Fender American Special Strat - Worth it if I block the trem?

SwedishGuy82

Member
Messages
113
There seems to be a lot of hate for the American Special Strat's trem. I was just wondering... I'm thinking about getting a new strat, but I want to block the trem no matter which one I get. Would that negate the tuning stability argument for the American Special? Or is there a lot of other ****** stuff about it that I need to know of? Let's say you compare an Elite Strat, the new Professional Strat and the American Special strat, all of them with blocked trems. Also, the pickups aren't thaaat much of a deal breaker for me. Would be nice to have the new Noiseless pups in the American Elite, but I'll get by without them. I'm more interested in tuning stability, playability and overall quality. Now, where I live the new Pro Strat and the Elite Strat will cost me like 1.6-1.7 times as much as the American Special.

What do you guys say...?
 
Last edited:

Abram4235

Member
Messages
5,073
I have a 2011 american special and I love it. I have no problems whatsoever with the trem. I think the way you string your strings around the pegs by kinking them and "locking them in" is going to do more for tuning stability than a different trem. I use the trem heavily (floating) and I am always in tune. I think it's a hell of a guitar at any price.

Edit: It's loud even unplugged. Very resonant feeling guitar. I added a steel block to my trem although I'm not sure how much difference it made. I also replaced the pick ups with CS69S in the middle and neck positions and then an ssl5 in the bridge. Most recently, I switched the CS69S to pure vintage 65s and they are also great. I don't think the guitars you mentioned are worth the price increase and I actually prefer the features of the American special. Pick ups are one of those things that are easy to change out, but as far as the body, neck, and hardware, I've been very happy with mine.
 
Last edited:

SwedishGuy82

Member
Messages
113
I have a 2011 american special and I love it. I have no problems whatsoever with the trem. I think the way you string your strings around the pegs by kinking them and "locking them in" is going to do more for tuning stability than a different trem. I use the trem heavily (floating) and I am always in tune. I think it's a hell of a guitar at any price.

Edit: It's loud even unplugged. Very resonant feeling guitar. I added a steel block to my trem although I'm not sure how much difference it made. I also replaced the pick ups with CS69S in the middle and neck positions and then an ssl5 in the bridge. Most recently, I switched the CS69S to pure vintage 65s and they are also great. I don't think the guitars you mentioned are worth the price increase and I actually prefer the features of the American special. Pick ups are one of those things that are easy to change out, but as far as the body, neck, and hardware, I've been very happy with mine.
Oh that sounds sweet! And about my blocking the trem theory...? Do you think that would put the tuning stability (however small it might be) issue to rest?
 

Abram4235

Member
Messages
5,073
Oh that sounds sweet! And about my blocking the trem theory...? Do you think that would put the tuning stability (however small it might be) issue to rest?
I blocked mine for awhile but ultimately realized there wasn't any difference. If I have a trem then I want to use it. I figured out that I was stringing my guitar wrong, so that was a revelation to me after 20 years of doing it wrong.

As far as the trem goes, I don't think it'll make any difference. I think it's a good trem but some people do it regardless. I think if you have no interest in using it, then you should block it for piece of mind, it can't hurt stability. But if you want to use the trem then it's as good a bridge as any IMO and you should use it without worry. I've gigged many many venues and never had an issue.
 

RolandKorg

Member
Messages
4,172
You can block it with coins taped together. Not a big expense for a trial/experiment. I did this with my MIM HSH Strat, and just left it that way.
 

SwedishGuy82

Member
Messages
113
You can block it with coins taped together. Not a big expense for a trial/experiment. I did this with my MIM HSH Strat, and just left it that way.
Yeah I've heard about that. That can't be good for the tone though...? A piece of wood would be better, wouldn't it?
 

