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Author: Subject: SX Tremolos & Replacement Necks (formerly a chat with devdem)
scarpazoid
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posted on 17-2-2008 at 04:26 PM
SX Tremolos & Replacement Necks (formerly a chat with devdem)


I recently purchased an SX SST and, like quite a few others here on this forum, am looking for a good alternative to the stock SX Tremolo.

After reading , this thread I immediately got in contact with devdem with some questions concerning the Callaham steel block upgrade via U2U.

devdem was extremely helpful and quite detailed in his answers.
I thought that others on this forum might benefit somewhat from devdem's knowledge, therefore I started this thread with devdem's permission.

My first question was to find out if the Callaham block would fit onto the SX stock tremolo. Callaham offers a steel block that is designed for a MIM that I thought might work with the SX trem.

devdem responded by saying: No. The Callaham block does not come with a plate and the holes on the SX plate will not line up with the Callaham block.

Perhaps some of you don't this but the MIM Fender Standard Strat tremolo is a perfect fit for the SX Strat copies. I have installed a MIM tremolo on my 1st SX Strat without issue.

devdem states that the Callaham block fits the MIM tremolo almost perfectly. The only area that requires a little attention is where the trem arm gets inserted.
Perhaps devdem could upload a picture for us to show his project? ;)

So basically, the main issue is to get your hands on a Fender Standard MIM tremolo for the proper fitting plate.

I have done a little bit of research on the Callaham Website and have noticed that they now offer a complete MIM package with proper 2 1/16 spacing. However, the price tag is a little steep at $165.

It seems that the cheapest alternative is to find a MIM tremolo ($12-?), buy the GFS stainless steel saddles ($11.95), and the Callaham steel block ($60 w/out trem arm, or $75 with trem arm).

Hope this helps someone out.

[Edited on 18-2-2008 by scarpazoid]
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2manygeetars
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posted on 17-2-2008 at 04:44 PM


I believe that GFS has a drop in TREM for MIM as well.

http://store.guitarfetish.com/vitrfimekoch.html




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posted on 17-2-2008 at 04:48 PM


I'd probably install this one......... a free floating trem.

http://store.guitarfetish.com/wistsatrfial.html



That drop in I mentioned probably has the same plate that the SX comes with.




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posted on 17-2-2008 at 06:03 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by 2manygeetars
I believe that GFS has a drop in TREM for MIM as well.

http://store.guitarfetish.com/vitrfimekoch.html


from many of the reports ive read, that trem isnt really an upgrade over the SX trem, its basically the same part.

the wilkinson looks nice, not sure if its an easy replacement though, hmmm
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scarpazoid
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posted on 17-2-2008 at 06:06 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by 2manygeetars
I'd probably install this one......... a free floating trem.

http://store.guitarfetish.com/wistsatrfial.html



That drop in I mentioned probably has the same plate that the SX comes with.


Yep, you're right in saying that the GFS MIM Tremolo has the same plate as the SX.
The problem with this other one is that it is a full sized ALLOY block and not steel.

EDIT:
I maybe should have specified that I was doing research for an option with a full sized STEEL block.

[Edited on 17-2-2008 by scarpazoid]
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ihavenofish
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posted on 17-2-2008 at 06:20 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by scarpazoid
Quote:
Originally posted by 2manygeetars
I'd probably install this one......... a free floating trem.

http://store.guitarfetish.com/wistsatrfial.html



That drop in I mentioned probably has the same plate that the SX comes with.


Yep, you're right in saying that the GFS MIM Tremolo has the same plate as the SX.
The problem with this other one is that it is a full sized ALLOY block and not steel.

EDIT:
I maybe should have specified that I was doing research for an option with a full sized STEEL block.

