Q's about Gen 3 tremolo setup

Discussion in 'PTC - PRS Tech Center' started by greiswig, Apr 11, 2016.

  1. greiswig

    greiswig New Member

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    I have a Private Stock 20th with the 3rd Gen tremolo. I am guessing a bit on how to properly set it up: string it, adjust intonation, they loosen the tuning a bit and tighten down the locking screws on the saddle. It makes sense to me that you want some string tension between the ball end and the saddle, even with a locking screw in the saddle. I don't know how critical that order is, but that is one question.

    Another question is an issue I observed: as I tighten down the saddle locking screw, something about a few of the saddles makes it so the whole saddle ends up backing up, leaving the head of the intonation screw sticking out of the rear of the trem plate, and making the intonation go off. So what to do about that?
     
  2. CatStrangler

    CatStrangler PRS Enthusiast

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  3. greiswig

    greiswig New Member

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    I can't seem to figure out how to insert a photo. I've tried inserting directly, and also from a Dropbox URL. What's the trick? All I get is [​IMG]
     
    #3 greiswig, Apr 11, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2016
  4. CatStrangler

    CatStrangler PRS Enthusiast

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    I use photobucket and use the URL link they provide, so I can't really help :(
     
  5. greiswig

    greiswig New Member

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  6. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Honestly, the trem is so new in design, that I'd get in touch with PRS Customer Service via email with pics, or simply call and talk to someone in Private Stock, instead of trying to find answers in the forum.

    I have one of the 20th models, as you know, and haven't a clue as to how to even change strings on the darn thing when that needs to be done, I know I'll be contacting PRS, or Jack Gretz, my dealer.
     
  7. greiswig

    greiswig New Member

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    This may not work, because I can't for the life of me figure out how to insert images. There is a serious usability problem in that! ;-) (CORRECTION: I think it has to do with Box and Dropbox's secure protocol. So I bet anything with https: as part of the URL won't work)

    [​IMG]
    This is the "before" picture...IOW, the locking screws in the saddle haven't been turned in yet.

    [​IMG]
    This is after the set screws have been turned in. Notice the 3, 4 and 5 strings in particular? The whole saddle has been moved back, including the intonation screw.
     
    #7 greiswig, Apr 12, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016
  8. greiswig

    greiswig New Member

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    Changing strings can be a bit of a challenge: the string will try to hit the underside of the locking screw. So thread the locking screw out most of the way, but even then put a little kink in the last 1/4" or so of the string, and point that kink toward the headstock as you thread the string in.

    The rest of the procedure, as I said, I don't know what is recommended. I'll post what PRS says here.
     
  9. swede71

    swede71 New Member

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    I would guess to lock the string last without loosen the tuning.To me it sounds like the lock screw makes up for the slack in the string after loosen the tuning a bit.And I guess not to overtighten it.
     
  10. greiswig

    greiswig New Member

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    I suppose maybe it's just the opposite: tighten down the locking screw with the string loose, then let the string tension from tuning pull that saddle back into position. But it doesn't feel right, mechanically, to let there be no tension between the ball end and the saddle.

    I called PRS, but got put through to voicemail. Hopefully I'll hear back soon.
     
  11. CatStrangler

    CatStrangler PRS Enthusiast

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    interesting mechanical force analysis problem for classical mechanics students out there.

    Can you tell us if the saddles that move back also lift up in any way after the locking mechanism is engaged?
     
  12. greiswig

    greiswig New Member

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    Spoke with Sean at PRS today. He, in turn, had spoken to some techs about this issue. Gotta express my skeptical side again; I think they are surprised by this issue. And I get it, because I wouldn't have anticipated that this would happen.

    Apparently the way the techs deal with it is to loosen the lock screw, detune, push the ball end down in the bridge, tighten the locking screw, then tune up. To me, this is asking a lot of that locking screw, particularly given that it doesn't even have full threads. And I wonder about the acoustic coupling being changed by not having the down force of the tension between the ball and the saddle.

    More to come, I'm sure...
     
