I have a '97 Mexican Strat. It's a great guitar, but I haven't changed anything on it (other than getting the action/intonation adjusted once). I'm probably going to replace the pickups for sure. But I'm also thinking of replacing the tremolo block. I don't use the tremolo very often, so I'm not too concerned about how well it stays in tune, etc. (although it does stay in tune well as it is now).. I'm mostly concerned with the sound enhancement it might make.

So.. would a high quality tremolo block make a difference in the sound quality, such as sustain?

I'm thinking of getting a Callaham (probably just the block upgrade for $60): http://www.callahamguitars.com/upgrades.htm

From their description of blocks on their site:
"The only reason we have sold so many blocks is because the block is so superior to blocks that come standard on a factory guitar. Several years ago, I made the mistake of telling a fellow builder who used to work for the Fender Custom Shop what material we use for the block. He instantly told Fender and they immediately "claimed" they use the same material. This is just false. Claims now of even using original tooling to make blocks are ludicrous and deceptive.

If you have an import guitar, your block is more than likely zinc (pot metal). Zinc kills both sustain and clarity and your sound. If you have a U.S. made guitar, you may have a steel block but it is either a hot rolled leaded steel, or in the case of the American Standard bridges, a soft cast steel block.

We guarantee you will hear the improvement after installing our block in both sustain and clarity"


"... the results were astounding. We thought this guitar sounded pretty good before the new block was added, but the difference between the original and Bill's obsessively faithful replica of the real thing has to be experienced first-hand. If you play a Stratocaster, any Stratocaster... we urge you to install one of Bill Callaham's tremolo blocks now. There's your ToneQuest tone-tip of the year ..."


So, how much difference do you think it really makes? Is it night and day? Or just a bit of a difference?


My callaham bridge on my MIM strat has improved the tone greatly. My guitar isn't so much brighter as clearer. The tone is just generally nicer and more defined. It is certainly noticeable, but is it worth $60? That descision is up to you. I think so
I got the whole assembly. It was rather unnecessary, but I wanted to change the saddles anyway...

And the trem arm of my MIM bridge snapped off in the block...
a heavier, high quality block is good for sustain and tuning stability as it adds mass. i dont know if its really worth that much though as i havent tried it. a good quality block can help your tone though, that is a fact.
a better block..lets see....imagine going from stock squier electronics to high-quality alpha pots, orange drop caps, and insane grounding. its a pretty big difference, but not anything ridiculously necessary.
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It'd be in your better interest to just buy a hardtail bridge for even more sustain and intonation stability. But that is only if you don't use your tremolo, of course.
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If you don't use it fill the cavity with a piece of wood and make it a hardtail.
I don't use it much, but I do occasionally. I'll think about making it hardtail...