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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink GFS tremolo blocks Steel or Brass for more sustain?

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The preceding post was just updated because I found proper saddle height bolts when I did not think I could.

Bottom line: if your strat type saddles are now at a good height and your saddle height bolts are 3/8" long (without protruding from the top of the saddle), you should be able to fit this set of roller saddles on your strat type guitar.

The Insanitizers! http://www.insanitizers.com

Last edited: Apr 22, 2018 12:59:13

Hey Blackhearts Fan!
I bought a MIM Strat and it came with a GFS brass block and saddles uninstalled. I swapped out the old one for the GFS brass and saddles, and I honestly could not tell the difference. I ended up breaking off the tremolo arm in the brass block pretty quickly, rendering it useless. I put the OG MIM block and saddles back on, and again, could not tell the difference. I also have a Fender Lead III. Dont see too many folks that own those. I swapped out the stock pickups for Invaders many years ago. Great guitar! Cheers.

Bing bing bing bing bing bing bing bing bong!

Squid wrote:

I decided to keep the new roller saddes. With just a screwdriver (while wearing a work glove) I successfully forced the bolts into the center channel. This did not damage anything. Then I installed the saddles on the guitar. The guitar shows superb tone and sustain with the change, at least as good as before. I was able to adjust intonation properly, and I saw that forcing the bolts into the entire distance of the center channel was not necessary. Forcing for a distance of 1/4 inch is enough.

However, now there is a new problem. The saddle height bolts are too long and have a pitch different from the previous saddle height bolts. In my pile of accumulated saddles from previous guitar mods I found saddle height bolts that interchange and are 1/4" long. Now I can complete proper installation.

When you say "The channel in the center is too narrow to accept the bolt." do you mean the channel where the machine screw with spring that's used to adjust the intonation (string length) protrudes going toward the allen/hex saddle height adjustment screws?

When you got the screws in did it cause any of the forks to spread and/or cause any binding with the roller or the roller axle?

Last edited: Apr 22, 2018 22:35:07

Yes, the channel in the center is too narrow to accept the machine screw that adjusts intonation. However, it is only a little too narrow. I was able to advance the machine screw by forcing it with a screwdriver. This made grooves in the walls of the channel but the machine screw remained intact and functioning. I had to do this with each of the six saddles, but it did not take long. I used a wrench to hold the saddle, with a piece of rubber between saddle and wrench to prevent marring the saddle.

There is a slight amount of spread of the saddles over the six strings. It is visible but subtle. The rollers work well, I have seen no binding. With previous saddles that were too wide and caused fanning I was able to narrow the saddles (mostly at the end nearer the intonation machine screw) by using a rotary sanding attachment on a moto-tool. This method worked well. Time will tell if I need to do this with these new roller saddles, but I expect it will not be needed.

I completed installation yesterday and I am enjoying these new roller saddles. In a few days I should come to a clear opinion about how well the guitar stays in tune, as compared its function with the previous non-rolling saddles.

The Insanitizers! http://www.insanitizers.com

Last edited: Apr 23, 2018 11:03:02

Here is a closeup of the new roller saddles installed. Intonation was set. You can see the slight fanning. Here also is a photo of the entire guitar with the new roller saddles. Its pickguard is plastic mirror that reflects my back yard (and the vibrato arm). The roller saddles are also available in black finish.

image
image

The Insanitizers! http://www.insanitizers.com

Last edited: Apr 23, 2018 13:56:06

Today this guitar shows clarity and sustain superior to my many other guitars. It must be the new roller bridge. In slow songs such as Geronimo (as recorded by The Shadows) I sometimes strike strings very hard and then bend them. In doing this I heard obviously improved clarity and sustain, with more twang.

The jury is still out on tuning stability and string breakage.

The Insanitizers! http://www.insanitizers.com

Squid wrote:

Today this guitar shows clarity and sustain superior to my many other guitars. It must be the new roller bridge. In slow songs such as Geronimo (as recorded by The Shadows) I sometimes strike strings very hard and then bend them. In doing this I heard obviously improved clarity and sustain, with more twang.

The jury is still out on tuning stability and string breakage.

Thanks again for the feedback on the saddles. As for the guitar it looks like a true "surf machine".

jovima69 wrote:

Hey Blackhearts Fan!
I bought a MIM Strat and it came with a GFS brass block and saddles uninstalled. I swapped out the old one for the GFS brass and saddles, and I honestly could not tell the difference. I ended up breaking off the tremolo arm in the brass block pretty quickly, rendering it useless. I put the OG MIM block and saddles back on, and again, could not tell the difference. I also have a Fender Lead III. Dont see too many folks that own those. I swapped out the stock pickups for Invaders many years ago. Great guitar!

Cheers.

Thanks for the feedback on the GFS brass block.

What the hell is wrong with tremolo bars these days as yours is not the only one I've heard of breaking as of late.

As for the Fender Lead III, they are great guitars and it's my second, I bought one in 1987 (black w/maple fretboard) and like an idiot sold it four years later when I got my fretting hand mashed up in the bus garage (I should've used it for rehab). The coworker I sold it to, a fellow mechanic and weekend musician, sold it off a few years later, I saw him in 2009 at Guitar Center asked him whether he still had it, he didn't, like me he was still kicking himself for parting with it.

