Bending a Jazzmaster Tremolo Arm for Ease of Use

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Square Daddio
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Bending a Jazzmaster Tremolo Arm for Ease of Use

Post by Square Daddio » Mon Oct 05, 2020 7:11 am

I need to bend my AO Jazzmaster arm to make it more accessible to use. I'm fine with the technique needed to make the bend, but would like your input on where to place the bend.

As it came from the factory, the arm at the tip is about 3" from the body making it awkward to pick and bend at the same time. My choice is whether to bend it slightly at the bend where it attaches to the tremolo base or further up the arm so that the tip points out from the body rather than parallel to it. My aim is to lower closer to the strings.

I may purchase a second arm to experiment with. My inclination is to first to try bending the arm at the base to lower it and see how that works as returning to it's original position would be easier than a bend in the middle of the arm.

I realize that personal preference comes into play, but as someone new to using a trem arm, I'd be eager to here of your experiences. Photos would be a great plus, too. TIA

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skern
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Re: Bending a Jazzmaster Tremolo Arm for Ease of Use

Post by skern » Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:04 am

I think bending at the base, where it's already bent, is best. When pushing down on the arm (or anything), you want to be pushing perpendicular to it. So then you just have to ask yourself, which direction do you want to push? Because it's a rotational movement, the arm could theoretically be placed at any angle and if you push perpendicular it will have the same effect. So if you want to push downward more-or-less perpendicular to the body it follows that the arm should be parallel with the body. If the last couple inches of the arm were angled downward, you'd have to push down and backwards (towards the bridge) to get the best leverage on the arm. That sounds awkward.

I'm curious what your bending method is.

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Re: Bending a Jazzmaster Tremolo Arm for Ease of Use

Post by Square Daddio » Tue Oct 06, 2020 6:09 am

Thanks for your reply. As I am new to using a tremolo arm, I don't really have a style or method. The song I am learning requires a lot of pulsing pull ups rather than push downs. I find that the bar sits too high for me the reach the strings and activate the arm at the same time. I'd like the bar to be rotated close to the strings and low enough for me to grab it and pick stings at the same time. I've seen some bars bent about 2/3s of the way to the tip at almost a right angle.

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Re: Bending a Jazzmaster Tremolo Arm for Ease of Use

Post by skern » Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:35 am

It also depends on your RH technique. If I were you, I'd find where your RH naturally falls, and then bend the whammy so that it lies underneath your hand. If you bend at the base the entire arm will be low, but if you bend further up, part of the arm will be higher than if you had bent at the base, and this might get in the way of your hand when you're trying to be on top of it. I'd play it safe and bend at the base. I see no benefit to the other method, unless you play with your RH very angled (i.e. not parallel to the strings, but instead your wrist makes a sort of upside down V) and you want the portion of the whammy that you grab to be at this downward angle as well. Although this would be fine for pull-ups, it might place the tip too low so that you'll bottom out easily when doing push-downs.

Last point: You're not stuck with whatever you choose. You can always unbend and rebend.

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Re: Bending a Jazzmaster Tremolo Arm for Ease of Use

Post by Square Daddio » Tue Oct 06, 2020 12:04 pm

Yes, I agree that bending at the base is the best place to start. Bill Callaham has a good demo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6AyowI3gtM on how to safely bend a tremolo arm. Thanks again for your input @skern.

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Re: Bending a Jazzmaster Tremolo Arm for Ease of Use

Post by Square Daddio » Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:39 pm

The arm I ordered arrive dand I spend some time bending it into different positions. First I lowered it by bending it by it's base. I played with it for a while and decided I'd like to angle the tip up into my hand a bit more. Played it some more and bent it into (towards) the strings about 2" from the tip. Going to leave it there for a while to see how I like it.

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