Loctite on a Vibrola Arm

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by hi13ts, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. hi13ts

    hi13ts New Member

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    Friends,

    Decided to head over here after seeing a few posts on this topic. One person swears by Loctite to tighten up a vibrola arm. I'm sure it'll tighten the arm up, but my question is will it tighten it up so much where I can't move it anymore? Vibrola arms are not designed very well and I've been forcing a retainer nut to take care of the looseness, but even that comes loose often. I want to know whether or not Loctite can remedy the situation without completely locking the arm in place. Like if I back off on the dosage, will it tighten up my arm but still allowing me to swing it back and forth as necessary for storage in a case?

    Thanks in advance for the replies. I'm excited to be in this forum!

    Thai
     
  2. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    You might try using teflon thread tape on the screw's threads: [​IMG][​IMG]
    You might also replace the nylon washer : [​IMG]
    Even with loctite, adjusting the tightness today wont stop the normal wear on the arm washer and could make the next fix much tougher . Just my two bits and worth every cent, Biddlin ;>)/
     
  3. nbeersiii

    nbeersiii Well-Known Member

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    Use the blue loctite instead of red. Red is the strongest. Blue will hold but not as strong as the red.
     
  4. iblive

    iblive Well-Known Member

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    Loctite is used to lock threads so they don't come loose... ie. if you use loctite on your arm it will totally lock the arm in place. Teflon tape is an idea, but I'm afraid that every time you use the arm you'll be wearing away some of the tape and be back where you started.
     
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  5. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    I use tape on my Strat's trem arm and find that it requires replacement about every other string change . Time for re-wrap: 20 sec. Cost:$.005 US. It seems the easiest and a very cost effective solution ! I have not had the problem with my Maestro, but feel secure that this will work if needed .
     
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  6. iblive

    iblive Well-Known Member

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    I don't have a guitar with a vibrato arm on it.... but I've worked on cars and stuff pretty much since I was 16 and I was just wanting to make sure the OP didn't use Loctite on his arm. Even the blue stuff would make it inoperative. :)
     
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  7. Tobacco Worm

    Tobacco Worm Well-Known Member

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    I jumped the reservation!
    On a Strat with a blind hole (not drilled through) in the block, one can drop a spring in the hole. Case in point; Take the spring out of a ballpoint pen and drop it into the hole. Screw the arm in until it reaches the spring and tighten it till it seats and is moves to your taste. (might need to cut the spring if too much resistance is found)If the spring idea is not to your likeing, then a small cut of some surgical tubing poked down into the hole will do the same thing. Now if the hole is open all the way through the block and a spring would pass right through, then by all means go the teflon tape route as it's a proven method to keep the arm from flopping about.

    Loctite is reserved to keeping screws in place, but allow removal when needed. Not a wise choice to keep a screwed in trem arm from flopping about. I'd advise against the use of this product for that purpose.

    Wade
     
  8. Alex_SG

    Alex_SG Well-Known Member

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    To throw in my 2c, I used blue loctite on mine. The screw stays in place, but has enough give to allow normal movement of the trem arm. I put a little on the end of the screw, screwed it in, then backed it off a little. So far I have had no issues with it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
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  9. hi13ts

    hi13ts New Member

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    Thanks for the replies!

    Biddlin, I used some of that thread tape and it is more snug, but the arm still falls apart pretty easily. What I'm thinking of doing is to see if I can find a bolt that's only like 2/64 longer than the one supplied with the vibrola and find super small nuts to tighten it on the other end. What I need is for the bolt to stay in place while the arm swings around it. Still figuring this out. If that doesn't work, then I'll just have to be careful with the arm usage.
     
  10. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    I'd try Alex's method and if that fails, take it to a repair shop . I've got a feeling the threads on either the screw or retainer nut are worn and that's a quick fix in a shop . Best of luck .
    Biddlin ;>)/
     
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  11. Tobacco Worm

    Tobacco Worm Well-Known Member

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    I jumped the reservation!
    Well I'll be a monkey's uncle! (always wanted to say that):)I misread the thread. Somehow I got the impression that this was on a Strat! Boy, did I miss the boat here huh? :dunno:
    Sorry about that. There were many remarks in postings that spoke of tape and locktite on Strat arms, I must have had that on the brain...opps!

    Wade out.......
    You may return to your regulary scheduled programing already in progress......
     
  12. hi13ts

    hi13ts New Member

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    It looks like it's just the way the arms are engineered now. It's a newer model, the SG Original, so it has two washers: one between the arm and bolt and one between the string plate and arm. In pictures, I see that the older vibrolas had one washer and a nut to tighten up on the other end. I think the custom shop models had these too.

    Maybe I'm just expecting too much. After using Strat's and Bigsby, I expect the arm to swivel around to my liking and stay in place. It's almost like I have to carefully plan before I use the arm to make sure I don't move it so far as to unscrew the bolt. Also, I gotta tell you, these vibrolas are almost non-functional. There's a finesse that's needed to use these without throwing the guitar a few tones sharp, and even so, that's not a guarantee.
     
  13. Alex_SG

    Alex_SG Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
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  14. hi13ts

    hi13ts New Member

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    Alex,

    Thanks for the video. I'm more convinced now. So how do you apply the Loctite? Do you just squeeze a drop or two on the threads and thread it in?
     
  15. Alex_SG

    Alex_SG Well-Known Member

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    Yep. Just a drop or two on the end of the screw thread, screw it right in, then back it off about half a turn. That will make sure there is enough screw threads to hold it in, but enough "slack" to allow movement.
    Mine's been LocTite'd (is that a word???) for about 4 months now, and hasn't even looked like falling apart. Best part of it is that the blue LocTite is removeable too. If you need to take the arm off for some reason, you can just unscrew it.
    WARNING: Just make sure you don't use the red LocTite! That will permanently fix the screw!
     
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  16. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    That was a cool little video, Alex! Thanks for posting that up.
     
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  17. Alex_SG

    Alex_SG Well-Known Member

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    No probs mate! I had exactly the same problem as the OP, and after working out the LocTite trick, I thought it would be something that others could use. Saved me a heap of frustration!!!
     
  18. hi13ts

    hi13ts New Member

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    Ok, Alex, I put some thread sealant in. It wasn't Loctite as my hardware store only had Permatex, but I can't imagine them being too far apart. I got the "blue" formula. I can already see some improvements; the bolt seems much tighter and the arm is moving more without unscrewing the bolt. I may have overdid it on the sealant, though. First time, I dropped like two drops and it still came loose. Second time, however, I dropped two BIG drops and it covered all the threads!! Some blue stuff got on the washer and I had to wipe it off after I screwed it on. Seems to hold better. I'm gonna let it sit for an hour or so and try it. Good thing to know that I can force the screw out with the blue formula. Thanks for the suggestion! I'll let you know how it goes soon.
     
  19. Alex_SG

    Alex_SG Well-Known Member

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    Cool. I think the permatex should work, as long as it's not the "permanent" type. As you can see in my video, I removed the nut altogether, and the screw doesn't come loose.
     
  20. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    Taking a slightly different approach, would something like a spring wave washer work, such as in this link:

    M.D. Hubbard Spring Company - Wave Washers

    Perhaps the screw doesn't have enough threads to allow for the extra width of the washer, and you'd probably still need some loctite, but something like this would maintain a constant pressure on the arm.

    Just an idea.
     

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