Feb 16, 2015

Further Strat Modifications

          Because I just can't leave my cheap Squier Strat alone, I did another round of mods to it, mainly to increase tuning stability and dampen crazy spring reverb.

More after the break.

          The first mod I did was to block the trem.  This is a fairly common mod, disabling the tremolo for increased tuning stability.  Supposedly it also increases sustain and/or tone.

          From my experience, the tone and sustain were both negatively affected and sounded "clamped down" when the wood was fitted too tightly, but once I sanded them to fit perfectly (snugly enough but still able to move just by pushing with a finger) the tone and sustain returned to normal, with no noticeable difference at all in either department.  Tuning stability, however, increased a fair bit at the cost of not using the tremolo.

          Afterwards, I added a carefully measured and folded piece of felt over the tremolo springs.
Previously, the springs would vibrate even after the strings were all muted, and the metal vibrations were picked up by the pickups as unwanted noise and hum.

To make matters worse, the springs were all tuned not only just slightly out of tune with each other, but also just out of tune with the "E", making notes slightly dissonant in the worst way.  Some people choose to tune their springs by angling the spring anchor, but I opted to clamp it all the way in for structural reasons, not to mention that it's virtually impossible to tune all three springs on one angle, as well as the dissonance then coming back even worse if I play in the key of "F".

So all in all, a simple piece of felt there solved an awful lot of little problems there!
I'd suggest giving it a try if you play a Strat, particularly if you ever use it with any higher amount of gain, or just don't use the tremolo often enough for it to be worth the hassle.

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