Fender '83 Elite Stratocaster [tremelo questions/etc]

Posted by Vince on Tue, 01/29/02 - 08:04:44.

Hey everyone i recently won 1983 Elite Strat from auction that was received today.
The guitar is in great shape, electronics work fine and it plays well, no probs there.

Few things I'm not certain of though hopefully someone here knows what's up and can help. The original owner sez he "bought it new like this" and offered to refund. I chose to keep the guitar and further look into it since it's in such excellent shape and neck is barely played, wood smells new! (bonus :) Plus I really dig the sound. This Strat was obviously well taken care of. It will see ALOT of continue use with me here. I'm going to be playing every days, 3-4 hours per. and more on weekends.

Before getting into it -just to let you know I tried calling local guitar shops here which
specialize in Fender service. No luck there. 3 times I was told to "call Fender"
"they will know" "sorry i have never heard of that -"what's it again? sure it's Fender?!?" etc/etc to the point of nausea. I realize they are busy and have a business to support. I respect that.. Still -just for a few (maybe 10?) minutes of their time would lead to loyal guitar-guy customer (me) for life if they treat me right. which didn't happen in this case. And Fender does not at all return my emails! Any suggestions of who to call at Fender, or repair shops in California San Jose/San Francisco/Morgan Hill Bay Area (i live in Morgan Hill..) would be truly and ultimately appreciated. Im sincere guy and wouldn't dick a technician around for info then run off somewhere else after he spends 20 mins researching parts/info for me. i don't do that shit altho have heard stories from good tech friend who repairs keyboards.. ok enough rambling sorry -onto my Strat issue..

happyhappyjoyjoy woohoo!
:)

ok.
The tremolo socket screw where arm attaches into unit is 'loose' with no way to tighten. And tremolo arm does not 'lock' into hole. The tremolo socket bolt itself just twirls around, unlocked. Hope this makes sense cuz difficult to explain with typing...

I have looked underneath pickguard compartment as well as inside tremolo cavity. thought a bolt fell out in shipping. Nope. Everything appears to be where it should. Parts ok and intact. No evidence of stripped threading, missing screws, bent parts/etc. Looks brand new in fact. which makes me wonder..

Is this 'loose/non tensioned tremolo arm and loose socket/attachment bolt a feature?

Any way to tighten this down without damaging my guitar?

Please note: this does not effect tuning of guitar or 'pressing down' on tremolo arm. it is the tension as to how the arm and socket bolt fit, both 'loose' rest of tremolo works ok.

Another question:
How do I make the tremolo 'float' to enable bending up as well as down?

Right now my Strat's tremolo is flush against guitar body and operates in downward only position. Can't bend upwards at all, would like to. At least have the capability and if i didn't like, put back to down-only mode. wouldn't want to be stuck without having choice and only 1 mode 'down'... Hope it's not this way..

I've heard from 2 other 1983 Fender Elite Strat owners contacted from internet.

1 said his tremolo "floats, bend up/down ok no problem" and the tremolo attachment bolt/hole where tremolo arm attaches is firm" - tightened down and not loose. And tremolo arm "stays put, firm and does not fall back down to dangling position where you must grab every time."

The other person said his Elite Strat tremolo doesnt float, down bend only (like mine) tremolo arm is 'loose - works ok' "arm must be grabbed from dangling position every instance of use" "it doesn't stay in place" again, like my strat.

Which way is the tremolo system on a Fender 1983 Elite model Stratocaster *supposed* to operate? Is mine broken and require additional parts, repair or further adjustment? Anybody else here on the 'board play an Elite Strat?

