Fender Stratocaster Guitar Forum



Warmoth.com Amplified Parts lacemusic.com seymourduncan.com


Go Back   Fender Stratocaster Guitar Forum > Main Stratocaster Guitar Discussion Forum > Stratocaster Discussion Forum
Forgot Username/Password? Join Us!

Notices

Stratocaster Discussion Forum The Strat-talk.com Fender Stratocaster Discussion Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old October 11th, 2012, 11:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
Strat-Talk Member
 
HonkyTonkMike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Reno
Posts: 49
Aftermarket Trem Blocks: Legit or Snake-oil?

I know that this is one of those questions that will have a different answer for each personal experience, but what do you think about aftermarket trem blocks? I've heard some pretty outrageous claims both for and against them.

I recently bought a 2005 American Deluxe and the only reason I ordered the aftermarket block was because the pop-in arm just falls out of the stock one. (I went with the KGC mega-mass block) While I was at it I ordered new Callaham saddles, KGC claw, and Raw Vintage springs…..not necessarily because the guitar needs them, but just because I had always wondered if there would be any difference in tone/feel.

To be honest, even with the rickety stock trem, this Am Dlx is the best feeling and playing strat that I’ve owned—and I’ve had both vintage and modern American strats. (By ‘vintage’ I mean 70s…I can’t afford any more vintage than that)

Any thoughts/opinions?

Thanks!

-Michael

__________________
“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” -Edgar Allan Poe
HonkyTonkMike is offline   Reply With Quote

Old October 11th, 2012, 11:59 AM   #2 (permalink)
Strat-O-Master
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: NoVa
Posts: 564
I liken it to the difference between aluminum and pot metal tailpieces on a Les Paul: you never know until you try.

Most of the time there's a difference of some sort. What you have to ask yourself is whether the change in tone, attack and etcetera are positives to you. Even if the tone were unchanged when I used a Callaham block, I'd still prefer his bar and the fact that the delrin bushing in the hole makes the bar more responsive in my hands (the stock bar and block have a lot of slop in that regard).

I hear more string-to-string definition among the wound strings with the Callaham block and a little more thickness among the unwound strings.

Nick
ntotoro is offline   Reply With Quote

Old October 11th, 2012, 03:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
Strat-Talk Member
 
HonkyTonkMike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Reno
Posts: 49
Any other experiences with aftermarket trem blocks?
__________________
“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” -Edgar Allan Poe
HonkyTonkMike is offline   Reply With Quote

Sponsored Links   #
Sponsored posting
 

Old October 11th, 2012, 03:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
Strat-Talker
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 273
They can make a bit of a difference, but for the price, I think it's snake oil.
BlackFace is offline   Reply With Quote

Old October 11th, 2012, 04:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
Super Moderator
 
rcole_sooner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Norman, OK
Posts: 8,055
Once again it is a personal thing.

99% of listeners will not hear a difference.

99% of players who switched trem blocks will hear a difference.

Substitute finish, strings, pups, and about anything in place of trem blocks, and it stays the same. Still, I do it, we all do it, and it keeps things "fresh". Whatever keeps you playing.

* - I made up those percentages, but you get the idea.

** - And, oh, yeah, "This subject again!"
__________________
I heard they's a man there pays folks money to sing into a can.

rcolesooner's Channel
rcole_sooner is offline   Reply With Quote

Old October 11th, 2012, 04:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
nickmsmith's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Southwestern Indiana
Age: 28
Posts: 6,950
80% BS, is my take.
nickmsmith is offline   Reply With Quote

Old October 11th, 2012, 04:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
Strat-Talk Member
 
HonkyTonkMike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Reno
Posts: 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcole_sooner View Post
Once again it is a personal thing.

99% of listeners will not hear a difference.

99% of players who switched trem blocks will hear a difference.

Substitute finish, strings, pups, and about anything in place of trem blocks, and it stays the same. Still, I do it, we all do it, and it keeps things "fresh". Whatever keeps you playing.

* - I made up those percentages, but you get the idea.

** - And, oh, yeah, "This subject again!"
Yeah that's pretty much my opinion as well.. and sorry for bringing this topic back up! --I've read a few threads on it but thought that since I jsut ordered one it would be cool to get some opinions and experiences.

