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Tone of Titanium vs Steel Strat Block Results

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by bluehugh2, Oct 13, 2005.

  1. bluehugh2

    bluehugh2 Gold Supporting Member

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    The trem block debate has raged on for quite some time, so I thought I’d post the titanium vs. steel vs. the real ‘56 Strat comparison that Pete F. and I embarked on today. As a reference, we each own similar Suhr Classic Strats – Pete’s is a swamp ash/maple Mary Kaye and mine is a 2-tone with the same woods. We have compared their glorious tones before – so we were able to use Pete’s guitar as a reference once we had installed the titanium block in my 2-tone Suhr. It can be noted that my Suhr sounds a hair brighter, anyway, with the same steel blocks – but they sound very, very similar. Anyway, I bought the DeTemple titanium block and installed it in the 2-tone. Now our Strats diverged from their common 1088/steel block original bridges. I like the way the ball ends of the strings sit where you can get at ‘em when strings break. The titanium block was nicely machined as well. And about 4 oz lighter too! Now here’s the tonal difference. The 2-tone with the titanium block became brighter with the change – there was a shift in the frequency spectrum. It also seemed, if anything, not weaker (as might be expected), but slightly punchier, louder, and “spankier” too. So, even though we might have predicted a weaker sound, it just wasn’t the case – still rich tonally! Now for me, although I wouldn’t call the change negative, the guitars total frequency response was shifted to the brighter side. But the Suhrs are so well balanced with the steel block that I found that I preferred the sound of the steel block on balance - a great fat and solid tone that is neither too bright nor too dark! Where I can see the titanium block working well would be to brighten up a Strat that might be a bit on the dark side. It would add “clang” and brightness – it could work well. Now after all this, we plugged in the ’56 Strat – the real deal! To me, it was muddier that the Suhrs – particularly on the neck pickup. The notch positions were definitely more chimey and aggressive on the Suhrs. The bridge position was nice and edgey on the ‘56 – without being harsh and “ice-pickey” – but the Suhrs have a great, almost Tele-like tone on the bridge pickup that I have come to love (it’s a little over-wound). I often use the tone control with the Suhr bridge pickup – to tame it a little. Pete F. and I feel that the Suhrs are every bit as good as those vintage treasures – thank goodness for John Suhr! So now to the basement to re-install the steel block on my Suhr Classic!!!
     
  2. mule train

    mule train Gold Supporting Member

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    Cool, thanks for the results.
    I was wondering about some of DeTemples claims ,the fossilized mastadon this and that ,titanium this...

    I have heard his pick-ups are pretty evenly balanced and are very desireable.
     
  3. v-verb

    v-verb Supporting Member

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    Save us from those crazy Canadians!!!



    Hey Hugh - and where was my invite?:(
     
  4. Strung Up

    Strung Up Member

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    This was for a 1088? PM me if you're interested in selling it.
    Thx
     
  5. Pete Faragher

    Pete Faragher Gold Supporting Member

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    Sorry Nigel.......
    I would have called you but we did this in the afternoon,,,,,and I know that would cut into your Jack Astor's time ;)
     
  6. Pete Faragher

    Pete Faragher Gold Supporting Member

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    Just to echo Hugh's thoughts.....I think we felt the DeTemple was a great upgrade for some Strats, just not the Suhrs. Also all our guitars are 50's style with maple necks. Probably rosewood board guitars would benefit more as they tend to be darker and more compressed to start with.
    Kudos to DeTemple and Suhr
     
  7. bluehugh2

    bluehugh2 Gold Supporting Member

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    Nigel, Well you're always welcome at our tonefests in that dank T.O. basement that PF calls home.
    But you have to get yourself a Suhr Classic! John Suhr has proven that lightning can strike twice(or EVERY time).
    For me, it helps loosen the hold those vintage axes have - I'd rather take the Suhr to a gig than the vintage gear. Hey, if I can accomplish the same thing with a $2,000 piece of gear rather than a $12,000 antique - I'm there!
    And the interesting thing is that I think the feel and tone and playability of the Suhr guitars is generally BETTER than the vintage pieces. Sure, I still love the vibe of my '65 Strat and '57 Esquire, but can you imagine the vibe of a Suhr Classic in 30 years!!!???
     
  8. v-verb

    v-verb Supporting Member

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    You Guys! - I was just teasing - and yes I just came back from seeing my favorite ladies at Jack Astor's!

    Cheers

    Nigel
     
  9. Strung Up

    Strung Up Member

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    I've put Ti on 2 Ash/maple and 2 hollow mahog./Brazilian, and think ti improved all of them (all of them are boutique builders' Strats). In my opinion, to say they just make guitars brighter is overlooking about 3 other things they do to sound and playability. If you care to see another opinion, search for my review.
     
  10. Pete Faragher

    Pete Faragher Gold Supporting Member

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    I think Hugh did mention a few other benefits from the block other than the brightness boost. Hugh and I have differing likes in what we want from Strats. He likes more brightness and spank than I do. I like a more compressed, even, middy tone. For me, I can't imagine needing to use a DeTemple block. Except as I say, if I had a Strat that was seriously suffering in the definition dept. I did like the fact that the test guitar was lighter with the DeT block and I liked the definition that the notes had. Unlike Hugh I don't have an issue with the problems of changing a broken string with the standard Suhr block. But the test guitar ended up EXTREMELY bright to my ears. Like I said, in that particular guitar the con out weighed several pros.
    Our test amp by the way was my Two-Rock Custom Reverb Signature. Not a bright amp by any means. If you used a AC-30 or another inherently toppy amp, the brightness issue would be extrapolated. Which could be a good thing for those that like that sound. Just not me.
     
  11. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    not wanting to be left out of the "toronto" loop...
    i have two of david schecter's early guitars (one w/o a schecter decal on the strat shaped headstock, it's THAT early) when he was into using exotic tropical rainforest hardwoods and lots of brass hardware. both have brass trem blocks and shedua bodies. they both sound very glassy, not in a bad way, but i have to be careful where i use the guitars. fits well in some circumstances, not so well in others.
    i did at one point in time swap out the trem block for a stock fender steel one. it made the guitar darker and a bit more 'vintage sounding' (neither schecter attempts to copy the sound of a vintage strat) in that it sounded more like what a normal strat would sound like as opposed to the glassy late seventies/early eighties exotic wood/neck thru sounds like the early BC rich etc.. i ended up going back to the brass trem block 'cuz it made the guitar sound more complex harmonically. i get my vintage strat tones from my 'buddy holly' custom shop strat.
    anywho, hello fellow t-dot gee-tar pickers.
     

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