Top tips for setting up your floating guitar trem

Floating tremolo units on guitars are a pain in the butt to setup if you remove all the strings to re-dress frets and put new strings on…unless you put a block under the tremolo before you take off the strings so that its “edge” stays parallel to the body. That’s the top tip. The one I didn’t know about until after I’d spent an hour setting it up and retuning endlessly.


Second tip is to “dampen” the trem springs in the back of the guitar by sliding a piece of rubber tubing (or in my case some earth wire insulation) into each spring so that they move as they should but don’t themselves themselves (this avoids that jarring, random, clunky reverb sound you probably don’t want.

Third tip is to put a tiny dab of bike chain lube on the trem posts, turn them a quarter turn and then turn them back, then retune.

And, shred…

Oh, incidentally, guitarists invariably call it a tremolo arm, but actually tremolo is the undulation of loudness/volume, a tremolo arm changes the tension in the strings and so their pitch, and so it’s more correctly vibrato. But, who’s counting? It’s always gonna be a whammy bar to me anyway.