Questions/Thoughts on trems

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Questions/Thoughts on trems

Post by Brainfertilizer on Tue May 22, 2012 10:13 am

This question was brought to you by Iceman's post about a disintegrating trem block on a MIK Westone.

There are many trems.

Let's focus in on one type: two-point fulcrum trems.

They all have two posts, knife edges and an hourglass.

I don't care about the nut end locking or non-locking.

For the purposes of my question, there are two types: single-locking and double-locking.

Double-locking locks the string at the bridge, single-locking doesn't.

Narrowing the focus to single-locking, Westone has the Bendmaster Deluxe, and the Bendmaster FT (stands for Fine Tuning, I think). In both, the strings slip through the trem cavity, over the saddle, and then down the neck.

What, exactly, is the advantage of the Deluxe over the FT?

Is the Deluxe that much better at staying in tune?

If either can stay in tune fairly well (and it seems like the Bendmaster FT on my Dynasty does...haven't done much trem work on my new Challenger to be sure), then what is the point of all the hassle of a double-locking system?

Is there anyone that prefers the Bendmaster FT to the DLX? Or the FT/DLX to a double-locking system?

It seems to me that it all comes down to the hardness of the metal of the knife-edge, and the weight of the trem body. Hard metal plus solid trem body mass = great tuning stability, regardless of trem style. True?

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Re: Questions/Thoughts on trems

Post by colt933 on Tue May 22, 2012 1:57 pm

One possible advantage I can think of is that the deluxe may work better if there is a neck-to-body angle. Have you ever seen a recessed Floyd Rose mount vs. flat mount? Also, the recessed mount allows you to float the bridge more thus enabling pull-ups. And the bigger chunk of metal that is the deluxe may sound better because it has more mass. And it looks kind of like a Floyd - which was probably pretty important back in 1986!

Please note that neither Bendmaster is a locking tremolo. The strings are not locked to the bridge like with a Floyd. And of course the behind-the-nut string lock is not a locking nut either. So while they do have a string lock, and the end result is much the same as a Floyd, they are not really locking.

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Re: Questions/Thoughts on trems

Post by gittarasaurus on Tue May 22, 2012 2:10 pm

i believe that FT stands for Floating Tremolo


the FT lets the user raise and lower the pitch much more than the earlier models with six screws that hold the tremolo against the guitar body.
the Deluxe gives even more range to push and pull, especially with a deep rout under the bridge.

on the FT style, the string anchor rests in a hook and the it can become misplaced when doing deep dives.
the Deluxe is better for major dive-boming because it has the little bar between the hole and the actual saddle to help prevent any movement of the string anchor if it becomes slack during the big dives. the little bar is not as effective on the high strings as it is on the low strings.

when it comes to the extreme whammy action, nothing works like a double locking system. when set up right, it is absolutely rock solid. even for psycho-whammy bar action. you can make all the strings slack and it returns to pitch. without locks at both ends, that is not possible.

i think that the hardness and the mass have more to do with transferring a better quality tone, than with tuning stability. certainly the hardness of the metal will help maintain the accuracy of the entire unit, but a good heavy block and solid contact points have more to do with how the string vibration is sustained than with tuning accuracy. heavier and harder tremolo blocks tend dampen the string vibration less. softer metal alloys can sound dull and the notes decay more quickly. with hard metal the note rings clearer and lasts longer.

if you swap out an alloy trem block and replace it with a brass one, you will definitely hear a difference. i don't think it will affect tuning stability.

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Re: Questions/Thoughts on trems

Post by corsair on Tue May 22, 2012 4:58 pm

Thank you, Colt and gittarsaurus, for that precís of the Bendmaster trems! Good work!

I have both on guitars here, as well as a Bendmaster Precision, and if I had to pick one , it would be the FT, simply because adjusting the intonation is much easier than on the Deluxe. They're all quite robust pieces of kit; quite well built, but they do both need that stringlock if they are to stay in tune during even reasonably sane wang bar manoeuvres...

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Re: Questions/Thoughts on trems

Post by Iceman on Tue May 22, 2012 8:37 pm

Yeah but it would have been nice if Westone had just put a Kahler on instead of the Bendmaster (whatever the style) whenever possible.

You know I'm right on this... well, I know that Colt knows I am for certain. Smile

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http://www.glowingtubes.com/p/Kahler_Instructions.htm

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Re: Questions/Thoughts on trems

Post by corsair on Tue May 22, 2012 9:55 pm

Yeah; of course I do, or even a Floyd would be better than a trem system that went tits-up 20 years ago, eh!! However... it is what it is, and we all value authenticity to varying degrees, so we're stuck with the Bendmasters!

To be brutally honest, I quite like piddling about with this stuff, trying to make good broken bits and hunting them down on the web, either to help myself or to get someone else out of a jam, it's all the same to me!

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Re: Questions/Thoughts on trems

Post by colt933 on Wed May 23, 2012 10:16 am

Iceman wrote:Yeah but it would have been nice if Westone had just put a Kahler on instead of the Bendmaster (whatever the style) whenever possible.

You know I'm right on this... well, I know that Colt knows I am for certain. Smile

Agreed, but too expensive probably for the bolt-on neck models.

We just got an '86 Charvel Model 3 in the store, complete with Kahler Pro and original tweed Charvel case. The guitar is in pretty good shape, not perfect, but that case is nearly perfect! I may have to buy it for no reason other than I like it.

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Re: Questions/Thoughts on trems

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