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Ricey

Extra spring notches on KC Mustang bridge posts?

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 I have a KC Mustang.  The vibrato action is very loose.  I don't think there is enough spring tension to bring the strings back up to pitch after dropping down the bar..  The guitar goes instantly out of tune as soon as I touch the bar.  The KC has one of those Fender Tun-O-matic clone bridges.  My Classic Player HH Jag has that same bridge and scale length and it stays in tune better than any non-locking trem unit that I have ever played, so I am thinking the KC can be set up to stay in tune much better that it does currently.  The trem action is much stiffer on my Jag, so I think that may be part of the solution, as well as possibly a shim.  The Jag has an angled neck pocket, which also increases string tension somewhat.  The tech that works on my guitars said there is an extra set of spring notches cut in my Mustang's bridge posts that he does not normally see in a Mustang.  Moving the springs to this notch would increase the spring tension, but he said I might have difficulty changing strings because the cigar tube thingy would rotate back such that the string insert holes would rest at an inconvenient angle relative to the body.  I am thinking that I could just simply push down on the vibrato bar with one hand and insert the strings in the holes with the other.  Has anyone ever seen or utilized these extra notches in a KC or other MIJ Stang?  If so, did it make it difficult to change strings?

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Actuall, the real problem with the KC Mustang with regards to the vibrato is the Tune-O-Matic bridge.  For anything more than a light warble the strings can catch/hang on the metal saddles and that's what's causing the tuning issues.  The original Mustang bridge was designed to float/rock in place with the strings to prevent such issues.

That said, one thing to try without replacing the whole bridge would be GraphTech Saddles, those might have enough slippage to allow the strings to slide over the static Tune-O-Matic without the bridge rocking.  Another option would be swapping it with some kind of roller bridge.  Then there's always putting a stock Mustang bridge on there as an option (though you might have to get adjustable saddles, I'm trying to remember if the Cobain guitars were 9" or 7.16" radius).

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It has the vintage 7.25" radius.  Btw, I have a Classic Player Jag HH with the exact same Fender TOM clone and stock imitation bone nut and it stays in tune better than my USA Deluxe Strat with a 2 post floating bridge and a graphtec nut, So I am thinking that the KC should be able to be set up to stay in tune a little better than currently with the existing bridge.  

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The reason I think the Tune-O-Matic might not work with the Mustang vibrato is the breakover behind the bridge is tighter than on a Jaguar/Jazzmaster. That said, I have played the CP Jaguar before and yes they stay in tune very well. Typically the harder the breakover, the more friction, and friction is enemy when it comes to vibrato units. That's why I suggested the Graph-Tech saddles.

I'm a bit skeptical about vibratos on the Cobain guitars, especially the Mustangs, because Kurt Cobain was well known to never touch the vibrato on his guitars. Fender provided the bar just to keep it complete expecting most of the people buying these things to keep the bar in the case. I've used the bar on a Cobain Jaguar, it works fine.

typically on vibratos the main friction points are the bridge saddles, and the nut (I use #1 pencil lead in mine, and I ABUSE the vibrato on my Jag-Stang like a Floyd Rose, the funny part is I find the Jag-Stang more solid and reliable than a Floyd XD), and in some cases, the string around the tuner itself since some people wrap them all messy and then the string lands in a different spot every time the bar loosens the string causing the tuning to drift. Also stretching them out is a big part of it too - people say to stretch the strings out compleley, but on vibratos there's sort of a middle-ground you want to be on to keep them in tune where they are not so stretched out they go sharp after using the bar, but not so un-stretched they go flat.

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