Home made trem block

JMCUK

Strat-Talker
May 23, 2023
123
Suffolk UK
Hello all,

Just thought I'd pop a few pics up of a little project I've just started on, a big trem block (aluminium) for my humble Affinity.....

20230604_191229.jpg

20230604_190958.jpg

Screenshot_20230603_213643_Gallery.jpg

The basic shape is now there (just need to offer it up and mark/ drill/ tap the plate fixings) and it will pretty much fill the cavity.

The current plan is to block the trem (kind of a semi hard tail) but keep the springs and machine 'fins' into the block (think radiator) at the body contact area at the rear to reduce potential dampening.

In theory the increase in surface area from the fins 'should' translate to greater vibration, volume and transfer too.... thats what google says anyway....but that might just be bollocks of course ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚

Anyhow, it's only a small project and not quite up to the standards of some of the awesome builds in this section (nice work everyone!) but....hopefully I can contribute something, and you got to start somewhere right? ๐Ÿ˜Š
 

Butcher of Strats

Most Honored Senior Member
Feb 28, 2022
6,824
Maine
I made a similar (hardtail conversion) block but from hard maple and with no springs.
IMO a hardtail body is a better choice but it was a learning experience and saved some weight.

My main Strat has a Kluson CNC aluminum trem block which is fine and saved 1/2 pound compared to the steel block.
Never compard steel and aluminum blocks in the same guitar, but I have no doubt thereis an audible difference.

Again, hardtails are great and I find nothing good in a disabled trem.
Compared to say a floating trem, an otherwise disabled via decking or blocking, is "better" if it suits you.
But all my guitars are assembled from parts so after these experiments I hope to not buy any more trem routed Strat bodies!
They are so much more common though, harder to avoid...

IMG_1288.jpeg
IMG_1286.jpeg
 

JMCUK

Strat-Talker
May 23, 2023
123
Suffolk UK
I made a similar (hardtail conversion) block but from hard maple and with no springs.
IMO a hardtail body is a better choice but it was a learning experience and saved some weight.

My main Strat has a Kluson CNC aluminum trem block which is fine and saved 1/2 pound compared to the steel block.
Never compard steel and aluminum blocks in the same guitar, but I have no doubt thereis an audible difference.

Again, hardtails are great and I find nothing good in a disabled trem.
Compared to say a floating trem, an otherwise disabled via decking or blocking, is "better" if it suits you.
But all my guitars are assembled from parts so after these experiments I hope to not buy any more trem routed Strat bodies!
They are so much more common though, harder to avoid...

Thanks for the reply Mr Butcher, your block looks good ๐Ÿ‘

Truth be told I have no expectations or real world experience about this improving anything really (wasn't experiencing any tuning issues as I don't use the trem) and really it's just a case of idle hands, a love of tinkering, and a recently rekindled love of guitars.

My other hobby is restoring/ modifying/ customising air rifles, here is one I recently finished (home made English walnut stock/ shrouded barrel and lever latch/ custom sights etc).....

20230414_153605.jpg

.....and with alot of the skills being transferable, figured I'd turn attention to guitars for a change.

Building partscasters (as you do) and making bodies/ components from scratch will be the next natural progression and a great learning curve. All good fun ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘
 
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JMCUK

Strat-Talker
May 23, 2023
123
Suffolk UK
That photo should have a caption,

"I came here to drink a glass of milk, shred & kick ass. I've had my glass of milk."
Took me a while to work out what you were on about Jimbo!

Unfortunately it's not a glass of milk.....and the caption 'I came here too light a scented candle, shred, and kick arse' doesn't sound nearly as cool ๐Ÿ˜‚
 
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JMCUK

Strat-Talker
May 23, 2023
123
Suffolk UK
All finished and fitted-

20230605_122801.jpg

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Finished weight came in at 170gr (original was 120gr). The only contact points between block and body (excluding the bridge fixings of course) are the two 5mm wide sections at the rear of the block (by the rear cover plate screw holes).

Was totally prepared to be underwhelmed by the results however!.....the difference is VERY noticeable (even to a noob like me).

The neck pickup is now far deeper/ fuller sounding, and the bridge pickup is still very bright but has lost some of the chime that was present with the original ceramic pups.

Sustain is improved (as research suggested it should) and another bonus....now that I've been able to back the spring claw right off, it has really enhanced the quack.

6hrs well spent....Happy days ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘
 
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Jimbo99

Senior Stratmaster
Jun 5, 2021
3,878
Palm Coast, FL
All finished and fitted-

View attachment 648528

View attachment 648529

Finished weight came in at 170gr (original was 120gr). The only contact points between block and body (excluding the bridge fixings of course) are the two 5mm wide sections at the rear of the block (by the rear cover plate screw holes).

