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I own my PRS SE now for around 6-7 years. It has a floating tremolo.

Over the years I started to remove the springs from the string saddles because there was not enough space for the saddles to configure the intonation correctly with the springs (see photo 1). I started with the low E String, than the A, D and now also the G string.

I also have the feeling that the general intonation over all frets became worse over the years even if the octave clarity is fine.

Are there any explanations for this? Is it possible that the bridge is moving in direction of the head maybe due to worn of the screws or the contact point of screws and bridge?

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  • What does the rear springing look like? On a regular Strat trem [basic as they get] if the springs weaken over time you can pull them back up with two crude screws into the body - i.stack.imgur.com/PgUDk.jpg
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 23, 2023 at 13:48
  • The D and G strings' saddles don't look like they're seating well at all. That's the point of springs - they maintain some tension so the screws remain tight in the bridge. Worth finding or cutting springs so they will fit, there's room for something.
    – Tim
    Jan 23, 2023 at 16:02
  • Have you changed string gauge over time? That will sure need re-intonation.
    – Tim
    Jan 23, 2023 at 16:07
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    tbh, if the OP has had to keep moving the saddles back over time to such an extent that they need to remove the springs, it's almost a certainty that the trem had dropped [which will, of course, move it forwards]. I can't image that to be just thicker strings, though changing string gauge should have involved re-balancing the trem springs as a matter of course, as it would blow the action as well as the intonation. Apart from the dodgy saddle-screw alignment, I really do want to see this from the side[some of those body screws look wrong & banged-up] & the back to see the spring adjustment.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 23, 2023 at 17:25
  • Is the action higher than it used to be, either from neck relief (truss rod) or from the bridge floating too high?
    – Theodore
    Jan 23, 2023 at 18:06

1 Answer 1

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The bridge itself should not move. What could happen is the trem springs loosing tension, which would result in a bridge that is floating (or floating too much) and would somewhat move the bridge forward. Also this would make tuning the guitar a nightmare, as any change of tension on the strings would affect how much the bridge floats.

If this is the case such guitars usually have ways to tighten the springs or to add more springs.

This sort of thing should be controllable by action and intonation though. If the frets themselves are out of tune there are other possibilities:

  • Fret wear will affect the contact point of the fret and thus eventually affect intonation
  • Bends or twists in the neck might affect the profile of the distance to the strings, which will affect intonation
  • An offset nut will mess up the whole intonation of the instrument

So try to check for:

  • Is the bridges sitting tight on the body or is it floating more than it should be?
  • Are the frets looking fine?
  • Can you spot any sorts of unusual bends or twists on the neck?
  • For the nut check the intonation with a capo at the first fret (if the nut is not positioned correctly this should still intonate well).

EDIT: Another point could be action. As far as I can see from the image you’ve got your bridge action set up rather high. The higher your action is the more the string tension will increase upon fingering a note (increasing the pitch). This means that with a high action you need to intonate your frets lower to amend this. This can also affect the general intonation of your frets. So you might also check if the action is rather high.

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  • That's why I love a zero fret! Not convinced about the vib. springs causing the problem - they always balance against the tension of the strings, whether there's 1 or 5.
    – Tim
    Jan 23, 2023 at 16:03
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    @Tim Sure, a 0 fret can be useful. And yes, the springs will always balance the strings. But the softer the springs are the further they need to be pulled to reach this point of balance. This means the bridge will move forward a bid, which will affect intonation.
    – Lazy
    Jan 23, 2023 at 16:13
  • Thanks for your answer. I updated my question with two pictures from the side and the back. As far as I can tell the tremolo is balanced well and also my action is acceptable (but not great).
    – flappix
    Jan 23, 2023 at 20:39

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