Repairing ‘60s Strat trem block

mike58

Strat-Talker
Nov 25, 2017
193
Uk
I have a lefty MIJ ‘62 reissue that was Chandlerised ( look it up) 20 or so years ago … custom wiring, rolled fingerboard, and a real 60s trem block.
Fantastic guitar but trem thread is stripped.
I love getting stuff repaired rather than bin and replace, what are the options to make the trem block functional again?
I’m not an engineer ( just a Dental Surgeon … and no I don’t have a PRS !!) but there must be a relatively straightforward way to fix a stripped block and possibly even improve the situation.
I have another Strat with a Callaham trem and I like the Delrin insert thing … any mods you experienced guys could recommend to keep the old block going?
 

mike58

Strat-Talker
Nov 25, 2017
193
Uk
Thanks or the reply, much appreciated.

Helpful, but practically, how do you go about actually sorting this.
It’s not like there is a corner shop offering this sort of service , and it would be wonderful if a guitar specialist “ Redo your trem block.com” existed.
I’m not being flippant, but in the UK where I live, you just can’t find a guy with a lathe, let alone discuss with the guy the minutiae of trem block and delrin insert technicalities .
In an ideal world we all have a guy with a lathe locally who everyone knows and understands trem systems.
In Glasgow, Scotland ... no, nobody can be bothered even firing up the lathe to do a tiny job like this unless they have an interest in the hobby.
So if anyone knows of a business that re does trem blocks let me know, I’m happy to post worldwide, just to get the job done by someone who gives a ****. 😁
 
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The Ballzz

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 26, 2014
2,603
LAS VEGAS , NV
@mike58 ,
Are you certain its the block and not the arm that is stripped? Get a correct size and thread screw and try it to be sure. I think it should be #10-32. You may be surprised.

On the Delrin subject, I have counterbored several stock blocks, to the correct depth, on a drill press, for my own inserts. You need to make sure the threads go deep enough to accommodate enough thread engagement. I even have one that the insert was not quite snug enough on the arm, and I added a set screw for tensioning!

Just Thinkin'
Gene
 

mike58

Strat-Talker
Nov 25, 2017
193
Uk
OK, Good stuff here, I will try and locate a 10/32 but I guess a brand new arm would be a reasonable test.
Tap and die Heli-Coil would need me to do a bit of research.. but if I can do a root canal within 0.08mm ... 🤗
 

3bolt79

Dr. Stratster
Oct 16, 2018
15,672
Oregon
M
OK, Good stuff here, I will try and locate a 10/32 but I guess a brand new arm would be a reasonable test.
Tap and die Heli-Coil would need me to do a bit of research.. but if I can do a root canal within 0.08mm ... 🤗
Man, you are more than capable. That is what got me really doing repair work after I quit working in the hospital. I figured that if I am capable of cutting a hole in someone’s throat to insert an artificial airway, and not screw it up, a guitar repair would be a piece of cake. And nobody dies or gets disfigured if I screw up.
 

mike58

Strat-Talker
Nov 25, 2017
193
Uk
Yep, def will give it a go. In UK we don’t use UNF threads much. If it’s stripped I might be able to tap it out to 5.5mm and just buy the larger arm if that size is avail.
I’m always tho interested in others experience and tips when it comes to something new for me... learning what not to do from others is a great skill to acquire .
 
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Hal Nico

Senior Stratmaster
Apr 28, 2012
3,842
JAMOADR
Yep, def will give it a go. In UK we don’t use UNF threads much. If it’s stripped I might be able to tap it out to 5.5mm and just buy the larger arm if that size is avail.
I’m always tho interested in others experience and tips when it comes to something new for me... learning what not to do from others is a great skill to acquire .

If it's just the thread in the Trem arm hole I'd go with a tap and just make it a bit bigger as you say above :)
 

Scott Baxendale

Most Honored Senior Member
Silver Member
May 20, 2020
6,593
Sante Fe, NM
I have a lefty MIJ ‘62 reissue that was Chandlerised ( look it up) 20 or so years ago … custom wiring, rolled fingerboard, and a real 60s trem block.
Fantastic guitar but trem thread is stripped.
I love getting stuff repaired rather than bin and replace, what are the options to make the trem block functional again?
I’m not an engineer ( just a Dental Surgeon … and no I don’t have a PRS !!) but there must be a relatively straightforward way to fix a stripped block and possibly even improve the situation.
I have another Strat with a Callaham trem and I like the Delrin insert thing … any mods you experienced guys could recommend to keep the old block going?
You can remove the trem block and then drill out the hole and install a threaded insert. Another solution is to re-tap the threads to the next larger size, but then you need a trem bar with the correct diameter and threads.
 

