The Tremolo Block
Electric guitars with a floating bridge typically have a tremolo block, or sustain block which has several functions. They serve as a conduit from the bridge plate into the tremolo cavity. This allows the attachment of springs between the block and the Tremolo claw, which counterbalance the pull of the guitar strings. The block serves as a place for a bore to attach a tremolo arm. And from what I've been reading, the mass of the block serves to dampen unwanted harmonics, and supposedly increase the sustain of the guitar.
Pictured above are three sustain blocks, the one furthest to the right is a cheap aluminum block typically supplied with most inexpensive Chinese bridges found on ebay. The aluminum item weighs in at just over 1/10 of a pound. The block in the center is a more modern American Fender steel unit, weighing in at .46 pounds. And the one furthest to the right is a block I made from 3/4" plate steel which weighs in at just over a pound.
There is as much hype in the aftermarket guitar industry, as there is in anything else. I've seen blocks made from titanium to nickle, some selling for over $100.00. I'm going to try the one I made as a replacement for an aluminum block on a fake stratI've got. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading. J.B.
UPDATE: See my Stratocaster Sustain Block installed, it's awesome.
Return from Tremolo Block to Electric Guitar info home