Callaham bridges for Strats?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by DonaldDemon, Feb 13, 2008.


  1. DonaldDemon

    DonaldDemon Member

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    Are they worth it?

    I am waiting on a new neck and wiring for my Strat. After I get those things put on the only thing that will be stock will be the body and the bridge. Now I am thinking I should update the bridge assembly (tremolo) to a Callaham version.

    The website claims it will sound better, is this true or is it gear snobbery? I have trouble believing the sound will be much better but the parts quality will mostly likely be.

    Who has these on their Strat and do you think its worth $120 for the kit?
     
  2. FRETSMOKE

    FRETSMOKE Member

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    I've got two of 'em on my strats - yes they make a difference - a GOOD difference. But, you gotta have good sounding wood to start with, otherwise, it will emphasize the BAD in crummy wood like Agathis for instance. I tried it on a 99 dollar Squire strat - the original zinc bridge sounded better - go figure. Bill makes great stuff - and ships fast. Give one a try -
     
  3. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    I had similar results. The Callaham bridge I put on my Tex Mex Strat made a difference, but it was a step sideways, not up. Overall the stock bridge sounds better on that guitar.

    Dana O.
     
  4. darkbluemurder

    darkbluemurder Member

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    I replaced the vintage bridge in my partscaster with a Callaham. Sounded pretty much the same to me. If you need to fit a bridge to a newly built guitar and want the best then go with the Callaham. But I did not hear enough difference (I am still unsure whether there is a difference at all) to replace the bridge in my other strat.
     
  5. skeeterbuck

    skeeterbuck Member

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    I have a Jerry Donahue CIJ Hellacaster strat w/basswood body. I changed the stock bridge and string block both w/Callahan's. I noticed an improvement on the tone and sustain.

    As a side note, the springs are adjusted so that the the bridge rest on the body when not being used. You can only lower the pitch of the string. That helps the tone and sustain also.
     
  6. hardys

    hardys Supporting Member

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    I'm glad this topic came up. I have a Warmoth parts Strat with a Wilkinson/Gotoh VSVG Vintage Tremolo installed. I'm happy with the functionality, but wonder if a Callaham would make a significant improvement. :confused:
     
  7. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Lots dig it, but I've read where some don't like it. I don't think it's always a case of better. It could be different. Some didn't like the Callahm bridge/saddles because it made the guitar brighter and more chime. some would love that and some wouldn't. Also it'd depend on if the guitar was bright to begin with.

    The one common thing everyone seems to say is, it makes their guitar brighter or clearer. IMO, most strats often don't need that.
     
  8. hardys

    hardys Supporting Member

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    Actually, I was considering a Callaham, hoping it might warm up my Strat and maybe add some low mids. Sounds like that's NOT what a Callaham will do. I wish somebody out there had both bridges in the same axe and could report on the tonal differences.
     
  9. rockford

    rockford Member

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    The callaham will give stronger high end, but it sounds good at the same time.
    It will actually make your guitar in general a little louder, and sustain more, and the highs won't be muffled like on cheap import guitars, some fenders included. That said, if your guitar is heavy, or has a harder body wood for
    instance, you might not like the change. I've had callahams on different strat's, I liked it on a standard alder body American strat, but on a korina warmoth strat with stainless steel frets, I wasn't happy. the combination of the high quality steel Callaham block with the stainless frets was not my combination. With nickel frets, it sounded better and was more balanced.
     
  10. shuie

    shuie Silver Supporting Member

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    Id do it again.
     
  11. tonio19

    tonio19 Member

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    I just put a Callaham Vintage S style Bridge Assembly on my 79, about 2 weeks ago. I just love it now. I bought this guitar when I was in high school, so I know it pretty well. It is a natural blonde body (Alder) with a Maple neck with the skunk strip on the back. It was always a little brighter than I would have preferred, so I usually just rolled the tone back a little. Anyway, around 1981 I broke the trem off in the block. I then broke an easy out trying to remove the broken piece, and so it was a fixed bridge until 2 weeks ago. The bridge "DID NOT" make it brighter, but man did it really improve the tone factor. Now I am not talking about some minimum barely noticeable change, like when some of you guys change from black knobs to vintage white.... "yes I can hear a noticeable difference with these new knobs". No, I mean stay up 2 hours past bedtime and go to work tired but happy kind of improvement. Somebody previous said that they had tried them on several of their own guitars with different results. That I could surely believe, as he tried it, not speculated about it, and reported what he found. On my guitar it was the final piece of the puzzel. About a year ago I talked Jim Wagner (WCR pups) into building me a set of his awesome single coils, and they ain't ever coming out. So now, not only does my old Strat sound better than it ever has, I actually have a useable tremelo again. Thanks Bill.
    P.S. I forgot to mention: Volume increase, yes. Clearer notes with better sustain, Oh yes. Improved Tone, you bet your bippy...
    Tony
     
  12. spjoker

    spjoker Member

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    Don't count out the old school vintage 6 point bridges. If I were to change today I would get a vintage bridge. 2nd maybe the vsvg as described above. If you play with the trem alot then don't go with the vintage 6 point..go with the wilkerson/gotoh bridge.
     
  13. jamison162

    jamison162 Member

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    Chris...the Callaham is a vintage 6 screw bridge. :dude
     
  14. DonaldDemon

    DonaldDemon Member

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    Well, I just noticed I finally got replies on this thread! :jo

    Anyway, I went ahead and ordered it. I should be getting my Musikraft neck tomorrow and I just upgraded the wiring to a TFN "Ultimod". I have WCR single coils (hell yes!) and Schaller tuners waiting to be installed. The bridge was the last piece of the puzzle so I figured I might as well go for it.

    I hope it doesn't make my guitar any brighter like some have said. My Strat is a hard piece of Alder and it pretty bright. The neck I ordered is Rock Maple with Pao Ferro board and stainless steel frets. Hopefully it won't be overly bright.

    I actually wanted the Callaham bridge for the funtionality more than the tone. I don't like the loose feel to the trem and that stupid spring that I lose once a month. I also like the shorter arm on the trem bar bcause the Fender one felt too big and clunky. I also don't like the modern saddles and I think they do a poor job of keeping tuning. I had some string breakage issue with the D string at the bridge. All in all, I think I will be happy with it.
     
  15. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

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    If nothing else, you will love the sustain of the Callaham steel block and saddles. The build quality is also second to none which is nice when you're building a "no holds barred" guitar. I have them in two of my strats (American Deluxe upgrade kits) and I have a custom tele with all Callaham hardware and pickups...so yes, I believe the Callaham hardware does good things.
     
  16. DonaldDemon

    DonaldDemon Member

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    Thanks. Mine is working out nicely so far. I really love the solid feel of the trem arm and am glad to be rid of those horrid aluminum saddles that were on there. I do notice a little more sustain but overall I don't sense a major change in the tone.
     
  17. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Please post back with your results. I'm interested in what you'll hear.
     
  18. DonaldDemon

    DonaldDemon Member

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    See above ^

    No brightness or perceived change in tone.
     
  19. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Oh I missed that Donald. I mighta' missed this too, but what trem did it replace?
     
  20. DonaldDemon

    DonaldDemon Member

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    No problem. Just the stock Am Stand trem was replaced.
     

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