The Ballzz

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 26, 2014
2,603
LAS VEGAS , NV
Yep, def will give it a go. In UK we don’t use UNF threads much. If it’s stripped I might be able to tap it out to 5.5mm and just buy the larger arm if that size is avail.
I’m always tho interested in others experience and tips when it comes to something new for me... learning what not to do from others is a great skill to acquire .

If it is the block that is actually stripped, I think re-tapping to 5.5 may be a disappointment. While there will be enough material for the outer thread diameter, there likely won't be enough meat there to fully support the inner diameter of the 5.5mm threads. This will probably cause the new threads to also strip/fail fairly quickly!
Just My Honest Opinion,
Gene
 

mike58

Strat-Talker
Nov 25, 2017
193
Uk
Cheers Gene , always happy to listen to someone who has experience.
Now here is a ? Silly question.
This is a left handed block and the arm screws in clockwise, is that any diffferent to a normal right handed block.
 

The Ballzz

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 26, 2014
2,603
LAS VEGAS , NV
Cheers Gene , always happy to listen to someone who has experience.
Now here is a ? Silly question.
This is a left handed block and the arm screws in clockwise, is that any diffferent to a normal right handed block.

Not different, other than not being able to use a righty to replace the assembly or block, Unfortunately, My crystal ballzz see a new trem/bridge assembly in your future. Trying to find an exactly matching block for your existing plate may be a crap shoot! Knowing "EXACTLY" what is currently on there (accurate string spacing and mounting screw spacing) is critical, as there are at least four or five different combinations and then the after market conversion between metric and SAE and back and forth. Nine times out of ten, mixing plates and blocks can lead to frustration and unhappiness! I'm assuming/guessing six screw mounting? Where it starts getting tricky mixing plates and blocks is finding the exactly correct arm location, as well as the rest of the mounting of the block to the plate. And then some assemblies use metric screws on SAE centers, but even then , the metric screws have a different taper angle on the countersink. It can get messy, at best!

The diagram below only shows a few of the combinations using fractional SAE measurements, but there are variances in both decimal measured and metric measured. The most critical is the actual mounting hole measurements, and then getting as close as possible for the string spacing.


Acme-Guitar-Works-General-Callaham-Strat-Bridge-Spacing.jpg



Obviously, if you fix your existing block, that would be the best, but………….? Let us know your plans and we can help lead you through the mine field of pitfalls!

Keep Us Posted?
Gene
 

mike58

Strat-Talker
Nov 25, 2017
193
Uk
As far as I know Chandler ( London) fitted an original 60s block to my Crafted in Japan Strat. The bridge has the 11.2mm saddles and 2-7/32 size so it’s a standard size.
Appreciate the detail of metric /SAE and screw countersinks and I’ve no doubt if it gets too messy I’ll be contacting Mr Gotoh or Mr Callaham , but I’ve a lefty brass block ( good quality German make I think) which I’ll check the fit of before binning the entire bridge ( I like the saddles on this bridge, they are “ comfy”.
I’ve bought a 10-32 tap and I’ll see how it goes, I’ll freshen up the threads , pop in a new arm and prepare to be disappointed. I’ve done the shrink wrap trick on my 2004 Highway One Strat and it’s holding out ok as the arm is also loosening in its block.
 

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mike58

Strat-Talker
Nov 25, 2017
193
Uk
Well , the point of this thread is yes I want to retain the vibe of having a trem block nearly as old as me. Yes I want to repair rather than replace.
It’s only a trem block and of course if it’s replaced I will have forgotten about it all in a few months, but I like acquiring knowledge, I like using my hands , and I don’t mind the odd “non success” when the consequences are trivial.
I appreciate all the replies and experience from fellow forum members, that’s what it’s all about.
 

mike58

Strat-Talker
Nov 25, 2017
193
Uk
So.. this looks like a heli-coil trem fix vid
It’s been shot in FF so actual fix is from 0m55s - 1m30s , the soundtrack ( I warn you) is hard going so best to mute. So just looking for confirmation this is the reqd. engineering solution .
 
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