DIY Tremolo arm advice

For help with setups and other technical issues.
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Anon.Dando
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DIY Tremolo arm advice

Post by Anon.Dando » Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:32 pm

I intend to have a go at making a tremolo arm to fit in a US tremolo assembly (part # 0054466049). Does anyone know what gauge the arm is for this assembly? And has anybody had any experience making one? I have experience working with steel, not chrome steel, but mild steel. I am not sure of what the chroming process does to the hardness of steel, but I imagine that I will be able to work it cold. The other thing I am wondering is if the arm tapers off or anything where it sits in the collet.

Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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Horsefeather
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Re: DIY Tremolo arm advice

Post by Horsefeather » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:48 pm

I haven't made one from scratch but I have rebent a chrome Jazzmaster arm to suit my custom Mustang and based on that experience I would suggest you use stainless steel rather than chromed stock, if that's what you were intending. Bending straight chromed stock will flake the chrome off at the joints.

If by "chrome steel" you meant chromemoly then nevermind. That would work fine too. But it would be susceptible to rust.

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oid
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Re: DIY Tremolo arm advice

Post by oid » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:24 am

Not all of us have the Fender catalog and part numbers committed to memory, telling us which trem or giving a link would probably help you get responses. It would also be handy to know where in the world you are since the world does not agree on wire gauge standards.

Mild steel would likely not hold up well unless you are the sort who just tickles the trem, if you want strangle it into submission you would want a carbon steel such as 1095, buy it spring temper and you are good to go as long as you do not heat it up to bend it. Some of the stainless steels would also work, any of the ones used in knife making should be good, not sure if you can buy these in a spring temper so they may also require hardening and tempering to be stiff enough, some of the standard stainless steels might be stiff enough without any hardening. Threading the end of of these metals in a spring tempered state for the knob may not be fun though, need a good die and some practice on the offcuts, but should be doable.

I probably would do everything I can to avoid threading stainless, or working it. Normal steels are not that hard to keep from rusting anyways, polishing it up and wiping it down after playing is all it really takes, clean it every so often and the rag you wipe it down with and hey, no rust! Or plate it with some other metal, paint it, give it one of the many chemical treatments like gun blue, cover it in fat and season it like a cast iron skillet, or just let it rust, there is enough thickness there that you can sacrifice a thou or two a decade to rust, should give a reasonable lifespan of 50 years to centuries depending on care/neglect.
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