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trem block material??experts please help


fguihen
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i just had to shorten my new schaller trem block and its brass. i thought theese expensive bridges had blocks made out of iorn or steel. my low TRS II is made of iorn or something. which would be better, the Low TRSII block or the brass schaller block??does anyone know what the TRS II block is made out of??would i be better to get a block made of stainless steel or something??

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Stainless steel is the BEST option for tone!

Brass is not NEARLY as good as stainless

Make sure there is no lead in the steel!

Callaham guitars does strat & tele bridges in stainless, but no floyds (at least last time I asked)

I, personally, find a BIG differance in the tone

if you can find a supplier, let me know!

Dave K :D

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My original mid-80's floyd rose has a brass trem block. Yes, they appear to be steel, but that's just the outer-coating. I wanted to "recess" my springs a little and filed some grooves, plus filed a slight bit off the whole bottom of the block. It's as brass as can be. Brass is a good sounding metal, otherwise they wouldn't make so many horn instruments out of it and cymbals. It's not the brightest metal, but that is what can make it good for a guitar that tends to be too bright, like a strat. If anyone thinks "the more steel, the better", go have a whole guitar made of steel and see how much you have to turn the treble control on your amp. It won't go down far enough to help the intense brightness. Some steel is good, for example a steel bridge plate with brass saddles. Brass is harder to drill than steel. it tends to "grab" at steel instead of just cutting it. Makes me wonder if when I see manufacturers say stuff like " we use steel for our bridges because it sounds better than brass", if they really mean " Brass was f-ing up our machinery too often and we need to tell you something to make you like steel better too, and not know that we put our manufacturing processes over what is best for the customer"

I'd be curious as to how an aluminum trem block would sound. I'm just not too much into joy-sticks anymore, so I probably will never bother to try it. But I think that aluminum sounds like a cross between steel and wood. I saw on another forum where a guy says WOOD trem blocks are the best. Aluminum would be a good compromise.

I once read an article about Scott Henderson where he said (about his floyd Rose) " I replaced the blocks with aluminum blocks because it helps it sustain better" . I don't know exactly what he means. If he's refering to the trem-block, or some other part of the bridge, perhaps.

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brass is sticky to machine, but not harder than steel. Most material used in musical instruments, like cymbals, is actually an alloy called Aluminum Bronze, it looks like brass, but true brass is very yellow in color. It is also very soft, springs would tear through a true yellow brass very quickly. I worked in a machine shop for 2 years, and tool and die for 3 years before doing guitars. I worked with alot of brass and alum bronze. We called it all brass, but when it came to sleeving for seal surfaces etc, we used alum bronze. if you want an extremely malleable metal, yellow brass will do it.

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i would suspect a aluminum brass block would be a more mellow or jazzier tone, good for a blues player and a steel block would be more brash, and better for a metal player, i dunno, i know my blocks made of stainless steel and my strat is tough to comment on, my pickups and extra goodies under the guard really make it sound more like a gibsonish guitar so i cant comment on the block much, i utilize a lot of distortion and it sustains better than most strats i have played, i know hes right about that aluminum bronze, brass is a softy and would be chewed up, especially if your a steve vai or joe satraiani type thats all whammy bar happy :D I know the low end squiers and fenders (i.e. made in mex) guitars utilize some cheap mystery metal, probably a alloy of some sorts, and the usa made and the upper end japanese ones were utilizing stainless steel blocks, just a fyi

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Can someone explain to me how an aluminum or brass tremelo block (the thing that bolts to the underside of the bridge plate and holds one end of the springs) would "get chewed up" ?

I just don't see it happening. Some guys even use wood.

There's hardly any friction on the trem block. One end has deep holes that firmly hold the spring ends. You'd have to purposely put a lot of effort into trying to "chew" that up, for example, stick a crow-bar in there and start being extremely abusive.

The other end bolts firmly to the bridge plate and is held by 3 machine screws usually. They go deep enough into the block, to make a solid unit. You'd have to loosen the screws then get very abusive with the trem to cause a problem on that end of the block.

If you go so crazy with the trem, that you'd cause the trem-block to get messed up (wether it be aluminum or brass, etc), you'll probably do all kinds of other damage first, like causing the fulcrum screws to pull out of the body.

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Guess you've never had a trem block crack on you while doing whammy antics. Brass under vibration will do 1 of 2 things, it will harden, and get brittle, (though with yellow brass that isnt' likely) or it will stretch and distort.

