“Tremolo Woes”

Ibanez RG4E w/ Edge III Temolo

The woes of keeping this thing in tune!

Well as the saying goes, do your homework before you buy and that is something that I normally do quite well but in this case I had blinders on. I was looking for something completely different than my Gibson Les Paul and the Reissue 52 Telecaster so after laying my hands on this Ibanez RG I jumped, I very seldom impulse buy but this wasn’t going to require a second mortgage to take it home.

Now I am just a hobby player, poor in most areas but do love to fool around with guitars. I guess it comes down to sound for me and the quest to replicate a Metallica song or maybe a riff that Jimmy Page did, yup there are many more I could list but will refrain. Now with remorse I find that many others have similar problems with tremolos and most seem to just fix them in place so they stay in tune but I at least wanted to do a dive bomb and drop tune is a must have!

This is a pictorial of the fix I put in place, yes it is not perfect for it only works in one direction and that is all I require and it wouldn’t take a machine shop to do this but I have one so I used it, common materials and tools would suffice quite well.

Removing the back cover exposes the spring tension system, and before removing anything you need to take a measurement. Just make sure that before you measure the distance between the body and the tremolo back that it is level as the manufactures specs. This distance between the tremolo and the body will be the fixed position when the spacer block is installed. In my case I determined that the block needed to be .300 or about 5/16 inch thick.

Measuring for the stop block

I had just put new strings on this so being cheep I wasn’t going to cut them off so I loosened them, propped them up with a block, relocked the nut screws and then pulled the unit out, this kept the strings tight on the tuners so they didn’t unwind.

Releasing string tension

Now with the bridge out I can take some better measurements. I determined that my block needed to be 2 inched wide by 3/8 inch tall in order to clear the springs and body sides.

Final Measuring for block

The material I used for the block is a piece of UHMW that I had laying around, it is easily carved, doesn’t compress and won’t absorb moisture. One could use wood, plastic or hard rubber in its place for I do not believe the material used it that important except that it doesn’t compress. I also went the extra mile by marking, drilling and pinning the block to fit the hole pattern in the tremolo casting, something that I feel really wouldn’t be necessary unless you would have access to the machines and tools.

Maching the block

Marking for pins

Finished block

Here the block is in place, held there by a piece of double stick tape.

Block in place with double stick tape

The bridge is installed back into the guitar body and checked to make sure that it is level when held solid to the body before reassembly. The last picture shows everything assembled with the block in place and springs tensioned. No mater how much pressure you put on the springs the bridge stays level, I just made sure that I have enough pressure that it over rides the strings and returns to the bottom position. I guess you could call this a ½ tremolo for it now only works to drop pitch and now bend the strings as far as ya want and the SOB stays in tune!  

Completed modification

 I hope this is of some benefit to you or anyone that has the same problems that I encountered after purchasing one of these tremolo bridge guitars…have a good day.






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