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Erik

Stetsbar on a 535

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Recently I discovered the stetsbar: a new type of tremolo.

Supposed to stay very well in tune and easy to install without drilling extra holes. Wow!

All the time I was thinking of a Bigsby but allways had my doubts about tuning-stability...

 

Anyway, is there anyone around how has experience with a stetsbar and particularly on a H535/H555?

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how much do they cost?.....that might be cool for the 140 or the silverburst?

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Didn't big bob, aka Lance, have one on a Stat for a while ?

 

*** EDIT: it was a Les Trem ..... http://www.heritageownersclub.com/forums/i...amp;hl=stetsbar

 

If I remember correctly he said it had limited action and definitely was a tone sucker.

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If I remember correctly he said it had limited action and definitely was a tone sucker.

 

And I seem to recall there was a problem with it's mounting method on the guitar.

 

You will be able to confirm that with the man himself in a couple of days .... :wink_mini:

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Yes it was a les trek and worked about the same as a bigsby but eventuly tore out a post .

Bob, did you mean you've tried the Les Trem?

Stetsbar is a different tremolo.

Did you try the Stetsbas as well?

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The Stetsbar is a totally different tremolo system than Big Bob's Les Trem. I visited their site and it looks very tempting. I even saw a picture of Dutch guitar man Jan Akkerman playing one. If there would be anything wrong with the Stetsbar, mr. Akkerman would never put it on his guitar.

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The Stetsbar is a totally different tremolo system than Big Bob's Les Trem. I visited their site and it looks very tempting. I even saw a picture of Dutch guitar man Jan Akkerman playing one. If there would be anything wrong with the Stetsbar, mr. Akkerman would never put it on his guitar.

Thats exactly what I thought Jacques!

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Thats exactly what I thought Jacques!

 

And today I ordered one - thanks for putting me on this track, Erik!

 

After I started enjoying tremolos on my H162, VIP2, Strat and Parker Fly, I noticed I miss one on my H150 and/or my H535. Never liked the idea of a Bigsby with all the changes you have to make on the guitar, so the Stetsbar seems like an interesting possibility. Within a couple of weeks I may present a little clip with sound examples for the community here. I will start out with my H150 and hopefully the Stetsbar will fit on my 535 too (you will have to adapt the metal base plate to the arched top of your guitar with some sort of foam filler and I hope my 150 has about the same arch as my 535 or that the filler can be easily removed or added to fit another guitar).

 

By the way: You Tube has many clips of Jan Akkerman where you can see the Stetsbar on even his most beloved and personal three pickup Les Paul, so I am 100% positive the device does not suck tone or would alter the guitar in any way. Akkerman is a total freak when it comes to guitar quality. Googling through the various Stetsbar articles on the internet I even ran into a post from someone who works on Akkerman's guitars mentioning negotiations with Heritage to make a Jan Akkerman signature guitar with the Stetsbar. Apparently these negotiations failed, since most of Akkerman's signature guitars (like a Framus in the Seventies) have turned out commercial failures and Heritage may have been reluctant to take the risk.

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I have Stetsbars on 2 of my H150s. I like them very much, they are somewhere between a Bigsby and a Fender as far as the trem action, but I can dive bomb them pretty much down to the bottom and they come back pretty much in tune (the nut is the key, as it is with all trem setups). Oh, you'll want locking tuners as well.

 

Also, before it's too late, call Eric Stets (owner of Stetsbar, very nice fellow), and you'll want to give him the exact distances between the tune-o-matic bridge and the tailpiece. On the 150, the tailpiece/bridge distance is not exactly the same as the "G" brand (I believe the "G" brand changed the distance in the 60's, during the time the LP was out of production, someone here can probably chime in and verify this or not), so he adjusted mine to sit pretty much perfectly how I like it, and custom-made my bar to sit where I liked it.

 

Good company, good product, worth the money in my opinion.

 

rooster.

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Also, before it's too late, call Eric Stets (owner of Stetsbar, very nice fellow), and you'll want to give him the exact distances between the tune-o-matic bridge and the tailpiece. On the 150, the tailpiece/bridge distance is not exactly the same as the "G" brand (I believe the "G" brand changed the distance in the 60's, during the time the LP was out of production, someone here can probably chime in and verify this or not), so he adjusted mine to sit pretty much perfectly how I like it, and custom-made my bar to sit where I liked it.

 

Good company, good product, worth the money in my opinion.

 

rooster.

 

That is a good tip, thanks, Rooster. But, why doesn't Stets warn his costumers that they should not put his Stetsbar on, say a pre 1960's G-brand les Paul? (that he doesn't warn Heritage owners, I can understand) Anyway, I asked him about it in an email.

 

Second question: What were the original tuners on your 150's? And which lockers did you replace them with? I wonder which locking tuners would have just about the same weight as my original H150 Schaller tuners...

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That is a good tip, thanks, Rooster. But, why doesn't Stets warn his costumers that they should not put his Stetsbar on, say a pre 1960's G-brand les Paul? (that he doesn't warn Heritage owners, I can understand) Anyway, I asked him about it in an email.

 

Second question: What were the original tuners on your 150's? And which lockers did you replace them with? I wonder which locking tuners would have just about the same weight as my original H150 Schaller tuners...

 

Well, I don't really know about the first question, as the oldest "G" brand guitar I've ever owned was a '63, and it had a one-piece stoptail/bridge (SG Special).

 

On the second question, I replaced my Grovers (stock) with Sperzel trim-loks. Make sure the nut is back-filed to facilitate staying in tune. If you've ever done it before, you'll know what I mean.

