Hokay. I got ahold of this super chintzy "First Act" Strat copy. It was free, so I thought to make it a project; I've been wanting to buy a cheap guitar like this to customize for a while. I already managed to replace the stock humbucker with a DiMarzio Super Distortion (I'm trying to replicate Billie Joe Armstrong's old Fernandes Strat), and it sounds pretty killer, but I'm a little unsure about the bridge. I hate the vintage Strat tremolo system, cos it never stays in tune, so I want to make it a hardtail.

Question is, can I just replace the bridge itself, or do I have to take out the back plate with the springs and everything to make it stable? (I'd like to replace the whole thing with a tune-o-matic and stop bar, but I think I'd probably screw it up and can't afford to have a professional do it). Also, how can I be sure a replacement bridge will mount properly? The original bridge has three large screws that attach to the tremolo part, where the strings go through, and six smaller screws that go directly into the body.

Any thoughts?
Just shove a block of wood behind the bridge in the cavity so it can't move.
The easiest solution would be to buy a Tremol-No, which is around $60. It'll allow you to completely lock your bridge, so it'll turn into a hardtail, and and it should add a noticable amount of sustain.

Another option is to have a wooden block cut out to the correct dimensions, and have it placed inside the back cavity, to stop the bridge from moving, although if you ever wanted to use the tremolo again, it would be a hassle.

The option you want is to install a TOM. If you ask me, a TOM on a strat is just down right ugly. Aside from that, it's the least practical of your options. You would be best taking everything out ( bridge, springs, claw, screws, etc. ), filling it with a wooden block and wood filler, and then drilling holes for the TOM. Too much work, but that's what I would do, but you're better off waiting for someone who has actually done something along those lines.

Tremol-no, for the win!
I would get some kind of wraparound ,like a pigtail maybe, rather than the tuneomatic. they are super ugly on strats
Fender blues deluxe and an Epiphone Les paul

Quote by utsapp89
I think a Gibson TOM is not wide enough (or is it too wide?) to fit correctly on a strat in regards to the neck. Though I think you can get a Fender scale TOM from Stewmac or some other site online.

Otherwise just do the block of wood or other hard object place in between the bridge and the guitar in the back cavity. Its less than 30 minutes of work if you can find everything. I've personally even used strips of cardboard once (something solid would probably be better as i'd give you much more sustain)

Or you could convert it to a regular Fender style hardtail: http://www.projectguitar.com/tut/tht1.htm