I have in the shop a '97 USA Strat. The customer wants to 'block' the trem block because of tuning issues. That would be the second part of my question.

Upon, taking off the rusty old strings, and cleaning the frets and fingerboard, I noticed some discoloration while sighting down the neck. While cleaning, I noticed some succint, sharp ridges that appear like some finish has chipped off of the sides of the frets and looks brassish in color.

Me thinking, nickle silver is nickle silver, am now curious about the composition of these frets?


After doing an internet search of trem-blocking methods, I would like to hear further from you fellow forum members on your methods, please!

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Looks like finish on the frets.  Score the bottom then sand, file, or chip it off.

Thanks! I feel like a dumbarse, as what I thought was concave discoloring on the frets was finish 'over the frets'....! Thank God that I have new prescription eye-glasses coning in 9 days.....Aurghhhh!...Ha!

In my defense, I ama vintage guy and not use to finish being over frets....! 


My blocking method. Make a slightly oversize rough block of hardwood. Then make that into two 'wedges' by cutting length-wise at a slight angle. True up the pieces. Fit them them together inside the guitar cavity between the block and body. For the final fitting I add some wood glue to lock the wedges. I hope that makes sense?  Tom

I think that I get your thought on the trem-block wedge.. At any rate, a hardwood wedge. How do you treat the spring/claw mechanism? Tighten....remove....??

Should the bridge-piece set on the body/top, ot still have lift after 'blocking?

Yup, finish over the frets, one of the less intelligent ideas from a major manufacturer.  I've had a shard of it stick in my finger, and another luthier friend of mine did a bend and got a piece in his eye.


I would think that one successfull lawsuit would cure Fender of this 'dreadfull practice'...

I find it hard to believe that it 'remains' after 16 years of ownership and playing ( by the OP).......???

Had it been my guitar....It would have been gone A LONG TIME AGO...jes sayin' iT IS MY FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH IT.

The goal is to have the bridge flat and tight on the top, and the wood clamped by string tension. Loosen the springs to clamp. 

This is just my method. I am sure others will have good options.

Hi Rod.

Just adding one more 'thing I do' to the great advice you've gotten thus far.

In the quickly thrown together drawing, I'm attempting to indicate that I use a wooden "block/wedge" on both the front and back of the inertia block. I like to think (with no hard evidence) it further couples the inertia block to the body.

As far as leaving the springs.... a lot of guys whose strats I've blocked asked to keep the springs because (and I agree) they create a 'faux reverb' effect when their vibrations are transferred through the pickups via sympathetic microphonics.

Best of luck with this project :)

Hi guys, 

Am I missing something here, it's late - I just tighten the trem springs and set the action so the bridge plate lies flat on the front of the guitar and use  the saddles to set the string height.   I use an adjustable set screw bracket to lock up Floyds and used to use blocks but don't ever recall blocking a Strat for any good reason.  I sometimes put a couple of extra springs on to thicken up the sound a bit or hold the bridge dead flat under heavy bending but for normal locking I just use the spring tension.  

Hi Paul, that faux reverb is there for sure - for playing loud and recording  I wedge a bit of case foam under the springs because they go "clang/noisy " on the leading edge of the pick attack - same goes for strings behind the nut - hair scrunchy or gaffa placed just after the nut shuts em up.

Regards, Rusty.

Russell. The reason for the Strat block is 'alleged' improved tone production. It's included with the Eric Clapton signature model. People request it. 

Thanks Thomas,

I'm glad I will not die not knowing that.......guess I don't spend any time on the "how to sound like Clapton with just two blocks of wood" forums.   


Sorry I posted such a pathetic 'solution', Rusty.


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