This guitar is my only instrument right now as of selling my tried/true Ibanez RS440 from back in the days when I first began playing. I don't collect guitars to look at 'em (no money!) Bought this Strat to PLAY as I've always liked this model, could never afford one recently until happening on the auction. Which was pretty cool. It was like ' I *have * to grab this!" regret/etc you know the drill. Happy i did since this model Stratocaster is very well constructed. The sound resonates through the body as you play too which I have never experienced before, giving an almost acoustic quality to the sound. Very pleasing. Except for the flimsy untightenable dangling tremolo arm + loose socket / attachment bolt ;)

whew. thats alot to digest. well there you have it. hopefully all my rambling makes since at 2am as i sit here sleep-typing. Any Fender techs here? or experienced guitar repairpersons familiar with '83 Elite Strat? i'd like to hear from the experts here too.

ok thanks for reading all this. you are brave :) LOL ok take it easy. any help with this *greatly* appreciated. This guitar is special one to me. In fact, my only one! I want to insure correct setup so that it plays 101 % the flimsy tremelo arm/bolt deal is a bugger.

regards,
VINCE

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Re: Fender '83 Elite Stratocaster [tremelo questions/etc]

Vince ... I've got an 83 Elite also. Check out my website ... I've got some info. on the Elite's near bottom of page:

http://hometown.aol.com/jcpstrat/myhomepage/club.html

The reason why your tremolo doesn’t float may be because the FreeFlyte Tremolo had a lot of problems and it may have been adjusted that way to eliminate them. I had mine reworked at a shop here in Lexington Ky, called Willcutt’s Guitar Shoppe. Don’t remember the tech off-hand but he was a wizard. The arm should also just snap in and then the tension is adjustable … see the jpg’s of Elite Owners manual at my website for instructions on how to adjust. Good luck and email me if you have other questions.

Re: Fender '83 Elite Stratocaster [tremelo questions/etc]

: hey vince, whats happenin!
in regards to your question about the guitar shop in san jose, check out Mark's Guitars in campbell, right off of campbell ave. awesome shop, super nice guys, and excellent work. good luck, i also have a fender elite. its an 84, im having the body custom painted this week, elites are great guitars. take care,

regards,
sam

Re: Fender '83 Elite Stratocaster [tremelo questions/etc]

: hey everyone i recently won 1983 Elite Strat from auction that was received today.
: The guitar is in great shape, electronics work fine and it plays well, no probs there.

: Few things I'm not certain of though hopefully someone here knows what's up and
: can help. The original owner sez he "bought it new like this" and offered to refund.
: I chose to keep the guitar and further look into it since it's in such excellent shape
: and neck is barely played, wood smells new! (bonus :) Plus I really dig the sound.
: This Strat was obviously well taken care of. It will see ALOT of continue use with
: me here. I'm going to be playing every days, 3-4 hours per. and more on weekends.

: Before getting into it -just to let you know I tried calling local guitar shops here which
: specialize in Fender service. No luck there. 3 times I was told to "call Fender"
: "they will know" "sorry i have never heard of that -"what's it again? sure it's Fender?!?"
: etc/etc to the point of nausea. I realize they are busy and have a business to support.
: I respect that.. Still -just for a few (maybe 10?) minutes of their time would lead to
: loyal guitar-guy customer (me) for life if they treat me right. which didn't happen in
: this case. And Fender does not at all return my emails! Any suggestions of who to
: call at Fender, or repair shops in California San Jose/San Francisco/Morgan Hill Bay Area
: (i live in Morgan Hill..) would be truly and ultimately appreciated. Im sincere guy and
: wouldn't dick a technician around for info then run off somewhere else after he spends
: 20 mins researching parts/info for me. i don't do that shit altho have heard stories from
: good tech friend who repairs keyboards.. ok enough rambling sorry -onto my Strat issue..

: happyhappyjoyjoy woohoo!
: :)

: ok.
: The tremolo socket screw where arm attaches into unit is 'loose' with no way to tighten.
: And tremolo arm does not 'lock' into hole. The tremolo socket bolt itself just twirls
: around, unlocked. Hope this makes sense cuz difficult to explain with typing...

: I have looked underneath pickguard compartment as well as inside tremolo cavity.
: thought a bolt fell out in shipping. Nope. Everything appears to be where
: it should. Parts ok and intact. No evidence of stripped threading, missing
: screws, bent parts/etc. Looks brand new in fact. which makes me wonder..

: Is this 'loose/non tensioned tremolo arm and loose socket/attachment bolt a feature?

: Any way to tighten this down without damaging my guitar?

: Please note: this does not effect tuning of guitar or 'pressing down' on tremolo arm.
: it is the tension as to how the arm and socket bolt fit, both 'loose'
: rest of tremolo works ok.