I'll report my findings when I get to test-drive the KGC block. I would guess that it won't make much difference....I'd just be happy if the whammy bar doesn't fall out!
__________________
“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” -Edgar Allan Poe
HonkyTonkMike is offline   Reply With Quote

Old October 11th, 2012, 04:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
Most Honored Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: in New Orleans' past
Posts: 6,102
The vast majority of the parts I buy from Bill Callaham are used to build new projects.

(Lots of) Hardware, neck plates, S jack plates, Tele knobs, hardtail bridges for Strat and Tele, special wind Fralin pickups. I also buy his hardened trem mount screws and I replace the blocks on a case by case basis to address needs of a particular Strat or G + L "S" guitar. That's a balanced, pretty wide variety of stuff and it is universally the best product of its kind you can find (other than a few custom pieces already on some bespoke guitars).

I can't speak for some of these other vendors. I think mixing pieces parts from different vendors scrambles the brain - there's no way to know what is working at what is not.
Boris Bubbanov is offline   Reply With Quote

Old October 11th, 2012, 05:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
Senior Stratmaster
 
OLDGREYGIT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Surrey
Age: 56
Posts: 3,100
They do make a difference. It's up to you to decide if you like the result.
I tried the full Callaham set up, loved the engineering, but the 'tone' was not to my taste.
I'm now using a Bladerunner, that has a low mass aluminium block, and sounds rather pleasant to my ears.
As usual, I think you have to try something before you let rip with an opinion.
Otherwise you are just talking out the back of your trousers.
__________________
Normal for Bridgwater.
OLDGREYGIT is offline   Reply With Quote

Old October 11th, 2012, 05:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
Senior Stratmaster
 
SennaF1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: New York
Age: 33
Posts: 1,282
Quote:
Originally Posted by OLDGREYGIT View Post
They do make a difference. It's up to you to decide if you like the result.
I tried the full Callaham set up, loved the engineering, but the 'tone' was not to my taste.
I'm now using a Bladerunner, that has a low mass aluminium block, and sounds rather pleasant to my ears.
As usual, I think you have to try something before you let rip with an opinion.
Otherwise you are just talking out the back of your trousers.
Right on, How would you describe the change of tone from zinc to aluminum ?
SennaF1 is offline   Reply With Quote

Old October 11th, 2012, 07:14 PM   #11 (permalink)
Strat-Talker
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 273
If I had a choice between Callaham & GHS, I would go GHS because the price difference. Now with the trem arm sometimes being loose, do what Jeff Beck does. Wrap that teflon white plumbers tape around the threads of the whammy bar where it screws into the block. Screws & fits in snug as a bug. There you have it, a Jeff Beck secret!
BlackFace is offline   Reply With Quote

Old October 11th, 2012, 07:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
Strat-Talk Member
 
HonkyTonkMike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Reno
Posts: 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackFace View Post
If I had a choice between Callaham & GHS, I would go GHS because the price difference. Now with the trem arm sometimes being loose, do what Jeff Beck does. Wrap that teflon white plumbers tape around the threads of the whammy bar where it screws into the block. Screws & fits in snug as a bug. There you have it, a Jeff Beck secret!
The reason I went with the brass KGC block instead of Callaham was because I could use the stock Am Dlx pop-in arm. Supposedly the KGC has an insert to keep it tight.
__________________
“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” -Edgar Allan Poe
HonkyTonkMike is offline   Reply With Quote

Old October 11th, 2012, 08:43 PM   #13 (permalink)
Strat-Talk Member
 
toecutter's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: knoxville tn
Posts: 96
Well, I've machined my own brass blocks, tried aftermarket stuff and...... it...depends...
It depends on the guitar. Each guitar will sing with the right combination. Sometimes stock is perfect, other times a slight change will make all the difference and other times it will take multiple changes. Continual experimentation is key.
toecutter is offline   Reply With Quote

Old October 11th, 2012, 09:00 PM   #14 (permalink)
Strat-O-Master
 
GaryCorby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Sydney
Posts: 506
I guess it depends on the quality of what you're replacing. I swapped the light pot metal block of my guitar for a heavier steel one from Callaham and the difference was so noticeable even my wife talked about it. Definitely audible to anyone. Not necessarily a better tone, but a different one.

