The $4 Tremolo stopper
A floating Floyd Rose type tremolo has a whole range of fantastic uses, but a few issues too. If you break a string your bridge goes out of whack, and guitar horribly out of tune. You can’t just tune to drop-D or equivalent either.
A few solutions have come out to resolve this problem, including the Tremol-no, and the HipShot Tremsetter, etc. I’ve personally used the Tremol-no on a few of my guitars, and it’s a great contraption once you have it all set up properly. You don’t have to do any permanent surgery to your guitar either.
I like playing in drop-D from time to time, and have an EVH D-Tuna installed on a couple of axes.
The issue I had recently was one of my pin type Tremol-nos breaking. The pin that attaches to a hole in the sustain block broke. I could probably get a replacement part for the Tremol-no, but I thought I’d try something different.
I was thinking of some designs for an adjustable tremolo stopper, and then realised there was a common household piece of gear that was a lot cheaper than a Tremol-no. Sure it would require a little permanent surgery, but that didn’t bother me. I’m sure a lot of you won’t be either. I wanted to go from floating to dive-only so I could use my D-Tuna, and this little contraption would enable me to do this.
So what could possibly do this, and how could it cost less $5.00?
Let me present you with the humble barrel-bolt door lock. Commonly found on toilet and bathroom doors, this little 38mm model is a perfect fit for a tremolo spring cavity. Now how do we install it?
We only need the main barrel-bot, as we are not locking doors! Put the bolt in the locked position (as though you are locking a door. Hold it in your tremolo spring cavity with the bolt against the sustain block, making sure you are not pushing the block at all.
Get a hand drill with a 2-3mm drill bit and drill a slight indent to mark your first screw. Then get one of the screws that came with the barrel-bolt and screw it in with the appropriate Phillips head screw driver.
Make sure the barrel bolt is parallel with the edge of the tremolo spring cavity and make another slight indent in the screw hole diagonally across from the first one you screwed in. Then screw the next screw in with your screw driver.
Repeat the same process for the last two screw holes. Hand-tighten all four screws to make sure your new tremolo blocker is nice and secure in the tremolo spring cavity. Now marvel at your awesome new cheap as chips tremolo stopper!
With the barrel-bolt engaged in the longest position your tremolo is set to dive-only, and with it engaged in the shortest position your tremolo is full floating.
Obviously it might be a bit of a squeeze with three springs installed, but for two it is perfect. If this DIY project interests you get some heavy duty springs if you can’t balance the tremolo with two of your stock ones. I recommend the Floyd Upgrades noiseless heavy duty springs, that way you can get rid of the horrible spring reverberations that happen with tremolo equipped guitars.
So there we have it. A fantastic little adjustable tremolo stopper at the fraction of the price of the established ones on the market. I hope you find this little DIY a handy one, and if you do please share it.
I had some queries and concerns as to whether the barrel-bolt rattled when playing. This understandably would be annoying if it did.
I’m happy to report that at the very least, the barrel-bolt I used does not rattle in any way that interferes with the tone of my guitar.
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