Was totally prepared to be underwhelmed by the results however!.....the difference is VERY noticeable (even to a noob like me).

The neck pickup is now far deeper/ fuller sounding, and the bridge pickup is still very bright but has lost some of the chime that was present with the original ceramic pups.

Sustain is improved (as research suggested it should) and another bonus....now that I've been able to back the spring claw right off, it has really enhanced the quack.

6hrs well spent....Happy days ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘
Wow, that's a tight fit. I went with the Musiclilly solid steel, they also have a brass block for the Indonesian Affinity. They also make then for Chinese Affinity for both, $ 20-25 thru Amazon.
 

JMCUK

Strat-Talker
May 23, 2023
123
Suffolk UK
Wow, that's a tight fit. I went with the Musiclilly solid steel, they also have a brass block for the Indonesian Affinity. They also make then for Chinese Affinity for both, $ 20-25 thru Amazon.

I like to think of it more as a precision fit ๐Ÿ˜

I did look at buying one but to be honest I get my kicks from making things, and already had a lump of ali sitting there. No doubt about it though alot of the guitar parts out there are exceptional value for money (even if they are pumped out on a CNC) ๐Ÿ‘
 

Jimbo99

Senior Stratmaster
Jun 5, 2021
3,878
Palm Coast, FL
I like to think of it more as a precision fit ๐Ÿ˜

I did look at buying one but to be honest I get my kicks from making things, and already had a lump of ali sitting there. No doubt about it though alot of the guitar parts out there are exceptional value for money (even if they are pumped out on a CNC) ๐Ÿ‘
I get that, but you could've made the block to same specs as an aftermarket CNC that would have the space to float more freely. I mean it is what you ultimately prefer, options are always a good thing though & you can always grind off more block for more free space. I did that with a neck pocket shim, chose a material and started to hand shape it for best fit. The shim is different from a tremolo block, the shim is fixed, the tremolo block is a moving part. in the tremolo rout cavity.
 

Believer7713

The Pink Bunnyman Phranknstein
Silver Member
Dec 27, 2016
20,715
KC
All finished and fitted-

View attachment 648528

View attachment 648529

Finished weight came in at 170gr (original was 120gr). The only contact points between block and body (excluding the bridge fixings of course) are the two 5mm wide sections at the rear of the block (by the rear cover plate screw holes).

Was totally prepared to be underwhelmed by the results however!.....the difference is VERY noticeable (even to a noob like me).

The neck pickup is now far deeper/ fuller sounding, and the bridge pickup is still very bright but has lost some of the chime that was present with the original ceramic pups.

Sustain is improved (as research suggested it should) and another bonus....now that I've been able to back the spring claw right off, it has really enhanced the quack.

6hrs well spent....Happy days ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘
Nice work! I use my terms so it wouldn't work for me but I admire your work! I experimented a while back with some custom blocks for the Original Floyd Rose. I made a few out of solid copper. I can't really say that I hear much of a difference between them and big brass blocks that FR makes other than to say that the copper is significantly heavier.
20230605_181644.jpg
This block is one I have ready for another guitar when I get the bridge for it. It is 33.6mm tall and weighs in at just over a pound.
20230605_182106.jpg 20230605_182109.jpg 20230605_182113.jpg
 

StratUp

Dr. Stratster
Sep 5, 2020
13,976
Altered States
I made a similar (hardtail conversion) block but from hard maple and with no springs.
IMO a hardtail body is a better choice but it was a learning experience and saved some weight.

My main Strat has a Kluson CNC aluminum trem block which is fine and saved 1/2 pound compared to the steel block.
Never compard steel and aluminum blocks in the same guitar, but I have no doubt thereis an audible difference.

Again, hardtails are great and I find nothing good in a disabled trem.
Compared to say a floating trem, an otherwise disabled via decking or blocking, is "better" if it suits you.
But all my guitars are assembled from parts so after these experiments I hope to not buy any more trem routed Strat bodies!
They are so much more common though, harder to avoid...

View attachment 648455
View attachment 648456

That's a great idea for us pseudo hardtailers. But, since I'm OCD, I'd need to paint the top of that block black, or at least use a sharpie to color the part that shows through the wang-doodly bar hole.
 

StratUp

Dr. Stratster
Sep 5, 2020
13,976
Altered States
All finished and fitted-

View attachment 648528

View attachment 648529

Finished weight came in at 170gr (original was 120gr). The only contact points between block and body (excluding the bridge fixings of course) are the two 5mm wide sections at the rear of the block (by the rear cover plate screw holes).