You have 3 tiny springs, with an all up tension of about 118.6 pounds at neutral, each spring with a diameter of .048" in a hole of .052" and a wall thickness on the side all the tension is pulling of about 3/32". take a look at the steel block on alot of trems, and you will see where the corner of the spring wears a groove into the block, now in soft brass, it wouldnt' take much to pull through. Now, you do a dive bomb, you are increasing that amount of tension ALOT!!! When you are diving and pulling up, you are also trying to bend that spring, now it's a side load as well as tensile load acting on that hole. It doesn't take alot of figuring to see how the holes would wear.

As for a wood block, there are many woods out there that are harder than brass believe it or not, but in hardness and strength.

Maple, Ebony, Iron wood, Purpleheart, etc.......

Oh, for interest sake, my 118.6 pounds, is based on D'addario XL electric guitar strings. you use bigger than 9;s, your tension goes up :D

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"Guess you've never had a trem block crack on you while doing whammy antics. Brass under vibration will do 1 of 2 things, it will harden, and get brittle, (though with yellow brass that isnt' likely) or it will stretch and distort. "

*** No I sure haven't, nor have I seen any such trem-block problem on any of the dozens of guitars I've had or did work on. That includes an 80's Fender I had as a teen, with a cast block. I had even layed that guitar on the floor and used the trem-arm as a "foot pedal" while the amp was feeding back. Real stupid. Anyone who's doing even somthing more abusive to their guitar is just asking for trouble. It's a musical instrument, not a power-tool or toy. I guess if I ever see a "cracked block" , it will be from a defective piece of metal and not the "guitarist having such cool tremelo techniques, that he warps, chews and cracks the block apart". I would like to see photos of what you are talking about, though. Also, in one post you say "yellow" brass is inferior, then in another post, you find a reason why it would be superior for the given situation. I don't think that guy who makes the solid brass trems would agree with what you have said either. I can't see tremelo use as an effective means of "work hardening" a piece of metal that happens to be the tremelo block. The springs are what are taking most of the abuse. Unless the trem-block cavity is not properly routed and also the guitarist knowingly damaging the instrument.

I have seen whammy abuse result in the fulcrum post pulling out of the body or cracking the body. This would probably always happen before a non-defective trem-block would crack apart.

"As for a wood block, there are many woods out there that are harder than brass believe it or not, but in hardness and strength.

Maple, Ebony, Iron wood, Purpleheart, etc......."

****Depends on the application. On a guitar, brass is usually stronger than wood. For example, brass nut compared to a wood nut, brass screw compared to a wood screw, and I'll bet money that a brass trem block holds up much better than any type of wood block. There's also not enough LEVERAGE exerted on the trem-block to need tensile strength greater than what brass will achieve.

"Oh, for interest sake, my 118.6 pounds, is based on D'addario XL electric guitar strings. you use bigger than 9;s, your tension goes up "

***I'll have to go look up my string spec data, but I thought the tension was around 80 pounds for 9's tuned at standard pitch.

I appreciate your knowledge of metals, etc, but Industrial Design was my major in college.

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wow, lets all calm down and be friends, ok there, i hope his question has been answered, im sure the poor fellow got more info than he anticipated, but thank you to everyones opinions, peace to all and ill say it again, pure brass is rather soft, brass with alloys like aluminum give it more stregth without compromising much of the characteristics in brass

jeremy

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LOL ! I know what you mean. Well, at least I hope he's not afraid to use his trem the way it's supposed to be used and he should know that it sounds good and there's a good reason why they use brass and brass variations for bridge parts. Brass costs way more than steel, so it's no wonder that manufacturers would rather use steel.

I'm actually more interested in "de-floyding" guitars these days (taking floyd type trems out and putting the guitar as close as possible to how it was before). Still perfecting my methods for doing this and will not openly offer this service until I get a little more experience. (just came up with a way that might make the best wood hole filling plugs around)

I'm finding it a fun challenge to hide as much "floyd was here" evidence on the guitar as possible.

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"Oh, for interest sake, my 118.6 pounds, is based on D'addario XL electric guitar strings. you use bigger than 9;s, your tension goes up "

***I'll have to go look up my string spec data, but I thought the tension was around 80 pounds for 9's tuned at standard pitch.

Yup, you're right, I goofed I grabbed a pack of 11's, sorry.....

as for the rest, check your PM

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Jeremy,

I meant all along the brass that they are already using on the trems. Not any kind of different brass. I just call it all brass, if it looks like brass. I should have made that clear sooner I guess. :D

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