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I've been spending more time on ebay than is probably healthy, and I've been noticing some interesting looking trem's on a few older MIJ Strats, both Fender and Squier. They're a two point trem with fine tuners, and usually with a locking nut.

Does anyone have a story about these things? They look cool, but a little weired.

A pic of one on a Squier...

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They're okay, I think it's an often overlooked trem. Even though they have roller balls on the saddles, there's a really sharp break angle on them and people I've known who had them complained of strings breaking at the saddle. It might be because as you fine tune the strings they drag across the rollers. Even if the rollers are rolling smoothly, you just rolled a real steep bend into the string, and straightened out the area where the bend was previously. Even though a Floyd Rose has a 90 degree hard break angle on the string, it remains stationary when you're fine tuning.

They're not "double locking" because that means it locks at both the bridge and nut. I feel like if I really had some time to spend setting one up, that I could get it to play and sound nice, perhaps better than a standard strat trem, if for no other reason than the increased mass. Between the extra string length behind the rollers, and the gap between the nut and the locking nut, it doesn't stay in tune as well as a Floyd type setup, but for mild vibrato it should at least stay in tune better than a non-locking strat trem.

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Cool!! I have one of those squiers.. it's in pieces at the moment being gutted, but it has been my main axe for 15 years.. i have yet to find a new fender that I like better.. The bridge I could do without but I block it and never use the bar so it doesn't matter. It's heavy duty though and the rollers appear to be nrass whee i've rubbed the chrome off.. has great tone.

They are single locking via a cheap locking mechanism that sits behind the nut.. was kind of an afterthought. I took that thing off and used it standard.

I haven't tried it but I imagine you could swap a wilkinson trem or something with a half knife edge on it to adjust for the post spacing.

Also, it's a wider trem than a standard strat so the pickguard that comes with it is custom. If you buy a new one, you will have to cut the guard away around the trem.

Those are great guitars though.. aside from the cheap attempt at a floyd :D

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I thought I remembered resting a Floyd style trem in my friend's guitar back in the day when it was in for a refret. I thought it lined up with the post spacing, but that was all the way back in '92 so I could be wrong! Not that you should replace it with a Floyd, just that I think its a possibility with no mods. So then that might mean you could also replace it with the Mighty Mite trem with the fat lip around it. That has Floyd stud spacing too.

Anyway as for the pickguard, you can get a Strat guard that's cut for a Floyd Rose and it should fit.

BTW My friend also blocked it and removed his lock nut too. Those guitars sound great that way.

Edited by frank falbo
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I thought I remembered resting a Floyd style trem in my friend's guitar back in the day when it was in for a refret. I thought it lined up with the post spacing, but that was all the way back in '92 so I could be wrong! Not that you should replace it with a Floyd, just that I think its a possibility with no mods. So then that might mean you could also replace it with the Mighty Mite trem with the fat lip around it. That has Floyd stud spacing too.

Anyway as for the pickguard, you can get a Strat guard that's cut for a Floyd Rose and it should fit.

BTW My friend also blocked it and removed his lock nut too. Those guitars sound great that way.

The one in the picture is a Fender System 1 tremelo. I think the string spacing might actually be more narrow than a standard Fender trem spacing, even though the body of the trem is certainly bigger/wider than a vintage trem.

The rollers losing their plating, revealing the brass, LOL, been there, done that.

The strings breaking at the ball ends, CERTAINLY been there, done that. I'd solder the ball ends of the strings to help keep that from happening. I don't want to know how many times with that trem, I broke a string, and "rebuilt" the ball-end, by making a new loop and twisting it tight over the little "ball thing".

I once was given a system 1 trem that was missing a bunch of the parts (fine tuners and screws), and one day I wanted to see how hard the metal is, that it's made of. So on the underside of the base, I tried to drill a shallow hole. It made the drill bit get dull right away (it's possible that the drill bit was on it's way to Dullville anyway, I don't remember)

The behind the nut, "locking nut" sucks, but I'd still take that over a Floyd locking nut anyday, for the fact that it can be taken off and you still have the standard nut there, and no routed wood, just 4 little screw holes.

The worst thing for me about that kind of locking nut, was how it affected the access to the truss-rod adjustment nut hole. I had to cut off an allen wrench to have a very short end, to get in that tight space, and even then it's hard not to scuff up the finish around the access hole.

As far as dropping other two point trems in a system 1 trem guitar, I know 100% for a fact that the post do not line up with the post spacing for an original Floyd.

These system 1 trems were usually, if not always, on guitars with basswood bodies. I think maybe the mass and hardness of these system 1 trems actually work quite well with a basswood body, although I have grown quite sick of the basswood/locking-trem tone.

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THIS GUY gives tons of info about MIJs and Squier Japans.

I have an MIJ from the late 80s, mine's got a standard trem. Nice guitar!

I still managed to break a lot of strings when I first got it. I took the trem apart, buffed out the burrs, but I still didn't trust it. So I found some thin clear tubing and now each string, except the A and low E, are housed in that just up to the saddles. And I replaced the saddles with String Savers...

