[vibrato arm] [pitch range]..?


Whune
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Joined: 10/16/09
Posts: 223
Whune
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Joined: 10/16/09
Posts: 223
05/31/2023 3:41 am

so I've a strat... 


that's got the bridge locked down with additional springs...


because I wanted to minimize tuning issues.


Now I want to start playing with the [pitch arm].


I've been informed that there's not just one setting for the bridge [range of pitch change]


What's a good setting to start with?


i like classic rock (60s 70s) but also early rock like the ventures


# 1
ChristopherSchlegel
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ChristopherSchlegel
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Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,395
06/01/2023 2:18 pm
#1 Originally Posted by: Whune

so I've a strat... 


that's got the bridge locked down with additional springs...


because I wanted to minimize tuning issues.


Now I want to start playing with the [pitch arm].


I've been informed that there's not just one setting for the bridge [range of pitch change]


What's a good setting to start with?


i like classic rock (60s 70s) but also early rock like the ventures

Hey, good to see you!


The standard Strat style vibrato has 2 primary settings:  decked & floating.  Decked means the bridge plate is set to be flush against the top surface of the guitar.  The result is that you can take the bar down in pitch, but not up.  Floating means the bridge plate is set to allow some upward travel, usually about a 1/16th to an 1/8th of an inch.  There are pros & cons to both.


You set the vibrato system by adding or removing springs in the back cavity and, or adjusting the claw plate the springs are attached to.  The springs & the further the claw plate is screwed in, the more likely the bridge is decked & it's harder to move the bar.  The less springs & the less the claw pate is screwed in, the easier the bar is to move & you get floating (or closer to it until it is floating).


I have most of my Strats bridges decked, but with just enough tension to keep it there.  3 springs & a medium claw plate distance.  The idea is to make easy to move & control the bar, while keeping it decked.  It's less likely to cause intonation & pitch issues when bending & easier to get the action I like.  I do keep one Strat floating just for when I want to do that Ventures type thing.


I have an entire older tutorial on setting & using standard Strat style vibrato systems.


https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial/1219/


I'm sure Stephen the GT tech can give you more specific instructions on setting it up!


Hope that helps!


Christopher Schlegel
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# 2
Whune
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Whune
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Posts: 223
06/02/2023 2:52 pm

Hey, long time no ask you stuff.


So...


My question is really about which pitch range to go with


I was told it ranges a 1/4 step to 2 steps


I'm looking for recommendation on what setting to start with.


Re: Tutorial referred


Context:


I watched up to 06: Rock style Riff


at this point it seems to me you've shifted from technical info tutorializing to performance skills instruction


...


So...


Your tutorial seems like a good way to get enough knowledge to just go play with different ranges on different guitars at store/s to discern what I most prefer


but I need a starting range with which to learn said licks and riffs and "tricks"


 


# 3
ChristopherSchlegel
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ChristopherSchlegel
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06/02/2023 4:43 pm
#3 Originally Posted by: Whune

Hey, long time no ask you stuff.


So...


My question is really about which pitch range to go with


I was told it ranges a 1/4 step to 2 steps


I'm looking for recommendation on what setting to start with.


Re: Tutorial referred


Context:


I watched up to 06: Rock style Riff


at this point it seems to me you've shifted from technical info tutorializing to performance skills instruction


...


So...


Your tutorial seems like a good way to get enough knowledge to just go play with different ranges on different guitars at store/s to discern what I most prefer


but I need a starting range with which to learn said licks and riffs and "tricks"


 

If the bar is decked, then it can only go down.  So the only question here is how far up do you want to be able to go if you set it float.  Most guitar techs (& websites covering the info) will tell you to set it an 1/8th of an inch.  Point being, they are focused naturally on the mechanical function.  And however much that gets you in pitch it is what it is.  In my experience that's about a half-step to a whole-step depending on the string gauge & individual instrument.  So, it's not like you have a lot of options here.


If you want to go up in pitch more than that you need a Floyd Rose (or other locking system) because setting a standard Strat bridge higher than that 1/8th of an inch will usually result in all kinds of tuning, intonation & action problems that typically make the guitar unplayable.  Most people just use standard string bending technique to go up in pitch.


Likewise, the distance down is what it is.  Typically the low E string will travel down about an octave.  A string about a 6th or 7th,  D string about a 5th to a tritone, G & B strings about a 3rd, high E about a whole step.  That's just a natural function of the string tension with a standard (non-locking) nut.


So, again if you want to go further down you need a locking nut system because that will allow the strings to go completely slack on the way down & about a 3rd to a 5th up.  See Vai, Satch or other modern players with locking system approaches.


Does that help?


Christopher Schlegel
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# 4
Whune
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Joined: 10/16/09
Posts: 223
Whune
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Posts: 223
06/02/2023 8:53 pm
#4 Originally Posted by: ChristopherSchlegel

If the bar is decked, then it can only go down.  So the only question here is how far up do you want to be able to go if you set it float.  Most guitar techs (& websites covering the info) will tell you to set it an 1/8th of an inch.  Point being, they are focused naturally on the mechanical function.  And however much that gets you in pitch it is what it is.  In my experience that's about a half-step to a whole-step depending on the string gauge & individual instrument.  So, it's not like you have a lot of options here.


If you want to go up in pitch more than that you need a Floyd Rose (or other locking system) because setting a standard Strat bridge higher than that 1/8th of an inch will usually result in all kinds of tuning, intonation & action problems that typically make the guitar unplayable.  Most people just use standard string bending technique to go up in pitch.


Likewise, the distance down is what it is.  Typically the low E string will travel down about an octave.  A string about a 6th or 7th,  D string about a 5th to a tritone, G & B strings about a 3rd, high E about a whole step.  That's just a natural function of the string tension with a standard (non-locking) nut.


So, again if you want to go further down you need a locking nut system because that will allow the strings to go completely slack on the way down & about a 3rd to a 5th up.  See Vai, Satch or other modern players with locking system approaches.


Does that help?

Yes.


 


I see that I was making several silly assumptions of the physics involved


E.G.


Pitch change being uniform across strings


# 5
ChristopherSchlegel
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ChristopherSchlegel
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06/03/2023 1:36 pm
#5 Originally Posted by: Whune

Yes.


 


I see that I was making several silly assumptions of the physics involved


E.G.


Pitch change being uniform across strings

Ha!  No worries.  Glad it helped.  Have fun with that whammy bar!


Christopher Schlegel
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# 6

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