Tremolo Arms

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by schastleevo, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. schastleevo

    schastleevo New Member

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    Hello, just joined the forum. I've been doing several searches for a question I have about the Tremolo Arm on my PRS SE Custom, but haven't had much luck. It feels like there is a lot of slop in the arm at the tail piece. When I bought the PRS it didn't have a stock PRS arm, & was thinking that was the reason for the slop. I ordered PRS arm, when it arrived I noticed that the bends in the arms were a little different & the end that goes into the tail piece was different. Well the PRS has as much slop as the first arm had even with the set screw really tightened down. Now do PRS guitars with Tremolo Arms have a lot of slop normally? Since this is the only PRS that I've played I don't know if this is normal or not. Also it seems like the PRS Tremolo Arm only can lower the pitch of the strings, or can the arm be pulled up to raise the pitch (I've tried pulled up on the arm but not too had & nothing happens)?

    First let me say that I used to play a lot in many bands when I was younger, but none of the guitars I played had a vibrato arm. Then while I was going to school at Purdue, & still working full time in the evenings I really didn't have very much free time. So my equipment sat in a closet for many years. In the past I've thought about pulling something out to play, but after so many years have gone by those thoughts were forgotten because other projects. Earlier this year my brother was over for a visit, & asked to play my Les Paul. As he was sitting there strumming the strings I was thinking about if I really wanted to go back down that road again. But he left & the Les Paul went back in its case, that was until an old friend stopped in for a weekend's visit. He was someone who I used to get together with for many jam sessions, & still played as good or maybe even better than he did back then. A little after that another friend stopped by because he wanted to see the Les Paul. Then he asked to play something, but I told him that it had been many years since I've played & pretty much forgotten how to play. But after some fumbelling around some things kind of came back.

    So I thought about stopping into my neighbor's music store, & look around. After picking up, & "playing" many of his guitars I was kind of drawn to 2 guitars one was a Parker PM 2 the other was the PRS. I left that day, but the Parker PM20 kept coming back into my thoughts. I went back into the store a few days later to play the Parker again, & I played the PRS while I was there. Both are very nice guitars; but I think it was because the PRS had Tremolo bar was the reason I left the Parker I the store, & the PRS came home with me as an early Christmas present for myself. The PRS is a nice looking guitar, & feels nice to play. Now I can start to build some calisus back, & see what I can remember.
     
  2. Dizzyg12

    Dizzyg12 New Member

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    There's a set screw in the back of the trem that you can adjust to tighten up the hole a bit to remove the slop.

    Unless your trem is up-routed, you can only dive. Can't go the other way.
     
  3. markintime

    markintime Wood Grain Devotee

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    You did mention that you tightened the little set screw but that you still have some slop. There is a sleeve inside where the trem arm goes and the set screw works against that. I believe it is some sort of plastic sleeve rather than metal, but it undoubtedly takes up some slack to allow tightening of the tremolo. I know that on mine I can tighten it so that the tremolo doesn't even flop around, but stays where ever I put it. I only tighten mine just enough for it to stay where I move it. I don't like it to flop freely, but neither do I want it too tight. Perhaps yours is missing that little sleeve.

    Also, mine will pull up as well as dive. It sounds to me like someone has played with the setup on yours. Is it a new one or used?
     
  4. dougw

    dougw New Member

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    Hey Felice Navidad! Enjoy. Yeah, I bought an SE and have the same problem with the tremolo arm- it vibrates. No word from PRS on a fix on this as it's just bad engineering\assembly. Also, the upper humbacher's middle screw buzzes as well and when I went to tighten it, it's stripped. Closer examination of all the screws on the top, half of them were over torqued on the out side of the Phillips head as they have burrs on them. Again, bad assembly. In general I don't like the Floyd Rose system. It's just too complicated, too many parts. My Strat. doesn't need all that crap to work and I don't have to use a wrench to tune it up. -doug-
     
  5. justmund

    justmund Plank Spanker

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    Have a read of this guide:

    https://www.prsguitars.com/csc/bridges.html

    I've never had an issue with any PRS trem (US or Korean), it sounds like someone has messed with it after it left the factory. It should be set so you can bend up a whole step or minor third (can't remember which) but it should be bang on one of those intervals.

    dougw - if you don't like the Floyd Rose system, why on Earth did you buy one? By the way we're talking about the proprietary PRS trem here, not the Floyd found on a few of their models.
     
  6. dougw

    dougw New Member

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    Hey. Why did I buy the Floyd Rose? Didn't know anything about it. Have never had any issues with the tremolo arm setup on my Strat. so I didn't figure there would be was one here. The arm really buzzes now along with the loose screw on the top pickup especially when tuned down to a low D.
    Love the neck!
    -dougw-
     
  7. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    The bolded part: This sounds like someone messed with your guitar before you got it. Did you buy new or used? If new, I would ask the shop for either an exchange or repair. If used, then I would see if your local guitar store/luthier can fix it up.
     