My current Lead III like the original has it's factory case in this instance a first generation plastic Fender one, the first one had a Tolex case. I also have a Lead II, it needs the frets replaced so at the moment it has an early Squier II Strat maple neck w/maple fretboard on it. The Lead II has it's original Fender Tolex case.

The early Squier II Strat necks are the closest in neck profile to the Lead Series necks (which are unique among Fender guitars), the nut width may be a fraction of an inch wider but they are a suitable substitute for those who have grown accustomed to the Lead Series neck but have a worn original neck and can't afford a refret (in my case it's finding someone competent/I may try Rob DeStefano/Fret-Tech here in Northern N.J.).

Now if I could find one of the Fender Lead Series bodies with a Fender factory tremolo rout I would be set (I have an extra Fender Seth Lover humbucker), I have only seen two (2) of those in my life though I've seen at least three with Floyd Rose trems.

Last edited: Apr 26, 2018 00:26:55

Over the time since I installed them these "Surf" brand roller saddles have now proven superiority to all previous saddles for strat guitars I have used. There has been no string breakage despite many hours of use; this has not happened before.

The strings have stayed in tune well since I lubricated the rollers with ordinary "3-in-1" oil. Before lubricating them I had to retune frequently, but there was no string breakage.

Sustain and tone are excellent. I just ordered a second set for another guitar. I see that several different vendors sell them on Ebay for $12.99 including shipping, and on Amazon for less than that plus shipping (or Amazon prime membership).

The Insanitizers! http://www.insanitizers.com

Last edited: May 12, 2018 12:18:26

Squid wrote:

Over the time since I installed them these "Surf" brand roller saddles have now proven superiority to all previous saddles for strat guitars I have used. There has been no string breakage despite many hours of use; this has not happened before.

The strings have stayed in tune well since I lubricated the rollers with ordinary "3-in-1" oil. Before lubricating them I had to retune frequently, but there was no string breakage.

Sustain and tone are excellent. I just ordered a second set for another guitar. I see that several different vendors sell them on Ebay for $12.99 including shipping, and on Amazon for less than that plus shipping (or Amazon prime membership).

Thanks for the update, happy that you are satisfied with the rollers.

As for the 3-in-1 oil, isn't that "vegetable-based"? If I remember correctly the "vegetable-based" oils get "sticky" over time it's one reason we don't use them in firearms, toy trains, or other finely-tuned "mechanical" devices (for things like door hinges it's fine).

Last edited: May 15, 2018 20:49:16

blackheartsfan wrote:

As for the 3-in-1 oil, isn't that "vegetable-based"?

It looks, smells and handles like a petroleum distillate. It's been around since the 19th century (introduced for bicycles) so its technology should be basic enough to be what it appears as.

From this page https://www.3inone.com/products/multi-purpose/ I copied-and pasted this statement by "Guitarpicker"

"I have been using 3 in 1 oil for years around the house and also on all my Guitars for all the string to metal contact points and also to keep my vintage Fender tremolo working smooth Fender recommends 3 in 1 oil for there Guitars Works for Me Smile "

The Insanitizers! http://www.insanitizers.com

Last edited: May 15, 2018 21:20:55

Here's what the vibrato block looks like with lead weights attached by epoxy glue to both sides of the block. I coated the lead weights with epoxy besides gluing them, fully enclosing all the lead on the vibrato block.

image

The Insanitizers! http://www.insanitizers.com

Squid wrote:

Here's what the vibrato block looks like with lead weights attached by epoxy glue to both sides of the block. I coated the lead weights with epoxy besides gluing them, fully enclosing all the lead on the vibrato block.

image

Thanks for the pic of the weights.

I haven't been playing much, humidity has set in here at the lake so hands and guitar neck even though clean feel "sticky" I know the wife will piss and moan about the hum and losing the ability to open a particular window in the living room but it's time to put the A/C unit in.

Last edited: May 29, 2018 22:28:42

I installed another "surf brand" set of roller bridge saddles on a second guitar. It is a lot more fun to perform with a guitar when I am free of worry about breaking strings.

Regarding your weather, rehearsing in front of a blowing box fan is not a great solution, but it is a possible one. Those $17 box fans can blow a lot of air without making a huge racket.

The Insanitizers! http://www.insanitizers.com

Last edited: May 30, 2018 15:24:50

blackheartsfan wrote:

Thanks for the pic of the weights.

I haven't been playing much, humidity has set in here at the lake so hands and guitar neck even though clean feel "sticky" I know the wife will piss and moan about the hum and losing the ability to open a particular window in the living room but it's time to put the A/C unit in.

It's been the coldest spring of the last 8 years I've lived in LA. I think we turned on the A/C once so far - usually in the 60s and some SF 50's days for the last couple months. I haven't ventured more than ankle deep into the surf and can even wear a jacket most days. Sweet.

Squink Out!

Last edited: May 31, 2018 18:38:20

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