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Here is a quick install tutorial our friends over at Dysfunctional Parrot did a while back. Pretty simple...
As with most blocks that are slated for replacement, mine had this typical half-sized zinc piece of crud…
So at this point, place your baby on a clean working surface and get to work. I placed a couple towels underneath to prevent scratches. Remove the strings and then take off the back and remove the tremolo springs. The tremolo should fall right out unless you have a more conventional 6-screw system. Either way, it’s not brain surgery at this stage of the game.
Mark my words, this will save you a metric ton of time. All you need is some masking tape and a pencil to mark out the intonation height of the saddles. And DO NOT MIX THEM UP. Put them back in the same way they came out or you’ll spend forever getting it back to the way it was.
Once the saddles are out you’ll have instant access to the screws that hold on the block. Unscrew the old, and pop in the new. Simple as that. Oh, one thing…your old whammy bar may not fit. This is a Fender sized hole ( 10/32 ), not a Squier. (Get one here)
Now put the saddles back in in the same order they came out…which should be easy because you lined them up somewhere safe. If you failed to heed my advise then may the Lord place upon you and your family the plagues He bestowed upon Pharaoh for your unmitigated insolence.
Only a few days prior to installation I put in a new set of Ernie Ball Super Slinky’s just so any tonal nuances couldn’t be blamed on a mere string change. After the block went in I replaced the strings with the exact same type.
After getting it all tuned up it was time to play a few songs I’ve played perhaps a few million times just so I would be able to hear subtle differences.
Instantly I noticed something good. Very good. While using some overdrive I noticed my sound was more ballsy, not as tinny ( or thin as some say ), and definitely hung onto the notes longer ( sustain ). The sun was bright, the children sang and I was happy.
After cranking out a few Boston and Lincoln Brewster tunes it was apparent that the major benefit from this upgrade was the sustain, which was certainly never rocket hot with the stock block. Yet now it is there and it is awesome. But where you’ll really notice this benefit is when you use delay. U2′s Where the Streets Have No Name had a chime that was never there before and even though I’ve played it a hundred times, it was like cranking it out for the first time. Brilliant.
We have proven through spectrum analysis and "the ear test" that our chosen brass alloy has the ability to filter out "undesirable harmonics" which are clearly visible as spikes in the frequency wave. A steel or other metal (zinc, pot steel, etc) blocks' wave is erratic and short as compared to our brass which shows a longer and more even wave proving that the brass produces a cleaner, more defined note and more sustain.
Adding KGC brass to your guitar will give you a woody resonance due to the vibration transfer increase - you are now getting your tone through the body of your guitar!
There is a good reason why instrument makers have made horns, bells and hundreds of other instruments from brass for hundereds of years - it is the most musical metal there is. Beyond that, KGC has done intense research to find the most musical alloy of brass available. WE DO NOT USE THE SAME ALLOY OUR COMPETITORS DO!!! That is why you will notice amazing improvements with our blocks and bridges as opposed to the others you will find on the market.
Believe it or not, the term "Bell Brass" is a big misconception by people out there. Yes, bells are made of brass, but different bells are made of different alloys of brass to get different sounds. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc - the percentages of each of these metals used in the particular alloy of brass one uses is what's truly important in its "musical properties".
Pretty much all brass you see being used by companies to make guitar components is about 60% copper, 35% zinc and 5% lead and other metals. THis is what they are calling "Bell Brass"
Here at KGC, we have extensively researched many different alloys of brass to find the most musical of them all. After lots of prototype machining and testing, we found the alloy we currently use has proven to transfer vibration (sustain and resonance) and filter out undesirable harmonics (truer notes) much better than the other alloys. That is why so many of our customers have been blown away by the difference in our products when compared to others out there.
- Mounting holes are all drilled and tapped MUCH deeper than theirs
- Our blocks include Extra-Long Stainless Steel Mounting Screws! The other guys charge up to $16 for these! We include them!
- We use our own apecially selected musical brass alloy for max tone and sustain
- Our blocks are 100% precision-machined one at a time (not mass-produced) for a perfect fit and full contact on the mounting surface
- KGC offers the best design which has been tested and proven to maximize function, performance and sound. These are not just copies of your original made from a different material like the others. We have tweaked the design so you get the most from your axe.
Our Strat® Style Blocks:
Our Floyd Rose® Style Blocks:
Our standard size blocks are our flagship product - it's what put KGC on the map. They provide amazing tone enhancement, add a ton of sustain and provide a stability no other trem block manufacturer can offer. The standard blocks are 1/2" thick throughout - the "Mega Mass" is 5/8" thick towards the top and tapers down to 1/2" at the bottom to allow for maximum trem movement. The "Mega Mass" will give you a little added weight (11.5 oz as opposed to 10 oz on standard) but will add a good amount more sustain and sounds a little warmer than the standard block.
Beyond that, we now offer a "MONSTER Mass" block which is milled from a solid piece of 3/4" KGC Brass. This block will give you the most in tone, sustain and resonance and although you will not have much space left for tremolo movement, you can still do some fluttering. This thing is a BEAST!
The picture below shows a "Mega Mass" block on the left and Monster Mass on the right...
