Updated: May 29
If there is something Fender never caught on when it comes to their tremolo systems, it´s that darn Tremolo arm that can feel wobbly and loose. Especial those PING tremolo´s. You might have heard of the "Little Spring in the trem hole" Well, needless to say, it only stops your arm being a loose goose and prevents it from spinning free. It does NOT solve the issue of poor tolerance in the threading. There is a cheap way, and a more expensive way to deal with this. Personally i dislike any free-play in my tremolo arm. I dont like it to swing free and dangle around, and i dislike that the arm is not super tight in the block where it feels like it hits the body. I can give you the expensive route pretty quick. All remedy is cured if you purchase a Callaham block. These blocks have a delrin (like nylon) bushing in them, very similar to Wilkinson trems and certain Gotoh trems.. It keeps your arm snug all the time. Downside is the price. They cost anywhere from $67 or $72 dependable what model you have. Another Downside is, they are the only provider of these blocks to Fender Original trems. But there is one in UK which is Wudtone, but they are again even more expensive than Callaham. There is a few providers of trem blocks around, but neither have the delrin bushing. Just the old fashion threadings. Now, the cheap way. Some have mentioned plumbers tape around on forums.. Well they work.. once. But the problem with plumbers tape is that they are thin, and are only designed for one-time-use in plumbing. Set, seal and forget. My trick involves the plumbers tape, but i add a litte more to make it more durable.. Read on: What you need: Plumbers Tape. Obviously. Cost nothing
Cable shrink tubes. You need around 5-6 mm size. Cheap usually in every hardware store.
Heat Gun. Now, you can use any heat source to shink a cable shrink tube. Keep it over a candle or use your mum´s hair dryer (takes time). But these heat guns can be acquired for a tenner.
Super Glue: I like these ones by Loctite. These bottles are brilliant and dont dry shut after one time use. The tip might clutter but you can cut it off and it will be like new again.
Lets proceed. Take the trem arm and wrap 3-4 turns with plumbers tape. Not too many or it will just be a cluttered mess when you screw in. And remember to wrap it anti-clockwise or you will unwrap it again when you screw in the arm. Keep a few millimeters of the tip free. It should look like this.
Cut about one centimeter of shrink tube. But before you insert it, a little trick. Add a couple of drops of CA Glue (super glue) on the upper part of the wrapped thread. Just a tiny little. Two drops on each side of the bar.
Now quickly insert the little shrink tube you cut and quickly heat it up so it wraps tight and gets permanently locked to the shaft by the glue. Remember that the glue is on the plumbers tape so no worries.
The finished product: The shrink hose acts like armor and keeps the plumbers tape on and it is not so one-time-use anymore. Both acts like one because of the glue.
You might have to experiment where on the threads the shrink tube go. But i always let it extend a bit over to the bare steel. Set it to0 low, and you will have a hard time screwing it on to the point that you will just maul it to pieces. You want the shrink hose to barely go into the treads on the block. So study and assess where it should go when you screw the bar out for prep.
So, once done...
Screw it on and always test it after each turn when you start to come deep enough. I stop screwing it in once it sits firm and tight.. Give the tremolo a few whammy-tests. If it starts to feel loose again after some use, give it another whirl if you have any left and it should fit snug again. I also use the little spring just for spacing, but that is totally optional for you...