My Fender Strat is a Malmsteen signature model.

One of its features is synchronized tremolo.

What's the difference between synchronized and un-synchronized tremolo? How can I tell whether it is synchronized or not?


A synchronised tremolo is a tremolo system that 'moves' the bridge and the tailpiece, rather than, for example, a Bigsby, that only 'moves' the tailpiece.

Because a synchronised trem moves the bridge and the tailpiece, it can not only affect the string tension but also the actual string length. For this reason, it provides a greater range on pitch change, and it is easier to 'up-bend' than on a standard Bigsby.

The strings pass over the bridge and through the 'tailpiece block,' which is a block of metal attached below the bridge plate. The tailpiece block extends through the guitar, and in a bay on the underside of the guitar the block is held straight by usually 3 or 5 springs.

The tension of these springs equal the amount of tension of the guitar strings. Hence, when you move the 'Whammy' bar, you are moving the whole unit of the tailpiece block, and therefore altering the tension and length of the strings.

Hope this helps.

  • Are you sure of this? I thought (And I could be wrong, that's why I am asking) a synchronized tremelo was what Steinberger did with his bridge on his namesake headless guitars, where all strings were kept in tune until they were too flappy to influence. – Anonymous Feb 8 '11 at 0:14
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    I think you may be possibly thinking of the 'Trans-Trem?' I do not know much about that one, so it's only a guess on my part :) – Ali Feb 8 '11 at 0:23
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    Definitely it's what @Alistair Maxwell described. First made it's appearance on the Stratocaster. – Ian C. Feb 8 '11 at 4:07

It's basically just the term from Leo Fender for his style of vibrato system. I just saw an add for a strat and researched myself. They just use the term to make it seem more fancy. Every strat style vibrato system moves the whole bridge with the block. Mostly it's just called a vintage or classic tremolo, while tremolo is and will be the wrong term. Just like on your effects, a tremolo effect is a change in volume (louder/quieter), while a vibrato effect is a change in pitch (change in frequency to higher or lower tones). And what you get with a whammy-bar is a change in pitch. It is a vibrato-system or vibrato-bridge. The advertising just pushed tremolo probably because of gibson's vibrola system. It still wrong and even some effect paddles are sold as one of the two and does the other.

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