Quantcast Ryan's Guitars: CS Relic Strat Setup

Saturday, February 10, 2007

CS Relic Strat Setup

I finally decided to really dig into my new Custom Shop Strat Relic and get it setup perfectly. The main problem with it was tremolo stability when using the bar aggressively. A common problem with Strat tremolos unless they are setup properly.

The first thing I did was remove the strings, springs and bridge from the guitar. Then I polished each of the six pivot screws by wrapping the smooth shank part of the screws with a small piece of 1500 grit sandpaper and spinning them with an electric screw driver. This is a quick and easy way to polish and de-burr tremolo screws. After that, I put a small swipe of synthetic lithium-polymer grease on the pivot of the bridge plate before re-installing the unit. I also put a small amount of the same lube around the top of the newly polished screws for added lubrication during tremolo use (very important step!).

I then re-installed the springs, put some new strings on it and setup it up to float (about 1 full step of pull-up on the G string at the 12th fret). Once I got all this adjusted I reset the height of the outer two trem screws so they are nearly exactly flush to the face of the trem plate with the unit pulled all the way up. I raise the inner four screws higher so as to reduce friction. This allows the trem to pivot on the two outer screws like a modern, two-point tremolo... but the inner four are still there for support and tone transfer.

Once all the setup was complete and everything "settled" back in I was very pleased with my work. The guitar stays in tune much better now (even with heavy trem use). I also opted to switch from D'Addario 10s to D'Addario 9.5s. 10s were feeling a bit stiff to me, but plain 9s were "slippery" on the round fretboard and thin fretwire. The 9.5s are a perfect middle ground. Not as stiff as 10s, but you can still grip them when bending and the tone is bit thicker than plain 9s, as you might expect.

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