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 Post subject: Tremolo bar on Clapton Stratocaster doesn't work
PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 4:21 pm 
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Merry Christmas to all.
I have received my first electric guitar (at the age of 57!) and I'm just getting to know it. It's an Eric Clapton Stratocaster and it's just beautiful.
I screwed in the tremolo bar and got no action. I checked a few posts online and then took off the cover on the back of the guitar to see that a piece of wood has been used to eliminate the action of the tremolo bar. I think this is called a 'hard body'. I know Clapton doesn't use a tremolo bar but Jeff Beck does and I thought I would like to see how it sounds with the bar attached.
I can't seem to remove the block of wood and certainly don't want to force it. I have tried to loosen then tighten the screws holding the 5 springs but I wasn't successful in freeing up the wood block. Do I have to loosen the strings and then the six screws that hold the bridge to loosen things up so that the bar can be used?
Obviously, I need some help here but for the meantime, I'll just start playing this beautiful instrument.
Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Tremolo bar on Clapton Stratocaster doesn't work
PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:03 pm 
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Congratulations orthoman52, starting out with an EC Strat is a very good first step! :lol:

What color is it?

Hope you have an Amp too. :shock:

That's the situation I found myself in 5 years ago at the age of 60. Lots of acoustic experience, none on electric.

That's a normal tremolo unit and it should just be a piece of wood keeping it blocked, as Eric does, and he specified on his signature guitars.

Be forewarned, if you remove it you may need some set-up performed for optimal playability. Regardless, having it set-up is advisable with a new guitar. High end strats like yours may have the service included in the initial cost.

To answer your question, you push the whammy bar down, which releases pressure from the block and it should slide out.

We'd like to see some pictures!

Meanwhile, play the ding-dong-doodle out of it and Merry Christmas to you!

- Dan


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 Post subject: Re: Tremolo bar on Clapton Stratocaster doesn't work
PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 8:51 pm 
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Thanks Dan!

My 'Blackie' is black and I have a small Marshall amp that's plenty for me. I'll give your suggestion a try but I'll definitely bring it a shop for a good set up.

I appreciate the advice.


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 Post subject: Re: Tremolo bar on Clapton Stratocaster doesn't work
PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 9:51 pm 
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You certainly have the option of activating the trem system if you care to do so. I know that you understand that the guitar is set up in the fashion of the artist. It IS essentially a hardtail, but because Eric hears something in the tone which is contributed by the trem system and its springs, it was designed to be set up as you find it. As background information, the original Blackie, long since retired and sold, did not have a wood block stopping the trem system. It did, however, have 5 springs and the trem claw driven flush to the trem cavity wall.

BTW: If you push DOWN on the bar, it swings the trem's mass block back against the stop. You can try turning back the screws on the trem claw a bit, loosen the strings and gently pull up on the trem bar about 1mm. That should bring the mass block forward enough for you to loosen the block. Then have a complete re-setup done to properly float the trem and adjust the string heights and intonation to your playing preference.

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 Post subject: Re: Tremolo bar on Clapton Stratocaster doesn't work
PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 6:55 am 
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ZZDoc wrote:
BTW: If you push DOWN on the bar, it swings the trem's mass block back against the stop. You can try turning back the screws on the trem claw a bit, loosen the strings and gently pull up on the trem bar about 1mm. That should bring the mass block forward enough for you to loosen the block. Then have a complete re-setup done to properly float the trem and adjust the string heights and intonation to your playing preference.

:oops: Thanks for setting that straight ZZDoc, I imagined that totally wrong. I'll blame it on Christmas Cheer! :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Tremolo bar on Clapton Stratocaster doesn't work
PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 6:58 am 
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danagos wrote:
ZZDoc wrote:
BTW: If you push DOWN on the bar, it swings the trem's mass block back against the stop. You can try turning back the screws on the trem claw a bit, loosen the strings and gently pull up on the trem bar about 1mm. That should bring the mass block forward enough for you to loosen the block. Then have a complete re-setup done to properly float the trem and adjust the string heights and intonation to your playing preference.

:oops: Thanks for setting that straight ZZDoc, I imagined that totally wrong. I'll blame it on Christmas Cheer! :lol:

I suppose most are eggnogged out by this time.

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 Post subject: Re: Tremolo bar on Clapton Stratocaster doesn't work
PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:47 pm 
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danagos wrote:
...That's a normal tremolo unit and it should just be a piece of wood keeping it blocked, as Eric does, and he specified on his signature guitars....


No, Eric didn't use a block of wood, he simply screwed the trem-claw screws down tight. It still isn't clear why Fender saw the need to use a block of wood on any Clapton Strat, being as how Clapton didn't use a block of wood, and as far as I can tell he didn't specify it either. Maybe it's confusion over the terminology of what "blocked" means, some calling it blocked when it is really only decked. :?:

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 Post subject: Re: Tremolo bar on Clapton Stratocaster doesn't work
PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:12 pm 
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shimmilou wrote:
danagos wrote:
...That's a normal tremolo unit and it should just be a piece of wood keeping it blocked, as Eric does, and he specified on his signature guitars....


No, Eric didn't use a block of wood, he simply screwed the trem-claw screws down tight. It still isn't clear why Fender saw the need to use a block of wood on any Clapton Strat, being as how Clapton didn't use a block of wood, and as far as I can tell he didn't specify it either. Maybe it's confusion over the terminology of what "blocked" means, some calling it blocked when it is really only decked. :?:

.......it's otherwise been referred to as 'stopped'. In prior discussions I've speculated that the thinking was to further resonate the body by creating an intimate link between it and the bridge assembly. However, you are correct in your observation that there has never been any discussion as to why this trem 'stopped' with a wood block held sway over the setup of the guitar it replaced.

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