Help Me Improve Sustain On My Warmoth Strat

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by hour9, Dec 24, 2005.


  1. hour9

    hour9 Member

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    I've put together an Ash bodied Warmoth Parts-O-Caster with a Fender American 2 post trem. Currently the trem is full floating and the guitar lacks sustain. It also is kind of dead sounding acoustically.

    I'm considering installing a wood trem block or maybe one of these new aftermarket trem devices like the Tremel-no

    I'm wondering how much this will actually improve the sustain on the guitar? Will a wood block improve the sustain? If so by how much?
     
  2. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    IMO, a guitar either has that something special or it doesn't. It's no one thing, rather the sum of the parts. That's why parts guitars are such a crap shoot. Guitars are fun to build but, until all the parts come together and the guitar is played for the first time, you can't exactly predict the outcome. Even off the rack, Strat style guitars vary widely on tone, playability, sustain, etc.. However, two post trems always lacked something to my ear when compared to a 6 post....but, again, that's only one factor. If your guitar happens to have acoustically dead wood, I doubt that you'll ever fix it. If I were you, I would sell the guitar and look for one that has the qualities you seek.
     
  3. andygio

    andygio Member

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    You may try setting the bridge flat to the body to see if it makes a difference (add some springs in the back or screw the claw in further, possibly lower the bridge mounting studs a bit too).

    I don't know if stabilizing the trem with a wood block or other device makes that much of a difference, but I've not tried it myself. Maybe someone else can chime in on that.

    It may not necessarily be the bridge - it could have to do with the body or neck. I've had that type of bridge set up to "float" on a swamp ash tele body and the thing sounded just fine acoustically - not dead at all, good sustain. Partscasters are a crap-shoot. I've had a number of them that I eventually just disassembled and put up on ebay because they didn't turn out quite right. Others, I can't imagine selling.
     
  4. CharlieNC

    CharlieNC Member

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    in my experience, the neck pocket fit has a lot to do with the sustain of a guitar. however, it could be that the wood is somewhat dead acoustically. it's really hard to say without a first hand look. but what others have said, set the trem flat against the body, add some springs, also, if you have three single coils... try setting the pickup height by the instructions on the Fender site and then adjusting to taste from there. i've had luck with this on guitars that just "dont' sound right."
     
  5. HarryJ

    HarryJ Member

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    You may also find that a callaham block will improve the overall tone
     
  6. wgs1230

    wgs1230 Fully Intonatable Silver Supporting Member

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    Agreed completely. I've put together a couple of partsocasters, and IME ultra-lightweight swamp ash seems like a great idea in abstract but almost always ends up lacking sustain. Combined with a floating trem, you just don't have much to work with. How was the body finished?
     
  7. Luke V

    Luke V Member

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    A Callaham trem block and top plate can help alot.
     
  8. HarryJ

    HarryJ Member

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  9. hour9

    hour9 Member

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    Thanks to all who have replied.

    The body was finished by Warmoth in a solid color.

    What's a top plate?

    The guitar sounds great plugged in but acoustically, to me, it doesn't sound good IMO compared to my other guitars. I have another strat that I have the trem tight and locked down. I think I'll try that with this one and if it helps great, if not then I'll swap out the body for a hardtail.

    One other thing, the pickup route is a swimming pool top route and I'm wondering if that has something to do with it.???
     
  10. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    Maybe its just a dud but I'd Callaham it just to be sure...for $100 you can find out..I know that it was the finishing touch that put my strat over the top...

    Chow,
    Seegs
     
  11. DownByLaw

    DownByLaw Supporting Member

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    Hmm...well typically the Fender 2 point trem has a coating of paint between the block and trem plate, first I would remove that coating. I accomplished this by removing it and running it over some fine sandpaper on a level surface. It comes off quite easily, and will improve the contact between the 2 pieces while removing the deading effect of the paint. If you're considering having the bridge set flat to the body, you could consider what I have done, and what I feel sounds better. Rather than have the bridge set flat, set it so that the back of the bridge rests on the body while the front sits up about a 1/16 of an inch. Don't know why this seems to work best, my theory is that you are letting the bridge come in to contact with a meatier spot on the body, while avoiding contact with the large routed part and it's less than pleasant overtones. Call me crazy, but works for me. In addition, I would experiment with pickup heights, namely lowering them overall to avoid choking. (too much magnet pull) Also, if there is any finish in the neck pocket, remove it. I repeat, remove it. If there are any shims in the neck pocket, remove them, imho they kill tone. You should be able to setup without them. In addition, I don't like too much relief in the neck. (too much neck vibration, not enough string vibration) I have found this makes quite a difference. Check your springs, I have found the resonance of the springs to make a slight difference. I tension them to work at keeping the back of the bridge solid to the body, but also pay attention to how they resonate with the guitar. These are my crazy ideas.

    Patrick
     
  12. hour9

    hour9 Member

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    Those are good ideas, I'm going to try all of that.

    Merry Christmas!!
     
  13. Trandy

    Trandy Supporting Member

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    I just finished a Warmoth/Fender Strat project. Try the K-T-S Titanium saddles and trem block...they do wonderful things for a Strat.

    www.k-t-s.com
     

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