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Any Body Tried The Trem King Out ?


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I'm planning on using one for next Spring's guitar, but that's a while away... the video looks pretty cool, but it'd be nice to find some reviews made by actual users (i.e., people who paid for the trem). There's not much --so far I've found one forum post from a guy who just tried one out at a guitar show.

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Ya, the only info I can find is from the seller's site, not the end user's. Not to imply that the seller is not sincere. Peoples styles very and while one person might think its the greatest and decide to sell them, another might find a flaw or isue with their particular usage. Thanks for the reply.

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I think the idea is a good one -- keep the strat-style form factor, but with fixed saddles. Definitely makes more sense to move only the strings. Although, that's kind of the way a Bigsby works, and they're not so easy to keep in tune (and a real pain to string up too). The video is definitely impressive on that score.

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  • 1 month later...

I just received my Trem King...it's made in Korea, in case anyone is wondering.

I haven't installed it yet --originally I was going to use it for the build I have planned for next year, but now I'm thinking I might as well go ahead and put it in one of my guitars...have to decide between the strat and the tele (which is already fitted with a vintage trem).

So I can't say yet how well it actually performs. But I can say that the build quality is really excellent --can't find any flaws with it, and the details are really well done (the black trimmings are a nice detail). Nice thick chrome. The action on the trem block is very smooth.

Once you have it in your hand, you can see right away why it's a great idea (or ideas...because he really seems to correct most of the problems with the vintage trem design). Now I just have to see if the theory holds up in practice.

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Does it stay in tune when a string breaks? It doesn't look like it. I've had an idea for a trem something like this one for a while now, but haven't had the time or resources to build it. The one I've got in my head wouldn't detune due to broken strings though.

EDIT: Nevermind, looks like it does stay in tune after breaking a string. I'll be interested to hear your review, mickguard.

Edited by thegarehanman
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  • 4 months later...

Presuming some of you have tried these out for a while . . .

1) How do you like them overall relative to a Floyd Rose style or a Kahler, or whatever?

2) Is there anything you can't do with a TremKing, either at all or as well, as with a Floyd (e.g. fluttering, extreme pull ups or nose dives, etc.)?

-Cheers

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Presuming some of you have tried these out for a while . . .

1) How do you like them overall relative to a Floyd Rose style or a Kahler, or whatever?

2) Is there anything you can't do with a TremKing, either at all or as well, as with a Floyd (e.g. fluttering, extreme pull ups or nose dives, etc.)?

-Cheers

You can do them all with the trem. To get the full motion you have to do some slight modifications in the trem cavity. The modifications can be done with a Dremel or similar tool.

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Really? I love the idea of Trem King and other trems that stay neutral, but I would think something like the detent would prevent the Trem King from doing much of a flutter.

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Mine's installed, I'm still working out some kinks to the guitar, since this is a modification of a modification of a modification. And this one was a rush job, since I was looking at it more as a prototype for a full-fledged build.

Things I like: they really seemed to take on--and solve-- all the flaws of the original trem design. It's really impressive, the more you look at it, and it's obvious they spent a long time in developing this unit. Too bad they didn't spend as much time preparing a proper installation diagram, because the one they provide is just confusing (to me).

Anyway, each time I look at it, I find another cool feature, like the saddles lock down (using a retainer bar over the intonation screws). And the strings ride a smooth curved surface up to the saddles, instead of rubbing against the sharp edge of a standard trem plate.

To get the full motion you have to do some slight modifications in the trem cavity. The modifications can be done with a Dremel or similar tool.

Okay, let's be clear. In order to make this trem work with an existing guitar, you MUST modify your guitar. Because no one wants 'half the motion'. The Trem King really needs more space at the back wall. This is because there's a stabilizer bar that fixes behind the trem block. This bar is pretty important for helping the trem come back into tune, of course. But it's pretty thick and definitely gets in the way.

Luckily though, the designer(s) seemed to have been prepared for this issue : the retainer bar fits to the center spring, which has a longer hook to it than the other springs. My first instinct was to slip the retainer bar all the way to the base of the hook. But I just now pushed the bar to the end of the hook --i.e., farther up the trem block. Which of course gives more play to the block.

On my guitar, which I re-routed for the Trem King, this is enough to make it work pretty well. Still can't get the trem handle all the way down to the body, but that's where my sloppy routing job comes in :D ... like I said, I rushed this one (actually the problem is I had to reroute the neck pocket, then placed the bridge according to that, which placed the neck/bridge line slightly different from the original...which puts the trem at a slant to the route for the trem block)... I'll be able to fix it by routing an extra groove into the wall.

Anyway, no such issues with pulling up. And I don't tend to dive-bomb much anyway.

Last quibble: the trem handle attaches to a housing that uses a set screw to tighten the handle down. They give you an allen key that is cut especially short at the end, so apparently they think you should be able to get in there and tighten/loosen it. But I haven't been able to do that, it's just a pain in the butt. Instead, I tightened the set screw down pretty firmly, but I can still pull the handle out (in order to case the guitar).

