Trem Setup


 

To Float or not to Float?

There are two basic schools of thought on how to set up a trem. Both have advantages and drawbacks. You can decide which suits you best.
 
The first is our standard, resting on the body style. This has the bridge resting on the body with just enough spring pressure so that the plate does not flutter against the body during hard strumming. This can also be adjusted a little stiffer if you want to avoid de-tuning while bending. You may want this setup if you like to do double stop country bends without having the stationary strings go flat, or like to bend a single string with the low E still ringing, or do a lot of drop D tuning. An added bonus is that if you break a string, the guitar will not go hopelessly out of tune.
 
Some people like varying degrees of float. The advantage is that the pitch can be modulated both above and below zero, or pitch. It also makes the trem arm feel looser, to achieve the "wiggle it both directions" feel. The potential downside to this method is that you have to be careful about hand pressure on the bridge pushing the guitar out of tune. Also if you break a string, you will go out of tune across all the strings.

 

Setup:

First you'll have to remove the spring cover plate on the back of your guitar. Then you can access the claw screws that control the spring tension.
To achieve more float, start by loosening them about a half turn at a time, re-tuning after each change. Loosen them just until the bridge is barely off the body. You can check this by pushing down on the back of the bridge and listening for a pitch change. This will give you the softer feel without the problems associated with a completely floating bridge.
If this is not enough for you, you can keep loosening those screws and re-tuning until you get to the place you want to go. Keep in mind that the higher you go with the bridge float, the saddles are going up also. If you go very far from flat, you will have to lower the saddles accordingly to have the action remain the same.
Conversely, if you'd like to remove float in your bridge, simply tighten the claw screws until the bridge is resting on the body. Do not over-tighten, and be aware that heavier string gauges may require additional trem springs.
Be sure to re-tune after any trem adjustments. Happy Playing!