be there, I can simply attach the strings to the body (indirectly) though a solid piece of wood (about the thickness of acoustic guitar bridge support pieces glued under the bridge or a bit more) and it'll be a sound solid body design.

  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong but my understanding as to why tremolo blocks are made of dense metals is because dense metals reflect vibration more than other common materials. The objective is to decouple strings from the wonky tremolo springs as much as possible. Not 100%, of course there is some interaction with the springs which arguably contributes to the Stratocaster sound. But extend to which tremolo blocks achieve this goal, they increase the sustain. That's why some people upgrade them to bigger, denser blocks. More sustain.
    The set up I described in the post pretty heavily relies on this understanding to be true. That is if I remove the springs, I don't need a metal block to be there, I can simply attach the strings to the body (indirectly) though a solid piece of wood (about the thickness of acoustic guitar bridge support pieces glued under the bridge or a bit more) and it'll be a sound solid body design.
    Specs for the weight and material of blocks for different brands and models of strats and aftermarket "upgrades" are all over the map, and there's a forest of contradictory claims as to which ones have what effects and why. I'm not an engineer/physicist/materials-scientist, so grains of salt. But my gut feeling is that density per se is not the main factor in how the block influences the whole system, especially when it's under a high amount of spring tension and the bridge is decked. I suspect the bigger factor is resonant/damping properties of different materials and the effect that different sizes and shapes of blocks have on the geometry of the system. I would not assume that bigger and/or heavier blocks invariably increase sustain (or that increasing sustain is necessarily a good thing).

    If I understand the arrangement you're thinking about correctly, blocks and springs go together, and you don't need either if the strings are anchored to the body. But because this system would be transmitting vibrations to the body differently from the standard system, it might sound different, and string tension might not be enough to hold the bridge firmly in place unless it's directly fastened to the body. I'm also having a tough time picturing the size and shape of wood block you're contemplating; whatever that is, it would have to be very well fastened to the body to withstand string tension.The only way to really know is to perform the experiment.

    Overall, I'm not sure I get the purpose of the modification. Is it just to save weight? Or are you trying to get the sound and feel of a hardtail strat? Or are you just doing this for the sake of experiment? If it's just to save weight, I think there are simpler ways to do this (e.g., swapping in a lighter block). If it's because you want a hardtail, I think maybe you need to study a bit more to see if you're really replicating one. If it's for the sake of science and you don't mind the risk of messing up a perfectly OK guitar, have at it.

    John

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    Specs for the weight and material of blocks for different brands and models of strats and aftermarket "upgrades" are all over the map, and there's a forest of contradictory claims as to which ones have what effects and why. I'm not an engineer/physicist/materials-scientist, so grains of salt. But my gut feeling is that density per se is not the main factor in how the block influences the whole system, especially when it's under a high amount of spring tension and the bridge is decked. I suspect the bigger factor is resonant/damping properties of different materials and the effect that different sizes and shapes of blocks have on the geometry of the system. I would not assume that bigger and/or heavier blocks invariably increase sustain (or that increasing sustain is necessarily a good thing).

    If I understand the arrangement you're thinking about correctly, blocks and springs go together, and you don't need either if the strings are anchored to the body. But because this system would be transmitting vibrations to the body differently from the standard system, it might sound different, and string tension might not be enough to hold the bridge firmly in place unless it's directly fastened to the body. I'm also having a tough time picturing the size and shape of wood block you're contemplating; whatever that is, it would have to be very well fastened to the body to withstand string tension.The only way to really know is to perform the experiment.

    Overall, I'm not sure I get the purpose of the modification. Is it just to save weight? Or are you trying to get the sound and feel of a hardtail strat? Or are you just doing this for the sake of experiment? If it's just to save weight, I think there are simpler ways to do this (e.g., swapping in a lighter block). If it's because you want a hardtail, I think maybe you need to study a bit more to see if you're really replicating one. If it's for the sake of science and you don't mind the risk of messing up a perfectly OK guitar, have at it.

    John
    It won't mess up the guitar as it's perfectly reversible and it's an extremely easy and cheap mod. I explained exactly why the forces on the bridge plate would be the same. I don't want to repeat myself as I didn't read in you response anything that specifically points out any drawbacks of my specific explanation other than "it might sound different.".
    I think I already explained the answers to the other questions above (eg. why swapping with a lighter tremolo mechanism that I don't need is not a good idea for me).
    Yes I want to save weight. No offense but based on the responses I think I have a firmer grasp of the physics of what I am doing. I wanted see if there was a specific feedback anybody has about this with a reasonably rigorous reasoning. I think it was a good discussion nevertheless. I am going to go ahead. If for some reason I am not happy with the result, I can unscrew the block and put back the tremolo. But I doubt it. Worse I'll get a fixed bridge.

