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Strat Tremolo Block replacement? Does it matter?

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Anybody replaced a term block? Did it make a difference for you? I’m considering a Callaham steel block for my American standard strat. I figure pretty much anything is going to be a step up from the tapered pot metal block that’s in there now.

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Posted (edited)

There was a fella here a year or so ago trying to float the idea of a block made of granite. I can't find the post this morning so I guess the whole thing sank like a rock.B)

Edited by Hbom
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I stand corrected. Granite would likely be a step down. Granite, is a composite igneous rock comprised mainly of basalt, feldspar and quartz if I recall my high school geology class correctly. I would not expect it to resonate very well as the wave would be passing through random dissimilar materials. Also, it isn’t particularly dense or particularly hard. Two qualities that I think would aid in resonance and would have to both be present in a good block. Lead is dense but soft. Aluminum hard but not dense. I don’t think either would work well in this application. So, I think it comes down to brass or steel being the most common effective choices. Tungsten would be cool to try.

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Brass really brought out the mids in my old Daytona.

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Not enough to bother with. Learn a new lick instead

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10 hours ago, it's me HHB said:

Not enough to bother with. Learn a new lick instead

As usual HHB cuts through the mix and lays down a thick dose of truth. Much appreciated compadre....

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Posted (edited)

Learning a new lick is always good, but I swapped out a tapered pot metal block for a Guitarfetish steel block on a guitar for a friend at work.  The new block was a noticeable improvement in tone.

https://www.guitarfetish.com/Upgrade-Steel-and-Brass-Tremolo-Blocks_c_219.html

Steel is $21.95, brass is $24.95.

Edited by aknapp
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Im sure there is a difference but unless you can tell when the cymbals start I don't bother. 

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1 hour ago, HamerDave said:

As usual HHB cuts through the mix and lays down a thick dose of truth. Much appreciated compadre....

Well Ive seen too many aftermarket nightmares. Ive become a stock guy after many stupid maneuvers ( usually right before the gig lol )

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The overall unanswerable question is always, is different better?  If so, to whom?

 

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Posted (edited)

I will second aknapp on this regarding the the Guitar Fetish blocks - good stuff! I installed one my '89 USA Std Strat and it absolutely made a noticeable difference for the better: bass became tighter, mids more complex and detailed, the "ping!" i heard in the treble frequencies disappeared and it seemed like there was a wider range of tones available that weren't there before along with improved sustain. Additionally, I've suggested and installed these for a few local strat-wieldng customers (both USA and MIM models) and they too were quite impressed and pleased with improvement in sound.

I've never tried one of the Callaham blocks but I can imagine those would yield very similar if not slightly better results.

PS: learning new licks is good regardless!

Edited by JGravelin
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Keep those old blocks if you do replace because if this continues the industry will eventually go to bigger blocks as a standard marketing feature and then everyone will be clamoring for those real vintage small blocks!! 

I do think it would change the sound somewhat. Do you people know if this makes a bigger difference in regular strat type trems or on a floyd rose?

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I did change the pot metal block on my '93 AmStd Strat for a Callaham block and the offset Callaham bent steel saddles. IMHO it did make a noticable difference for the better. I also got Callaham's '64 trem bar which was a nice upgrade as well.

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I did the Callaham block and the shorty (Gilmourish) arm. Totally it’s different. Not hugely so but the arm makes me happy Si it’s a win.

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Well I tried!

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40 minutes ago, it's me HHB said:

Well I tried!

I did pick up a couple new licks too. I've been working on adding hammer on double stops into my rhythm playing to add some color and interest. It's going really well. So you did have an impact.

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If you buy a 300 overdrive!!!

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The main thing I noticed with a replacement block is how much smoother the trem arm was when rotating it.  Sound wise?  Maybe a bit of fullness gain...

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On 8/24/2019 at 8:42 AM, Gino said:

I did change the pot metal block on my '93 AmStd Strat for a Callaham block and the offset Callaham bent steel saddles. IMHO it did make a noticable difference for the better. I also got Callaham's '64 trem bar which was a nice upgrade as well.

I did the exact same on my 2004 AmSe and found it made a significant tonal difference for the better. Just zingier.....if that makes sense....one warning.....the Fender pot metal block is tapered to give you more downward throw on the vibrato bar. The Callaham is NOT tapered so it will hit the back of the Trem route sooner. You won't Be able to take the bar down as far, if that matters to you.

i also tried a GFS brass block in a partscaster build and it was just awesome.

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I'd have to say yes. Brass will put a damper on things to some extent. Fender's "grease whatever" treble bypass circuit (parallel RC in series with R) will affect tone. If you are going to be anal, cough, cough, like me 'cuz you got nothing else, then it matters to the degree it's entertaining. Some of it seems surprising interesting, but real life, repeatable under duress...stick to whut you know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These insights brought to you by Grapefruit enhanced agave tequila. Ice cold.

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