[Edited on 17-2-2008 by scarpazoid]


thers a vintage style wilk on gfs with a steel block as well. its less money too, bout $35 if i recall.
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posted on 17-2-2008 at 06:52 PM


^
Yep, I've looked at that one and the only thing that I can find on the 'net is that the string spacing is 2 7/32 which will probably translate into different mounting holes as well.
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posted on 17-2-2008 at 07:17 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by scarpazoid
^
Yep, I've looked at that one and the only thing that I can find on the 'net is that the string spacing is 2 7/32 which will probably translate into different mounting holes as well.



ahhh, hmmm. could always dowel and redrill of course. id email jay at gfs though, most of the parts he has are made for import guitars.
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posted on 17-2-2008 at 07:32 PM


^
It's certainly tempting at that price.

Now, I'm also changing out the Wilkinson Tremolo in my Agile. I don't believe that the ST-1000 actually comes with a Steel Block even though they claim that it is on the Rondo site.

That vintage wilkinson on the GFS site shows up everywhere as having a genuine steel block, I think it will look sweet with my Agile.
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posted on 17-2-2008 at 07:33 PM


You could switch to the SEG1 :x:



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posted on 17-2-2008 at 07:34 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by scarpazoid
^
It's certainly tempting at that price.

Now, I'm also changing out the Wilkinson Tremolo in my Agile. I don't believe that the ST-1000 actually comes with a Steel Block even though they claim that it is on the Rondo site.

That vintage wilkinson on the GFS site shows up everywhere as having a genuine steel block, I think it will look sweet with my Agile.


i dont think the wilk 2 pont ever had a steel block, its not part of the design it seems. the $90 gotoh version is also alloy if im not mistaken.
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posted on 17-2-2008 at 07:39 PM


Is the Fender MIM Strat trem (not GFS) better than the SX?



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posted on 17-2-2008 at 08:11 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by gilmourjunkie
Is the Fender MIM Strat trem (not GFS) better than the SX?


Not necessarily better as stock. I would only consider it to be "better" because the Callaham steel block is designed to fit on it.
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posted on 17-2-2008 at 08:26 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by ihavenofish
i dont think the wilk 2 pont ever had a steel block, its not part of the design it seems. the $90 gotoh version is also alloy if im not mistaken.


EDIT #2: Okay, found the UK site which shows my 2 point model with a Steel Block.
Click Here
Scroll down to the 2nd last item from the bottom and you'll see that there are two models. One features a steel block and the other doesn't.

Also, have come across an interesting site which sells Wilkinson Steel Blocks if anyone is interested.

EDIT: Just realized that the site I just mentioned is in Australia...bummer.

[Edited on 17-2-2008 by scarpazoid]


[Edited on 17-2-2008 by scarpazoid]
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posted on 17-2-2008 at 08:55 PM


i've found that when working with sx guitars ( for myself i still own 10 modded sx's and have worked on many for friends and others and have sold some that i have owned in the past) the reason i mention this is to simply say , i've had a enough pass my way to see a fair example of the sx line .. one thing i can say with confidence "sx guitars vary in both quality and construction" .. sometimes in ways you would'nt expect , such a body dimension amoung others .. one trem issue i've come across that i think is worth sharing is in reguards to this wilk trem http://yhst-50206111187217.stores.yahoo.net/wivitrpoarst.html .. on some sx sst models this tremblock is too large .. too deep / long actually .. on some models this block extend either right to the edge of the trem route (to where the spring ends actually rub against yur body when playing ) and in one case with the 3tsb ash P90 version this tremblock actually extended beyond the trem cavity .. in other words , as i mentioned earlier , some sx body dimentions vary .... and from what i have been able to tell there is no way to know which is which as i've seen this in all different colors and models ... if i may add something here quickly that relates to bridge issues .. i've done alot of modding on these instruments and here's what i've found brings out the best in them ( other than electronics) .. with the same original neck (especially maple/maple) , these guitars have a somewhat thin tinny tone to them (this is'nt an opinion as i've tested this over and over and had other other people listen and share their input as well in a/b testing) i'll post a seperate thread about sx necks later so as not to steal yur thread .. my point here is that i've installed large block trems on sx's with original necks and found that from what i can tell a simple swapping of saddles to the gfs stainless will get you pretty much the same results .. i know i know , for those who disagree , that's yur right .. this is just what i've found .. also the gfs "roller" replacement saddles fit "some" sx bridges (tightly packed which can be debated as to good or bad ).. on some sx's including every stl i've tried to install them on they're just slightly too wide and simply don't fit ... sx bridge string spread is slightly tighter than fender string spread .. this can at times result in a poor match with the fender spread being too wide for the sx fretboard and depending on how said frets are ramped ... for my ear and those who have played my guitars , the major tone improvement comes from a neck replacement .. this gives a more rounded string to body tone ... the best i can explian it as is that the sx neck is a softer wood that soaks up more of the tonal vibrations .... of course this is just my opinion and my idea of what i guitar should sound like may differ from another persons .... but well , thought i'd share some thought relateing to yur post ... peace, :)

