YouTube has just written to inform me that a video of mine has become sufficiently popular to qualify for “revenue sharing”, that thing where they place ads by your video and send you money. I don’t expect to make a single dollar for my rather niche clip on guitar maintenance, but I will admit to something like pride that the little guy grew enough to trip the minor importance alarm at San Bruno, CA. And I will blink away the tears over my only genuinely popular video also being my only guitar video that doesn’t focus on me playing. Cough.
Honestly I think the video, titled Cure for Noisy Tremolo Springs, has done well because it solves a problem lots of guitar players evidently have but rarely discuss, and so YouTube’s optimistic little email prompted me to think that I should post it here, in case you too are plagued by loud, creaking, twangy, overly-reverberant or discordant tremolo springs.
The technique shown works for big serious floating bridge whammys as well as small, reserved, vintage Strat-style trems. This idea of installing rubber tubing is my favorite of the remedies I’ve learned, because the others have downsides: electrical tape (which some wrap around all three springs in one go) gets sticky, dirty and gummy over time; and foam (which some people stick behind the springs) will catch between the coils of the springs when you use the tremolo, creating return-to-pitch problems.
Sometimes the idea here is misunderstood. This is for guitars where spring noise is a problem. Most don’t need it. I appreciate the subtle, natural reverb provided by tremolo springs, a warm, barely-there tuneful hum swimming delicately about your chords and notes, and it is not my mission to kill it. Some tremolos, though, have problems with creak-creak-creaking, or occasionally unsolicited metallic piiiings, or a kind of reverb which is overbearing and out of tune, muddying note separation and generally casting a not-quite-right air over your playing. These benefit from being silenced, and that’s what my little video addresses.
The magic number of views appears to be 50,000 — a number I’d just exceeded before being contacted by YouTube’s revenue droids. What those clever machines perhaps ignore is that it took over two years to get there! Oh well. I’ll not quit my day job just yet, playing scratch cards in the park.