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How to get a tremolo arm stub out of a strat bridge!?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Tommygunn, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. Tommygunn


    Nov 8, 2008
    Houston, Tx
    I broke off the arm to my strat and so I've taken it apart and all I have left is the trem block with a stub of trem arm stuck in it. I've tried just plain pliers and I've even tried lubing it up with oil, but neither even made it budge. I need some help. How can I do this?
  2. is the problem that theres nothing to grab onto to make it turn out, or that its wedged and wont turn?

    i can see trying the same thing you do with a stripped screw.
  3. Tommygunn


    Nov 8, 2008
    Houston, Tx
    I think that it's kinda both. Its wedged in there, not real bad, but when I get in there are grab and try and unscrew it, the pliers strip the face off the stub and it slips.
  4. A reverse drill bit should get it out
  5. thats what i was getting at with the stripped screw thing, i think.
  6. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Even if you can manage to get it out, the threads in the block are probably buggered. A replacement block and arm is your best solution, IMO. They aren't that expensive, and it's an easy fix. That's my advice from one Gunn to another. :D
  7. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    You could try an "easy-out" screw extractor, but that requires drilling into the stub of the arm, inserting the tool, then backing it out. Drilling can be a real problem- don't try it without a drill press or the bit will wander and dork up the trem plate too. If your trem has a separate block, I'd just get a new trem block. Here's a place to start looking... http://www.guitarfetish.com/Upgrade-Steel-and-Brass-Tremolo-Blocks_c_219.html

    I stripped two cast blocks on my MIM Classic '60s Strat before I moved to a stainless block. Nice improvement in the "bell-like" ring that makes a Strat so wonderful too.

  8. Wyrm74


    Oct 28, 2007
    DFW, Texas
    Do you have a dremel type tool? If you do and there is just a smidge of the arm sticking out then this should work. Put a cut off wheel in your dremel and very carefully put a notch or "trench" in the top of the arm. Now just use a regular flat blade screwdriver and back it out. Essentially, just turn what's left of the arm into a flat blade friendly screw. If you want to take the time to make an extra cut, you can make it phillips head friendly. The cuts have to be deeper to work though. Should work like a charm. Good luck!
  9. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    It depends on how he broke it off. If it was by divebombing and pulling on the arm and the shaft still could turn freely in the threads, then that should work. If it was jammed or cross threaded and he broke it trying to unscrew it, it probably won't.
  10. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    This is just like any other broken bolt, you're going to have to drill it out (easy out). Depends on if you have the tools or not to do it. And I'm sure this is why places like Mighty Mite and All Parts sell replacement trem blocks.

    But yeah, I would try cutting a slot in the top first.
  11. Meddle


    Jul 27, 2009
    I've done this. I had to remove the tremolo block from the top chrome part of the bridge (the plate and the saddles). It does lift off and if you broke it in a lucky place you can get enough grip on the exposed section of tremolo arm.

    I managed to get another dead arm out my drilling down into the stub then reverse-drilling and it came out.
  12. Check the threads before putting another (good) arm in there...it jammed the first time for a reason.

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