  13. rugerpc

    rugerpc A♥ hoards guitars ♥A
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    Hmmm...

    I deal with torque specs on small screws daily.

    The idea here is to trap the body of the string between the screw tip and the saddle with enough pressure that it will not slip. That pressure is probably enough to deform (flatten, indent) the string a little. A look at that area when changing strings will confirm that.

    Unless the precision between the screw threads and the saddle is so poor that the screw noticeably rattles, moves, or is loose when not under tension, the absence of 1/4 turn of threads is meaningless in terms of being able to apply sufficient pressure to trap the strings.

    I'm betting it is possible to over tighten the screws and break strings if you aren't careful, even with the missing threads.

    Just for grins, someone with one of the bridges should experiment with torque settings and report. I'd be interested in knowing what the torque values are for:
    Holding a string to standard tuning pitch without slipping.
    Holding a string for a +2 step bend without slipping.
    Torque at which string is deformed to breakage in the saddle.
     
  14. greiswig

    greiswig New Member

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    Great thoughts, rugerpc! You clearly know more about this than I. The kind of torque wrench I have is too big for use on this size fastener, or I'd give it a go.

    Here is the main odd part to me: the recommended procedure is to set up everything as you would with a standard saddle...tuning, intonation, etc....and only then to tighten down the locking screw.

    EXCEPT when this happens and a saddle moves. Then the procedure changes to slacken the string enough to remedy the situation. How much is enough? Well, totally loose is certainly enough. Or take your best guess. Locking the string down moves the pitch up a good step or so depending on the string, so that's a good place to start, but it wasn't sufficient for 3 of my strings.

    I don't know...it just feels to me like they're learning about a new design still, which is fine. Pitch stays put at least as well as any locking term I've ever played, and the bridge looks much, much better. Plus palm mutes aren't painful! I think I'm going to see if I can fit a locking nut on the intonation screws to prevent the screw from slipping back and forth. Then I don't have to worry either way.

    Only question is how to get the locking nuts plated. :D
     
  15. rugerpc

    rugerpc A♥ hoards guitars ♥A
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    As I have been reading this thread, my thought has been that this bridge is still a new design. I'm quite sure that they went through oodles of different designs before they went with this one. And, I'm equally sure that they are still tweaking because the process never stops. Not for PRS.

    It wouldn't surprise me for PRS to eventually publish a torque range for the set screws on this bridge....

    I'm also painfully aware that there are people who don't think PRS really gives a sh!t about the last little tweak for the least subtractive tonal parts. They are wrong.
     
    #15 rugerpc, Apr 14, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2016
    greiswig and bodia like this.
  16. greiswig

    greiswig New Member

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    It's a very cool design. When you first see it, it's one of those "why didn't I think of that" moments. Great combination of form and function.
     
    bodia likes this.
  17. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    Right now, I love both you guys. I wish all threads went like this........
     
    bretwomack and greiswig like this.
  18. Jazzedout

    Jazzedout New Member

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    The way I would think it should be done, based on what I know about PRS trems and having Floyds since the late 80's goes like this:

    The regular PRS trem we all know "locks" the string at the tuners and at the ball ends.
    Since this is more than enough for most trem use, the added locking screw seems to be there to help keep the string in place and not doing all the locking work.
    I would setup and tune the guitar as a regular PRS trem and then I would tighten the lock screws just a little bit in order to touch the saddle a little firmer than usual (if that makes any sense).
    I would expect it to go a little out of tune after tightening the lock screws and would just fine tune as needed...
     
  19. greiswig

    greiswig New Member

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    Jazzedout, the issue is not whether the string goes out of tune or not. It is that setting the lock screw changes the saddle position on some strings, thus changing intonation. See above.
     
  20. greiswig

    greiswig New Member

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    Update: took one of the saddles off, and there is nowhere near enough clearance to fit a locking nut on the screw. Best I can think to do would be to machine a groove into the screw, and put tiny C-clip retainers on them. BUT...try finding them for a .09" diameter. 1/8" is close, but not close enough.

    So, for the time being, I'm just not locking the saddles.
     

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