how do I block a strat trem?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by alschnier, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. alschnier

    alschnier Supporting Member

    Messages:
    355
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2006
    Location:
    New Hartford, NY 13413
    I've never done this. how do I properly block a strat trem so I have no movement (& less tuning issues)?
     
  2. CAFeathers

    CAFeathers Member

    Messages:
    633
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2003
    Location:
    Vacaville, CA USA
    I ususally put in 5 springs and tighten the 2 secrews for the claw until the back of the bridge sits firnly on the body. You will have to adjust the height of the saddles to get your action back low again.
     
  3. frankthomson

    frankthomson Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Location:
    Camelot
    there are a few ways
    sometimes i do the 5 springs, too, but DONT tighten the 2 top screws...the 5 springs makes it virtually immoveable

    or you can put a spacer in the back cavity

    i have a piece of oak in a few of mine

    i heard a 9v batt works well too
    (was that a clapton trick?)
     
  4. Fireball XL5

    Fireball XL5 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,537
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    No need for a wooden block... just use all 5 springs and screw the claw all the way in so that it's snug up against the trem cavity wall. Works great!
     
  5. alderbody

    alderbody Member

    Messages:
    682
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Location:
    overseas
    The wooden block sounds differently. Quite un-natural to my experience.

    I have tried both once, and came to the conclusion that the tremolo is better (to me, generally, who knows?) to be floating, even at least a few milimetres. It was designed to work this way.

    I almost never use the trem, but i keep my bridge just barely floating.
    The gap may be less than one mm.
     
  6. alschnier

    alschnier Supporting Member

    Messages:
    355
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2006
    Location:
    New Hartford, NY 13413
    2 questions - if I do the 5 spring/2 screw method, will the guitar stay in tune if I break a string or go to a drop D?

    - also, has anyone tried the tremol-no?
     
  7. CAFeathers

    CAFeathers Member

    Messages:
    633
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2003
    Location:
    Vacaville, CA USA
    Tuning will not change if you break a string.
     
  8. Fireball XL5

    Fireball XL5 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,537
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Since I don't use the trem, I use all 5 springs and screw the bridge down tight against the body so that it doesn't move. My style consists of a lot of string bends where I bend one string and at the same time sustain another, and I can't stand to deal with the pitch drop that goes along with a floating bridge setup.

    A lot of guys argue that the tone is better with a floating bridge... but "for me"... I have found just the opposite to be true and greatly prefer the tone and sustain of my strats with all 5 springs and the bridge screwed down tight.

    It's possible that a wooden block changes the tone... but I can't comment on that since I've never used one to block my trem as I don't find it necessary.
     
  9. alderbody

    alderbody Member

    Messages:
    682
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Location:
    overseas
    you know... one man's garbage, other man's treasure... ;)

    I often do what you do (bending with open strings ringing),
    but i found a balancing point where the bridge is not "super-tight" against the body,
    while there's no pitch shift on the open strings.

    and i play 11's (OK,tuned one step down) with only 3 springs and the claw tightened a bit more.

    i did this because with the 5 springs i had the impression that the whole "system" was too "stiff".
    This way, it got a sweeter, spongier feel, which i prefer (at least for the time being...)

    btw, it's a Callaham bridge assembly, so maybe the Stainless Steel had something to do with the "stiffness"...
     
  10. alschnier

    alschnier Supporting Member

    Messages:
    355
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2006
    Location:
    New Hartford, NY 13413
    I could see wooden block changing tone. that trem cavity is pretty significant. you basically change your guitar from a chambered one to a solidbody. not nec. better or worse, just different. thanks for the input.

    any need for a tremol-no if I don;t intend to use trem?
     
  11. fyrwyr

    fyrwyr Member

    Messages:
    6,241
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2005
    Location:
    Windsor Ont.
    I like the block method myself, but it doesn't hurt to experiment with different blocking materials, if your tone is too "hard" or bright- try using a softer wood block and vise versa.
     

Share This Page