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Shortening A Trem Block , Can I?


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Gentlemen ,I am trying to build a strat like guitar with a 1 1/2 inch body blank ,the trem block would stick out according to my measurements, I d like to sand it and make it fit in the cavity, has anybody tried this before ,will I have any major effect on tone? any help with this is highly appreciated.Thank you.

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You could shorten the block, redrill the spring holes but you may have a problem with the spring cavity cutting into the pickup cavity or at least it will be tight. You may want to use a different trem like Kahler which only requires a top route of .75 inches.

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I had a simillar problem with one of my builds. I was going to saw the block etc, but I think the cavity would have mergeged into the route for the pickup area, so the pickups would be very close, or even touching the block/spring.

In the end I just used a hardtail bridge assembly, and it sounds very good.

The body depth on mine was no thicker than 32mm. So it is a liitle thinner than yours, but you may get away with it but check the depth of the pickup route and the block first.

Edited by jaycee
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Gentlemen ,I am trying to build a strat like guitar with a 1 1/2 inch body blank ,the trem block would stick out according to my measurements, I d like to sand it and make it fit in the cavity, has anybody tried this before ,will I have any major effect on tone? any help with this is highly appreciated.Thank you.

You can get shorter trem blocks -- I have one from an old Applause strat clone that is much shorter than the real deal. Lighter in weight too. Whether that has a significant effect on tone....well, that's kind of hard to say. Only if you're selling $100 replacement tone blocks.

I agree that you ought to look into using a different bridge --there are trems that don't require the same depth.

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This also happened to me. A customer had a Washburn “Nuno N2” that he wanted refinished and dressed up with gold hardware. Turns out that the original Washburn Floyd Rose had a shorter trem block and the new (I think it was) Shaller trem sticks out from the back. Good luck the customer provided the hardware.

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Easy enough to shorten, and it doesn't mean you're going to hit the pickup cavity - the Explorer I'm building is a little to thin to fit the springs AND a recessed trem cover, so I've filed the block down a little. Only possible 'problem' is that you're decreasing the length of the lever arm the springs are acting on, ergo more springs may be required/stiffer springs may be needed.

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Easy enough to shorten, and it doesn't mean you're going to hit the pickup cavity - the Explorer I'm building is a little to thin to fit the springs AND a recessed trem cover, so I've filed the block down a little. Only possible 'problem' is that you're decreasing the length of the lever arm the springs are acting on, ergo more springs may be required/stiffer springs may be needed.

Cool, thank you guys , I think I ll use my belt sander to shorten it ,I saw that i could remove the block unit so maybe sanding the top part instead of the bottom ? thanks for the replies.

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The top surface have drilled holes that are tapped. If you can tap new holes (or deepen the existing ones) it is fine. Else stay on the bottom.

I have to disagree with Mattia. It is a severe risk that you will cut through into the pickup cavities. Especially if you have those deep pickup mounting tab recesses for a HB. I had a (very thin, early 90’s) Epiphone special (flat top) in for fitting a Floyd Rose (originally had a TOM bridg). That body was 38mm thick and I hade to rout the back recess into several rebates ant smooth things out later. That means I had to mace the back recess bottom into a ramp to prevent the spring to get hooked up on the edge of the cavity (towards the trem block hole) and to not cut into the pickup cavities on the other side. And that was because the trem block was short to be able to fit into the very thin body. So there is a SEVERE risk of further damages if you DO NOT PLAN AHEAD. I sincerely suggest drawing everything out in full scale. Also think about the fact that the trem tilts when used moving the trem block back, lowering the fix point for the springs thus lowering the springs themselves (all with the guitar lying on its face).

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If you shorten the top part, you risk having to re-thread/deepen the bolt holes that fasten it to the plate. I'd work on the bottom. Easier to drill a couple of spring holes deeper than it is to re-tap. Also, you want to make sure the plate/block joint remains perfectly stable/square/solid. I wouldn't trust a belt sander to do that.

Just to state the obvious: don't use dust collection when you sand metal. Not unless you want to ignite the airborne sawdust in your collector with sparks.

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If you shorten the top part, you risk having to re-thread/deepen the bolt holes that fasten it to the plate. I'd work on the bottom. Easier to drill a couple of spring holes deeper than it is to re-tap. Also, you want to make sure the plate/block joint remains perfectly stable/square/solid. I wouldn't trust a belt sander to do that.

Just to state the obvious: don't use dust collection when you sand metal. Not unless you want to ignite the airborne sawdust in your collector with sparks.

BTW-you can buy shortened blocks. I think FR has three different heights.

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If you shorten the top part, you risk having to re-thread/deepen the bolt holes that fasten it to the plate. I'd work on the bottom. Easier to drill a couple of spring holes deeper than it is to re-tap. Also, you want to make sure the plate/block joint remains perfectly stable/square/solid. I wouldn't trust a belt sander to do that.

wow yeah ,I dint think of that ! ,sure it ll be easier to go in the bottom part, according to my measurements I think I can get away with a smaller block just an eight less is all i need ,I think I wont go through to the pickups,hopefully , i ll let you guys know what happened ,thanks for the tips.

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