Any Strat players leave the bridge floating?

Discussion in 'Other Cool Guitars' started by 5120mantis, May 4, 2021.

  1. Blewzman

    Blewzman Electromatic

    Dec 7, 2017
    Bella Visa
    I have an early Strat + (88/89) that came with the Hipshot Trem setter and it has always been floating.
  2. chicago slim

    chicago slim Synchromatic

    Dec 27, 2008
    Bowling Green, KY
    All of my Strat's are floating, as are my PRS guitars. I use my tremolo all the time. It does require a lot more adjustment, than a decked Trem. But once you get it properly adjusted, they tend to work vary well. I even think that the guitar will adjust better to temperature and humidity, than when blocked or decked.

    I recommend learning to properly adjust your tremolo, for how you want to use it. Mine are stiff with restricted movement, because I'm used the playing Bigsby's. I wanted mine to sound and react, more subtly (like a Bigsby). Only you know exactly what you want. And, not all set-up guys are Trem usurers.
    Last edited: May 7, 2021
  3. Easiest way to float it , take a Popsicle , your favorite flavor , eat it and save the stick . Tighten the springs . Push down on the bar and slide the stick between the body and the tail piece . This would be a good time to change the strings and make all set up adjustments to the guitar . After it's set up to spec , hold the head stock straight up with the body down , vertical . Loosen the springs evenly and slowly . When the stick falls out you're done . This will work on all Fender whammys unless you've got some really big ass strings on it and if that's the case add a spring or two , it will still work .
    mr coffee and new6659 like this.
  4. Let me ask this about the video of Carl . Is it the springs that stop the bridge when you pull up on the bar ? I'm going to say No ! It's the bridge plate hitting the top of the guitar . The springs bring it back to pitch and don't limit travel . When you push down on it , same thing happens , but in this case the trem block hits the back of the trem cavity or the the whammy bar hits the top of the guitar . Still not the springs limiting the travel . I didn't go MI and I can't come close to what Carl can do on a guitar but I'm not buying into a slanted spring claw will do what he says it will . What do you think ?
  5. m_n_b

    m_n_b Electromatic

    Feb 29, 2016
    San Jose, CA
    I do. If you aren’t going to have bidirectional tremolo, may as well just play a Tele and get that super solid feel of the string through body. Bigsby players understand the value of being able to bend both down and up with the bar.

    But of course, whatever suits tour style and feel preferences is what works for you.
    Iansheridan1978 likes this.
  6. MatchlessMan

    MatchlessMan Country Gent

    Nov 29, 2010
    Swindon UK
    Yes, but just a tiny bit, i.e. there is very small gap between the base plate and the top of the guitar. This allows for a gentle shimmer plus a fair amount of down-bend.
  7. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    When you pull up on the bar the back of the bridge plate contacts the body. That stops the up motion.

    The slanted claw definitely does what he says it does. My whole "Strat" herd is set up like this although I prefer a little less travel-up on mine. That is 14 Strats, two Albert Lees and a G&L Comanche. It works on six screw and two screw bridges.

    I do mine so when it lift the bar up I get one full tone on the G string and a half tone on the A string. That is, on a tuner: G string raises to A - A string raises to Bb. The claw is significantly angled. The theory is that the larger strings have more tension and the angle equalizes the tension across the strings. I'm not sure that's it but it definitely works!

    I use a locking wrap on the guitars that do not have vintage style or locking tuners.

    I lightly smooth my nut slots and use a lubricant. I used to use Big Bends Nut Sauce. My luthier put me onto Dove bar soap (1/4 moisturizing cream) and now I use that exclusively.

    My Strats do not go out of tune. The setup is easy and takes 15-20 minutes to get it right but unless you change string gauges you only have to do it once.
    Medium John likes this.
  8. GlenP

    GlenP Country Gent

    Jul 23, 2019
    nickurso likes this.
  9. nickurso

    nickurso Gretschified

    Dec 24, 2012
    New Orleans la.
    Yes I put the lipstick pick ups in it plus I changed the pick guard, knobs etc.
    This was the stock guitar

    GlenP likes this.
  10. T Bone

    T Bone Country Gent

    I have 13 Strats. About 4 of them are decked (including the Clapton model which is blocked), the rest are all set up floating more or less to Fender specs.
    new6659 and Tony65x55 like this.

