I got a standard American strat from 2015. When I tighten the trem bar, the bar stops tightening right over the strings. However when I loosen it, one turn and it flops around all over the place. What could I do?

3 Answers 3


I see two courses of action...

  1. You could just take the damn thing off altogether, as I did 40 years ago ;-) or

  2. Get a roll of plumber's PTFE tape from a hardware/DIY store & wrap it round the thread until you achieve just the right resistance.
    PTFE is "Teflon" so it will never stick or jam. It is so thin you could probably get 5 - 10 wraps before it's too thick to screw in, so you will have a lot of room for fine adjustment.
    Added bonus, it will never leak ;-)

For the plumbing junkies out there, PTFE is polytetrafluoroethylene

After comments:
Don't use any kind of sticky tape. It will come back to haunt you.
There's a really specific reason to use PTFE, & it's because it never changes state, doesn't get sticky, doesn't dry out.

  • And I thought it stood for 'Plumber's Tape For Everything...
    – Tim
    Jun 2, 2019 at 10:00
  • 1
    #2 is a clever solution, and I don't know why I never thought of it. Probably because I too settled on #1 long ago ;)
    – user39614
    Jun 2, 2019 at 16:22
  • I settled on #1 but as the son of a plumber, #2 is never too far away in my head for 'threaded things'.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 2, 2019 at 16:24
  • 1
    holy crap tape worked. it wasnt teflon, it was this matte scotch tape but it works exactly how i wanted it to
    – Juno C
    Jun 3, 2019 at 8:00
  • Amazing what 30 pence-worth of tape can do ;-)
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 3, 2019 at 11:59

If yours has a blind hole - which doesn't go all the way through - you can use a small coil spring - 5mm or 6mm - depending on the diameter of the vib. arm. It will produce tension as it gets tightened onto. Or even a small cylinder of rubber in the hole. It is about the only part of Strats that, in my opinion,, never got sorted. All the ones I've used had a terrible fit between the thread in the vib. and the thread on the bar itself. If I played Strats regularly, I reckon I'd have put helicoils in.

  • Probably different for a one-off on a guitar, but I used to work with a lot of aluminium structures with helicoils; great while they work, but if anyone ever cross-threads one, you rupture the helicoil & end up with a stuck bolt in a spinning structure that then needs to be drilled or sawn out.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 2, 2019 at 10:12
  • @Tetsujin - true - but if one crossthreads the original bridge, it's just as problematic. Which is probably why the thread is so sloppy - to stop that happening..!
    – Tim
    Jun 2, 2019 at 11:13
  • Very probably. tbh, I't's not a problem I've really had to suffer. I think I started removing the trem & locking the bridge down in the 80's, about the same time everybody started getting into those huge swoop-dives; I decided enough was enough ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 2, 2019 at 11:18
  • 1
    Although it was probably lost on a guitar that old, most strats come with that spring in a plastic baggie in the case candy.
    – PeteCon
    Jun 19, 2019 at 13:11
  • 1
    @PeteCon - interesting. Never having had a new Strat, I didn't know. But probably lost or eaten by the dog in the first five minutes!
    – Tim
    Jun 19, 2019 at 13:31

I haven't had a strat in a few years, but if memory serves me I had a similar problem. On the Stew Mac website, I purchased a small spring to go into the assembly. It provided enough resistance to position it the way I liked. I hope that helps.

Here's a link: https://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/Bridges_and_Tailpieces/Bridges_and_Tailpieces_for_Electric_Guitar/Tremolo_Parts/Trem_Arm_Tension_Spring.html

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