How to Block a Stratocaster Tremolo

Written by simon foden Google
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The Stratocaster is an iconic electric guitar made by Fender. There are multiple Stratocaster-type guitars that aren't made by Fender but are based on the original design. These typically have the same configuration and layout but have inferior parts and build quality. If your Fender came fitted with a tremolo system and you don't use it, you can block it off. This converts your tremolo bridge to a fixed bridge, which improves tuning stability and sustain.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Phiilips screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Scrap wood
  • Hacksaw
  • Hex key (supplied with guitar)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Unwind the tuning machines so that all of the strings are loose. Relax them to the point that they don't apply any pressure to the bridge.

  2. 2

    Unscrew the rear panel with a Phillips screwdriver to exposes the tremolo cavity, which houses an inertia block. It's a rectangular block with six holes and is connected to three springs, which are mounted on the wall on the opposite side the cavity. The inertia block pivots when you move the tremolo arm.

  3. 3

    Detach the springs from the inertia block. Unfasten the hook at the end of each spring from the loop on the bottom of the inertia block.

  4. 4

    Unscrew the panel on which the springs are mounted, and remove the spring assembly.

  5. 5

    Measure the distance between the inside edge of the inertia block and the opposite cavity wall. Measure the depth of the cavity, from the bottom of the inertia block to the top of the cavity.

  6. 6

    Cut a piece of wood that is the exact thickness as the depth of the cavity and 2mm longer than the distance between the edge of the inertia block and the cavity wall. It needs to be bigger than the gap so that it applies force against the inertia block to prevent it from pivoting. Wood offcuts are fine to use for the tremolo block.

  7. 7

    Depress the tremolo arm with your left hand, and slot the wood into the cavity so that it sits flush against the wall where the springs were mounted. Slowly release the tremolo arm so that inertia block returns toward its natural position. As the inertia block returns, it comes to rest against the tremolo block 2mm farther back than its original position. Because it can longer move, it can't influence the tension of the strings or the position of the bridge. This improves tuning stability.

  8. 8

    Retune the strings. Compensate for the elevated string position by lowering the bridge with the hex key that came with your guitar. Turn the nuts that are on either side of the bridge counterclockwise to lower its position.

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