Blocking an old Kahler copy trem and squeazing midi into a Saber

Here’s a cool late 80’s Hohner solidbody with a Kahler trem copy. These trems were all the rage on upper-end imports before the Floyd Rose patents ran out.  You saw them a lot on Hondo, Arbor, Cort and other guitars of the period that didn’t have a real Kahler. I personally love Kahlers for their smooth response. But honestly it’s probably just as much because of that Charvel with the UPC code graphic I fell in love with at Zaph’s Music when I was 12. It was the first time I heard someone play E to Bb with palm muting. Some would say that’s the beginning of the end. But on to today’s subject…

This guitar is now in the posession of a young player who wanted to disengage the locking trem and have a hardtail bridge for tuning stability. Since the footprint of this bridge was so big, a replacement bridge wasn’t the first option due to the size of the rout. He plays .011’s in drop D and needed something rock solid.  This trem had tension adjustments to stabilize the bridge under a variety of string guage and tuning choices, but still floated. Locking it in place isn’t a stock option. To do this we could physically install a block to eliminate any movement as on a standard Fender trem. But this trem has a ledge plate underneath with a set screw to control upward movement. We decided to drill a hole into the ledge and tap it to the same thread as the adjustment screw. Now we can lock it in place with a screw or loosen for regular whammy movement.

Phase 1 is now complete. Next to remove the stripped out string clamp and install a proper nut.  Our customer choice an intonated Earvana graphite nut.

Alright, I know we’ve done this before, but the finished pics never got done. It was picked up before I realized we didn’t have a final shot. So you’ll have to imagine the final result. It’s a shame because I was wearing my new rabbit hat. It was adorable.

Just remember, all trems can be stabilized to allow you to drop tune at whim without tuning nightmares.

Here’s an Ibanez S that got a Ghost Floyd for midi and piezo options. It also got a Lace noiseless middle pickup and a DiMarzio bridge ‘bucker. We’ll get into the process of this one next time, but first we’ll see some wires. Lots of ’em.

Since the edges are way too thin to accomodate the 13-pin connector, we mounted on the rear of the guitar. This was a lot of stuff in a small space. Some said not to try. We didn’t listen. Partially because someone was playing really, really loud that day.

So here’s some custom back plates, battery compartment and rear mounted midi jack.

This was the rough fit of some of the plates, but it ended up looking nice.

It also got a Trem Setter.  Man, this ended up being a ridiculously cool and versatile guitar. Thanks to Dan for letting us do this job.

These switches are for Electic/Piezo/Both, Midi on-off, and midi program toggle. The placement for all of these componenets took a lot of measuring and in some cases we only had a tolerance of 1/8″.  The size of the internal components and wiring harnesses didn’t leave much room for guess work. The depth of the body and proximity to other routs dictated the battery compartment and midi jack locations.

Here’s the finished product. (2) Dimarzio’s, (1) Lace, (1) Graphtech Ghost Hexaphonic preamp and Floyd bridge.  Tremsetter. Battery compartment. Stereo output jack. Midi output jack. Sigh of relief.

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