With the lighter block, the notes muddied and intermingled more. With the heavier block the articulation of each string was far more precise. My wife described it as a more metallic sound.
GaryCorby is offline   Reply With Quote

Old October 11th, 2012, 09:18 PM   #15 (permalink)
Strat-Talker
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by HonkyTonkMike View Post
The reason I went with the brass KGC block instead of Callaham was because I could use the stock Am Dlx pop-in arm. Supposedly the KGC has an insert to keep it tight.
-------------------------------------------
How much do those KGC go for$$$? The last time I visited the Callaham web site awhile ago, they were going for $100 a block. They might have dropped the price a bit.
BlackFace is offline   Reply With Quote

Old October 11th, 2012, 09:22 PM   #16 (permalink)
Strat-Talker
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryCorby View Post
I guess it depends on the quality of what you're replacing. I swapped the light pot metal block of my guitar for a heavier steel one from Callaham and the difference was so noticeable even my wife talked about it. Definitely audible to anyone. Not necessarily a better tone, but a different one.

With the lighter block, the notes muddied and intermingled more. With the heavier block the articulation of each string was far more precise. My wife described it as a more metallic sound.
--------------------------------------------

That's a good point. It varies and depends on the guitar. I've read reviews where people described the sound just like you did. Some liked it, others preferred the original sound.
BlackFace is offline   Reply With Quote

Old October 11th, 2012, 09:25 PM   #17 (permalink)
Senior Stratmaster
 
nadzab's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: New England
Age: 46
Posts: 1,293
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackFace View Post
-------------------------------------------
How much do those KGC go for$$$? The last time I visited the Callaham web site awhile ago, they were going for $100 a block. They might have dropped the price a bit.
CDN, right? I don't think they've ever been $100 USD.
nadzab is offline   Reply With Quote

Old October 11th, 2012, 09:35 PM   #18 (permalink)
Strat-Talker
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by nadzab View Post
CDN, right? I don't think they've ever been $100 USD.
--------------------------------
I can't remember exactly. I'm assuming that's US prices. Well, our dollar now is almost on par...again! Someone mentioned that they are probably around $60 -$70 a block. Of course these block use cold rolled steel while GHS uses die-cast steel, something to that effect.
BlackFace is offline   Reply With Quote

Old October 11th, 2012, 09:40 PM   #19 (permalink)
Strat-Talk Member
 
HonkyTonkMike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Reno
Posts: 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackFace

-------------------------------------------
How much do those KGC go for$$$? The last time I visited the Callaham web site awhile ago, they were going for $100 a block. They might have dropped the price a bit.
They're around $80 to start, but I got the pop-in arm option for $15 and the 'mega mass' 5/8 in block for $10 more.
__________________
“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” -Edgar Allan Poe
HonkyTonkMike is offline   Reply With Quote

Old October 11th, 2012, 09:44 PM   #20 (permalink)
Strat-Talker
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 273
Well that works out to be around $100 ($105 to be precise). Does that include the taxes & shipping. Taxes are a killer up here!
BlackFace is offline   Reply With Quote

Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Do trem blocks make a difference? ? spedge man DIY Strat Forum 11 February 2nd, 2012 10:47 PM
Question about trem blocks stratnewf Squier Strat Forum 2 August 14th, 2011 09:31 PM
Wooden trem blocks Shadowrunner Tech-Talk 6 September 18th, 2010 03:17 PM
Trem Blocks Gravy Stratocaster Discussion Forum 13 January 22nd, 2010 10:20 PM
American Deluxe Trem Blocks? Strat-Man-Do Stratocaster Discussion Forum 8 February 15th, 2009 07:30 AM

Untitled Document

Untitled Document

» Recent Strat-Talk Discussion
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.2



 


Design by: vBulletin Skins Zone
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 RC 2


The words Fender®, Telecaster®, Stratocaster® and the associated headstock designs are registered trademarks of the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation.
Strat-Talk.com is an independent, member supported forum and is not affiliated with Fender Musical Instruments Corporation.
© 2007 All rights reserved.

Strat-Talk.com is not responsible for the content posted by private individuals on this website. The views expressed herein are solely the opinions of the individuals that produced them and not necessarily the views of the owner of this website.