I can't really report yet on the rest, since the guitar isn't finished yet. Playability seems great though --a nice smooth movement, no jerks. Although if you like more resistance, you might have to find stronger springs. For me, it feels great. You can indeed bend strings with this, and overall the string tension feels really nice. As for staying in tune...can't say yet.

I'm not sure what a detent (what detent?) has to do with flutter. But do you mean the Bigsby type flutter?

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Sounds great,but........All I truly give a toss about is whether they come in the lefty option.

If that's the case then I'm willing to smack one into the next lefty build I make and give it a real going over.

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Another weird thing: I've had to adjust the saddles quite high in order to make them work with the neck (7.25 radius). Looks a little weird to me. But the neck measures at the right height. And looking at the Fender Esquire I have here (same radius), the saddles on that stand pretty tall too.

Does that adversely affect comfort while playing? Also, would that just be an issue with small-radii guitar necks?

Last quibble: the trem handle attaches to a housing that uses a set screw to tighten the handle down. They give you an allen key that is cut especially short at the end, so apparently they think you should be able to get in there and tighten/loosen it. But I haven't been able to do that, it's just a pain in the butt. Instead, I tightened the set screw down pretty firmly, but I can still pull the handle out (in order to case the guitar).

That sounds a little annoying. Livable, though kind of a pain.

I can't really report yet on the rest, since the guitar isn't finished yet. Playability seems great though --a nice smooth movement, no jerks. Although if you like more resistance, you might have to find stronger springs. For me, it feels great. You can indeed bend strings with this, and overall the string tension feels really nice. As for staying in tune...can't say yet.

Thanks for the review!

I'm not sure what a detent (what detent?) has to do with flutter. But do you mean the Bigsby type flutter?

Presumably he means (at least I mean) what the guy in the clip below demonstrates at the 45 second mark where you hit the whammy bar and it causes the springs to vibrate back and forth giving it that warbly kind of quivering/fluttering sound. Best represented in the clip below:

I would just wonder that the stabilizer bar (or makes it return to a neutral position, with or without a detent) would stop it from fluttering much. It sounds like rjhalsey has not had that problem.

-Cheers

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Wow...never really seen that before. It looks like he's just whacking the handle though --- so maybe it will still work with the Trem King? There's the bar, sure, but I don't see that interfering with the string rattle, since the bar will just vibrate too. I'll try things out once I get the electronics in (I'm waiting on some pickup screws, they'll be here in a couple of days).

As for the high saddle thing, I used to only play Gibson/Tom-type guitars, so I'm used to having strings up pretty high. For me, it's not a big deal, it's actually easier for me to play that way (I don't do solos, I play a kind of rhythm thing). But I have a feeling the high saddles is related to the radius more than the Trem King. Like I said, the Esquire has its saddles up really high too.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I've been playing the guitar pretty much exclusively since it's been finished, so I'm ready to report a bit more.

First, there is NO issue with the saddle height, now that everything is adjusted, it's perfectly normal that way (I deleted that bit from an earlier post about that, I just want to make it clear).

Broke a string at practice last night --and the guitar stayed in tune, I was able to finish out the song. Success! (not the string breaking part, of course...)

Tuning is pretty stable all in all. Definitely infinitely better than the vintage trem on my Strat. I won't say 100% yet --but there are other kinks in the chain to work out first (need to put on true locking tuners and replace the nut, I'll get around to that eventually).

One thing about the tuning stability -- when you release the handle, the springs should be able to pull everything back to the zero position. But there are strips of felt padding on both the trem block and the retainer bar -- and when the two pieces of padding come together, it creates a soft zone of about 0.5 mm or more in thickness.

And that's enough to throw off the trem's ability to return to zero -- there's a bit of a bounce there, a moment where the two pieces need to nestle together/compress together. So you do have to give a quick extra tug sometimes. I've tried compensating for that by tightening the springs -- it helps a lot, but still, I wonder if the felt is really necessary?

So far I've been unable to get that 'bouncing string' effect - I don't think that's possible with this unit.

Palm muting doesn't appear to be an issue -- there were concerns because the trem handle is between the saddles. On the other hand, it's not as easy to get the muted sound I want with the trem as I get on my tele. Could be because of the pickups though.

One thing I'm not enthusiastic about: the trem handle. The end of it just refuses to stay tightened down. The grip part is a great idea, but it's useless if the entire tip spins... to tell the truth, I'd love to replace the handle with a shorter version -- the way it is, in order to grip the tip, I have to pick closer to the neck than I like. I'm not sure if this is the Trem King's fault -- maybe all trem's are like that?

As long as they're reinventing the trem, they could take this into account -- design a shorter trem bar with two different tips -- one long, one short. And at any rate, coat more of the handle with the anti-slip grip. Hmm... I'm going to write to them about this...

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