Was totally prepared to be underwhelmed by the results however!.....the difference is VERY noticeable (even to a noob like me).

The neck pickup is now far deeper/ fuller sounding, and the bridge pickup is still very bright but has lost some of the chime that was present with the original ceramic pups.

Sustain is improved (as research suggested it should) and another bonus....now that I've been able to back the spring claw right off, it has really enhanced the quack.

6hrs well spent....Happy days ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘

That's awesome. Would probably have even more resonance if it was a "barely clearanced" fit.

How did you machine it? Do you have access to a CNC?
 

JMCUK

Strat-Talker
May 23, 2023
123
Suffolk UK
Nice work! I use my terms so it wouldn't work for me but I admire your work! I experimented a while back with some custom blocks for the Original Floyd Rose. I made a few out of solid copper. I can't really say that I hear much of a difference between them and big brass blocks that FR makes other than to say that the copper is significantly heavier.
View attachment 648617
This block is one I have ready for another guitar when I get the bridge for it. It is 33.6mm tall and weighs in at just over a pound.
View attachment 648618 View attachment 648619 View attachment 648620

Nice!

I wonder if we did similar research?.....science and boffins say that copper should be one of the best metals/ alloys for vibration transfer, great to hear your first hand experience of using it ๐Ÿ‘
 

JMCUK

Strat-Talker
May 23, 2023
123
Suffolk UK
That's awesome. Would probably have even more resonance if it was a "barely clearanced" fit.

How did you machine it? Do you have access to a CNC?
Thank you ๐Ÿ˜Š

Perhaps a little more clearance would allow the cavity to act more like a speaker enclosure ๐Ÿค”

After alot of thought I sized it so the rear of the bridge plate would sit around 2mm off the body (under string tension) so just the 2 corners of the block would make contact along with the bridge screws (to act as a hard tail).

Whils it is 'floating' as much as possible this doesn't leave much room for it to resonate....I might open the gap as you suggest on the next one ๐Ÿ‘

Re my mill....no CNC I'm afraid (I wish!) I made it on my little manual bench top mill (all hand measured as I don't have a DRO on it either). It's far from perfect, but good enough for home use ๐Ÿ™‚
 
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JMCUK

Strat-Talker
May 23, 2023
123
Suffolk UK
That's a great idea for us pseudo hardtailers. But, since I'm OCD, I'd need to paint the top of that block black, or at least use a sharpie to color the part that shows through the wang-doodly bar hole.

I did think about powder coating it (I've got a little tribostatic set up at home) bit figured I couldnt see it when playing ๐Ÿ˜

I'm going to attempt to make a bridge/ saddle cover next (that will follow the contours of the bridge plate and be secured through the trem hole).....that will be powder coated black to match the guitar ๐Ÿ‘

EDIT....Just realised you were replying to Mr Butcher's timber block (although im sure the response is still valid! )
 
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Believer7713

The Pink Bunnyman Phranknstein
Silver Member
Dec 27, 2016
20,715
KC
Nice!

I wonder if we did similar research?.....science and boffins say that copper should be one of the best metals/ alloys for vibration transfer, great to hear your first hand experience of using it ๐Ÿ‘
To be honest, I didn't do much research on it. I was just curious. Knowing that brass is a copper alloy mixed with zinc that makes it slightly harder than copper and having a love for experimentation led me to try. Plus my dad worked as an electrician in a steel foundry. He got me s piece of pure copper from a broken bus bar from one of the cranes he worked on. As a side note, it was also a crane I used to drive when I worked there too.
Mix my curiosity with my cheap mindset at the time and I ended up with copper blocks. I just couldn't bring myself to spend $27 on a fat brass block at the time.
The first one that I made also goes back to the beginning of my guitar building and modding. I made it for a Jackson JT-6 bridge that I put into a guitar that I had at the time (still do). I hadn't learned about shimming the neck yet so when I installed it, the action was about 10mm high. In order to make it fit, I routed the body freehand, by sight, with a RotoZip. As you can imagine, it looked like crap. Still does too but it plays beautifully. As A side note, the JT-6 was never meant to be a floater (again, something I didn't know) so I have the only one of its kind that I have seen or heard of.
I also learned that copper is some really tough metal to work with due to its softness and heat transmission properties. I broke a couple bits due to heat expansion and trapped a tap more than once. It takes the same kind of cutting oil as aluminum and all I had was steel oil (yep, you guessed it! I didn't know that either. Lol).
It wasn't for not, though. I was recovering from a big knee surgery and it gave me something to do as well as in the end I have a guitar with a heck if a story.
Here is a bit of history in picture of the guitars journey. In the third pic, you can see where there is still a broker drill bit in it. I ended up painting it blank because I didn't want anyone to know what it was at the time too.
IMAG1338.jpg IMAG1339.jpg IMAG1342.jpg IMAG1341.jpg 20221106_115517.jpg 20210706_085045.jpg 20210706_103746.jpg
 

