Please help with Jag/JM vibrato/trem mods

For help with setups and other technical issues.
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dren68
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Please help with Jag/JM vibrato/trem mods

Post by dren68 » Thu Dec 19, 2019 7:37 am

Two things...

I like the tremolo arm to be almost parallel with the body, but they all angle away from the body a good bit and it's uncomfortable for me to play it like that. If I loosen the spring adjustment screw to a position that's comfortable, the trem bottoms out. Is there a way to bend the trem arm without damaging it?

Then there's the screws that attach the fulcrum to the main plate. I know some people have replaced those with flat head screws to allow more clearance from the strings. Any idea what kind/size screws I would need if I wanted to replace those?

Any help would be appreciated. 8)

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Re: Please help with Jag/JM vibrato/trem mods

Post by adamrobertt » Thu Dec 19, 2019 8:02 am

You can take the vibrato apart and flip those bottom three screws over. Some people will tell you that this will catastrophically damage the vibrato, but I don't see how. I've done it with good results.

As for the arm, yeah you can bend it in a vice, but be careful. Also I wouldn't recommend loosening the spring all the way for a few reasons... less downward pressure on the bridge, less tuning stability, less useful range of vibrato.

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Re: Please help with Jag/JM vibrato/trem mods

Post by andy_tchp » Thu Dec 19, 2019 3:02 pm

Yes, the arms are easily bent without damaging them.
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Re: Please help with Jag/JM vibrato/trem mods

Post by Horsefeather » Fri Dec 20, 2019 6:19 pm

The vibrato plate itself isn't threaded so flipping the fulcrum screws over eliminates their function as bolts and reduces them to mere locating pegs so you certainly can't flip all three of them. It's a cheesy solution to the problem of string interference, with the proper solution being countersinking of the vibrato plate and lower profile screw heads.

I used allen head SS ones for mine. Countersinking is effective but not as effective as you'd like it to be. The plate cuts easily with a bit but the hardened fulcrum piece does not so you can't get deep enough to get the screws totally flush. Far enough, though.

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Re: Please help with Jag/JM vibrato/trem mods

Post by ChrisDesign » Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:26 pm

To solve your screw clearance issue: Shim the neck. Leo Fender was many things, but idiot wasn’t one of them. He wouldn’t design the vibrato to have the strings drag across the screws. He did, however, shim necks in his factory.

If your strings drag on the screws, your saddle is too low. If your action is fine, then you need a shim to let you maintain your action but with a higher bridge.

Your only need a small adjustment, so order a .25 and a .5 whole pocket shim. Try the .25 first to see if, with your saddle height adjustment corrected, that solves your screw clearance issue. If not, replace with a .5. And if not, stack the .25 and .5. I doubt you will need to go this far.

I went strait for the .5 and it solves my bridge rattling problem, but I wish I had bought a .25 first as the .5 raised the saddle more than I probably need. Living on the U.K. shipping is expensive, so I won’t get to try a .25 out for a while.
"I own a '66 Jaguar. That's the guitar I polish, and baby - I refuse to let anyone touch it when I jump into the crowd." - Kurt Cobain

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Re: Please help with Jag/JM vibrato/trem mods

Post by SY6655321 » Mon Dec 23, 2019 8:12 am

Horsefeather wrote:
Fri Dec 20, 2019 6:19 pm
The vibrato plate itself isn't threaded so flipping the fulcrum screws over eliminates their function as bolts and reduces them to mere locating pegs so you certainly can't flip all three of them.
I flipped all three screws on my jag and it works fine.

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Re: Please help with Jag/JM vibrato/trem mods

Post by Horsefeather » Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:08 pm

Are your Jag's vibrato plate's screw holes actually threaded? Mine aren't.

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Re: Please help with Jag/JM vibrato/trem mods

Post by MayTheFuzzBeWithYou » Sat Dec 28, 2019 2:51 am

Hey Dren!
I‘ve had both:
a arm that ran parallel (and pretty low) to the body (it came stock that way on a japanese thinline Jaguar) - and while it was comfortable playing it hadn‘t the expected impact as the arm either hit the body or got stuck between the bigger knobs I used. It at least works better on my Eastwood now - where it doesn‘t fall out anymore - but the impact is still very little (compared to a friend‘s Japanese Jazzmaster)

And I‘ve bent a piece of M5 metal to become an arm that optically matches the Mastery Bridge (because the old Fender arm always got loose) - easy if you have a vice! Hard if you don‘t.
Should work the same with an already existing arm. I ended up getting a Mastery Vibrato as I never achieved the locking function to work as intended with these parallel arms - but a staytrem arm is on the way along with a new guitar body so let‘s give setting up another try! ;)

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Re: Please help with Jag/JM vibrato/trem mods

Post by Lamar Fandango » Sat Dec 28, 2019 7:25 pm

Horsefeather wrote:
Fri Dec 20, 2019 6:19 pm
It's a cheesy solution to the problem of string interference, with the proper solution being countersinking of the vibrato plate and lower profile screw heads.

I used allen head SS ones for mine.
What size screws did you use?

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Re: Please help with Jag/JM vibrato/trem mods

Post by Horsefeather » Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:27 pm

8-32 screws, 3/8" long for the vibrato fulcrum piece. This is on one of the American sized vibrato assemblies with the lock button.

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Re: Please help with Jag/JM vibrato/trem mods

Post by Lamar Fandango » Sat Dec 28, 2019 10:48 pm

Horsefeather wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:27 pm
8-32 screws, 3/8" long for the vibrato fulcrum piece. This is on one of the American sized vibrato assemblies with the lock button.
Perfect. Will look into flatter screws for my AVRI trem.

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Re: Please help with Jag/JM vibrato/trem mods

Post by dren68 » Sun Jan 26, 2020 3:41 pm

Sorry, I didn't mean to ghost on my own post. I guess I got busy, and forgot to post. Thanks for all the replies.

On the screws, I didn't think about the trem holes not being 'countersunk', so I guess that wouldn't allow the screws to go all the way in. Oh well... it's not big deal. I was just curious about that. I guess I could get a Mastery at some point if it really bothers me, but so far, it hasn't been a problem.

So... to bend the trem arm, is there a certain technique to it or way I should do it? What part do you put in the vice? Do you just use a pair of pliers and bend it?

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Re: Please help with Jag/JM vibrato/trem mods

Post by jvin248 » Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:28 pm

.

Using a bench mounted vice will give you more accuracy and finesse than using pliers. You can use pliers but more chance for errors (re-bending).

Wrap the part of the arm that will be clamped in the vice jaws with cloth. You might even wrap with masking tape, then the cloth, in the jaws.

Clamp the arm close to the current "L" corner bend so you don't cause other parts to bend. Sometimes tapping just ahead of the bend with a hammer will help the bending process. Too hard of hammer strikes will cause flattening.

Do not clamp on the threads or you'll mash them.

The weakest part of the trem arm is where the threads run out into the arm. The stiff arm transition to a notched thinner diameter will flex first and break off.

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