Edited by idch
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  • 2 years later...

I have a fender 80's strat and it has the floyd sytem 1 ..and it is not double locking and will not stay in tune when the trem is used...I Then buy a licensed floyd...no go ...pivots dont match...the japan fender holes are drilled further apart...My question is...they have a sytem 2 and 3 ...are any of those double locking..are the pivots same as the system 1...i reallly don't want to have this redrilled...

Edited by musicguru
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Just did a quick and dirty measurement of center to center on system 1 studs (with bridge still in place, and strung up). Got a reading of 3.036" (77.11 mm). Give that a +/- tolerance of .020".

The Fender system 2 and 3 designs are different. As far as I know, neither are two point fulcrum designs. The System 3 is very Kahler-ish looking. Avoid modding your guitar to take either a Fender system 2 or 3. Just the fact that replacement parts hunting will kill you, would be enough reason, but it's not a quick swap option anyway.

My strat with a system 1 trem has no pickguard. It's a "rear rout" body with just a bridge bucker. Very 80's Charvel looking, which is why I bought it. I am considering removing the system 1 trem and putting a Tele bridge on the guitar. I think that would look pretty cool. A black strat-shaped body with Tele bridge and pickup. Basswood body makes a tele bridge pickup make a lot of sense.

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thanks for those sytem one measurements...77 mm...was think about modding the licensed floyd...ill post pix ion what i wqas meaning to mod...see the sytem one one one side doesnt have a pivot notch...it is just cut instead of notched......i could mod the licensed floys the same way and i rthink it might work...if is doesnt work it will be a 60 dollar mistake...that what i got in the licensed floyd

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I think I know what you mean, but the big concern with that, is how will the E strings line up with the edges of the neck, when the bridge gets shifted over to one side more than the other side.

I have a WD floyd copy trem which has one side with a straight edge, like the mod you're thinking of doing. I held it over the system 1 bridge, and it looks pretty obvious that if I moved it over to one side, in order to fit the Fender studs, the string spacing over the neck would be shot to hell.

If your guitar has a pickguard, then I think a stock pickguard would cover the pivot stud holes, in case you were to consider putting another bridge on that has fulcrum studs located where vintage fender studs are located.

The System 1 bridges are far from being junk. Tuning stabilty improves a lot if you solder the ball ends of the strings, and replace the plastic nut with something more slippery, like a nylatron or delrin nut. As with any fulcrum point trem, putting a little grease ( I like the graphite/teflon stuff) on the fulcrum knife edges always helps a little with tuning stability. The quality of the metal of the system 1 bridges is much better than the quality of metal on many floyd copies I've seen.

I think the biggest reason the system 1 bridges gets put down, is because no famous guitarist (that I'm aware of) ever said they are great whammy systems (but that's because Fender never paid anyone to say that).

I've seen at least one Fender with a system 1 bridge played on stage and the guitar sounded great (pretty sure the guy had a Dimarzio bridge bucker in it).

In short, if they were really bad whammy bars, mine would have been taken out long ago. The fact that I don't like any whammy bar very much, but kept this one for 20 years, should say something.

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I recently did a full re-fret and setup on a 84 strat with system 1 trem. The guy i did it for has been back and said it stays in tune much better than his other strats with standard trems and easily better than his flying vee that has a cheap floyd rose copy on it - i still dont think it would be a match for one of the high quality floyds.

His is also a basswood body and sounded fine acoustically but the pickups were a little harsh for my tastes.

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Soldering of the ball ends ( As Dan Erlewine put it) : " This keeps it from slipping or tightening like a hangman's noose".

Come to think of it, after filling those end windings and gaps with solder, it would probably be a good idea to put a light coat of the 'grease stuff' on the ball ends, and 3/8" beyond that.

I never went crazy with taking a system 1 apart to see what kind of burs might be on the various parts which could cause string breakage and tuning instability, but that's something that would be a very good idea to do.

You can probably knock out the pin holding that frozen roller, clean it all up, put back together with a drop of tri-flow inside the roller.

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One of my 80's Strats has the Floyd Rose Licensed trem. It is stamped "Fender" as required by FR at that time. It also has the locking nut which seems fairly effective. Tuning is a pain in the rump as I find I have to tune a bit on the flat side prior to locking the nut. One has to watch for adjustment at the bridge as too much throws your tone off the tonal qualities and you'll notice odd sounding notes, difficulty in getting the note, etc. This is obviously similar to not having your bridge mounted improperly. So, I hate to change strings on it. Other that that, it will stay in tune. I've never had a problem with strings breaking.

I'm switching out the bridge pup with a Tex special, replacing the pick guard with a tortoise one (git is Dakota red), and replacing some of the switches so I can have about 10 selections. It has the flatter 12" radius and seems to be boxwood. Sound isn't bad. I may switch the neck at some point.

My white one, on the other hand, with the 9.5" radius maple neck, definitely not boxwood, and better pickups is the fave and seems to be the one that I need to keep an eye on when someone plays it. That one has the normal trem for those years, as do the others I have.

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