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    Specs for the weight and material of blocks for different brands and models of strats and aftermarket "upgrades" are all over the map, and there's a forest of contradictory claims as to which ones have what effects and why. I'm not an engineer/physicist/materials-scientist, so grains of salt. But my gut feeling is that density per se is not the main factor in how the block influences the whole system, especially when it's under a high amount of spring tension and the bridge is decked. I suspect the bigger factor is resonant/damping properties of different materials and the effect that different sizes and shapes of blocks have on the geometry of the system. I would not assume that bigger and/or heavier blocks invariably increase sustain (or that increasing sustain is necessarily a good thing).
    I'm well aware of the speculative nature of how different type of blocks affect the sound. My main point as it pertains to what I am trying to do is the claim that the main reason of using metal tremolo block in the strat design is to decouple strings from the springs. I believe you do not disagree with that. In terms of exactly what properties of the metal cause that and why and how that increases the sustain, I am happy to report that I don't have a dog in that race as I'm looking to get rid of the block altogether.
    The reasoning is that if it is true that metal block is there to isolate the springs for the most part, me attaching the strings to to body is sound. In fact, practically every other electric and acoustic guitar design is exactly that.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-25-2018 at 04:49 PM.

  22. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    It won't mess up the guitar as it's perfectly reversible and it's an extremely easy and cheap mod. I explained exactly why the forces on the bridge plate would be the same. I don't want to repeat myself as I didn't read in you response anything that specifically points out any drawbacks of my specific explanation other than "it might sound different.".
    I think I already explained the answers to the other questions above (eg. why swapping with a lighter tremolo mechanism that I don't need is not a good idea for me).
    Yes I want to save weight. No offense but based on the responses I think I have a firmer grasp of the physics of what I am doing. I wanted see if there was a specific feedback anybody has about this with a reasonably rigorous reasoning. I think it was a good discussion nevertheless. I am going to go ahead. If for some reason I am not happy with the result, I can unscrew the block and put back the tremolo. But I doubt it. Worse I'll get a fixed bridge.
    Sorry, but I had a lot of trouble picturing what you're trying to do (in part because you talked about both gluing a piece of wood to the body and keeping springs, which makes no sense, and dispensing with springs, which makes sense), and you never stated what problem you were actually trying to solve until this post. So, perhaps a better grasp of physics, but not of prose or explanation. No offense.

    John

  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    Sorry, but I had a lot of trouble picturing what you're trying to do (in part because you talked about both gluing a piece of wood to the body and keeping springs, which makes no sense, and dispensing with springs, which makes sense), and you never stated what problem you were actually trying to solve until this post. So, perhaps a better grasp of physics, but not of prose or explanation. No offense.

    John
    These things are hard to explain in writing in a way that everybody from vastly different backgrounds can relate to equally well.
    The point of my post is not to discuss why I want to cut weight or what other ways exist to cut weight, so the explanation given in OP should suffice.
    Anyway sorry that my explanation wasn't clear enough for you. Thanks for your responses regardless.

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  25. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    you never stated what problem you were actually trying to solve until this post.
    You may have a point there. I clarified what I wanted to achieve a bit better in the OP with an added EDIT section.
    Thanks.

  26. #25
    That's cool. The wood block I going to put is basically the flat block at the bottom of this contraption. I'll see if the bridge plate will be secure enough with just the string tension. I experimented with it, it looks good so far. Plate is pushed against the tremolo post just like a normal Strat. But if it fails for some reason. I'm totally ordering one of these.

  27. #26
    What I ended up doing is, I carved the vertical part of this contraption instead of the the part lying flat on the surface. When opened the back of the guitar to measure what size piece I need, I realized that a flat piece attached to the spring/claw part of the cavity parallel to strings (my original plan) wouldn't align with the strings as the cavity gets wider around where the bridge is (blush). Ie. the two E strings at the opposite extremes would actually fall on the edge of such piece.
    So carved a piece that basically fills the hollow part under the bridge (just like the vertical part of the Hipshot Trilogy adapter). I put holes for the strings that aligned perfectly with the saddles and screwed it to the head side of the body. Works perfectly!

