I get a lot of emails on how upgrades on ways to upgrade a Strat. Where I usually always like to start is the tremolo block. Most of the time – these blocks are thin and made out of zinc. The main issues with a block like this is that is thin and has very little mass to it – which often times puts a hamper on your string’s sustain.
In replacement a tremolo block – you have a couple of options for block materials. The 2 big ones are Steel and Brass. Steel blocks in my experience can brighten up a darker guitar and add sustain. Brass Blocks can actually do the opposite and darken up an overly bright guitar. I set my amps up kind of dark and I use the neck pickup a lot – so I typically favor steel blocks. Here is an example of the 3 types of Tremolo blocks. (Example: Brass on the left, Steel center, and stock Zinc on the right)
There are a lot of great companies that make fantastic replacement/ drop in tremolo blocks. I’ve used several – you can do your research and find out which one works best for you. My personal favorite is Callaham. Great parts – and I use a lot of them in my Strats! They can be pricey though – and if you are on a budget – Guitar Fetish makes a great one that is super budget friendly.
After you install the block you just need to reinstall your bridge/ saddles, springs, re-intonate/ setup your guitar – and let the tone begin! This is a fairly simple project for those of us who take a DIY approach to our guitars.
Note: Different Strats have different string spacing – make sure you order the correct block with the proper spacing for your guitar. If you feel uncomfortable contact your local luthier to install your tremolo block for you.