Tremol-no Trem lock

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by Digital Black, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. Digital Black

    Digital Black SS.org Regular

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    ** my digital Camera memory card decided to give me trouble this weekend and I was only able to get two pics off of it from the whole install. If I salvage the other pics I will repost them. Check for updates.**

    Kevan was kind enough to submit to me a production unit for testing and comparison to the freelok.
    I went into this with complete objectivity: I used the same guitar (RG7420), played the same songs, gave the same tests, and used this the same amount of time before writing the review ( 1 week ).
    Here is what you get when you order a Tremel-no.
    [​IMG]

    Parts list:
    New claw plate
    Slider with clamp to attach to trem block
    Deep C piece
    Assortment of metal shims to adjust height and clearance. ( I did not have this problem)
    Installation:
    Installing this was harder and took longer than I expected. The old claw plate and the springs must be removed, so basically the guitar will have to be completely setup again after it’s installed.
    The new claw plate is a impeccable machined piece of metal. It’s heavy and lot bigger than a stock plate. After everything is installed there are two set screws to lock down and stabilize everything even more. Very nice addition! However, the back lip of the new claw plate is almost ¼” thick whereas a stock one is about 1/32 thick. This brings the claw very close to the body of the guitar. If one’s guitar has the plate already close there may be an issue here. There is a crimp connector to attached the ground wire. Instructions say to just crimp this on, but a tone purist would solder. I put this on before screwing in the claw though the instructions said to do it the other way. I had enough wire to do this and saved myself some trouble in such a cramped compartment.
    The slider was the most frustrating part of this whole install. The piece that attaches to the trem block has two vise like metal pieces that straddle the block. These are held in place by two bridge pieces that go over the bottom of the block. There is a set screw to clamp this down. The two bridge pieces seem to be a hardened plastic as they were whitish in color and didn’t feel like metal ( not sure on this). I don’t think most guys would have a allen key this small to tighten the set screw as it’s really small. There are ridges on it to hand tighten, but since alignment is so crucial, it’s easy to manhandle the small assemble and knock it out of whack. This was hard to do since space was limited and the angle was weird. I was also surprised and how much clamping force was needed to actually secure this from moving. But once set, I don’t see anything coming loose. The Deep C device is also attached in this step. After all this , the guitar must be reset and the trem adjusted.
    Operation:
    I was pleased to find this is a much smoother and stable trem lock than the freelok. Once set properly, you can’t even feel it when it’s unlocked. Trem flutters are barely affected. Since the machining is so perfect on every part, lube was not necessary. Although it seems a little was applied to my unit on the slider bar, I don’t think it would really be necessary. Alignment is crucial to flawless setup or operation will suffer binding or instability, but it’s not that hard to visually line everything up. Once set, it’s seems to want tot stay that way. I always had a habit of having the claw screwed in ever so slightly more on the low string side to help with balance on a 7 string-and this is no longer possible. The Tremel-no adds more mojo to the guitar than the freelok due to it’s added weight. ( I’m a firm believer that any added mass to a guitar enhances it’s tone and vibration.
    When locked down, the T-no is extremely stable and secure. I could loosen three strings completely before the others show a change in tuning ( indicating the T- no was slipping) and that’s pretty impressive. The Deep C allows for slight down tuning and still retain dive bomb capability. Since this is only one screw and it’s smaller ( as compared to the freelok) it’s really only useful from single string drop tuning-AEADGBE. Not a Whole half step down.
    Comparison:
    The freelok is defiantly easier to install and operate. One screw locks things down, and the brass pieces are big and heavy. However it must be screwed in and a owner of a 64 strat may be unwilling to do this.
    The Tremel-no works better since there are two screws to lock things down. You also have more option with the deep C. The screws heads are pretty small and sit much deeper than the freelok making it a little harder to operate. But the added stability and tone ( my added mass theory) outweigh this.
    An owner of a 64 start may really be unwilling to use this since one original piece must be removed and wiring be changed some. But I also think having the set screws on the claw plate are a nice touch.
    You absolutely cannot have the back plate installed unless you are willing to remove a lot of material to reach in and make adjustments. I personally would want the option to make changes while playing .Those who would lock the trem down and leave it set can keep the back plate on and not have to remove and material unlike the Freelok.
    It’s a Yin and Yang comparison and in my opinion both are excellent units. The Tremel-no does offer more than the freelok. I guess I would tell anybody that asks, go with the Tremel-no if you want precision and ability to switch back and forth since it’s more stable. To those who aren’t adept at setting small stuff up or get confused easily, I’d say go with the freelok because it’s easier to set up.
    Ultimately when choosing a device like this you looking to lock the trem down. T-no is more stable but a little tougher to set ( two screws, and they are smaller and deeper). Freelok is quicker, but not as stable.
    After installing the new T-no and playing with it a while, I still kind of felt that I lied the freelok better. But after one week, I think given the choice, I’ll go with the Tremel-no for it’s stability. The T-no is a superior product if you can get past the insatllation quirks.
    Now here’s a pic to get everybody fired up!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Digital Black

