#1
Ok, I got my new brass block for my guitar today.

I bought a replacement brass tremolo block from Guitar fetish, and put it in.

I want to go over the process of installing it for the next person who tries this and then I will review the results.

First, you are going to need a few tools.

2 Philips Screw Drivers. Large and small.
1 pair needle nose pliers.
1 Dremel tool with rasp attachment and find sanding attachment.
1 set of replacement guitar strings of your choice.
1 bottle of your preferred liquid courage for what you are about to do to your guitar.
1 Straight edge
1 Sharpie
1 parts tray (compartmentalized is best)

And a couple parts.

1. Replacment tremolo block.
1. Replacement tremolo arm. Your old one will not work, I hope you are not attached to it.

Time needed. I could probably do one in 30 minutes including restringing the guitar if I had all the tools laid out and didn't make the mistakes I will warn against. As it was, I needed about an hour and a half.

The first step is removing the strings, all of them. This is a good time to cycle the strings out if they have been there for a while, because, regardless, they are gonna go. Half of mine had been on there for over three months, so they were due.

Next, remove the tremolo cover from the back of the guitar. Inside you will see three springs. Pull 'em they gotta go, but save them for later.

Now, flip it over and pull the six screws holding the tremolo to the body. At this point you can pull the tremolo out of the body. Don't worry about being gentle, it won't matter, but you won't need a crowbar or anything, just pull it out.

Now, underneath the saddles there are three Philips head screws. They are in there hand tight, remember that, they do not need to go on any tighter. Snug is good. Remove them and then pull of the block.

Now, the block will only go on one way, but in case you get creative, remember the tremolo arm goes through the hole in the bridge to the block. There's only one hole on each that lines up like that.

Now here's where it gets awkward, and where I made my first mistake. In order to attach the block to the bridge, I had to remove two saddles. If I had been a little more patient or was better with tools, I might not have had to do this. But i did. If you have to pull them off, remember to mark the saddle order they came off in. If you do not you will be doing an action job after this. I did.

After attaching the block, reattach the saddles if necessary.

Ok, so we've got the tremolo and block back together. Just for the fun of it, put the arm back in to make sure everything lines up. It should.

Now, take a healthy belt of liquid courage and break out the dremel tool. If you have a cordless unit, like I do, I hope it is fully charged, you are going to need it.

The problem is the new block is bigger, then the old block. I had to rasp out the hole on the arm side. By now you have realized that is the side with the least material to remove.

Take another belt.

There is no real measuring involved here. Just go slowly and check often. Take a millimeter off, check, repeat until there is room. You do not need to remove a lot, but it needs to be deep enough to allow the block to get in and to move.

So reattach the tremolo by putting the 6 screws in hand tight. Someone may correct me on that, but hand tight seems adequate.

Hands will obviously vary, but remember, this is wood not titanium nitride, you can strip out the hole if you try too hard.

Now, use the pliers to reattach the springs, put the block end in first and then pull the loop over the proper peg. If you don't remember which goes where, near as I can tell you are allowed to fake it. I did.

Ok, take another belt and break out the straight edge.

We're down to the tremolo cover, you're going to want to slap that back on, restring, tune, and try out your new toy.

But you aren't.

First of all, the tremolo cover will not slap on anymore. the block, in addition to being wider is also taller. Not enough to be a problem, but enough that the hole is going to need to be enlarged.

Remember, it's not just the block that has to clear the hole, the springs also need room. Figure start out with a half inch, and work your way up by way of Mark I Eyeball. Go slowly, and try to color inside the lines and you will be fine. A little sand paper and the edge should be nice and smooth.

Now, it's all together, you can go ahead and string, tune, and if you followed instructions exactly you should be about half snockered by now. Let's play some blues.

As for the tone, the tone is different, I think it's a cleaner sound that is probably a little warmer, but your mileage may vary. What I do know for certain is the sustain is dramatically improved. Changing the strings and adjusting the action may have done as much for the tone as anything else, but I will bet money on that sustain.

This may not be a good mod for someone that has an expensive guitar, but for a cheap guitar like the GRX20, it's the bomb.

As for difficulty, anyone who has done any modification on a guitar will probably find this to be a dead simple mod. If you haven't, I addressed the Panic moments, namely when the block won't fit in the hole. If you trust yourself with power tools, you should be fine.


As a side note, this is a guitar forum? Why isn't their a single guitar related smiley? Did I miss it?
#2
For those interested, I took my guitar to my instructor last night, this is a woman who has been playing guitar longer than I have been alive and owns more guitars then I have seen in any guitar shop.

She has played my guitar before, repeatedly, and she played it a week ago at our last lesson. For all that, the only work she does on her guitars in changing the strings.

I asked her to play it and give me her opinion without telling her what had been done.

She was impressed and at first wondered if I had bought a new guitar. The sustain was dramatically improved as was the tone. After I explained what was done, she declared it to have raised the guitar quality "One Level"

As video gamey as that sounds, basically the GRX20 went from being a $150 guitar to being a $300 guitar.

The bad news is that the tremolo arm is untempered wire and is already failing. Don't buy guitarfetish's cheap tremolo arms, get a fender or something.

Overall, this has been a very positive experience, and I will look at upgrading the electronics next. I'm considering new pots and caps if I can find the wiring diagrams before I have to tear the guitar apart to find out what I am looking for.
#3
Thanks for the review, I am looking at getting a GRX20 as well, what are your overall thoughts on the guitar and was this a MUST DO upgrade or just a nice to have?
#4
Quote by thr_wedge
Thanks for the review, I am looking at getting a GRX20 as well, what are your overall thoughts on the guitar and was this a MUST DO upgrade or just a nice to have?



The GRX20 was my first guitar. I've only been playing for 3 months and 11 days. So when I bought it I had no idea what i was getting into.

I was given some advice by someone with more experience than I have, and honestly less idea of what i would have wanted out of a guitar than I have at this point.

Given my druthers, I'd spend more. the GRG250DBX looks like what would have been the best starter guitar for me, but I have what i have, and I would not have known to get a floyd rose type tremolo, and the 250 is twice as expensive as the 20.

I also would not have known tha there are times I'd want to switch to a single pickup, so again that option on the 250 would be nice.

All told, the GRX20 is a good guitar for the money.

As for the tone block, I suspect I would have added it to either guitar, and the further mods to the elsctronics would happen as well. I may modify one or both humbuckers to function as a selectable single pickup, too.

So yes, if you have this guitar, do the tone block. It was a well spent $25.
#5
Good for the money is what I am looking for. I have a nice acoustic, but would like an electric to fiddle with. Is it pretty playable? Sounds like it has a nice tone to it after this mod, I wonder if a black tusq XL nut would also be a good upgrade. $40 in parts, a setup and cleaning up the electronics could make for a nice budget guitar (at least that's my hope!)

Appreciate the feedback, all I hear is either this guitar is complete crap or it's the best, your assessment is the most honest I have found.
#6
Quote by thr_wedge
Good for the money is what I am looking for. I have a nice acoustic, but would like an electric to fiddle with. Is it pretty playable? Sounds like it has a nice tone to it after this mod, I wonder if a black tusq XL nut would also be a good upgrade. $40 in parts, a setup and cleaning up the electronics could make for a nice budget guitar (at least that's my hope!)

Appreciate the feedback, all I hear is either this guitar is complete crap or it's the best, your assessment is the most honest I have found.


It was good tobegin with, the reason I upgraded the block was the lack of high e string sustain.

If you are going to buy this, get it used and upgrade.