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pix Why Block Or "Deck" A Tremolo On A Guitar? pix
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pix pix by Rick Mariner  

Page added in April, 2012

About The Author

Rick Mariner is the owner and founder of Haywire Value Priced Custom Guitars, and a member of the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans (A.S.I.A.), as well as a guitar player. He holds a Bachelors degree from University of Maryland and a Masters degree from George Washington University.

Haywire developed an 8-Point "Gig-Ready" guitar process that allows for Haywire Custom Guitars that are "Gig-Ready". With many years of development and guitar set-up experience, they pride themselves in helping guitarists to build the "Just Right" Haywire guitar at prices well below market.

Please visit their web site at HaywireCustomGuitars.com.

Send comments to Rick Mariner.

© Rick Mariner

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  After playing a guitar with a blocked tremolo, you'll love it! Why? Well simply put-if your not playing a guitar with an advanced system like the Floyd Rose Tremolo then chances are it's the 70 year old Fender floating tremolo bridge technology you're using. So, why will you love playing a guitar with a blocked trem? You'll be in tune more of the time and no one in the band will give you a hard time anymore! Problems with a "floating tremolo bar" are as follows:

1. String almost never returns to zero after a dive bomb.

2. If one string breaks, the rest of strings go out of tune because of tension change.

3. Intonation is less accurate and takes much longer.

4. Bending just one string will cause other strings to go out of tune.

5. Other musicians playing with you will not be in tune.

How do we block or "deck" a trem in the Custom Shop and why?

Blocking the tremolo requires pulling of the inertia block with the tremolo springs closer to the back wall of the trem cavity to prevent it from moving. It is accomplished by tightening the screws at the "claw", as it pulls the springs tight. This makes the bridge behave more like a hard tail bridge, eliminating common headaches. Remember this unit design has not changed since the 1940's - however players have changed!

It's much easier to decipher an out of tune guitar in these technical times with the advent of our "electronic tuners" not around when tremolos were invented. For those who are purists, and want to keep their instruments in "collectable" condition, then have no fear. The process is not permanent. Eric Clapton blocks all of his guitars and he's got some real vintage models.

The electric guitar "floating" trem bridge is only "blocked" when the screws are tightened under the tremolo cover plate in the back of the guitar body. If done properly, the springs will be so tight that the trem will not move thereby rendering it blocked or "decked". The re-sale value is much better if you don't physically change anything that can't be reversed, since lots of players still want a trem or whammy bar on their guitars. Fortunately there is another benefit. There is more sustain without the floating tremolo. If it's blocked and it stays in perfect tune and it's not permanent or invasive to your instrument and it's completely reversible-then what's not to like about it? Go ahead and block your trem!

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