Here I will explain the whole process of fixing your tremolo.
Everything from getting it out of the guitar, taking it apart, cleaning it, filing the knives, tightening up the trem-arm and so on. And most important, how to put it all back together again.

 

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The first thing we need to do is to make sure that we have the right tools for the job. It is very easy to destroy the screws with the wrong tools, like an allen wrench that is too small for the screw hole.
So here is what we need.
We need some sort of strong solvent that won’t leave a greasy surface on the tremolo. The best I have ever found is Zippo lighter fuel, but a strong electronics cleaner fluid will also do the job.
WD-40 or something like that is good for cleaning away rust on screws and things.
We need one 3 mm and one 2 mm allen wrench, a big screwdriver, a small metal file, a small spanner (open end or adjustable wrench) and a small piece of fine sandpaper.

So, let’s get going.


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1.
The first thing we need to do is to get the tremolo out of the guitar.
We’re going to do it without removing the strings, just so you will know how. Remove the plastic spring cover from the back of the guitar. It should look something like this.


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2.
To remove the springs you have to take some tension off them. So pull the tremolo arm down (like when you raise the pitch), like I do in the picture.


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3.
While still holding the arm down with one hand, just grab onto a spring and pull it in the direction of the arrow until it comes free from the hook that is holding it in place.



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4.
Get them all loose, like this.



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5.
The tremolo should come out of the guitar when you let go of the trem-arm.



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6.
Then grab the tremolo like I do in the picture and pull it back in the direction of the arrow.


 

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7.
Lift it straight up when it is free from the bridge height adjustment screws (indicated by a green arrow) that the tremolo is hanging on to.


 

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8.
Then the whole tremolo should come off the guitar, like this.



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9.
We’re going to go further than just taking it out from the guitar this time, so I have removed the strings.

But if you don't feel like your tremolo needs to be cleaned up (it is not something you need to do every day), then just skip to section 23.

We are going to remove the saddles so we can clean the whole tremolo. Take a 2 mm allen wrench and loosen all the screws that hold the saddles in place, like in the picture.


 

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10.
When all the screws are loose, then pull the saddle back in the direction of the arrow. Push it so it gets free from the screw that’s holding it, like I do on the picture.

 

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11.
You need to push down where I hold my thumb to get the saddle off the tremolo.



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12.
That will make the saddle come up, like in the picture, so you can grab it and drag it out.
Remember to lay them in a way that you can get the right saddle in the right place again. They are all the same but the thicker strings make bigger marks in the metal and if you put the high E string in the saddle from the low E, then your strings will break all the time. So put them on a piece of paper in the order from low E to high E.


 

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13.
It should look like this when you have them all out.


 

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14.
The next things we are going to remove are the tremolo block and the spring plate.
You do that by loosening the 3 screws that are in a row under where the saddles were, like in the picture.



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15.
When all 3 screws are off, then you can just take the tremolo block off, like this.


 

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16.
Lying under the tremolo block is the spring plate. Remove that too.


 

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17.
Now we have the tremolo in so many parts that we need to do the job.
You don't need to remove the fine tuning bolts (you will only get problems with putting them back again).
The tremolo should look like this from the front.



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18.
And like this from the back.


 

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19.
Now is the time for the Zippo fuel to do its job.
Put some liquid on a piece of fabric and clean the whole tremolo and all the parts.
There will be loads of disgusting stuff on there to be removed.
Make sure that it is all clean and nice with no grease stains left (you know, all the nice parts from your sweaty skin).


 

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20.
The next thing that needs to be taken care of are the little string holder blocks that are holding the strings in the saddles. The little black thing you always lose when you change your strings (the arrow is pointing at it).



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21.
To get the block out you need to screw the black screw on the saddle so far back, until the little block falls out when you tip the saddle upside down.


 

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22.
What we’re going to do is to sand a little on every side of the block (until it’s smooth), to make sure that it moves in the saddle when we change our strings. It is very common that the block is cracked in two from being tightened too hard. When you get it out, just run to your shop and buy new ones.
They don't need to be Rambo tight to hold the strings.
Sand them all a little on every side then clean them with the fluid.

 

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23.
Now we come to the most important part of getting the tremolo to stay in tune.
We’re going to file the tremolo knives so they are the way we want them.
We don’t want or need them sharp like a meat knife but we want them to be sort of like a round edge (like a butter knife or the tip of a spoon). And we want to get rid of all the marks from metal moving against metal.
There are two knives on the tremolo, one that is in the shape of a half moon and one flat.
The half moon one looks like this.

 

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24.
And here is the flat one. You can see that it has been filed many times already.
I don't have any tremolos in really bad shape to take photos of, but you normally see that the knife has been worn down after the tremolo has been used. Both knives should look like these two when you are done with them. They should be clean and have no edges on them that the tremolo could get stuck on.
They’re not going to be butcher knife sharp, just remove all the edges that you get from metal moving against metal.


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25.
Hold the tremolo like this when you file the knife. Always file them from the back like I do in the picture, or it will look ugly from the front.
You can cover up around the knife with some tape if you are afraid that you will scratch the tremolo surface.

