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Guitar beyond repair? time to buy new one?
I have Samick LS11 electric guitar which is a cheap strat imitation. I am an amateur and probably did not give much attention to many checks during buying it. It's now aged and seems beyond repair.

  1. Significantly raised or lifted bridge. See the photo. It has virtually become floating tremolo!!
  2. I added two more tremolo springs to back side in addition to existing 3 but did not help. I also tightened the spring assembly's 2 screws to push it deeper into the body. Also adjusted the bridge screws but no avail.
  3. High action. It's now about 3 mm or even more on low E at 12th fret. It does not feel normal anymore
  4. Saddle is in lowermost position and truss rod fully tightened

I think I have run out of options. Is it time to simply dump this and buy a better one?

enter image description here

enter image description here

Edit 1

I think what 3rd photo you would like to see is a photo from the side top. See below.

enter image description here

Due to the lifted bridge the entire bridge structure is slightly pulled towards neck and is overlapping on the scratch plate.

I have tried to

  1. Restring it
  2. Disassemble and reassemble
  3. Tighten/loosen the 6 bridge screws

But none helped.

I think the tension exerted by strings is much more than what springs are pulling from the behind. As soon as I detune it and loosen the string tension, bridge rests flat.

At the moment I am not inclined to try out any more procedures on it.

I have found a Guitar repair shop in my city. I will take it to them and see if they have any fix for this.

I will update here soon.

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  • saveable IMHO start with the bridge and give the whole thing a good clean Feb 13 at 14:22
  • I actually learned something when I searched "Strat" up
    – Clockwork
    Feb 13 at 15:09
  • Theres no such thing as a guitar without options. The answer below is a good one, to which I'd only add if your not luthier inclined, its always a smart move to take your babies in for a service every couple years to a luthier, or luthier equipped guitar shop.
    – Shayne
    Feb 14 at 3:27
  • The third photo confirms that the six screws are way too loose. The bridge should be positioned in the slot cut into the scratch plate like the second photo in music.stackexchange.com/a/127451/56741, not floating above the scratch plate.
    – ojs
    Feb 23 at 8:49
  • @ojs - I understand your point. The screws are tight and I cannot tighten them any further. The issue is that the entire bridge gets pulled towards the neck now with string tension and all screws have gotten themselves angled inside the body. After disassembly, it starts flat and when string tension is added gets to float itself.
    – rajeev
    Feb 23 at 12:23

2 Answers 2

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BTW, guitars are really simple bits of wood & metal. They're almost always fixable.
I think we may need a third picture to be certain, but see this -

enter image description here

The height at 1 looks far too big. The screws along the line at 2 should be almost clamping the entire structure; this is the fulcrum about which the bridge floats. The mechanism really is that primitive, at least on early Strats.

This is what one looks like with a very tight bridge. This doesn't float at all, quite intentionally, so yours shouldn't need to be quite so tight as this, but shouldn't have as much space as looks apparent from your initial photo.

enter image description here

It's possible that the threads for these 6 screws have stripped, so the screws have pulled out of the wood [or someone did a hack job on trying to get more 'float' out of the mechanism & loosened them far too much;).
If the threads are damaged, then to fix them, you'd need to take all the strings off, and all the springs at the back.
Remove all 6 screws & the entire tailpiece.
Buy a pack of cocktail sticks [$£€ 1 from any supermarket.]
Break off any sharp ends, about an inch long. Use the next broken, blunt bit to fill each hole, a bit at a time, breaking the stick off each time at the top of the hole. When it starts to get difficult, try to get at least one of your sharp ends down the same hole. Tap with a hammer to get the last bits tight. Trim all the ends with a modelling knife. Repeat for all 6 holes.
Screw the bridge back down. Keep all 6 screws at the same height. You can determine the amount of float as they get towards being fully tightened down - completely tight will stop it floating entirely. Yes, the mechanism really is that simple - leave a bit of wobble by not tightening the screws right down. You're limited by how big the screw-holes in the tail-plate are as to the maximum wobble.

Once you've done that you can re-assemble. You'll probably find you can go back to three springs & relax the rest of the mechanism back to where it used to be.
You can probably drop those pickups into the scratch-plate too, once you've done the rest. Strats sound better with the pickups further away from the strings. I have mine about half a turn away from falling inside the guitar ;)

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    Thanks @Tetsujin for a very good informative answer. +1 from me. As mentioned in the edit, I have found a Guitar repair shop and will leave it to them now to fix it rather than trying it out myself with limited tools. I might inadvertently damage something in the process.
    – rajeev
    Feb 23 at 20:51
  • 1
    Luthier has fixed this issue and it’s normal again. The piece of wood on which bridge sits had swollen and hence all my tryouts did not work. He cut that portion and retrofitted with another mahogany wood (That's what he told me) and it’s perfectly normal now. Action has come down to about 1.7mm on 12 Fret.
    – rajeev
    Apr 13 at 7:00
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As far as I see you’ve got a strongly floating bridge. This might very well also be the cause of the high action you see. If adding springs and increasing spring tension does not do anything something might be stuck. Lower the tension on the strings, and see if the bridge goes back, and if it can be moved at all. Remove all strings and the tremolo springs, remove the bridge and clean the whole thing.

If the bridge it the only thing that causes issues it should be pretty fixable. Things go south when the guitar has a twisted neck and such.

It is hard to say more from the two images you’ve given us. The easiest thing would be to hold the instrument, to disassemble it, to have a good look at it. This is hard to do over the internet.

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  • Thanks @Lazy for your inputs. +1 from me.
    – rajeev
    Feb 23 at 20:52

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