The string spacing is measured at the bridge where the strings go over the saddles. Using a ruler, machinist scale or (best) dial calipers measure the distance between the high E string and the low E string. The Vintage style spacing is 2 7/32” (56.3 mm) and the import style (narrow) spacing is 2 1/16” (52.4mm). Some other guitars have a string spacing of 2 1/8” (54mm) and some of the less expensive Indonesian or made in China are 2” (50.8mm)
For maximum tremolo range in every direction. A great upgrade over your original 5/16" thick cheap-o block but will not limit your range in any way due to slightly offset mounting holes.
More mass! Creates incredible sustain, resonance and warmth in tone. Offset mounting holes allow for maximum range for almost all guitars - Our best-seller! May inhibit some guitars' tremolo range slightly
Made for maximum mass! Creates maximum sustain, resonance and warmth in tone - the most mass of any block you can buy! Built with centered mounting holes so as to fit very close or against the inside of your tremolo cavity's backside - thus creating a full contact point and allowing for Divebomb only! Centered screws give this block 3/8" from the center of the botttom side of the block to the inside edge of the cavity. Please be sure your guitar's cavity will allow this block to fit!
You can measure your block’s height without removing the whole bridge. Remove the back cavity cover. Using a ruler or scale insert it behind the tremolo block until it reaches the bottom of the bridge plate. 42mm is approximately 1 5/8”, 37mm is closer to 1 ½” and 32mm is close to 1 ¼”.
We have gone through extensive testing on many different alloys of bras to try to determine the most “musical” of them all. Just as different woods, different alloys of brass sound different and act differently when vibrations are sent through them. Through spectrum analysis we have found that in our opinion the particular brass alloy that we use has the best qualities and properties to provide a tone and sustain that is second to none.
The front underside of the bridge plate is beveled, so the back-most ie deepest piece of the bevel should be on the body. If your floating it 1/8th then that will be the extent of your up pitch when you pull up on the bar and the bevel at the other end will give you the extent of your down pitch. If you want more up pitch raise the back, more down pitch raise the front.
What I do is with the guitar in tune and a piece of plastic/wood etc as a shim pushed under the back of the bridge to give me the 1/8th inch I set all my parameters such as action, relief, etc and then loosen all the strings up and take out the shim. Now turn the guitar over and unscrew the claw screws until the springs are slack then using a proper sized wooden or other wedge between the guitar and the back of the tone block push it in until you can measure the gap between the body and the back of the bridge plate at 1/8th inch. Then turn the guitar over and watching carefully that the wedge doesn't move and the gap remains the same at 1/8th inch tune only your A string to pitch which will give enough tension to hold the wedge in place.
For the next part, it is best if you have a Workmate type bench where you can work on the underside of the guitar while it lays flat and with the top up on the bench. With the A string tuned then start slowly and carefully screwing the claw and springs in evenly. This will result in them pulling the tone block forward. You are looking for the exact point when the wedge drops out which means that the tension of the springs and strings are equal. To be sure double check that the gap is still at 1/8th inch. Tune the rest of the strings to pitch and your guitar should now stay in tune and return to pitch after using the whammy.
I have always used this method which I read in a guitar mag many years ago and it works very well.
First, turn the tuning key until the hole in the string post is in line with the nut slot. Next, pass the string through the hole pulling it up so there's about 2" between the finger board and the string keeping the string taught at the bridge end. This should allow for about 2½ or 3 windings on the string post once you’re done. You don't want any more than that - excessive windings can cause the string to slip continuously when tuning!
Now you will pull the string toward the center of the headstock and loop it underneath and over itself up against the string post. Next, start turning the tuning key winding the string on the post. Be sure the windings go from the top down thus creating a greater angle from the string post to the nut. This puts more downward pressure in the nut and increases your sustain. By installing the string in this manner it will have wound around itself once giving it something to “hang onto”, and once properly stretched should stay in tune great!
Next we'll talk about stringing a guitar with vintage style Kluson tuners which have a split post (these are found on many Fender Strats and Telecasters). What you do is pass the string through the bridge end and pull it tight. Measure about 2" past the tuning post of the string you’re changing (I use the handle of my plastic string winder which is just about 2" long) and cut the string. Now stick the cut string end down the center hole of the post and start winding. Cutting the string like this you’ll have about 3 windings on the string post and once again be sure to wind from the top down! Properly installed strings always stay in tune better, have greater sustain and take much less stretching to become stable.
The "Flop Stop®" is KGC's proprietary, intuitive design that keeps the trem bar from flopping around and also keeps it from stripping out the hole. Each block that requires a trem bar hole gets a "Flop Stop". A piece of nylon is pressed into the block approximately half way down on the trem hole. It is then tapped for the trem bar and ground down to be flush with the sides of the block. Now, when you screw in your arm, it will stay in place no matter what position you like it to be in - and it will never strip out!
The Flop-Stop® is another example of KGC's amazing designs that not only work to perfection, but do it by simplification rather than over-engineering. There are many companies out there with lots of designs for stabilizing and securing the trem arm, but this is simply the best design out there - it works, it works forever and does what we say it does without any special parts - you just use the standard 10-32 arm that came with your Strat. This design belongs to KGC and no other company can use it. They have tried...
Here is a cross-section of a block with a "Flop Stop"