No-drill tremolo arm options for an American Standard Fender Telecaster

I’ve got a hankering for some surf twang from my Tele. As it’s quite a nice guitar, I’d prefer not to drill it. After not much luck asking on, I had to do some digging myself.

There are a bunch of options for Vintage-style telecaster bridges. Those are the ones with the familiar “ashtray” bridge, three saddles for a bridge and four screws securing them to the body. One of these is the Vibramate; their V5-TEAS for the Standard is coming out later in the year.

But the Standard bridge is different; it has six blocks, three screws, and is a different length from the Vintage bridge:

Options for these are fewer:

  • The ZZGuitarworks Bigsby EZ-Mount System W/B3R Bridge looks promising. (The B3R is for right-handed Standards; B3L for lefty Standards. Similarly, B4R is for Vintage 4-screw ashtrays.)
  • The Stetsbar fits both Standard and Vintage. It does require neck shimming, though.

who are you calling a tube?

cheapo 12ax7 valve/tube as removed from my Fender Champion 600

Actually, where I’m from, we call ’em valves.

I was getting a lot of noise (that is, unwanted noise) from my guitar amp, so on Nichol’s advice, I retubed it. How convenient that Encore had some Electro-Harmonix valves in stock (though I’m told that The Tube Store turns around orders quickly and cheaply). The Champion 600 only takes two tubes, a 12AX7 and a 6V6. They’re a bit like changing a fiddly lightbulb; the hardest parts were working out how to open the 6V6’s retainer (push down on the wings), how to open the 12AX7’s shield (push and twist – it’s a bayonet a bit like UK light bulbs), and how to seat the 12AX7 when the holder obscures most of the pins (the gap faces the middle of the amp on mine).

Result? Nice. Less noise (though a Tele’s bridge pickup at full volume into a valve amp won’t ever be clean). More fun. $25 well spent. Strange to think that I’m installing components which were getting a bit old hat when my dad first started in electronics.

you’re a tube, Leo …

I caved to the tone craving, and ended up buying a Fender Champion 600 all-tube combo amp. It’s nice; just the right volume level for the basement, and even dimed (or duodimed, since it goes up to 12) it’s unlikely to raise too many complaints.

But filling in the registration card was a problem. Tell me what’s wrong with this question:


Hint: it’s not the content …