What kind of wood for a Strat trem block?

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by Ocean, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. Ocean

    Ocean Member

    Messages:
    454
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    My strat is an alder body, one piece maple neck and I want to block the tremolo for two reasons...to get a little better tone transfer to the body and to make it dive only. Does it matter what kind of wood I use? Does the type of wood on a piece that small have any bearing on the tone? I've been advised to go with maple but figured I'd throw some feelers out
     
  2. dharmafool

    dharmafool Member

    Messages:
    1,119
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2005
    I've used only maple (about .25" thick) and it's worked well for me.
     
  3. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

    Messages:
    11,516
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2004
    Location:
    playing in traffic...
    maple,oak,or any hardwood...
     
  4. 57paf

    57paf Member

    Messages:
    231
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2006
    Location:
    Honolulu, HI
    Ocean:
    If you want to dive only, tighten the springs so the steel block rests against the body. If you block it, you can't use your tremolo.
    If you decide to block it, most hard woods would do. I happened to have cherry flooring available, so I used that.
     
  5. K-Line

    K-Line Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,023
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Location:
    St. Louis, Missourah
    No real need for a block, 5 springs and a tight claw. I feel that a block changes the tone of the block, more like a hardtail then?! Hey this is my opinion only and it is not necessarily that of management(my wife that is).
     
  6. Mike Dresch

    Mike Dresch Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    928
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2003
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    I believe the guitar still needs to be able to go down in pitch with the bar and five springs and a tight claw might make for a pretty stiff tremolo.

    I've used all sorts of materials from hard wood to aluminum. My only recommendation is that you use something hard enough that it's not going to change in shape (compress due to force exerted by the trem block).
     
  7. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

    Messages:
    8,678
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Location:
    The Twilight Zone
    Set it up flat on the body and it will sound it's best .You only need to tighten the springs enough to stop the bridge moving when you bend your biggest bend .
     
  8. Ocean

    Ocean Member

    Messages:
    454
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    I thought that if I only block the side of the steel block closest to the neck that I could still bend and go down in pitch, right? Seems that if I tighten the springs and claw too tight, it would make for a really tight arm like one of the previous posts mentioned. It's already pretty tight as is with the bridge flat against the body and four springs installed. I don't necessarily want it any tighter, just a little better sustain - hence the wood block idea.
     
  9. jcground

    jcground Member

    Messages:
    1,173
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2005
    Location:
    New York
    I think you are correct - a block between the trem and the springs should allow downward bends only. A block behind the trem will immobilize it up or down. That's the way I've always done it, but your approach makes sense to me. I suppose that could be different depending on the type of trem you're using, but that's been my experience. Remember that you'll need to fit the block so it won't slip out when you use the trem.

    As far as materials, I've heard of people blocking trems will all sorts of stuff, including metal slugs, coins, and different kinds of wood including shims, scraps, and custom fitted pieces. My G&L S-500 has an ash body, and it's blocked with eastern maple. Works fine for me, and I had the wood available from another guitar project. I'm not sure that the maple has any effect on tone, but I don't think so really.
     
  10. GuitaristZ

    GuitaristZ Guest

    I really don't think it has any effect on tone...I did it for a long time..

    but I honestly think that allowing the trem to float a bit plays a big part of "the" strat tone...

    I leave mine floating now.
     
  11. stratdev

    stratdev Member

    Messages:
    112
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Location:
    Harleysville, PA
    I never use a trem on my strats but my ears, for what it's worth, can discern a difference between a hardtail and a tightened claw. I never block mine. I simply tighten down the claw screws until the bridge lies flat, then 1/2 turn more.

    I think part of the strat sound, for me, comes from the springs whether you use the trem or not. YMMV
     
  12. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

    Messages:
    16,413
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    Maineville, OH
    +1,000,000 I had a GREAT early 80s hard-tail strat. It NEVER sounded quite right, because there was no trem and springs.

    imho, don't block it, just put five springs in or tighten them. Then, if you don't like that... then block it. Regardless of what you do, you can undo it at that point...
     
  13. RvChevron

    RvChevron Member

    Messages:
    2,467
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    Hong Kong, China
    The OP said block for dive only, still needs springs, "similar" to resting on the body.

    As others has mentioned, just use some hardwood that won't get dinged or compressed easily.

    I think blocking the trem from inside will make the guitar stay in tune better then resting on top of the body which no longer let the trem do pure pivoting.
     
  14. burner

    burner Member

    Messages:
    2,613
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    +1
    It's really that simple.
     
  15. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,861
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Trenton, NJ
    Same here.... whatever was lying around in the cutoff box...
     

Share This Page