Improving Strat Tremolo Arm Response

Strat tremolo arms are imperfect by design. The screw-in arm always has some play, making the response of the tremolo feel a bit odd and unpredictable. It’s not very easy to do the nice mild vibrato because there’s a couple of millimeters of the arm movement that don’t do anything and don’t put any resistance and then you get to the point where the springs start resisting and the pitch changes. But that sudden change between no resistance (and no change in pitch) and a lot of resistance always felt awkward to me. So I came up with a simple trick that noticeably improves the response of the Strat tremolo by improving the contact between the tremolo arm and the base. Read More…


Point-to-Point NASA Style

This is an old photo I took over 4 years ago, but the subject is so old that it doesn’t matter 🙂 It’s some sort of vintage tube-based circuit board displayed in Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. I think I remember reading that no tube equipment actually went to space, so this is most likely some Earth-bound piece of equipment, but still it seems to be well put together. It may give some ideas when laying out guitar circuits point-to-point.

And another photo of some sort of doomsday tube device. I don’t know what it is, but I’m sure my tube amp wants to be just like that when it grows up. Sixteen miniature and just as many large bottle tubes! It would make a hell of a guitar amp 🙂

Finally, here’s a photo of an early transistor. Doesn’t look much like TO-92 we use today 🙂

Speaking of NASA, here you can download the NASA Technical Standard for Soldered Electrical Connections. There are some good tips on soldering and circuit board construction in general. Maybe we’re not sending our amplifiers to space, but still we want them to last for long time and trouble free.


Working with shielded teflon wire

Today I’ll try to explain how to work with the shielded teflon wire. Below is the step by step guide with photos. Click on a photo to see more details.

Note: don’t try to do this with PVC insulated wire as it’s likely that you’ll melt the insulation and short the shield with the center conductor.


Silencing tremolo springs

In a typical tremolo equipped guitar we have a couple of springs that are stretched between the bridge and the body. When you hit the strings bridge and body resonate and cause the springs to resonate too. Pickups are not that far from the springs at all. In most guitars there’s no more than half an inch of wood between them and wood doesn’t do anything to prevent the pickups from picking up vibrations from the springs.

Read on »

  • About

    The idea behind this site is to share my experience with Do It Yourself approach to guitars, amplifiers and pedals. Whether you want to save a couple of bucks by performing a mod or upgrade yourself instead of paying a tech, or want to build your own piece of gear from scratch, I'm sure you will find something interesting here. Also, this is the home of DIY Layout Creator, a free piece of software for drawing circuit layouts and schematics, written with DIY enthusiasts in mind.