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Converting 6 screw Fender trem to hard tail?

Messages
1,944
Just getting a partscaster together and I want to replace the typical Fender type trem with maybe a hard tail.
I am sure some of you have done that, can you comment on the change? Is pretty much any hard tail bridge going to be superior to the 6 point trem?
 

cheezit

Member
Messages
834
My advice - build a regular strat, put in 5 trem springs, tighten them so the trem is decked, and take off the trem arm. Whatever difference there is between that and a proper hardtail (meaning no trem rout) is going to be pretty small, and hardtail parts are a pain to source.

IMO, you will be sorely disappointed if you think that a hardtail is going to be noticeably "superior" in some way. Decked trems sound different than floating trems. To me decking reduces some of the personality of a strat in a way that is not better, mostly different, and for me it is worse. YMMV of course.
 

mc5nrg

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,393
Either use a body designed for a hardtail bridge or set the tremolo so it is either blocked or 5 tight springs. A hardtail bridge and a trem routed stratbody generally are not compatible.
 

Killed_by_Death

Senior Member
Messages
18,336
just get another body
a fixed bridge is going to leave a large hole in the top

I hope you don't block a vibrato bridge, which seems so daggone common.
 

wox

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,278
I've never filled a 6-point Strat route specifically, but I've done 2 others - a lousy Kahler retrofit that I restored, and a project Ovation Breadwinner body that I filled the bridge and battery cavities on so it could use standard hardware.

It's relatively straightforward but super time consuming - strip body, square out routes, find matching wood, cut plugs, glue, level the wood, refinish. Definitely better idea to swap the body for a hardtail or flush mount the bridge and ignore the trem functionality.
 

Cal Webway

Member
Messages
9,563
Hipshot does make a solid wood blank to fit the trem and spring route-outs for Fender types. May take a little fitting.

$20-30 I recall

.
 
Messages
1,944
My advice - build a regular strat, put in 5 trem springs, tighten them so the trem is decked, and take off the trem arm. Whatever difference there is between that and a proper hardtail (meaning no trem rout) is going to be pretty small, and hardtail parts are a pain to source.

IMO, you will be sorely disappointed if you think that a hardtail is going to be noticeably "superior" in some way. Decked trems sound different than floating trems. To me decking reduces some of the personality of a strat in a way that is not better, mostly different, and for me it is worse. YMMV of course.
If I use the 5 spring thing how important is the block? Are there favourite saddles you guys like?
 

bgmacaw

Member
Messages
8,080
I've got 2 styles of hardtail Stratoids, a Carvin Bolt with a thru-body bridge and an SX Hawk with a TOM style bridge. There is a subtle tone difference in not having the steel block and springs but it's small part of the equation. On my '63 Strat I have the trem decked with 5 springs and on my Squier, I have it blocked with a piece of maple (which helps compensate some for the lightweight block). Basically, I like Strats but I don't like trems that much, probably because I like to play slide.

If you're doing a partscaster you might want to seek out a hardtail body or have one made, if that's what you want.
 
Messages
23,963
Yeah, just "park" the existing body and buy a Hardtail "S" body from Tommy Rosamond, USA Custom Guitars.

A USACG I did a little while back, in White lacquer:



3 piece alder; nice light weight, very reasonably priced.
 

hogy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,841
Is pretty much any hard tail bridge going to be superior to the 6 point trem?

What does that mean?

A Strat sounds like a Strat in no small part because of the tremolo. So, what is "superior"? A Tele with three Strat pickups?

Not sure what you're asking.
 
Messages
1,944
adding some kind of "block" is utterly pointless!

if you don't want to use the trem, decking it so it doesn't move accomplishes the same thing while keeping the sound of the trem, which like @hogy says is a key part of the strat tone "recipe".
I meant the block that is part of the trem not wood block to lock it in place. The one I have seems pretty light. I am thinking now that I will just use 5 springs and maybe new saddles.
 

rowdyyates

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,341
A true hardtail sounds very different than a blocked trem. Even with 5 springs down tight you still get the sound of the block and springs. I don't use trem, and like the idea of a hardtail, but they just don't sound like a Strat.
 

Mighty Melvin

Senior Member
Messages
2,711
adding some kind of "block" is utterly pointless!

if you don't want to use the trem, decking it so it doesn't move accomplishes the same thing while keeping the sound of the trem, which like @hogy says is a key part of the strat tone "recipe".
Well, not meaning to be critical, but the recipe is, to me, pretty awful. Get all that metal out of there.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
39,363
Well, not meaning to be critical, but the recipe is, to me, pretty awful. Get all that metal out of there.
right, because if there's one tone recipe that everybody hates it's the sound of a vintage strat ;)

(again, the springs, the more hollowed-out body and especially the steel block are key parts of the sound! hard-tail strats are cool, they get a warmer, more solid bridge pickup tone, but at the cost of a less glassy and transparent neck pickup tone.)
 






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