upgrading a 60's custom shop strat

jjhaller

Member
Messages
695
If I were to do one upgrade, either the RS vintage electronics kit, or a Callaham trem block, which would you do and why?

Discuss!
 

Steeltoe

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,856
I have no experience with the RS kit.
As for the Callaham vintage strat bridge, I put one in my
Jeff Beck strat a while back. I liked it so much, I put one in my
'88 Strat Plus, and in my new Grosh Electrajet Standard.
Sustain will improve, as will resonance, and "boing factor".
The machining is stellar, it's more massive and heavier, and
the trem arm (I got the 3/4 length "64") is tighter and much more
usable.
I must be a "preferred customer" by now, as I also built a parts tele
with a Callaham vintage 3 saddle bridge, and my Cloud 9 les paul just
got an ABR bridge, along with my Collings 290.
Every time there was a noticeable tonal improvement, better sustain and
resonance. Something about the cold rolled steel and super precision
machining makes for the perfect bridge.
 

Tidewater Custom Shop

Performance Enhancing Guitarworks
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,691
I find the block on the CS pretty decent.

I'd do the RS kit first, given the choice of the C'ham block or RS kit.

I think you get more bang for the buck using RS kits on any Strat... much less bang changing the block on a CS. You may try removing the paint from the CS steel block if you're not satisfied with its character.

That's been my experience...
 
Last edited:

jjhaller

Member
Messages
695
I find the block on the CS pretty decent.

I'd do the RS kit first, given the choice of the C'ham block or RS kit.

I think you get more bang for the buck using RS kits on any Strat... much less bang changing the block on a CS. You may try removing the paint from the CS steel block if you're not satisfied with its character.

That's been my experience...
Did you put a kit in a CS strat?

Thanks for all the advice so far!
 

Tidewater Custom Shop

Performance Enhancing Guitarworks
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,691
Did you put a kit in a CS strat?

Thanks for all the advice so far!
I did in a CS60s Relic Strat. It charmed that guitar. I did not replace anything else.

My current CS56 is completely stock (except the plastic). Everything on this guitar was great straight out of the box. It leaves me desiring for nothing functionally, and its tone is probably the best I've heard (Abby signature pups).
 

Joost Assink

Member
Messages
1,157
I put callaham stuff of my custom shop strat and love the functionality of it. I'll never want a standard trem arm again but didn't do much for the tone. The stock bridge was pretty good. The rs kit will be a more noticable upgrade but be careful on a bright guitar and or amp
 

jjhaller

Member
Messages
695
I put callaham stuff of my custom shop strat and love the functionality of it. I'll never want a standard trem arm again but didn't do much for the tone. The stock bridge was pretty good. The rs kit will be a more noticable upgrade but be careful on a bright guitar and or amp
Good advice, I'm thinking of the vintage kit rather than the modern. RS recommended that kit after I mentioned the guitar was already good on treble.
 
Messages
840
I changed for the vintage RS kits on my strat first. That was a good improvement, made my vol and tone more usable. Then the Callaham block and bridge was the icing on the cake. In fact I wasn't expecting much, but I got more sustain and chime.

The biggest change was removing most of the paint on the back of the guitar. Changed the guitar from a good strat into a so-great-can-never-part-with-this-strat
 

just_one_more

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,378
What difference did it make? Which model strat?
I is a Olympic White Mexican Standard strat. What it did is just make it sound feel more alive if that makes sense. He liked it so much he went and got a complete trem cal trem. I have to say it is really well made. The trem arm stays where you leave it, and it just really brought the guitar to life. It was not a dead guitar to start with, and actually was a good one already, just brought out more of what it had going on already.
 

TaylorBarefoot

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
107
I've used both the Callaham hardware and RS upgrade kits. Definitely would recommend doing both eventually...
The Callaham will make a difference in the overall responsiveness of the guitar itself, both amplified and just acoustically. The RS kit pushes that a step further by making that translate better to the amp.
I have had a few CS strats and found that the hardware and electronics were the same as in the AVRI ones. Not to say it's bad stuff, but my experience using both as a live and session guitarist is that the upgrades showed me a pleasantly noticeable improvement in punch, resonance, chime, clarity and note separation/definition. Especially when coupled together.
I felt like it was money very well spent and... I make a living doing music so... I ain't got much!
 

jetlag

Member
Messages
1,122
I replaced the block in my 56 CS strat, but only because it was stripped by previous owner and I got a deal on a used one. Did notice any difference in tone but it's a nice block. I think the pots in fenders are already pretty good. Why do you want to change yours? Pup replacement on my CS strat made a huge difference. The stock pups were pretty bland.
 

jjhaller

Member
Messages
695
I replaced the block in my 56 CS strat, but only because it was stripped by previous owner and I got a deal on a used one. Did notice any difference in tone but it's a nice block. I think the pots in fenders are already pretty good. Why do you want to change yours? Pup replacement on my CS strat made a huge difference. The stock pups were pretty bland.
the pick swap made a huge difference here too. I'm mostly interested in change as I can't seem to leave well enough alone.

Sound wise I just want a little more of what's already there, and add a bit of sustain. To ease the transition from Les Paul to the strat.
 

bluesjuke

Disrespected Elder
Messages
24,126
I did in a CS60s Relic Strat. It charmed that guitar. I did not replace anything else.

My current CS56 is completely stock (except the plastic). Everything on this guitar was great straight out of the box. It leaves me desiring for nothing functionally, and its tone is probably the best I've heard (Abby signature pups).

Abby's stock in a '56 Relic?
 




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