  8. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    Since the trem arm was missing, I assume the guitar was a used model? Because all stock new guitars should have a trem arm.

    And if the trem arm was missing, maybe just maybe the plastic sleeve is damaged or missing, which is why the new arm seems so loose. The other possibility is that the SE model you bought has had the bridge replaced with a USA-made PRS bridge, which has a thicker trem arm - so an SE trem arm would wiggle too much in a USA-bridge.

    And finally, if you can't raise the pitch with the trem arm, then perhaps the previous owner had adjusted the springs to "block" the term bridge against the body - some guitarists like to do that for various reasons. Sounds like an adjustment back to factory set-up is needed.

    Just a few suggestions...
     
  9. schastleevo

    schastleevo New Member

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    Sorry, but was gone over the holidays.

    Yes, I bought the SE as a used guitar. The choices were down to a Parker PM20, & the PRS. But because the PRS had a tremolo arm the SE won. I've enjoyed playing the PRS, & it's a good looking guitar. I just wish the arm was a little tighter, like the arms on some strats I tried out before the purchase. Looking down at the bridge there is a plastic sleeve where the arm is inserted.

    I've tightened the screw at the back of the tail piece until the arm didn't swing down out of the way on it's own. But there is still a lot of slop in the arm before it starts to lower the pitch of the strings. If I put a scale at the end of the arm in it's home position (measuring down to the top of the guitar) then move the arm down until the strings just star to move there is about an inch of travel. Is this normal for PRS tremolo arms?

    I've gone through the guide: https://www.prsguitars.com/csc/bridges.html, but I didn't see anything mentioning the slop issue.

    I've tried to post some pictures to help show what I'm trying to describe. But when I click on the button to post an image, it doesn't allow me to "search" for the image. Unfortunately in my searches on how to post images/pictures I haven't had any luck in finding a way to do this.
     
  10. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    To post a picture, you have to upload it to a third party website like Photobucket or Flickr, then grab the URL for the photo from that site, then paste that URL into the IMG tags by using the "Insert Image" icon tool. See this thread for detailed and graphical instructions:

    http://prsguitars.com/forum/showthread.php?932-how-to-post-pics

    This particular forum does not support uploading of images directly from your PC to the forum except for Forum Mods/Admin folks, I think.
     
  11. schastleevo

    schastleevo New Member

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    Well I've posted a couple of pictures (jpegs) in Photobucket. I hope this works. In the second one I was having a little difficulties focusing on the arm insert hole. Everything on the guitar looks like it's in really great shape (no abuse).
     
    #11 schastleevo, Jan 11, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015
  12. schastleevo

    schastleevo New Member

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  13. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    So to post your pics directly, go to your photobucket image, click on the "Direct Link" to the right of the photo (it should "copy" to your clipboard), insert into the image pop-up dialog box that appears when you click on the Insert Image icon by Pasting from your clipbaord, and you should get:

    [​IMG]

    Note that the URL is a direct URL to the jpg file, not an HTML link. that is what you need to properly link to show the image in your post.

    Anyway, looks like the insert is fine. Anyone recognize anything else possibly awry with the trem/bridge that would cause the wiggle the OP feels?
     
  14. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    I had the same problem with a bridge on my SE Tremonti Custom. I bought the guitar stripped of parts and bought a bridge on ebuy. Turns out the bridge was USA and the trem arm didn't fit. I bought a new USA trem arm from John Mann, and Voila, problem gone. By the way, the sustain is better than the import bridge on another SE, which was good.
     
  15. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    OP, do you have access to engineering calipers that can measure the inside dimension of that trem arm hole? We could compare it to ours - well, I could compare it to one of my SEs and one of my Core models.

    And, if that isn't possible, perhaps you could consider purchasing a USA-model trem arm. They are not super cheap, but if your SE arm is that loose, my bet would be you somehow got a USA-model bridge...I wish I could visually tell you one way or the other. John Mann should be able to spot SE vs USA from a mile away, perhaps PM or email him with the photo(s)?

    EDIT: After some further thought - your SE has upgraded pickups (Seymour Duncans). It isn't impossible that the previous owner also upgraded the bridge, for whatever reason. We need to find some close up pics of recent USA and SE trem bridges for comparison...
     
    #15 shinksma, Jan 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  16. HANGAR18

    HANGAR18 ...a TWISTED SISTER pin?!

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    I think you are on the right track. We need to establish whether the bridge is a SE bridge or a core line USA bridge and then confirm which arm was purchased. The two bridges are not the same but I don't know the exact differences.
     
  17. John Mann

    John Mann olslowhand
    Authorized PRS Dealer

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    SE and S2 guitars use a METRIC sized arm and usually do NOT have a arm tip. It is 4.5mm (.177") diameter, nickel plated. My guess is that it is made from CRS (cold rolled steel) which is magnetic.

    US arms (PRS & Mannmade USA) are 3/16" (.1875") diameter, and are made from stainless steel, which is non-magnetic. They also usually have a black plastic arm tip.
     

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