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My First Strat

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Active Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 8
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For all the fender experts:

I just bought my first "real" strat. It is a Mexican.

First, I fiquered out that it was a '96 by the s/n. It has black volume and tone knobs, black pickup covers and a white pearloid pickguard on a black body. Maple neck.

Question 1- Is this stuff origional? I can't find any others that look like it.

Question 2- When I tried to tune it up the bridg lifted (high) up. Do I need to replace the springs or is there a tuning trick with floating bridges that i'm not aware of?

I wish everyone could be rich and famous for a day so they could see its not the answer.--Jim Carrey

Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 2337

Here's a site with three different tremolo's that where put on different Fenders over the years.

Perhaps one is like yours. Fender Tremolo


Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 2167

I don't know about the knobs and whatnot, but as far as the bridge plate moving up like that, it probably doesn't need new springs and it may not even need more springs. There's usually room for 5 springs, but lots of guys just use 3 if they plan on doing any vibrato bar tricks. Also, some guys - like me - don't have the trem/vibrato set so the plate is flat against the body of the guitar - just so there's an 'even' amount of forward-backward travel to the tremolo/vibrato. In other words you can pull it back as much as you can push it forward. Mine is set so it's about 45 degrees.

But the whole thing is a balancing act between the springs pulling the plate flat and the strings trying to pull it forward. The hinge point are those little screws, usually six, across the leading edge of the bridge plate.

Now the thing is, you also have individual string saddles, so you can have it set so the plate is flat and then raise the saddles so nothing buzzes, OR, have the plate up, or at an angle, and then back the saddles down to get the same action and string height. It's just a matter of how you think you'll be playing it - lots of tremolo action or not.

On the other hand, sometimes when the gauge of strings is changed, say from extra light (.008s-.042s or something) to 'regular' (.010s-.046s) or even thicker, then there's more pull from the strings and the same amount from the springs, and the bridge plate angles more. I don't know if you switched string gauges, but that might be something.

So..if you've switched string sizes or just want to have the plate flat, the adjustment to that, as said earlier, is to either add springs, OR to screw the spring-claw - the metal piece the strings are secured to the body with (on the backside of the guitar under the plastic cover) further in toward the wood. There's usually two big wood screws that handle that part of things. As you screw them in, the bridge plate will start to lower. Remember to slack the strings a little bit because as you're screwing in the claw and bringing the bridge plate down, it's increasing the tension on the strings. Like I said, it's a sort of balancing act.

Hope this helps.