 

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26.
Now we’re going to tighten the holder of the trem-arm. You need to find a flat screwdriver that is big enough to fit into the two cuts (where the white arrows are pointing) in the socket that you put the trem-arm in.

 

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27.
Then you need to find the spanner that will fit on the screw nut that the arrow is pointing at.


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28.
Then you tighten it up by holding the tremolo like this. Tighten it well or your tremolo arm will wobble around soon again, and that is not what we want.

 

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29.
Now we’re almost done and it is time to start putting it back together again.
So hold the tremolo upside down and put the middle trem-block screw back in its hole like I have done in the picture. Then put the spring plate back in its place.

 

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30.
While still holding the screw and the spring plate, take the trem-block and turn the screw into it (one turn will make it stay there) like I do in the picture.

 

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31.
Then hold the trem-block in place and tighten the screw. Then put all the screws back and make sure that everything is right and tight (but again, not Rambo tight, just tight).


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32.
Now put the saddles back in place. You just push them in under the spring plate, from the direction I do it in the picture.

 

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33.
Then hold the tremolo upside down and slide the saddle onto the saddle holder screw.
You can see in the picture that there are small washers on every screw. They should be between the head of the screw and the saddle. The arrow to the right is pointing at it.
Make sure that you get them all like that or your guitar will sound very weird and be very hard to intonate.

 

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34.
When you have all the saddles in place, then it's a good idea to do a basic intonation right now. Use the following measurements and you should be very close to perfectly intonated when you have your guitar up and ready.
Measure the way I do in the picture.
Starting from the low string.
E: 4.16mm
A: 3.40mm
D: 2.46mm
G: 5.28mm
B: 2.51mm
High E: 2.50mm
You have to check the fine intonation later, but you will be very close with this and a set of .010 strings.

 

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35.
Here is the way it should look with all the saddles back in place.


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36.
We need to put the string holder block back into the saddle again before we are done.
The hole in the string holder block (where the arrow is pointing in the picture) is not in the middle. It should be placed in the saddle the same way that it is oriented in the picture, with the hole down and pointing in the same direction as the screw.

 

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37.
If you feel that your trem-arm gets loose really fast again, even if you’ve gone through the steps above, using a small drop of super glue in the small crack (where the arrows are pointing) will do the trick. The glue should not come down in the hole where you plug the arm in, but in the crack around the cap that is holding the arm in place and the block of the tremolo. I have glued that on all of my guitars and it has never come loose again. And don't worry about it being glued there, it is a part that you never need to remove, so if it stays there forever, then great. You can do it nicer than I did if you don’t want to see the glue.

 

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38.
The next part that we need to take a look at is the small plastic rings that are sitting at the end of the tremolo arm. The ones pointed at with the arrows. They are called Torque Bushings and cost very little to buy.


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39.
You need to take them off with a small screwdriver and either change them for new ones (easy to buy in any music shop, part number 2LE2-1-1). Or paint where the red arrow is pointing with some nail polish or similar thing. This will make the plastic ring bigger since the nail polish will push the plastic out from the inside of the ring.

 

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40.
And now to the final step. On the back of the thing that you push your trem-arm into is a thing called the arm holder. On the top of that is a little screw holding a small spring that is pushing on the trem-arm and holds it in place.

 

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41.
Unscrew that screw so you can get that little spring off (it's called spring for arm holder).
What we are going to do is to gently bend it just a little in the direction the two arrows are pointing. This will make it push harder against the trem-arm and hold it better.
This is the little thing that clicks when you push the arm in place.

 

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42.
Make sure that you get the little ring at the end of the spring back into the hole in the arm holder (the arrow is pointing at it) when you put it back on again. Then tighten up the screw nice and well.


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43.
The last thing that needs our attention is the little track where the string goes in the saddle.
This is a place that gets worn down and makes the strings break.
(THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN ON THE NEW IBANEZ EDGE PRO TREMOLOS, so if you have that, just skip this part)
So what we need to do is to sand it nice and smooth with a piece of sandpaper.

 

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44.
Take a little bit of fine sandpaper (the finer, the better) and roll it into a stick. Then sand all the tracks for all the strings so they become smooth and without sharp edges.
It will really help prevent you from breaking strings, and it has to be done quite often until you are through the black surface of the saddle and down into the metal.
If it has gone too far already and it is totally worn down, then you can buy new saddles in almost any music shop. They are called Saddle Unit and have the part number 2LE2-2 on a Low Pro EDGE and 2ED2-2 on an EDGE tremolo.

 

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45.
That’s it, you’re done and your trem-arm won’t be loose for a while again (and hopefully not for a long time). So put the tremolo back on the guitar and go play.
Go to step 5-7 again and do it backwards. Then put a small screwdriver in the ring of the spring and hold it against the hook on the spring holder plate (like in the picture).

 

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46.
Then just push the screwdriver in the direction of the arrow and the spring will slide down on to the holder nice and easy. Now do that with all the springs and put the cover plate back on, you’re done!

 

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