70 Mach 1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,091
Have mine a few years. Its maxed out with springs. I don't use tremolo. Holds very well. Stays in tune.
Don't like the TS's though. Rewired it to remove grease bucket to std strat wiring. Only bought because I caught a door buster sale at full compass for $599 shipped free. Couldn't refuse it.
New pups going in this year as soon as I can decide on what
 

SgtThump

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,910
In my experience, Fenders stay in tune very well and blocking the trem will absolutely add to the tuning stability. Ive seen lots of folks do it and have done it myself.
 
Messages
23,947
Sounding intonated on an American Special has a lot to do with the huge fret wire, IMO. I mean, the larger the wire the more trouble. All the different trems on the various USA models are more or less equal in capability. Which one a guy chooses is a matter of taste and then the most important thing is setting it up right and sure, you've got to have the nut right before any of this happens. If you decide to lock the trem down, the American Special with the 6 screw mount is actually more your friend than is the 2 post style.

I like the idea of decking or even locking down a trem on a Strat first and then getting every single bug out of the neck insofar as the truss rod, tuning machines, nut and stringing technique. Once that's all resolved you can go back and undeck the trem and see if you can get something that works for you out of a floating trem.

If you are open to different string gauges, I think you'll find you can get intonation better, faster with the largest gauge you like, most particularly with these roughly Dunlop 6000 frets.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,246
There seems to be a lot of hate for the American Special Strat's trem. I was just wondering... I'm thinking about getting a new strat, but I want to block the trem no matter which one I get.
there's zero reason to "block" the trem of a fender strat.

all you have to do is "deck" it, adjusting it so it lays flat on the body and doesn't move, accomplishing the same thing, turning it into a hardtail guitar.

i don't think it makes a big tonal difference either way. in fact, you'll find guys who say their strat didn't come to life and have "that tone" until they unblocked it and let the bridge float again!
 

ryandfl

Member
Messages
1,543
I really have the notion that the trem is a big part of the strat sound, even if it's unused.

But I don't have a lot of data on this
 

toomanyamps

Member
Messages
1,851
.....I'm more interested in tuning stability, playability and overall quality. Now, where I live the new Pro Strat and the Elite Strat will cost me like 1.6-1.7 times as much as the American Special.

What do you guys say...?
It would be really tough for me to justify 60-70% more for the Elite or Pro over the Special.
In the USA American Standards retailed for about 30% more than a Special, which I feel was reasonable.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,246
I really have the notion that the trem is a big part of the strat sound, even if it's unused.
oh absolutely!

the big steel block and the extra hollow chamber filled with springs all serve to create that airy, almost "acoustic" quality to the sound.

clapton famously never uses a trem but always plays trem strats (decked so they don't move) strictly for the tonal difference.
 

joemiracle220

Member
Messages
843
I never heard this... if its set up and lubed up it should stay in tune judt fine. .. but you can also just max out the number of springs and tighten the screws down a bit
 

Hilton5705

Member
Messages
1
I have a 2011 american special and I love it. I have no problems whatsoever with the trem. I think the way you string your strings around the pegs by kinking them and "locking them in" is going to do more for tuning stability than a different trem. I use the trem heavily (floating) and I am always in tune. I think it's a hell of a guitar at any price.

Edit: It's loud even unplugged. Very resonant feeling guitar. I added a steel block to my trem although I'm not sure how much difference it made. I also replaced the pick ups with CS69S in the middle and neck positions and then an ssl5 in the bridge. Most recently, I switched the CS69S to pure vintage 65s and they are also great. I don't think the guitars you mentioned are worth the price increase and I actually prefer the features of the American special. Pick ups are one of those things that are easy to change out, but as far as the body, neck, and hardware, I've been very happy with mine.
Hi, trying to figure out how to do a new post but seeing as my issue is with the American Special, thought I'd join this thread - apologies.
I bought a new American Special Strat last week. It turned up in its nice cheap gig bag in a shabby cardboard box but despite this I was really looking forward to taking off the rusted strings and replacing them with nice new NYXLs.....until my floating Bridge elevated itself out of its cavity by almost an inch/2.5 cm, unable to tune it. Any clues guys?
 




Trending Topics

Top