: Another question:
: How do I make the tremolo 'float' to enable bending up as well as down?

: Right now my Strat's tremolo is flush against guitar body and operates in downward
: only position. Can't bend upwards at all, would like to. At least have the capability
: and if i didn't like, put back to down-only mode. wouldn't want to be stuck without
: having choice and only 1 mode 'down'... Hope it's not this way..

: I've heard from 2 other 1983 Fender Elite Strat owners contacted from internet.

: 1 said his tremolo "floats, bend up/down ok no problem" and the tremolo attachment
: bolt/hole where tremolo arm attaches is firm" - tightened down and not loose.
: And tremolo arm "stays put, firm and does not fall back down to dangling position
: where you must grab every time."

: The other person said his Elite Strat tremolo doesnt float, down bend only (like mine)
: tremolo arm is 'loose - works ok' "arm must be grabbed from dangling position every
: instance of use" "it doesn't stay in place"
: again, like my strat.

: Which way is the tremolo system on a Fender 1983 Elite model Stratocaster
: *supposed* to operate? Is mine broken and require additional parts, repair or
: further adjustment? Anybody else here on the 'board play an Elite Strat?

: This guitar is my only instrument right now as of selling my tried/true Ibanez RS440
: from back in the days when I first began playing. I don't collect guitars to look at 'em
: (no money!) Bought this Strat to PLAY as I've always liked this model, could never
: afford one recently until happening on the auction. Which was pretty cool. It was like
: ' I *have * to grab this!" regret/etc you know the drill. Happy i did since this model
: Stratocaster is very well constructed. The sound resonates through the body as you
: play too which I have never experienced before, giving an almost acoustic quality to
: the sound. Very pleasing. Except for the flimsy untightenable dangling tremolo arm
: + loose socket / attachment bolt ;)

: whew. thats alot to digest. well there you have it. hopefully all my rambling makes
: since at 2am as i sit here sleep-typing. Any Fender techs here? or experienced
: guitar repairpersons familiar with '83 Elite Strat? i'd like to hear from the experts here
: too.

: ok thanks for reading all this. you are brave :) LOL ok take it easy.
: any help with this *greatly* appreciated. This guitar is special one to me.
: In fact, my only one! I want to insure correct setup so that it plays 101 %
: the flimsy tremelo arm/bolt deal is a bugger.

: regards,
: VINCE

Re: Fender '83 Elite Stratocaster [tremelo questions/etc]

Hi Vince, The Freeflight tremelo system uses a bar that snaps into place...no screw, as for the bridge, it is adjusted with a small allen head wrench, about half in, and half out should give you the effect you are looking for. If you have access to a fax, let me know the number and I will send you a copy of Fenders 17 page owners manual for the 83 elite's. It includes all the info you need. ps. there awsome guitars, I have 3 let me know Michael

Re: Fender '83 Elite Stratocaster [tremelo questions/etc]

hey there vince
i also have an '83 which i've had since '85
i simply love this guitar, still play it just about every day.
i agree this guitar sounds awesome, the other guy in
the band i play with has a really nice usa vintage reissue that dosen't sound anywhere as good as mine.
anyways my bridge never floated (only went down)
and my tremolo arm has always dangled. since i got mine used im not sure if this is how it's supposed to be. but i do know that i had to eventualy put stronger springs in mine because the weaker springs did cause the bridge to float and when it floated the guitar would never stay in tune.
coincidentally enough i also live in the bay area
and am looking for a replacemant bridge.
a friend of mine was goofing around one day with my guitar trying to act like steve vai and tried to bend the strings and since the bridge was already against
the plasce where the arm goes in broke hence no more whammy action it still stays in tune and plays fine
but i would like to use the tremolo again so like you to make a long story short does anyone know where i can get one of these replacement bridges being such an odd ball bridge that it is
thanks
-michael

Whammy Bar Arm fender elite

Hello

I have a Fender stratocaster Elite from 1983, and I need the vibrato arm ( Whammy Bar Arm), do You Know where I can Find one?

Best regards
Jorge

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