#1
What have you found is the best material for the sustain block on a strat tremelo. I can get either steel, brass, or titanium. I hope the answer isn't titanium cause that thing is kinda pricey. On a related note anybody know what the stock block is made of on a standard Fender Strat? It looks like either some kind of pot metal or maybe aluminum.
#2
Pretty much anything aftermarket is going to be better than stock. There is no agreed 'best' material or else pretty much all aftermarket blocks would be made from so-called best material

I haven't tried anything but brass but boy did it make a difference from the stock one. Made the guitar sound fuller and with more sustain.

I'd be inclined to believe that denser materials return more highs.
Quote by TheSennaj
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#3
I've only used brass and steel so I don't know for sure but would assume that the heavier the material the better sustain will be and the dryer the tone.  This assumption is based on the fact that the heavier the block the harder it is to vibrate and the less the block vibrates the less energy it is robbing from the string.  This would mean brass will give you the most sustain and the dryest tone.  Titanium would give the least sustain but a more airy open tone.  Steel would be somewhere in the middle.  My experiance with brass and steel is that brass does in fact give better sustain and more power than steel.  I have also found that not all steel is equal and poor quality pot steel doesn't sound as good as higher quality rolled steel.
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#4
There is also Tungsten. Brass is great and not overly expensive. Tungsten Or Titanium are probably better but not sure if it's worth the price tag.
#5
Quote by risingforce1
There is also Tungsten. Brass is great and not overly expensive. Tungsten Or Titanium are probably better but not sure if it's worth the price tag.

How so? Cuz it's more expensive?
Quote by TheSennaj
And well yes, I'll enjoy the carpal tunnel and tendonitis, because trying to get one is clearly smarter than any word you have spoken thus far.
#6
I'm not sure about titanium but tungsten is a denser metal which means it will have a higher mass at the same size as brass which should equal better sustain and stability. I wouldn't expect it to perform any better than a bigger brass block but the bigger brass block might not fit.
#7
risingforce1 Not necessarily. Too much density might cause a guitar to be too bright, as denser materials retain more highs.
Quote by TheSennaj
And well yes, I'll enjoy the carpal tunnel and tendonitis, because trying to get one is clearly smarter than any word you have spoken thus far.
#8
T00DEEPBLUE 

Probably true, but it will still have improved sustain so I guess it's a question of what's more important to you, rolled off highs, or more sustain.  Either way, shouldn't really matter on a non-floating trem.....I'd just stick with Brass. 
#9
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Pretty much anything aftermarket is going to be better than stock. There is no agreed 'best' material or else pretty much all aftermarket blocks would be made from so-called best material

I haven't tried anything but brass but boy did it make a difference from the stock one. Made the guitar sound fuller and with more sustain.

I'd be inclined to believe that denser materials return more highs.


yeah. i haven't done scientific tests but i'd be inclined to go steel for a strat if you want the most vintage-accurate tone. brass might be a bit warmer (which some people may like).
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
risingforce1 Not necessarily. Too much density might cause a guitar to be too bright, as denser materials retain more highs.


that's why there are no depleted uranium blocks
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#10
I've actually had a chance to try most of the materials offered for sustain blocks (I'm sure I've missed a few, like pre-stressed bubble gum and compressed cabbage patch dolls) including copper, which hasn't been mentioned so far. I think some of these materials are offered largely to show that they have the market covered.

Honestly, my favorite is the cheapest -- brass. I'm slowly getting my Floyds all converted to big brass blocks.
#11
Thanks for the answers, based on what i've heard here I am going to go with brass. Thanks guys!
#12
I found out a little something that might interest you guys today so I'll pass it on. I was on the phone ordering my upgraded tremelo block and as part of that I had to measure my existing block to make sure I got the right one. The MIM and the MIA blocks are slightly different, the string spacing on the USA version is just a tad bit wider than the MIM one. Well here is what I wanted to impart to you. I know my guitar is MIM, it says so right on the headstock but upon measuring it I found that it in fact has a USA Trem-block in it. Now I don't know if Fender just ran out of the one type trem-block and threw this in or it was part of the upgraded parts they did as my guitar is not a standard MIM Stratocaster but one of their specials, but be aware the block in your guitar might be either one in spite of where it was actually made.
#13
Well, let's step back. Does it actually have a USA trem block, or does it just measure the same as what they told you the USA specs are?
I'd be more inclined to believe that they changed the specs on the block for whatever reason (as they have in the past, fairly frequently) than that they ran out of trem blocks out in Mexico and called up the USA factory to just run a semi full of trem blocks over the border real quick. Shit, it could be a Squier block, some of those use USA spacing (or used to, haven't seen one recently). 

It's not impossible it's a USA part, but Fender play pretty fast and loose with specs like this year to year and model to model. I bet that block just happens to use the USA spacing and isn't actually a USA part. If it were a deliberate upgrade I imagine they would have mentioned it in the marketing materials, instead of doing it in secret for nobody to know about until you happened to pull your guitar apart. 

Fender will change specs without warning just because it's Tuesday, and then go back again on Thursday, so you really do have to be careful and measure what you have. Glad you checked. 
#14
Roc8995 Yeah really that kinda took me by surprise, I guess I just assumed a big factory like Fender would be a little more, shall we say professional about the whole situation than to change things when ever they get a whim to do so.
#15
It's not a whim, if you have to buy a million trem blocks and the USA spaced ones are a dime cheaper, you go with those. Fender has always worked like this, and it's kept their costs low. Keeping the MIM strat under $600 is way more important to Fender than making sure their trem block spacing is consistent across all their models every year. 
#16
Forget titanium............it's a lightweight super strong alloy and will do nothing to help your sustain because it's light.

I would go with brass or bronze since they are heavy and won't rust within 12 minutes of being in humidity like steel does..

Heavy is what you want.