    OLD ROCKER Electromatic

    Apr 11, 2021
    I'm a big Hank Marvin and Shadows fan. No way you can play that stuff without the trem. Problem is bending the arm to get the correct DSC_0010.JPG shape to hold it while playing. Used to be an "easy mute trem arm" available which was the perfect shape but no longer available. Bend mine in the vice in the garage!
    Tony65x55 likes this.
  12. NervousJohn

    NervousJohn Electromatic

    May 8, 2017
    When I had a Strat, I really couldn’t get on with a floating bridge. I generally play with my hand on the bridge for muting, and that always seemed to go a little sharp. Not an issue with a Bigsby though. With the Strat I blocked the trem and sorted it that way.

    Mind you I kept on knocking the volume knob, so had to move that too. And 25 1/2 inches is a wee bit long for me, all of which led me to realise I’m really not a Strat player.
  13. It's where the bridge plate hits the top of the body that limits the pitch not having the spring claw at an angle . When it's at an angle it just spreads the work out among the other springs to find that balance between strings and springs . Get a half step or whole on strings when pulling up on the bar has nothing to do with an angled spring claw .
    Last edited: May 10, 2021
    Tony65x55 likes this.
  14. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    Sort of. You are, of course, correct in stating that the upper throw is stopped by the body of the guitar. But that is not the place where tuning takes place. Tuning happens under the spring tension after the bar is released. The equilibrium of floating the bridge. Unequal string tension vs unequal spring tension to achieve balance.

    In fact, you tune the balance of the string tension so that you pull up one whole tone at the G string and one half tone on the A string by a combination of two things. 1) the absolute tension of the spring and 2) the difference in that tension created by angling the claw.

    When the bridge is at rest you must balance those two factors to achieve the desired throw.

    The lower strings have more tension - to offset that tension you screw in the claw more on the bass side to put more spring tension. If the bass side goes up a full tone when you raise the bar, you need to tighten the claw on the bass side - pulling the bridge down on that side - until it only gives you a half tone when you pull the bar up.

    Since the treble strings produce less tension, less tension is needed to be put on the treble side of the claw to offset it. You move the treble side of the claw in or out to produce one full tone of rise on the G string.

    This sounds confusing until you try it but once you start it becomes simple and intuitive.

    Give it a shot. As the video indicates it really works. just remember to tune after each claw adjustment and do some on one side and then some on the other.
  15. I've set mine up both ways and it makes absolutely no difference when it comes to raising a string a half tone and whole tone when you pull up on the bar .
  16. MentalTossFlycoon

    MentalTossFlycoon Gretschie

    Dec 22, 2018
    Since my claw was not setup at an angle, after watching the Carl vid I decided to give it a shot. Don't know what everybody else's results were or whether I have done it right or wrong, but now my bridge plate sets at a angle in relation to the body. About 2mm from the body on the high E side and 3mm or so on the low E side, Would kinda explain the results Carl was getting if in fact I have done the adjustment correctly.
  17. afire

    afire Country Gent


    Lo and behold, back in production:

    OLD ROCKER Electromatic

    Apr 11, 2021
    Have tried them before but can't get any response. Don't know if they are closed due to covid but will keep trying. Many thanks for your help.
  19. buzzanderson

    buzzanderson Gretschie

    Jan 19, 2015
    Centreville, VA
    Same here, no trem bar, but with three springs. And I get decent vibrato with the heel of my hand.
    Chmason85 likes this.
  20. ruger9

    ruger9 Country Gent

    Nov 1, 2008
    For me, a strat w/o a floating bridge might as well be a tele. As long as the nut is cut well, and lubed, and the bridge is setup properly (floating just a little), it stays in tune fine. Mine certainly does. I tried decking it once. Didn't like it at all, the float is part of what a strat IS, for me.
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