Magazine article Guitar Player

Strat Tremolo, Tele Frets

Magazine article Guitar Player

Strat Tremolo, Tele Frets

Article excerpt

Jay Moore of Gallipolis, Ohio, writes that the tremolo arm broke off in the bridge body of his '78 Fender Strat, which has a maple neck with a bullet truss rod. "A friend said to remove and replace the tremolo block itself," Jay says, "but it's a one-piece unit Besides, I want to keep it original. There's no way to grab hold of the stub with pliers or vise grips to back it out. Any solutions?"

It's usually fairly easy to remove the broken-off piece using a bolt/screw extractor, which is a tool for removing broken bolts and studs from steel engine blocks, machinery, etc. EZ-Out is one popular brand, and there are others. Good hardware stores and automotive stores sell them.

Extractors come in many sizes, and you'll need a drill bit to match. I removed the stub from the '78 Strat by drilling a hole in it with a #37 (.104") drill bit. Actually, I got a little off center and switched to a smaller #42 (.093") bit to get the hole started, and then "chased" through that with the bigger one. It is hard to get the drill bill to stay on center because usually the broken-off stub has a sharp edge. When that happens, grind away the edge to create a flatter surface for the drill bit. A small grindstone powered with a Dremel Moto-Tool (a hobbyist's small router/die-grinder) can smooth the steel or make an indentation for the drill bit to center into.

Drill a hole in the stub deep enough for the extractor to grab (a look at the tip of the extractor will tell you how far to drill). Center the extractor in the hole and tap it in with a few hammer blows--you'll feel it twist itself in as you hammer. …

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