If you play a guitar with a floating vibrato unit (commonly known as incorrectly Tremolo units as Tremolo is the modulation of volume while vibrato is the modulation of pitch), then you probably know that involves a lot of compromises. Because these units strike a balance between string tension and springs in the back, you can’t change tunings, if you break a string everything else goes out of tune, and if you do a double stop (bend one string while fretting another) the fretted string will be pulled flat by the bending of the other string.
In the past, I had used a unit called a Tremol-No which I actually loved. You can totally lock down the unit to effectively have a fixed-bridge guitar, or with the turn of two thumbscrews, have a free floating unit. I did notice a tone and sustain improvement as well when the unit was fully locked down. This was perfect as I barely ever use my trem but it is nice to have the option. Installation isn’t too hard but you do need to replace your guitar’s spring claw with the Tremol-No unit. When I got my Line 6 JTV-69 Variax, I couldn’t use my Tremol-No because the JTV has a non-standard size spring claw so I would have had to fill in the screw holes and drill new ones for the Tremolo-No and I decided it wasn’t worth it. I don’t know what kind of black magic Line 6 used, but the JTV trem is one of the most stable I’ve used with the least amount of double stop detuning I’ve ever encountered, but the other problems with floating units remained. Eventually I just decked all my trems (tightened the springs until the trem sits directly on the body). This does give you some extra sustain and tone as well but to deck it tight enough to resist that double stop detuning, makes the trem very stiff to use at all and, of course you can only push down. No nice smooth, subtle trem effects or upward movement.
I tried another Tremolo-No when I added an Ernie Ball MusicMan St. Vincent HH model to my collection. However, this one had a rattle that was distracting so I removed it and returned it and reading some other users who had encountered the same thing made me hesitant to try another one as swapping them out was a little bit of a pain (you also have to unsolder the ground wire from your current claw and solder it to the new claw each time). So that guitar got decked as well. I recently added a Fender Stratocaster with the vintage style 6-screw trem on it to my collection as well. I just immediately decked it as soon as I got it.
Recently I decided to take another look at the Tremsetter, a different device meant to remedy the same problems. However I didn’t like that once again I had to remove my claw, use their special claws and screw the device to my guitar. Setup was not super quick and easy. That’s when I accidentally stumbled upon the Tremmory unit though Google searches. This seemed to work on the same basic concept as the Tremsetter but in a far better design that was much simpler to install. There wasn’t a ton of info out there on it, but the users I did find and the review videos did indeed seem to indicate that this unit did what I was looking for. Provided a stable return point for the trem as well as prevented double stop detuning and allowed for drop D tuning or string breakage without throwing the other strings out of tune. They aren’t cheap at $105 a piece but if they could do what they claimed, I thought it was worth it. I ordered 3, one for each of my (non-bigsby) equipped guitars.
When they arrived, I had all 3 installed in less than couple of hours, I think. First up was my Strat. Once I had floated the trem (for the first time ever since I bought it), I also realized it was unusable floating as it would not return to tune. If you pushed down and released, it stayed a bit flat. If you then pulled up and released, it would usually come back to tune. The Tremmory comes in 3 different sizes and I ordered the Small size for all 3 guitars as even the small size was too big for the way my guitars were currently setup but I knew I’d be changing all that for the Tremmory anyway. The small size is 71mm and the instructions say to make sure you have at least 3-5mm more than that available. For my Strat this meant taking it from 5 springs decked, all the way down to 2 springs so that I could get a little bit of float and still have enough room between the spring claw and the trem block. Once I had it all set up and in tune, installing the Tremmory was a breeze. Loosen the thumb screw, put some included small felt adhesive pads on the spring claw and the trem block to prevent any extraneous noise from the Tremmory butting against either part, then install it where the middle spring would go, check tuning once again just to be sure and tighten down that thumbscrew. Once I did that, the trem returned to perfect tune every time, double stops stayed in tune, and I go to drop D tuning as well! I couldn’t believe it! I knew this type of unit would stiffen up the trem but I was actually really pleasantly surprised at how much less stiff it was than I was expecting. Still totally usable and way less stiff than when I had it decked. I didn’t do an A/B comparison, but I am guessing that I probably lost the slight tone and sustain benefits I had from having it decked (even better if you have it completely blocked) but this seems like a great compromise of both worlds. I was very impressed with the results.
Next up was the St. Vincent HH. On this one I only had to go down to 3 springs to get a little float and enough room for the Tremmory. The rest of the experience was the same as the Strat.
My JTV-69 was the trickiest. Even down to only 2 springs, I could not keep any real amount of float and still have room for the Tremmory. Through trial and error and very fine tuning, I eventually got the trem just barely against the body but not too stiffly, with just barely enough room to get the Tremmory in there. If I had screwed the claw in any more (to make more room for the Tremmory) then the trem would have been quite solidly on the body again, and if I’m just totally decking the trem, then the Tremmory becomes fairly useless. It would at the very least allow you to deck it without as much spring force and therefore keep the trem a little more usable, but that’s probably not worth $105. I ordered some Fender black springs which are lower tension and that totally did the trick. I had to screw the claw much further even with it floating where I wanted and even then had way more than the recommended space. I probably could have added a third black spring but the Tremmory seemed to still be operating just fine so I left it as it was.
It should also be noted that with the default thumbscrew on the Tremmory, you will need to leave your back plate off. Not a big deal to me. You can loosen that screw if you want a fully floating normal feeling trem for any reason or for a certain songs. Contrarily, you can replace the thumbscrew with an included Allen screw which would allow you to put the back plate back on. I was tempted to do that as I don’t ever intend to loosen it, but I left the thumbscrew for now just so it’s easy enough to loosen in case I find the need to do any adjustments. They also recommend changing strings one by one which I don’t want to do as I like to give my fretboard a good cleaning when I take off all the strings, so I’ll need to block the trem by putting something under it when I take all the strings off as I don’t think the Tremmory could hold it’s place with all the strings off or I’m guessing I could loosen that screw then tighten it back up once I’m re-strung and back up to tune.
It also comes with an extra, stiffer internal spring you can use to replace the default one if you for some reason need or prefer more stiffness from the Tremmory, though the instructions are unclear as to why you would need that other than “preference.”
All in all, my first impressions are quite impressive. The packaging was very high quality and the whole thing from the design to the extra included options seem very well thought out. As far as options for having a slightly stiffer floating trem but with better tuning, and solid double stops and drop D tuning, this seems like the best, easiest, most convenient option out there to me.