Monday, November 26, 2012

Replacing the Tremolo Block on My Strat

"Days and days of sustain and cold-rolled tone"

I've had my 70's reissue Mexi Stratocaster for almost 15 years and I suppose it has sentimental value.  The ash body is somewhat rare and I've always like the 70's style headstock and rosewood fretboard.  As I contemplated a new strat, I decided instead to breath live into this strat by doing two significant upgrades....and they were GREAT investments. In this blog, I'll talk about the trem block upgrade.

In the good ol' days (1950's) the vibrato bridge/block was made of cold rolled, machined steel and it's purpose.... days and days of sustain and harmonic content. I'm not a physicist, but I do know that the material that situates the strings makes a difference in the sound that is produced (more mass=more contact=better sustain). Over the years, however, manufacturers have cut costs by using zinc and other metals instead of the good steel.

In an attempt to upgrade my strat, I went with the industry standard and installed a Callaham bridge and tremolo block system (including trem "whammy" bar and saddles--every part is made of cold rolled steel--even the mounting screws and springs!).  Callaham trem block upgrades are made of 1018 cold-rolled steel like the vintage originals, which contributes to the sustain and harmonic content that makes the vintage guitars legendary.

I've noticed that the guitar holds its intonation much, much better. But more important than tonation.  Each pick-up position is clear and distinct and it sounds like a strat more than it ever has. The guitar rings out and fretted notes sustain much better. Frankly, my guitar always has that "new string" sound now.  This upgrade was worth the money and breathed new life into my strat.

Hear the upgrades on Stranger, also found on our debut CD, Edge of the Canvas.