How much improvement can I get from a brass bridge block?

Ellery

Member
Messages
74
I have an '84 Ibanez X-series, MIJ. Very unique but has mediocre sound. I'm sure it is made from basswood, and the Destroyer body is very meaty and heavy. I am considering replacing the bridge block with a brass one, and installing full contact saddles. My thinking about a guitar with a floating trem is the quality of wood could be compensated with the right bridge. The $$$ risk is: would the sound improvement be worth the cost? Do I have a chance?
 

Custom50

Member
Messages
8,536
That's the weird thing with replacing parts like bridges. You can never know 100% what the change will be until you actually do it....then it's too late and you've already spent the money.

I've been down that road before and spent money trying to make mediocre guitars sound good. I just buy guitars I already like now and if I want to try a new pickup or something for fun it's no big deal, I can always switch back.
 
Messages
379
Brass has a particular characteristic that some people like and others don't. In generic terms, brass blocks have more sustain and emphasize low mids. While no one ever complains about too much sustain, too much bass can be problematic. Brass blocks work great in some guitars and not so much in others. You won't know until you try one.
 

Tonebender

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
606
I replaced the steel block in my old Richie Kotzen strat after I broke the tremolo arm in it....

Sounded great with steel but the brass block darkened it up in a very pleasing way. The highs became fuller, bit more mids and bolder/warmer bass.

Mine is drilled with deeper string holes which I believe contribute to easier playability and better tuning stability during tremolo use.
 

Ellery

Member
Messages
74
That's the weird thing with replacing parts like bridges. You can never know 100% what the change will be until you actually do it....then it's too late and you've already spent the money.

I've been down that road before and spent money trying to make mediocre guitars sound good. I just buy guitars I already like now and if I want to try a new pickup or something for fun it's no big deal, I can always switch back.
This guitar has sentimental value to it, it was my 1st electric guitar, and is covered with stickers that go back 20 years. Every imperfection only makes it look cooler, a total barbarian guitar. Since the neck/frets are in good shape I believe it is a candidate for upgrading.
 

Ellery

Member
Messages
74
I replaced the steel block in my old Richie Kotzen strat after I broke the tremolo arm in it....

Sounded great with steel but the brass block darkened it up in a very pleasing way. The highs became fuller, bit more mids and bolder/warmer bass.

Mine is drilled with deeper string holes which I believe contribute to easier playability and better tuning stability during tremolo use.
Thanx for your comment, those are the kinds of attributes I want, as the style will be downtuned extreme metal.
 

Tonebender

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
606
Hmmmm...... In that case I would say go for steel. The extra high end would define the lower tuning a bit better, no?
 

Ellery

Member
Messages
74
I can't believe I figured out how to post a pic!! Total backdoor method but it worked!
 

poolshark

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,187
I just swapped blocks on a Floyd Rose, and I found the difference pretty slight. Maybe stronger low mids, maybe tighter attack characteristics, but it's tough to say. I'm glad I did the swap - because nice parts are always cool - but I wouldn't go into it expecting to turn a guitar around.
 

Custom50

Member
Messages
8,536
This guitar has sentimental value to it, it was my 1st electric guitar, and is covered with stickers that go back 20 years. Every imperfection only makes it look cooler, a total barbarian guitar. Since the neck/frets are in good shape I believe it is a candidate for upgrading.
Then go for it dude. If it's important to you then it deserves to be all the guitar it can be. Awesome stickers too btw!
 

PBGas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,317
Going to try this on my Edge Zero trems. Either way, it's not a huge expense and it is easy enough (though a bit tedious) to switch back if I don't like it.
 

scott944

Member
Messages
3,932
Sounded great with steel but the brass block darkened it up in a very pleasing way. The highs became fuller, bit more mids and bolder/warmer bass.
Pretty much the way I would explain the brass block conversion on my MIM Strat. I used a GFS block, which was very inexpensive. Measure carefully before you buy!
 

sg~guy

Member
Messages
682
-MASS=SUSTAIN-

-(this is magnified when the mass is added to the head stock)-

-if the brass block is of the "dive only" sort, it will be noticeable, and stay in tune better,

-I had. an old DEAN-(similar to yours in that I had it forever, and it became a "experimental guitar".....

-here's some of the things I learned-

-bolted a 1/2" x 2" x3" piece of steel to the peg head-(incredible sustain and harmonics)-

-after trying a bunch of electrical things-(like adding a mustard cap across the volume pot for a boost etc)-all the electrical harness was junk, so I straight wired it,.... No tone pot,... No volume pot,.. Sounded the best it ever did-

-to this day I bi-pass all the tone controls & use a 1meg volume pot, that's it!! Both pick ups,.. No coil split, no phase, no 50's or PAGE wiring, the less your signal goes through, the more the character of your pick ups and guitar wood make a impact on your tone...
 

xzacx

Member
Messages
1,545
That thing looks so killer. Personally I've had great success with brass blocks in my experience, but like everyone has said, it really depends on the guitar.
 

Ellery

Member
Messages
74
-MASS=SUSTAIN-

-(this is magnified when the mass is added to the head stock)-

-if the brass block is of the "dive only" sort, it will be noticeable, and stay in tune better,

-I had. an old DEAN-(similar to yours in that I had it forever, and it became a "experimental guitar".....

-here's some of the things I learned-

-bolted a 1/2" x 2" x3" piece of steel to the peg head-(incredible sustain and harmonics)-

-after trying a bunch of electrical things-(like adding a mustard cap across the volume pot for a boost etc)-all the electrical harness was junk, so I straight wired it,.... No tone pot,... No volume pot,.. Sounded the best it ever did-

-to this day I bi-pass all the tone controls & use a 1meg volume pot, that's it!! Both pick ups,.. No coil split, no phase, no 50's or PAGE wiring, the less your signal goes through, the more the character of your pick ups and guitar wood make a impact on your tone...
Far out! That's quite an insight thank you. How did you achieve the steelwork?
 




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