    Digital Black SS.org Regular

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    The pic with both does have the T-no and freelok; and the T-no can be seen as out of alignment, this is becuase i had just put both on. I actually plan to keep both on for a while!!
     
  3. Leon

    Leon {##[====:::. Contributor

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    nice write-up!
     
  4. Kevan

    Kevan Forum MVP

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    Just a few notes, if I may:

    #2 in the instructions says to use masking tape to mark where the front edge of the original claw is. If you do that, only minor adjutments would be needed to get the guitar back where it was.

    I think the Installation video will help with that. A lot. :)

    The height and overall width of the Tremol-No claw is very close to that of standard trem claws.
    If the Tremol-No claw does reach the wall of the cavity, check into a shorter trem spring set.

    The production units will not come with a ring terminal/eyelet for the grounding wire. Production units will only have the screw.

    All parts on the Tremol-No are 6061 aluminum, 304 stainless steel, or brass EXCEPT for the alignment rods on the tailpiece. From the factory they will come with plastic rods (white), and a set of stainless steel rods for those with very wide tremolo blocks, like vintage Strats.
    Floyd users should have no problems the plastic ones, and once installation is complete, you can trim them flush with wire cutters or nail clippers.

    All of the screws on the Tremol-No are Metric.
    Wrenches needed for installation: 1.5mm & 2mm.
    (If you have an Ibanez Edge or LoPro, you were given a 1.5mm wrench to adjust the set screws in your trem posts)

    See the top of this post about having to re-setup the guitar.

    No lube is used on the Tremol-No shaft or in the Receiver (slider), and I did not add any to the unit.
    The unit you have is pre-production. The production ones will have an even smoother shaft and hole in the Receiver (slider).

    As previously discussed (in Drew's review) I'm recommending that 7-stringers replace the thumbscrew in the Deep-C with a set screw (provided). There's a pantload of tension with that extra string. The set screw will give you peace of mind and help to make sure things don't move.

    The thumbscrews on the Tremol-No are actually the same size/diameter as the fine tuners on the Edge and LoPro trems. :)

    The hole needed to adjust the T-No is approx. the same size as most string access holes common in backplates. The templates on the website are basic guidelines (approx. 1" x 1.5"); personal preference and finger size will determine if you need to go a little bigger or a little smaller.

    Nice review. I appreciate your honesty and doing it all with an open mind. Thanks!
    (Sorry about the legal-size instructions. It was the paper in the printer at the time. LOL)
    P.S.- it's Tremol-No. :)
     
  5. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Good review, Seph, I was curious to read this, too.

    I can confirm that the Deep-C will get you down to Meshuggah-approved depths if you lock it down with the set screw, and I can also confirm that while the actual installation isn't too bad, tweaking the alignment while keeping your bridge level and your guitar in tune is a bit of a pain in the ass, say another 15 minutes of sitting there with a screwdriver and a tuner. Good news is one you get it, you're good as long as you don't change your "unlocked" tuning from standard or change string guages or anything.
     
  6. metalfiend666

    metalfiend666 - Forum MVP

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    So, basically the same as a regular floating trem then.

    This review has made me want one even more, especially with an S7420 on the way!
     
  7. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Say, 10% more annoying to set up. A mere pittance, IMO, for what you get. :agreed:
     
  8. AVH

    AVH avhguitarrepair.com Forum MVP

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    See it as an educational challenge ;^)
     

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