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Mr. Dave

'FU' Brand Brass sustainer blocks

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HI,

I'm just in the process of having a custom guitar built for me here in the very wonderful UK and am just about approaching the end of the 'specifications' stage so to speak.

I had been pretty much decided on the idea of upgrading the standard Schaller Lockmeister Floyd-Type trem system with the 'FU' brand brass sustain block, Titanium saddle inserts, noiseless springs (not that I ever once heard any noise from my  last Chaparal's trem springs affecting the amplified sound of the guitar in any way) and a brass sping claw.  Unfortunately the maker has advised that the bigger brass block  (it is sort of obvious when you think about it though I just hadn't realised the replacement brass block was THAT much bigger)  will reduce amount of range the trem system has to bend notes, both up or down.  I just wanted to ask is there anyone else out there in Hamer-Land who has added the FU Brass sustainer block to their FR-type bridge and how much range have you lost? because from where I'm looking, putting that bigger piece of metal into the trem block cavity sort of defeats the object of using a Floyd-Rose type trem system in the first place.  If you've used any of the 'FU' brand modifications to your Floyd-Rose trem system I'd very much appreciate hearing from you with your experiences and opinions. 

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Paging Diablo Jim....

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I have a Wayne guitar that came standard with an upgraded block.  The guitar is dive only but I didn’t see any problems with movement.  It’s a Floyd Rose branded block not an FU block. Don’t know if that’ll make a difference. 

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I have a big brass block in my original Floyd-equipped Cali set for dive only, but it has the full dive range, so no problems here. If you want a full floating trem, I suspect nobody pulls up on the bar as far as they'd dive bomb, so it probably doesn't affect the pull up range. In the end, I guess it really all depends on how much your trem cavity is routed.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for your answer FGJ. This brass block option has become a bit of a quandary for me.  With the Floyd-equipped Hamers I owned in the past, I was used to being able to dive bomb all the way down to where the strings would go floppy, if only for a very short time but the movement was available to be able do that and then have at least 3 semitones of upward pitch if not more.  I'm returning to playing electric guitar after quite a long break and it's not been so easy to generally get my head around these new possibilities for the Floyd Rose system.  This build is costing me far more than I've ever spent on a guitar before so I just want to get it right first time. There are other little upgrades to the trem system as well, e.g. titanium saddle inserts, noiseless springs and a brass spring claw, but I hadn't realised just how much bigger these brass trem block upgrades are. Whereas I can see people on a few sites I've visited saying the bigger blocks do improve the tone & sustain of the guitar, but don't all necessarily agree or seem to have consistent results I can't ignore that they also interfere with one of the main features and reasons for using a Floyd Rose system, and I'm finding it hard to decide if it goes to the point of defeating the object of having one.  would you say you've been happy with the results you've had from yours? 

Edited by Mr. Dave
typo

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Why don't block makers put a bevel on the end of the block? You'd gain a lot more range.

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@diablo175  

Jim’s the man for a definitive answer.  I know he’s experimented a lot.

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I'll drop him a PM, thanks for the info.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, hamerhead said:

Why don't block makers put a bevel on the end of the block? You'd gain a lot more range.

In theory, you're taking away from the very thing that is the selling point- increased mass. Supposedly increased mass = increased sustain.

A bit of work with a wide, flat file and narrow, angled file on the affected areas of the cavity reaps similar rewards of greater range of motion for the block. One could make an argument that you're still removing material and thus decreasing mass, but have ya ever tried to file down solid brass? Soft-ish metal or not, unless you have a good bench vice and a Dremel with the right head or a belt grinder, I'd say you're better off removing a bit of wood.

Edited by diablo175
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13 hours ago, DBraz said:

@diablo175  

Jim’s the man for a definitive answer.  I know he’s experimented a lot.

Hey...in all fairness, he was in college!  :D

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Posted (edited)

In my defense, she said her name was Lola...

Edited by diablo175
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On June 25, 2019 at 4:28 AM, Mr. Dave said:

Would you say you've been happy with the results you've had from yours? 

Yes. I'm not so sure it added sustain as much as adding a bit of warmer tone. I don't have silent springs, but I did stuff some foam into the springs to get the same effect. I actually was able to hear the springs a bit, especially when I left the rear cover off, so stuffing them helped. Never upgraded the spring claw because I simply can't imagine how it would make any difference. I also got full titanium saddles, not just the inserts, but they're not the Fu-Tone brand; I think they're Ti-Sonix or something like that. Those definitely added noticeable clarity to the tone; but it's the kind of clarity that, we're it any more intense, I'd call it brittle, but it doesn't reach that point, so it's not annoying. The best upgrade, and one that I'd do again every day and twice on Sunday, is getting stainless steel frets. That was the best decision I ever made. Not only do the frets last, but they play and bend like silk. They never get that oxidized or dirty feel of regular frets. Even when the fretboard itself gets filthy dirty, the SS frets always look and feel like new... Sorry, I know frets is off topic, but you were mentioning a new build, so I thought I'd mention it.

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Posted (edited)

Hey FGJ thanks for the answer and the advice.  I decided to cancel the brass sustain block & brass spring claw with my custom build as it's going to have a mahogany body anyhow so I don't really think I need to 'warm up' it's tone  or particularly increase it's midrange. I think if I need to alter tone I'll use my amp's tone/EQ settings like I always did.  As for sustain, in the past I never had any issues with that, especially on overdriven amps, I could always make a note sustain pretty much as long as I wanted to anyway.  I've kept the Ti inserts just because they'll be harder-wearing than the standard steel ones, I get that but otherwise I'm leaving the (Schaller Lockmeister) bridge in standard spec.  I just think putting that bigger block on there sort of defeats the object of having a floating trem if you lose the ability/range to bend notes both upwards & downwards, while staying in tune. My last 2 floyd-equipped guitars ( both Hamers) stayed in tune really well.  To me thats exactly what Floyd Rose trem systems are for.  I hear you about SS frets and am including them in my new build. They weren't around the last time I was playing electric guitar but everywhere I've read about them I see this same kind of praise.  I'm looking foward to finding out the difference for myself.  I remember having to have the older type of frets re-dressed inside of a year with mainly daily playing. and theuneven wear and areas where there was fret buzz etc. It will be nice to not have to think about that for a while.  I own a 1986 chap that I had re-fretted with Jescar frets as they're harder than the dunlop alloy but not as hard as SS. Unfortunately the technician who did the work made a real mess of it so now I have to have the job re-done.  I've just bought a replacement bridge for the chap so once I can get someone to make a proper job of re-fretting it I'll have the chap to play as well which will be nice.

One thing I've been noticing as a side issue while I've been looking around for guitars and partly why I decided on a custom build is that traditional tone woods are either becoming more highly regulated (certainly in the case of rosewood) but also some makers are using other woods in place of mahogany on instruments where they would have used that now too.  I'm just wondering if guitars made in the late 20th century are going to appreciate in value in the future because of what they're made of.  I guess time will tell.

 

Edited by Mr. Dave
typo

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I think all builders will search for alternatives with a similar tone.  If they don't, depending on how things go, they may get stuck without alternatives and have to scramble.  

As far as the used market, I'm sure this will be used as a marketing tool to command higher prices in the future.  

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