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Tremolo block upgrade and questions...

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by donezero10, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. donezero10

    donezero10 New Member!

    3
    Dec 13, 2017
    Canada
    Hey everyone,

    So Im new lol... and Ive recently started to take my playing and love for guitar seriously so I bought a used MIM strat (2001) in midnight blue at a great price. Im now on a mission to make this MIM sound/play as great as possible.

    One cheap upgrade Ive read about is the tremolo block. Im for it, but what exactly does the trem block do?? Should I upgrade my bridge as well? And any recommendations on where to order one online?
     

  2. Ferret619

    Ferret619 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    29
    198
    May 6, 2017
    Canberra
    I’m sure many will recommend it but the question is what are you trying to achieve with changing it?


    I’ll say that I found the blade runner to be a great bridge and block, sustains a bit better and the individual notes sound more articulate to my ear but I can’t quantify that of cause.
     

  3. donezero10

    donezero10 New Member!

    3
    Dec 13, 2017
    Canada
    Well I want to float the bridge and also get better sustain, but I dont fully understand the role the trem block plays other than its function in tremelo
     

  4. metale

    metale Strat-Talker

    Age:
    34
    150
    Jun 4, 2011
    Portugal
    A full-size block of good material should improve sustain and tweak tone. I put 3 already, from GFS, in both steel and brass. Not easy to quantify, but definitly an improvement IMO.
     
    donezero10 likes this.

  5. RPKennedy

    RPKennedy Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    61
    Apr 27, 2013
    Oconomowoc, WI
    I believe it is noteworthy that you are one of the few people to spell "tremolo" correctly. :D
     
    craigh and donezero10 like this.

  6. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    61
    886
    Oct 25, 2017
    Nawth Alabama

  7. dazco

    dazco Former Member

    Age:
    61
    178
    Oct 5, 2017
    california
    It can affect tone from slightly to a lot depending on the block thats there now and the one you replace it with. Notice i said "affect" and not improve. Thats because it can go either way depending on all factors including what you want to hear. Personally i like a callaham block on strats that aren't oo bright to begin with. Otherwise i prefer the stock zinc that comes in MIMs. Strats like squiers with those tiny thin blocks i always upgrade to a full size block. I never use a smaller block. Then the debate becomes zinc or steel? Thats where brightness comes in. Steel sounds lively and lets all the goodness come thru but again, if the guitar is alreay bright it could become too much so and sound thin,. I generally don't like a steel callaham block on make neck strats but some steel blocks are not as hard and bright as callaham. I have a old ESP block on my CV 50s and it's kinda right between a callaham steel and a zunc block in brightness. It sounds just right in it where i believe the callaham i have in my MIM 60s strat would be too much in this strat. I never tried one, but knowing GFS i bet thier steel block would be much like my ESP block and not too bright to cause issues in a brighter strat.

    If your MIM is a maple neccker you'll probably be better off leaving it stock. Just MO tho, YMMV.
     
    donezero10 and David Garner like this.

  8. David Garner

    David Garner Senior Stratmaster

    GFS is a great block. I used one on my MIM and it drastically improved the tone.

    I put a Callaham in my EJ Strat and it basically did nothing, mostly because the EJ already has a nice milled steel block with shallow drilled holes from the factory. I got it to clean up the slop, not for the tone, so the fact that it didn't affect the tone at all was a bonus. I liked the way that guitar sounded already.
     
    neteel likes this.

  9. donezero10

    donezero10 New Member!

    3
    Dec 13, 2017
    Canada
    I noticed that GFS blocks require 10-32 trem bars as well, will I also have to buy a new bridge?
     

  10. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    61
    886
    Oct 25, 2017
    Nawth Alabama
    Not if you get the right one for your current bridge.
     
    donezero10 likes this.

  11. Believer7713

    Believer7713 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

    Age:
    44
    Dec 27, 2016
    US
    I have replaced the blocks in several different guitars. I have two brass blocks that I bought from a guy in England that makes them, his name is eluding me right now, and he also makes the tremolo arms as an option with them. His blocks have a bushing inserted in them for the arm that will hold it stiff as if you had the little spring in the hole but without the problem of losing the springs. They mad improvements in the tone of those guitars.
    I have also made a few blocks from a piece of copper that my dad got me about ten years back that was about 1/2 inch thick. I made them for a couple Floyd Rose bridges that I have and they also made improvements to the tone and sustain...especially the one with the zinc block.
     

  12. Jimgchord

    Jimgchord Strat-Talker

    Age:
    45
    380
    Jan 29, 2016
    New york
    I've had both the cheap steel blocks, and the expensive callaham blocks. No difference in tone between the two, the callaham is just better made. You never see it though so who cares. Either one is better than a cast min block, no matter what the size of the min block. I've also found that saddle hardness has a noticeable impact on tone. Mim saddles are soft and seem to smooth out the attack in comparison to the crazy hard callahams. I would just get a cheap steel block from somewhere like gfs then go from there
     
    metale likes this.

  13. Doghouse_Riley

    Doghouse_Riley Strat-Talker

    Age:
    55
    201
    Mar 9, 2017
    L.A.

  14. Swampash

    Swampash Senior Stratmaster

    Jun 13, 2012
    Here
    The heaviest block is the best one.

    The most influential change you can make to any Strat is the pickups.
     

  15. xfabianromerox

    xfabianromerox Strat-Talker

    Age:
    22
    131
    Nov 22, 2015
    Long Island, New York
    Personally, I hate trems. They always seem to get out of tune. For my style if playing (rock and blues based rock) I don't really need it. I play mainly RHCP, Foo Fighters, Black Keys, Beatles some stones, and some Oasis. That's just me my two cents.
    Edit: I shoved some wood splits in the space that the team has. Not sure if it effects sound but no other Strat I've played has the sound of mine (I'm sure I'm not not the first person to say that though)
     

  16. slowesthand

    slowesthand Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 23, 2011
    NY
    The stock block in a 2001 MIM will be the same size as the tiny thin Squier blocks if it is a Standard.
     

  17. dazco

    dazco Former Member

    Age:
    61
    178
    Oct 5, 2017
    california
    I dunno, but in recent years thats not the case. I sold a 2008 MIM standard about a month ago that was bone stock and had a full size block. So there may be all sorts of differences 20 years ago but i'm no historian, just saying that in recent years thats the case.
     

  18. Groovey

    Groovey Most Honored Senior Member

    Nov 17, 2016
    NC. USA
    GFS block for import strat. Original bridge is fine.

    I swapped mine. Although it "feels" nice to have a heavier block, I haven't noticed any difference in tone or sustain.
     

  19. Vlad Gor

    Vlad Gor Strat-Talker

    Age:
    28
    120
    Dec 10, 2017
    Ukraine -} China/Hong Kong
    From my experience better quality bridge hardware make great improvements in tone. It will give you extra sustain, punch, attack etc.
     

  20. Doghouse_Riley

    Doghouse_Riley Strat-Talker

    Age:
    55
    201
    Mar 9, 2017
    L.A.
    They went to the fat trem block in '08. Before that it was a skinny piece of nothing. Adding the Fender drop in bridge and fat trem block (same as what's in the '08's and above) is a must do upgrade IMO.