Is there any truth about trem blocks?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Bytheway, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. Bytheway

    Bytheway Member

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    I have recently read a lot of opinions about modding the block on a strat tremelo system. the oen Block is rather on the thin side and I have read that changing it out for a MIM block will increase the sustain. I know some basics about sound waves and mass and density so from what I have read it seems to be split 60/40 against their even being a noticeable change and if their is a change it is because the guitar was in bad need of a the added Mass.
    I am open to any mod that will enhance the already existing tone I have. also I am not a traditionalist. I am not trying to keep the strat tone. so I am wide open to suggestions.
     
  2. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Every Strat that I've upgraded from a potmetal tremblock to a cold rolled steel tremblock improved the tone & sustain. However, "improved" is very subjective...and there may be somebody out there who prefers potmetal. Replacing a tremblock is easily reversible so all you have to lose is a few bucks. Personally, I prefer the Callaham cold rolled steel blocks and trems...but some also rave about brass tremblocks too. Original vintage Fender's used steel blocks and I grew up playing them back in the day...so maybe that's why I prefer the sound of a steel block.
     
  3. Bytheway

    Bytheway Member

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    Thanks. I greatly appreciate your input. i feel the same way in respects that old school sometimes is the best school. I was on the fence about rolled steel. very good point thank you.
     
  4. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    I changed the stock brass inertial block on my Gotoh Floyd Rose to a big brass block. It increased the sustain. However the sound is more compressed. The lows don't sound as low, or as clear, or as distinct as before. I'll change it back as soon as I can. I believe Floyd Rose, Gotoh, and Fender got it right to begin with. I'm not saying you won't like it. I'm just saying that there is such a thing as too much mass etc.
     
  5. GAD

    GAD Wubbalubbadubdub Silver Supporting Member

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    I put big brass blocks on all my Floyd Rose guitars and a Callaham block on my Strat. I greatly prefer the sound and sustain I get from a denser block.
     
  6. Elvis Nixon

    Elvis Nixon Member

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    100% agree. I got a Callaham steel block for my then new relic strat in '95 after Bill Callaham explained to me why I should. As it turns out, he was right!

    I think that the mass of cold rolled steel vs. brass or pot metal makes a difference, but the key element (for me anyway) is resonance.

    Try this: remove your trem block. Unbend a paperclip or something that you can use to hold the block with the paperclip in one of the spring holes suspended without muffling it. Hit it with a tuning fork and listen to the block.

    YMMV, I found that the pot metal thuds and has almost no resonance, stock Fender CS Relic steel has some, the cold rolled tool steel that Callaham uses REALLY rings. It's a pleasing sounding "musical" ring, not the bad kind of ring.
    I haven't tried any other metals and probably won't since I like what I have.

    Some people may not notice much difference, especially if you set your trem up blocked off or sitting down tight on the body. I like mine to float enough that a heavy pick can slide under without touching and I use 10-46 strings and sometimes 4 sometimes 5 springs.

    If you like a floating trem the difference is pretty major to my ear. This is where I think the resonance comes into play. The guitar sort of "opens up" and gains some air and 3-D space and is more touch responsive.

    Your results may vary, but IMO this trem block material thing isn't just snakeoil BS. The most basic elements of the science of Acoustics are Mass and Resonant Frequency and both come into play in a trem block of a strat style guitar.
     
  7. dazco

    dazco Member

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    I would never say any block is an improvment to everyone because it just doesn't work like that. Each different block just sounds different, so it's 100% dependant on what your current block is and what it is about the guitar you want to improve. A callaham steel block for example has cause several guitars i have to sound tinny compared to thier former blocks, one steel albeit a cheap one, and the others pot metal, zinc or whatever they use. It's now in a strat where it WAS and improvement, tho not huge. The best thing you can do is list your specs and how the guitars sound....what block is currently in it and do you know what it's made of? Hows the guitar sound and what is it you don't like about it?

    I have used and preferred many blocks including cheapies at one time or another in a given guitar. It like pickups....no matter how good they are there are guitars they don't sound good in. I wouldn't put a bright sounding p/u in a bright guitar etc. One thing i wopuld suggest tho, is if you get a callaham, try it with the 6 mounting screws in your guitar now, or at least remember to try them if you use the callaham screws and it find the sound bright. I found the screws were harsh and bright as he|| ! seriously ! and i heard someone else say the same recently. Went back to the stock ones and was shocked to find that issue was 100% gone.
     
  8. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Brass really changes it up from steel, 'das fo' sho'
     
  9. Dale

    Dale Member

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    I have a guitar with the Callaham and one with a solid brass block. I like both over the original pot metal (MIM bridge styles). Both add clarify and sustain, the brass seems a bit less hifi but that could easily be a million different things as they are different guitars.
     

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