Jump to content

Classic Or Vintage? 2 Poles Or 6 Screws?

Recommended Posts

Hey there,
I have a question in my head these days, i thought maybe you could help me decide:

in my situation (see below), should i get a vintage or a standard vibrato block?

- i m rebuilding a "perfect" guitar (for me) starting from a basswood Fender body with a straight 24 fret Fender neck. http://s1237.photobucket.com/user/strat80hm/library/Strat%20HM%20Blue/#/user/strat80hm/library/Strat%20HM%20Blue?sort=3&page=1&_suid=136855920574306923632957944514

- my perfect guitar should not ask for a tool box to tune or change a string, and should allow me to play behind the nut, and should look as close as a regular everyday Strat as possible.
- this Strat is mounted with a black bulky double locking system (a Kahler Spyder) with routed cavity for pulling.
- this vibrato is mounted on 2 poles which are about 2' 7/8" apart.

- to install a classic vibrato block (no locking) with piezo captor (LR Baggs X-Bridge because it sounds nice and cost less than other brands). http://www.lrbaggs.com/pickups/electric-guitar-acoustic-pickup
- the Vintage version has 6 screws (2 1/8 wide) while the Standard had 2 poles (2 1/16 apart).
- because of the difference of size with the Kahler, i m going to have to fill up the existing holes for the poles and drill new holes.
- because of the routing, i might also have to fill-up at least the front part of the recess (where the poles are).
- i like my vibrato block floating -which i do by setting it "slanted" (a la Jeff Beck)- so it doesnt not necessarily need a recessed body, although i m not against the idea of setting it "flat" and take advantage of the already existing route for pull-ups.
- I like the Vintage system better, especially the thin threaded vibrato bar.

- given the strong string/spring tension involved, and the potential "fragility" of having to glue a new piece of wood to accommodate new poles/screws, is the 6 screws-Vintage system the right choice in my situation?
- what s sturdier: 6 screws or 2 poles?
- any specific kind of wood i should use for (partially) filling up the routed part?

Thanks for sharing thoughts and clearing up confusion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recently built a modern Strat that looked vintage. I used the ABM Tremolo. It is awesome in all ways Stratocaster compared to a vintage 6 screw.

If you want one with piezos they make it.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm quite partial to the Wilkinson VS100 trem and have used it in a couple of builds. Combined with a low-friction nut and locking tuners I've been able to execute trem-arm-all-the-way-down dives and return to pitch without any tuning stability problems. Would also like to give the Hipshot Contour model a go one day too, as both trems seem to get favourable reviews.

One thing to be careful of with the two-point non-locking trems is the proximity of the trem post to the bridge pickup route, especially in softer woods like basswood. I've seen pictures of Ibanez's with the posts collapsed forward due to the small amount of soft wood not providing sufficient support against the tension of the strings/springs. The posts usually require a much larger hole drilled than the typical 6-screw Strat bridge, leaving less wood to support the bridge behind the pickup.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

go with what look you want, i have set up several strats with vintage and two post trems both work great if set up properly and have good quality springs. I can divebomb slap kick and in general abuse the vintage style on my mim and it goes right back to tune. just follow fenders set up procedure

For a vintage-style tremolo bridge, a great way to enhance its performance is to pull the bridge back flush with the body using the tremolo arm. Then loosen all six screws located at the front edge of the bridge plate, raising them so that they all measure approximately 1/16" (1.6 mm) above the top of the bridge plate. Then tighten the two outside screws back down until they're flush with the top of the bridge plate. The bridge will now pivot on the outside screws, leaving the four inside screws in place for bridge stability. For a two-pivot model such as the American Series bridge, use your tremolo arm to pull the bridge back flush with the body and adjust the two pivot screws to the point where the tremolo plate sits entirely flush at the body (not lifted at the front or back of the plate).

Allowing the bridge to float freely (no tension on the tremolo arm) using the claw screws in the tremolo cavity, adjust the bridge to your desired angle—Fender spec is a 1/8" (3.2 mm) gap at rear of bridge. You'll need to retune periodically to get the right balance between the strings and the springs. If you prefer a bridge flush to the body, adjust spring tension to equal string tension, while the bridge rests on the body (you may want to put an extra 1/2 turn to each claw screw to ensure that the bridge remains flush to the body during string bends). Caution: Do not over-tighten the springs, as this can put unnecessary tension on the arm during tremolo use. Finally, you may wish to apply a small dab of Chapstick® or Vaseline® at the pivot contact points of the bridge for very smooth operation.

also go through the procedure this dude has when stringing and tuning it


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone.

So i guess i m gonna go with the Vintage: 6 screws may be safer than two poles on that soft basswood body, already weakened by the 2 original holes. And i have a vintage on my main guitar and do not encounter any tuning pb.

Yup, Frudua has always tons of good advices!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The fender instruction is good. however there is an easier way of doing things to arrive to the desired gap at the rear: Have a spacer with the desired thickness jammed between the body and the back of the bridge. Tighten the springs so that the tension holds the spacer in place. Adjust, tune and intonate the guitar in all other aspects. Then remove the spacer and adjust the spring tension so that the guitar is in perfect tuning again. The bridge will have the desired gap to the body and the process is so much quicker than adjust, tune, readjust, retune etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...