blocked vs decked


Sep 28, 2011
right where I need to be
I've always just used three springs and "decked" my trem so I can still go down if I want, although the bar is off 75% of the time. I use 9s or 10s and claw screws are almost all the way in. The bar is still easy to push and the trem lays flat on the body without any tuning issues so I've never changed it.

Why "block" the trem as opposed to decking it? More stable? necessary with heavier gauge strings? More sustain? just wondering


Senior Stratmaster
Nov 7, 2010
Banning, California
There are at least Two schools of thought on this. THe Springs only deck trem school arguement as I understand it is when you do a deep bend more than one step, the rest of the strings also loose pitch at a different rate, and then are more likely to go out of tune, but not as likely as the one or two you are bending up with. The blocked trem arguement is with the block in place you bend up the other stay stable, but you cannot use the trem, and it is only along for the "perceived reverb and springie spring sound". Clapton is in the second school, while Eric Johnson is in the first. His EJ sig strat ships decked but you can pop in the arm and trem if you want. EC sig on the other hand had a wood block. Hope this helps.



Strat-Talk Member
Nov 19, 2012
I NEVER use the trem, but I deck it. My customised strat has two humbuckers and even though it's a lot different to the regular strat sound, I believe (and many others do too) that a certain element of the strat sound comes from the springs in the tremolo. As such, I deck mine with 5 springs and push the claw in as far back as I can. It is super tight and firmly against the wood all the time, and no tuning issues. And I think has that certain strat characteristic; that chime if you will of the metal in the springs and sustain block. Maybe it's just me, but as an exclusively non-tremolo user (never have used it, don't even know what it sounds like when you use it) I deck my trem because of that little characteristic that comes from the springs :)


Most Honored Senior Member
Aug 18, 2009
Back In Blighty
If you like to use the Trem' now and again then decked is best. If you never use the Trem' then blocked gives you total tuning stability in that area. Its as simple as that! I've used blocked Trems on my Strats for decades. I've now gone the whole hog and use a hardtail.


Senior Stratmaster
Feb 8, 2012
Why block or deck a bridge when you can float it?

I've owned a fair amount of Strats over the years and have never had any trouble with tuning stability - once I've solved a key problem or two. It is usually a badly cut nut for the gauge of strings or bad tuners (slipping) or hang ups at the block/bridge plate intersection. Once those are solved, and key points are lubed properly, it works perfectly and stays in tune on deep bends and returns to pitch across the board well (and especially with a quick depress on the whammy bar).

Why float it? I like being able to do pull ups as well as push downs on the whammy bar. With up and down motions, the vibrato is centered on the desired pitch, not a microtome or even semitone low/flat.

And I think the Strat sounds glassier with the trem fully floating.


Dr. Stratster
Apr 21, 2010
London, UK
Why block or deck a bridge when you can float it?

Because if you don't use the trem there's no point in having it! And if you break a string, all the others go out of tune. That's a BIG reason for decking the trem!

I have tried the block of wood method & the screwing the springs in all the way method & I can't tell the difference between the two when I'm playing the guitar. Both work equally well.


Senior Stratmaster
Feb 8, 2012
I agree there are advantages. Breaking a sting in mid song or set is a huge problem in any event (unless your SRV and can restring in mid song), but you can keep playing with 5 (unless you are soloing and can't find your way around the missing string). Also drop tuning is nearly impossible as the OP says with a floating bridge without retensioning the springs.

I was just putting the opposite POV out there. I'm not a purist and think Leo wanted us to always and only play a Stat with a floating bridge (and play a Tele if you want a hard tail). Rather, just pointing out advantages of floating (which there are). It's a trade off - you lose some things and gain others. Tuning stability is easier decked or blocked, but it can be solved with the bridge floating - so I don't think that should be a reason for someone to deck or block.


Senior Stratmaster
Mar 2, 2013
Strat players that don't use the trem are missing out in my opinion. My trem floats and I NEVER have to re-tune. It's not hard to set up so it works well. I cannot imagine owning a strat and not using the bar.


Strat-Talk Member
Jan 6, 2013
I have one trem decked and the other is blocked (as it's an EC Artist model). I never use the trem so I've always taken it out of commission so to speak.
There are arguments about the floating trem not giving the same amount of sustain and resonance vs decked/blocked. I'm neither here nor there on that thought though.


Senior Stratmaster
Dec 26, 2012
Floating seems to give it a slight kind of natural vibrato, but for me I feel like 5 springs and decking is perfect. I don't use the term, so why wouldn't want to do what I thought would give me stronger sustain?

I'd play only hardtails if I could, but they are hard (hah!) to come by.


Dr. Stratster
May 10, 2012
Hilton Head, South Carolina
all of my strats are decked, my kahler spyder is blocked.

I have an 80's warmoth soloist with a jackson FR style bridge that is floating. The jackson bridge has the fine tuners on the side instead of on top so I can rest my hand on it and add vibrato with my wrist.

I can't remember the last time I grabbed a whammy bar.