Send strat78 a PM if he doesnt reply to this thread. He swears by the standard non locking tremolos. You could try using fender bullet strings. And maybe replacing the nut with a graphite nut. Another trick is to lubricate the nut slots with a graphite pencil. Maybe your tuners are sub-par? Replacing them could help.
Also you can try sperzel tuning pegs. This will lock the string in the post where you tune. I've had luck with locking the trem bars on my strats so they can do down only. If I make them float, I have tuning problems. A good rule of thumb also is to always bring the bar back to where you started....just don't let it go...especially on the stock strats. Good luck!
i have some sperziel locking tuners on my ibanez. i highly recommend them. theyve done me good so far.
also other than tuners there are other things to think about. you may also want to replace the string trees with the smooth round kind or rollers. other critical point is the nut. i dont know whats on the mexi strat but a graphite or ivory nut would help alot. you d be suprised how much the strings hang on the trees and the nut.
i also lubricate my nut and string trees with vaseline. not too much just a little. hey it stays in tune. i can dive-bomb it, jerk the bar around, and it stays in tune consistently.
Try the fender Bullet strings first. I used to use them quite a bit on those trems with great success :thumb: If you really do a lot of slamming on the bar, then you will need to go the extra step and have something locked down, like the tuners and a lubricated nut.
Bullets are designed to have the ball-end of the string shaped like a bullet so it minimizes the catching in the trem block, where a great deal of out of tuning occurs.
One thing to keep in mind is that that trem has been around for 50 years, and most users do use them successfully as it was intended. That's why I am saying if you do a lot of whammying in the first place, then you should get more hardware for locking. :thumb:
before you try all those hard fixes heres some easy ones..most people that have told me about this problem...i took there guitar and strectched the hell out of the strings then retune and repeat.....with a little nut lube and you should be all set....an extra spring on the tremelo may help also
I also have a 98 mexi strat and have no problems after a good stretching
Also, your bar may not be broken in....everyday for a week, beat the hell out of it..lol
My Squier stays in tune pretty well believe it or not for using the whammy bar. I don't use the string trees because they always threw off my tuning. Don't forget to equally lubricate the saddles that the strings sit on at the bridge. That also helps.
I am not an expert on this and have little patience for technical stuff but, If you like the vintage fender trem sound here is what seems to work for me. 1) Shaller tuning machines: the pegs don't lock but they are a bit taller so there is less angle at the nut. 2) brass nut + a string tree for B & E string only. 3)nickel PRESSED saddles w/steel block(All Parts brand). Fender bullet strings are great. I've used Superslinkies for years and they are great but, those fender strings have a little more balls + the bullets help reduce hangups in the block too.
As far as the set up is concerned, three springs suffice but, have them cinched down so the bridge is firm against the body of the guitar (no floating stuff!). Have the six screws connecting the bridge to the body pretty much cranked down as far as possible to create a firm pivot with out the bridge getting hung up or pressed into the paint. Lastly, Axeshredder is correct! Really give the strings and the guitar a good stretching! Sometimes it takes a good 45 minutes of pre-flight to really get the guitar ready for takeoff.
The guitar WILL go out of tune. Listen to my post of Ice Cream Man over in "covers and tributes", at the end I did a little spot to demonstrate how it goes out of tune and how with a simple whammy it can come back. Its really like a whole other instrument trying to keep these things in tune, but it is worth it because, the tonal dynamics of this idiosyncratic vintage trem set up repays you so kindly if you are willing to take on the extra fuss. Using locking gear is really the easy way out however, they seem to remove much of the acoustic nuances and that "mysterious strat sound" that was so alluring in the original gear.
More on the bridge and saddles. I really like the "All Parts" brand (from Texas) of replacement bridges because they are slightly closer to Gibson spacing. However when you buy the bridge, at the same time buy a set of nickel pressed replacement saddles. The bridges come with steel saddles which form grooves very quickly (hence more hang ups for the strings). Holy shit, the nickle saddles don't seem to do that at all. you just have to do the switch (yeah, kinda expensive but....) I could go on but then you might think I was a little obsessive.
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