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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink Newbie...How do I properly install a whammy bar on a Jaguar?

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This is a pretty stupid question, but I'm coming to surf guitar from the jazz world so almost all my previous guitars have been hollowbody (and a strat that I played with no tremolo installed). I recently bought a Vintera 60's Jaguar and haven't been sure how to properly install the whammy bar. If I screw it in until it's tight, it takes a decent amount of effort to move it out of the way for non-tremolo playing and I'm a bit worried that I'm over-tightening it. If I loosen it by one full revolution, it feels a bit too loose and wiggly and just sort of dangles straight down when I'm not actually holding it .
I've read a lot of stuff about people putting springs in the socket of their strats, wrapping tape around the base of the whammy bar, or even taking the tremolo system apart and tightening the socket from underneath with some pliers. Before I do any work, I wanted to check to see what is typical. My guitar didn't come with springs for tremolo installation, so I'm not sure if the trick people are using for Strats is the same with Jaguars. How tight should the tremolo be?

I'm not sure what the tremolo bar is like on the Vintera models. The vintage style is smooth, not threaded, and you just push it into the collet by force, and the collet keeps it in place by tension (until it fatigues, then the arm flops). If the end of your bar is threaded, which I assume it is because you mention screwing it in, then a spring in the socket might be needed, like with strats.

The friction of the vibrato arm can be dialed in as tight or as loose as you prefer. Personally i like it to stay where i leave it, but for it to move with minimal force, i guess it's screwed in about 75%-80%. I put a spring in the socket of a Squier Stratocaster and it totally ruined the whole block because it got stuck into the threads. The spring i used was the little black spring that fender sells for American series strat vibrato arms. I totally regret it. I'm not even sure if that spring could work on a Jaguar since the arm is just screwing onto a tube, not a block with a solid bottom. Nowadays i just use teflon tape on any threaded vibrato arm. Every year or so i replace the tape, works great, very smooth, safe, and actually protects the threads while eliminating any play between the arm and the socket.

edwardsand wrote:

If the end of your bar is threaded, which I assume it is because you mention screwing it in, then a spring in the socket might be needed, like with strats.

Thanks! I'll try to grab a spring and see if that helps.

Last edited: Sep 13, 2020 21:05:54

SandBug wrote:

I put a spring in the socket of a Squier Stratocaster and it totally ruined the whole block because it got stuck into the threads.

Oh geeze! That's good to know. I'd rather not ruin anything in the first week of owning this guitar. I'll try the teflon tape first since it sounds safer and reversible if for whatever reason it doesn't end up being the fix I need.

Last edited: Sep 13, 2020 21:04:01

Loctite Blue works as well and isn't permanent.

Paul
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On my Vintera Jag I just have it screwed in until it stops swinging loosely, which works fine. On my vintage Jag I just let it hang loose. I always use cables with straight jack plugs, so the trem just rests on the jack plug, which also works fine for me.

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All you can do is screw it in until it gets tight. I had a Vintera Jag, and was not in love with the way that worked.

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djangodeadman wrote:

On my Vintera Jag I just have it screwed in until it stops swinging loosely, which works fine. On my vintage Jag I just let it hang loose. I always use cables with straight jack plugs, so the trem just rests on the jack plug, which also works fine for me.

Same deal with my vintage Jag. I would let the bar drop when done and it would be stopped by the cable plug. It might have made a noise doing that, but I don't recall since now mostly I use cables with right angle plugs. And when you use those, you can just spin the bar around for show.

edwardsand wrote:

djangodeadman wrote:

On my Vintera Jag I just have it screwed in until it stops swinging loosely, which works fine. On my vintage Jag I just let it hang loose. I always use cables with straight jack plugs, so the trem just rests on the jack plug, which also works fine for me.

Same deal with my vintage Jag. I would let the bar drop when done and it would be stopped by the cable plug. It might have made a noise doing that, but I don't recall since now mostly I use cables with right angle plugs. And when you use those, you can just spin the bar around for show.

I guess the performance aspect of that is a bit of a plus.

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Last edited: Sep 15, 2020 01:10:26

If it a screw in arm, then you should have a small spring in there to tension it. They are usually in there from new but get lost pretty quick. You can get them from Fender:

www.ebay.co.uk/p/2254807784

Just drop one in the hole where the tremolo arm fits in and screw the arm down until you get the right tension. They work really well.

If it's a push in arm, then it's all a lot more complicated.

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I tried the teflon plumbers tape trick and it seems to be working quite nicely! It feels snug but not like I’m over-tightening when I swing it out of the way, and it stays wherever I leave it. We’ll see how long it lasts.

BB_Bunny wrote:

I tried the teflon plumbers tape trick and it seems to be working quite nicely! It feels snug but not like I’m over-tightening when I swing it out of the way, and it stays wherever I leave it. We’ll see how long it lasts.

So you ask how to properly fit a whammy bar, then use plumbers tape.

I've tried that and it doesn't last very long. If it's a screw in arm, the proper way is to use the spring. Mine stays wherever i put it. Or I can undo it a turn or two and it's loose and swings out of the way.

www.thewaterboarders.net
http://thewaterboarders.bandcamp.com/

da-ron wrote:

So you ask how to properly fit a whammy bar, then use plumbers tape.

I agree, your suggestion to use the spring seems more proper, but I felt the tape had the least potential for damage at this time. I’ve seen the spring mentioned in conjunction with strats, but talk about how on occasion it has stripped threads was enough to make me pause. My guitar definitely did not come with one so while it’s likely I’ll end up going the spring route in the very near future, I’m playing it safe while I triple check.

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