  28. #27
    I guess a picture is worth a thousand words. Carved piece is (two piece) poplar.
    This is actually a partcaster project. I ordered the unfinished body (3 pounds) from Warmoth. Been painting it olympic white in the past 10 days or so. Even put some relic job on it. I had some extra American strat parts accumulated over the years, but borrowed the neck from my other strat for the time being. It all came to 6.4 pounds. My other Strat was 8.4 pounds. Not bad.
    Still sounds as Strat like anything I've heard. This proves (to me) that Strat sound is really the pickups and the scale length. Tremolo may have an affect on the sound but it isn't what gives Strat it's characteristic sound based how this guitar sounds to me.
    For grounding in the back, I shaped the end of the grounding wire with solder so that it just fits snug through the ring end of the strings (pictured).
    Also note that the relationship between the strings and the bridge is exactly the same as in cosmic gumbo's hardtail picture (post #6), so the standard tremolo bridge works perfectly.
    Attached Images Attached Images Hardtailing a Stratocaster-cam00732-jpg Hardtailing a Stratocaster-img_0166-jpg Hardtailing a Stratocaster-cam00731-jpg Hardtailing a Stratocaster-img_0169-jpg 
    Last edited by Tal_175; 05-28-2018 at 06:58 AM.

  29. #28
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    That's light!
    I'm fond of my solution - it weighs in at @ 7 1/4 pounds :

    Last edited by Hammertone; 05-28-2018 at 12:47 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone View Post
    That's light!
    I'm fond of my solution - it weighs in at @ 7 1/4 pounds :
    The Colin Chapman plan !
    I think you've "added lightness" even more, by leaving out 8 of 11 pickguard screws and carving off .5 g of rosewood in each scallop on the fretboard.

    Joking of course.... it looks nice, and new (protective film still on the PG.)
    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by john_a View Post
    The Colin Chapman plan !
    I think you've "added lightness" even more, by leaving out 8 of 11 pickguard screws and carving off .5 g of rosewood in each scallop on the fretboard.
    Joking of course.... it looks nice, and new (protective film still on the PG.) John
    Old picture, when it was a work in progress. I'll take some new pix - more parts are now blacked out, although I'll leave the ferrules alone - swapping ferrules always leads to pain, suffering and chipped finishes (ask me how I know!). Still waiting for the &^%$#@ Hipshot black anodized, all-stainless vintage-spaced bridge to arrive, to replace the Hipshot chromed, all-stainless vintage-spaced bridge.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 05-30-2018 at 04:57 PM.
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    Posts
    414
    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone View Post
    - swapping ferrules always leads to pain, suffering and chipped finishes (ask me how I know!)
    While I'm sure you know how to deal with ferrules, I'll through in my two cents while the subject is raised.

    I think some of the removal issues arise from how they get installed -- there's a need to ensure they get pressed evenly, into clean round holes. What works against that is the condition where the guitar finish (sprayed after the ferrule holes are created) gets into the hole, and the builder uses brute force to hammer the ferrules in. They can end up looking OK and fit square, but due to the uneven interference fit some will be found problematic to remove.

    Use a reamer to clean new finish out of the holes before installation (do this for tuner holes as well) and you'll find the installation is much more controlled and even. I use a drill press to ensure the ferrule goes in squarely.
    If you do have to press them out later, touch a solder iron briefly on the ferrule and the heat will soften finish enough to prevent chipping out.

    Hardtailing a Stratocaster-reamed_ferrule_hole-jpgHardtailing a Stratocaster-ferrules_press-jpgHardtailing a Stratocaster-ferrules_final-jpg

  33. #32
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    3,630
    Quote Originally Posted by john_a View Post
    While I'm sure you know how to deal with ferrules, I'll through in my two cents while the subject is raised. I think some of the removal issues arise from how they get installed -- there's a need to ensure they get pressed evenly, into clean round holes. What works against that is the condition where the guitar finish (sprayed after the ferrule holes are created) gets into the hole, and the builder uses brute force to hammer the ferrules in. They can end up looking OK and fit square, but due to the uneven interference fit some will be found problematic to remove. Use a reamer to clean new finish out of the holes before installation (do this for tuner holes as well) and you'll find the installation is much more controlled and even. I use a drill press to ensure the ferrule goes in squarely. If you do have to press them out later, touch a solder iron briefly on the ferrule and the heat will soften finish enough to prevent chipping out.
    Excellent description and pix for installing them. As you have pointed out, the problem arises when one removes ferrules installed by someone else - it's a crapshoot, especially with poly finishes.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

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