I've just read a quote from Eddie Van Halen about doing setup for Fender Strats:

"Setting up a stock Fender vibrato tailpiece to keep it from going out of tune is as painstaking a process as setting up a floating Steinberger TransTrem. You have to wind the strings a certain way, and the nut has to be cut differently"


This came as a surprise for me. I've never seen a Strat nut being cut differently than a Telecaster's, and I always wind strings the same way in all electrics no matter if they have string trees, fixed bridges, or whatever. Am I missing something?


Tags: Fender, Halen, Van, electric, strings, tremolo, vibrato, winding

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There's an italian luthier Frudua who has a very comprehensive seies of youtube videos covering optimizing fender strat temelo setup and modification.

Whilst a lot of what he suggests may seem like overkill the principles are important, miinimize friction at contact points, minimise excess length behind saddles, locking staggered tuners if possible etc

Worth a look even if you don't use every suggestion 


I remember reading magazine articles where Van Halen described his tips for keeping a Fender Strat vibrato in tune. You will find most of them in the video at the link Jeff provided. The highlights of Van Halen's tremolo set up, as I remember them, are:

  1. Brass nut with wide string slots. 3&1 oil in the nut grooves. (Steel on brass never made sense to me)
  2. Winding the strings above the post holes and not below them.
  3. No string retainers.
  4. Proper technique. No matter how subtle or aggressive you press down on the bar, you must also remember to bring the bar back to the starting position before letting it go. You can't simply let go when you're finished.
  5. The ball end of the string naturally wants to turn in the inertia block during initial tuning. It will twist slightly in the block and when the bar is first used the string may move slightly. Leave the ball end of the string outside the inertia block during string changes. The ball end will eventually mate with the inside of the block as you wind the string around the post. (I found this one to be a waste of time)  


I do agree the 5th step is a waste of time. Fender Bullet strings are made to avoid the ball end to move about inside its cavity, so it's a good start. By the way, Frudua's videos are excellent!


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