JMCUK

Strat-Talker
May 23, 2023
123
Suffolk UK
To be honest, I didn't do much research on it. I was just curious. Knowing that brass is a copper alloy mixed with zinc that makes it slightly harder than copper and having a love for experimentation led me to try. Plus my dad worked as an electrician in a steel foundry. He got me s piece of pure copper from a broken bus bar from one of the cranes he worked on. As a side note, it was also a crane I used to drive when I worked there too.
Mix my curiosity with my cheap mindset at the time and I ended up with copper blocks. I just couldn't bring myself to spend $27 on a fat brass block at the time.
The first one that I made also goes back to the beginning of my guitar building and modding. I made it for a Jackson JT-6 bridge that I put into a guitar that I had at the time (still do). I hadn't learned about shimming the neck yet so when I installed it, the action was about 10mm high. In order to make it fit, I routed the body freehand, by sight, with a RotoZip. As you can imagine, it looked like crap. Still does too but it plays beautifully. As A side note, the JT-6 was never meant to be a floater (again, something I didn't know) so I have the only one of its kind that I have seen or heard of.
I also learned that copper is some really tough metal to work with due to its softness and heat transmission properties. I broke a couple bits due to heat expansion and trapped a tap more than once. It takes the same kind of cutting oil as aluminum and all I had was steel oil (yep, you guessed it! I didn't know that either. Lol).
It wasn't for not, though. I was recovering from a big knee surgery and it gave me something to do as well as in the end I have a guitar with a heck if a story.
Here is a bit of history in picture of the guitars journey. In the third pic, you can see where there is still a broker drill bit in it. I ended up painting it blank because I didn't want anyone to know what it was at the time too.
View attachment 648702 View attachment 648703 View attachment 648701 View attachment 648700 View attachment 648697 View attachment 648698 View attachment 648699

Excellent!....folks often leave the mistakes theyve made along the way out of their posts (and just leave in the pretty bits!) so your reply is quite refreshing ๐Ÿ‘Œ

Your Jackson is a cool one off and as you say, it's all part of the history, story, and learning curve....a journey I'm now starting with modding guitars.

I was an electrician for 20 odd years as it happens (Control and automation/ compex) and now wish I'd kept all the busbars we scrapped for a few ยฃยฃยฃ in the pocket ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Copper can be a bit chewy, much like aluminium, I tend to just use WD40 when milling/ drilling/ tapping them, not so much for cooling (slow and steady wins that race) but more to just stop the swarf/ chips sticking to the tooling (pecking and reversing frequently helps to keep the swarf/ chips Size down too)

Anyhow thanks for sharing the pics of your guitar! I'm very jealous!.....not so much of the guitar, but of your wife.....she must be SERIOUSLY hot for you to have done that to your fret board ๐Ÿซก
๐Ÿ˜
 

Believer7713

The Pink Bunnyman Phranknstein
Silver Member
Dec 27, 2016
20,715
KC
Excellent!....folks often leave the mistakes theyve made along the way out of their posts (and just leave in the pretty bits!) so your reply is quite refreshing ๐Ÿ‘Œ

Your Jackson is a cool one off and as you say, it's all part of the history, story, and learning curve....a journey I'm now starting with modding guitars.

I was an electrician for 20 odd years as it happens (Control and automation/ compex) and now wish I'd kept all the busbars we scrapped for a few ยฃยฃยฃ in the pocket ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Copper can be a bit chewy, much like aluminium, I tend to just use WD40 when milling/ drilling/ tapping them, not so much for cooling (slow and steady wins that race) but more to just stop the swarf/ chips sticking to the tooling (pecking and reversing frequently helps to keep the swarf/ chips Size down too)

Anyhow thanks for sharing the pics of your guitar! I'm very jealous!.....not so much of the guitar, but of your wife.....she must be SERIOUSLY hot for you to have done that to your fret board ๐Ÿซก
๐Ÿ˜
Thank you! I am a blessed man in more ways than one.
... and yes, she's hot than a fire in Phoenix in late July. We met online and I took me 6 days to build the courage to send her my first message after seeing her picture.
This was 9 years and 11 months ago today. The day before we got married on that spot.
20130705_143309.jpg
And yes, she's more beautiful today.๐Ÿฅฐ
 
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