Pickups, Pots, Caps, Wiring

Moderators: Slowy, Capt. Black

User avatar
BY bender
I recently picked up a pretty cool MIM strat but can’t quite get the trem sorted the way I’d like it. There are two main issues that need addressing and I’m wondering if I’d be better off replacing the whole unit.

1) the trem arm doesn’t fit all that well. I bought a replacement arm from the Rockshop and was assured that it’s the correct one (we test fitted it in the shop) but there’s a tiny bit of a wobble/play which I really hate.

2) the saddle height screws are really short - I have them almost wound right through the saddle in order to get the strings to a height I like

One option would to replace the trem block with a GFS one and get the correct fitting arm as well, and then find some replacement height screws, but I wonder if replacing the whole unit might be a better option. There’s a huge difference between MIM and USA jazzmaster trems, so I figure there’s probably a similar difference in strat land. Fender ones are fricken expensive so I was wondering if anyone had any experience with the Gotoh or Wilkinson ones that GuitarParts sell? Are they likely to be an improvement on the stock one?
User avatar
BY Lyle
Strat trem arms normally gave a spring to hold them a bit tighter or you can use some PTFE tape.

For the bridge I think US strats are 56mm and MiM are normally 52mm so you can't swap (there's some exceptions). I haven't tried a gotoh strat bridge but their Floyd Rose's are awesome it would probably be a decent upgrade, not sure if it will fix the saddle height issue.
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BY Slowy
There are a couple of saddle height screw sizes available. Getting the right length so they work without tearing your hand open requires a small grinder and more patience than I can muster.

The only way I have found to remove the slack in a vintage Strat trem arm is to detach the arm and hammer a hardwood wedge between the trem block and body. Some have suggested wrapping it in tinfoil before inserting, but then it's a PITA to get it out again.
You want a wobbly Strat? Duesenberg Paloma. :moresarc:
User avatar
BY Slowy
Lyle wrote: PTFE tape.

This is a good idea; I'll try that. :thumbup:
User avatar
BY bender
Saddle height issue is because a previous owned has filed the grub screws down so they don't protrude. I think he's just taken a wee bit too much off them.
User avatar
BY bender
I want to give this thing a decent chance before I give up on strat trems altogether, but equally I don't want to spend heaps on it. Will give the PTFE tape thing a try.Saddles are OK now, but right at the limit of their height adjustment. If I keep it I'll definitely want to remedy that.

The main thing I'd like to know is if the MIM trems are shittier than the USA ones and if a Gotoh or Wilkinson will be an improvement.
User avatar
BY GrantB
bender wrote:Saddle height issue is because a previous owned has filed the grub screws down so they don't protrude. I think he's just taken a wee bit too much off them.

Setting up a Strat is a series of adjustments in 214 different places :think: . If you want action slightly higher then playing card shim? Also, if bridge is floating then some adjustment there can make short screws work. Happy to set it up when I get to the Mosrite.
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BY Single coil
Gotoh is an improvement in lots of cases, but it smells like a shim or longer grub screws will do the trick.
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BY olegmcnoleg
Gotoh trems are good, ideally you want a solid steel block, the mexi Strat ones are solid but some kind of alloy
Ptfe is your friend, but as above, if you drop a tiny spring down the trem shaft before inserting the arm, that works too. Fender make one for this purpose.
You can buy the saddle screws in different lengths, it’s a good idea to use a mix of long and short screws, then you can get the saddles all the right height and not impale your hand on the protruding shafts ( oh err)
User avatar
BY Molly
The six screws that secure the trem to the body are most often I find flush with the trem itself. However, if you remove the strings and springs and articulate the trem you'll see that it actually binds a little and is restricted from its full movement. I back-off the six screws a little and fully depress the trem. I then bring the screws down until they touch the trem plate. The visual difference is almost nothing but it does make a difference. I've had guitars that have carved a slight ridge in the finish where a user has been wanging away without the correct height adjustment.
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BY bender
Got it playing reasonably well today. It’s a bit of an anomaly though- measurements suggest it’s a USA trem (56mm spacing) but it’s definitely got a Mexican arm. I’m quite keen to try an upgrade block.
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BY mrmofo
I never use the trem on my strat. problem solved.