 

rooster.

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And today I ordered one - thanks for putting me on this track, Erik!

 

In a different item I was considering about ordering the VIP system on my new 535 and your experience helped me Jacques!

You've put me on a track of just a coil split. (I'll go for the new Seymour Duncan mounting rings).

 

As for the tremolo I'll defenitely go for the Stets.

Keep of updated of your experience and possible adjustments on the Stetsbar.

 

Erik

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Oh, that is nice. Did you have the coil split installed yet?

 

As far as the Stetsbar goes: Eric Stets is still looking into the problem of Heritage and Stetsbar and I have not heard from him in a few days. Like Rooster already pointed out you can NOT just order a Stetsbar and put it on a Heritage. I measured the distances from the stopbar stud holes to the bridge screw holes and they are shorter than on the G-brand equivalents. But it can be done, since Rooster has two guitars with the Stetsbar and there is also a picture of a honey coloured H 150 in front of a Marshall stack on the picture gallery on the stetsbar.com web site.

 

I'll keep you updated when things develop

 

Jacques

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Alas... Eric Stets told me to forget about a Stetsbar on one of my Heritages. I think he won't take the risk of doing it wrong with me living so far away from the US. So there's a disadvantage of owning a Heritage LP or 535 - the first one I encountered...

What about a hundred or so HOC members trying to order one - maybe he'll make us a Heritage Stetsbar!

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Hi,

 

First off, for my first post on the forum, a big thank you to everybody for the useful information that I've found here.

 

In that spirit, I wanted to share my experience with recently having a Stetsbar added to my Heritage 535 successfully.

 

First I exchanged a few emails with Eric Stets including one with measurements and pictures that I took with the bridge and stop tail piece removed. I also included a ruler in the shots.

 

I also provided him with the distances between the middle, inside, and outsides of the posts of the bridge and stop tail piece as well as the distances from the pickup casing.

 

He thought that my 535 was within tolerances of what the Stetsbar was designed for, based on my measurements, and even recommended what Stetsbar finish I should order to match my guitar. (chrome)

 

He used to make creme colored bases for the Stetsbar which I noticed in his gallery, which would have matched my pickup bases, but he no longer carries these.

 

(In hindsight the chrome is a better choice I think, the creme would have been too "matchy-matchy")

 

After receiving the unit, I took it to Andy Brauer, a top tech who's listed on the Stetsbar site as a dealer for the installation.

 

Eric Stets's return policy stated specifically that a guitar tech had to install the Stetsbar to be returned.

 

From what I had read online, I think that this is well founded.

 

I'd read a number of posts from folks who had self installed the Stetsbar, that they had a wide scope of experiences with the installation and the result.

 

I figured that since the unit wasn't specifically designed for a Heritage, and we might be stretching the intended tolerances, it would be better to take it to a great setup guy who also happened to be Stetsbar dealer.

 

I also had locking tuners installed as I had read that it's a good idea on tremolo systems in general.

 

In the spirit of complete disclosure, there was one small bridge saddle imperfection with the unit that was found by Andy Brauer, my installer, but the bridge was quickly replaced by Eric Stets, which I think speaks to the quality of Eric's customer service.

 

Andy also installed the new bridge without an extra charge, also great customer service.

 

I also must state that it's been a while since I had the guitar properly setup.

 

Also worth mentioning is that for strings I had the setup up done with 11s.

 

I was playing heavy with 12s, but Stetsbar's FAQ recommended no heavier than 11s.

 

The result?

 

First off, as expected, Andy Brauer did a great setup.

 

(He's been the guitar tech for Al Di Meola on tour as well as numerous other top players.)

 

When I first sat down with the guitar I was playing too heavy causing string noise, but once I settled into a lighter touch and the new action, it was nice.

 

Once the new strings stretched in after a day, I found the Stetsbar to return the strings to tune quite nicely.

 

You can tap on it just like a Bigsby for a quick bend and the strings come right back to tune.

 

After a few days of playing lightly, I switched the 11s out with a string set of 10s just for fun.

 

With 10s, bending down on the low E string, I can go to a Low B with the bar down pushed down to the pick guard.

 

Bending up the low E up, I can go to an A with a strong pull.

 

This being said, I'm not sure how often you would actually use these extreme bends in the course of playing.

 

My opinion is that you'd definitely be stretching the strings themselves past what they were designed for, and tuning would quickly become an issue that has nothing to do with your guitar and tremolo system.

 

I also have to say that changing strings was a breeze, even easier that threading the stop tail tailpiece.

 

You just drop the ends of strings into the Stetsbar.

 

Nice.

 

All in all, I'm very satisfied with the system so far.

 

The bends are smooth and the action of the unit is engineered very nicely.

 

Tone-wise on my guitar and with my setup, I don't see a significant difference from before the Stetsbar.

 

Granted I'm playing lighter strings with a lighter touch and a world-class setup, so I'm not digging in as much.

 

The bottom line is that I wanted a tremolo bar.

 

So if any tremolo bar, no matter which, is going to be a "tone sucker", as some folks have stated, that's the price of admission.

 

And speaking of price, the whole installation and setup was an investment, between the locking tuners, Stetsbar price and the installation and setup.

 

But I also wanted a reversible tremolo option and wasn't interested in altering the guitar with a Bigsby mount.

 

I did briefly look at the Vibramate which had many good reviews, but I felt the Stetsbar fit my personal purposes better, especially after the personal service that I received from Eric regarding mounting the Stetsbar on a Heritage.

 

That's my Stetsbar experience.

 

I hope it benefits someone else.

 

nice unit.

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