Installing A Tremolo (and Replacing the TremKing)

I finally had enough with the TremKing so out it came.

Plugging Holes

After unscrewing the TremKing from the guitar body I was left with three holes which would all need to be plugged before I could drill for the Hipshot inserts.

So obviously I began by taping the guitar off with masking tape so as not to accidentally scratch the finish while I’m working.

Taped Up

To plug the holes I used toothpicks in the same way as if I was plugging a stripped screw hole.


After stripping the toothpicks roughly in half, I coated each piece with wood glue and then jammed as many of them as I could, into each hole

Plugging the Holes

Trimmed the Plugs

Trimmed the toothpicks with scissors…

Shaving the Plugs

…and then cleaned it up with a razor.

Finished Shaving

Finished Shaving 2

Now that the old holes were filled in, it was time to drill for the inserts for the Hipshot.


Obviously, before I even thought about drilling, I needed to measure up and mark of where the holes would need to go.

Marked for Drilling

Originally I was intending to drill the inserts with a hand drill using a doweling jig, but to be safe I ended up finding a friend with a drill press so that I could get the holes drilled perfectly vertical. In hindsight though, the drill press was probably overkill and I would go with the doweling jig if I needed to do it again in future.


Drilled 2

After drilling I just pushed the inserts in…

Inserting the Inserts

…and then gently hammered them tight with a rubber mallet.

Bang in the Inserts

And believe it or not, thats all there is to it! The main trem assembly just rests against the inserts.

Hipshot - Top

And the screws and springs went in like any other trem.


Now that the TremKing is lying on a rubbish heap somewhere, I’m back to a simple, floating trem that works and actually stays in tune.

Ahhh… Happy days are here again…

5 replies on “Installing A Tremolo (and Replacing the TremKing)”

Ty – good to see that you replaced the Tremking without too much hassle. Hopefully your new tremolo is keeping in tune well. Just as an update on my Fender Strat, I’ve installed the Tremol-no on my floating Kahler and it’s happy days for me – no tuning issues. I’ve also installed the Kinman Woodstock Plus pickups with the K9 and also enjoying the hum-free and immense tonal possibilities. I’m using the “popped out” M&B pickups in series quite a lot for a warmer over-driven sound.

From the pictures above I seen that you have copper insulation in your cavities. Did you install it yourself and did you notice a difference? I’m wanting to put some on the back of my pickguard but was wanting an opinion on the difference it makes in your cavities.

Thanks for your work on this blog. Greg

Greg – Great that the Kahler is working for you now – its nice to have a trem that behaves itself 😉

Yeah, I couldn’t agree more with the usefulness of having the series option with the K9 – it does do the ‘humbucker-esque’ thing very well.

Re: the copper shielding. I did it myself before installing the pickups. Since I’ve never heard the Kinman’s without the shielding, I don’t know if it makes a difference. Most people who have tried these pickups without shielding reckon they are perfectly quiet anyway, and generally don’t bother to shield their pickup cavities (of course you do still need to shield the controls).

Since you need to shield the controls (regardless of whether the pickups are hum canceling or not), I figured ‘what the hell’ and just did the whole thing 🙂 Personally though, I found installing the tape in the cavities a bit finicky so next time around I’ll heed Chris Kinman’s advice ( and use the conductive paint for the cavities. He’s got plenty more shielding info on his site as well, but you’ll need to login to his site to get there, which means I can’t link to it from here.

One very important thing that is mentioned on the Kinman site is to make sure that the shielding does not come too close to the pickups (either under the pickguard, or up the walls of the pickup cavity) as this can ‘unballance’ the hum cancelling effect and actually make them noisier

Best of luck,


Hi Ty,

I tried to contact you when I first read your review but was not able to connect. Hopefully, this will get to you. Thanks for the new thing you have done showing a Trem King can be replaced without too much hubbub. And so sorry you had problems with your TK. You had ’em all too. We have made a lot of changes to the unit and have addressed the problems you experienced. The unit now operates as advertised. Joe Perry use the TK on all of his vibrato equipped guitars he takes on the road. Hershel Yatovitz who plays with Chris Isaak is having Nordstrom build a custom stage guitar for him with the TK in it. It does work. Anyway, thanks again for all of your comments.
Ruty Bickford, Trem King, LLC

Hi Ty, please give me a call at 866-324 6300. Tomorrow is turkey Day, but we will be in on Friday and next week. I sure would like to talk to you. Rusty Bickford, Trem King, LLC

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