[Edited on 18-2-2008 by zigg]

[Edited on 18-2-2008 by zigg]




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posted on 17-2-2008 at 09:40 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by scarpazoid
Quote:
Originally posted by ihavenofish
i dont think the wilk 2 pont ever had a steel block, its not part of the design it seems. the $90 gotoh version is also alloy if im not mistaken.


EDIT #2: Okay, found the UK site which shows my 2 point model with a Steel Block.
Click Here
Scroll down to the 2nd last item from the bottom and you'll see that there are two models. One features a steel block and the other doesn't.

Also, have come across an interesting site which sells Wilkinson Steel Blocks if anyone is interested.

EDIT: Just realized that the site I just mentioned is in Australia...bummer.

[Edited on 17-2-2008 by scarpazoid]


[Edited on 17-2-2008 by scarpazoid]


ah. yeah, the one on the st1000 is a different design than the one on guitar fetish. ive never seen the gfs style with a steel block for sale, however it does seem to be an option.

heres a chinese site thats licensed to make the wilk parts (probably makes the ones on agiles and at gfs)
http://www.manitoguitars.net/guitars.asp?BC=B&pdid=38

yours is the WVS which is standard with steel. the WVP is alloy, and the WVP SB is the version with the steel block.

so look up WVP-SB on google and see what you can find.

and also note everything zigg said. not all sx's are the same, and as he mentioned, the ash ones are a good 1/8" thinner than the alder ones.
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posted on 17-2-2008 at 09:47 PM


Great posts guys.

To ihavenofish:
The ASH body is noticeably thinner. I'm kinda wondering now if the steel block will be too long. Something to consider. I will check out your link next....

To zigg:
Dude, excellent post. You are about the 3rd or 4th person I've talked to who have stressed the importance of decent necks for good tone. I think that you're onto something. You've mentioned that you put on tonnes of Mighty Mite necks and I believe that you've also tried Warmoth? What are your thoughts on EDEN necks? Ever tried 'em?

Can't wait to see your post on necks...lookin' forward to it. :cool:

[Edited on 17-2-2008 by scarpazoid]
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posted on 17-2-2008 at 11:26 PM


sorry, i've never used eden products before .. are they licensed fender replacement necks ? i've never had issue with fitting any licensed fender replacement necks on an sx .. warmoth, wd, mightymite, .. the place i get most of my necks from (mightymite) run me $89 +s&h which i feel is a fair price for a good basic neck .. compounds, ebony, floyd rose cut run $99 again i think thats a decent price for a fender reg. neck .. to be honest i've only looked at eden a couple of time due to mention here .. and each time i've seen them selling in the $50 and lower range (but i've never seen the closeing bid ) .. i'd love to see one sometime , but i've never noticed the fender reg. statement (i may just be missing it though) and without that or knowing the luthier building the neck i'm afrfaid i'd just end up with what sx already installed on their instrument (a decent playable neck but not an upgrade of any real measure ) but i may be way off there ... on the other hand i think southpaw just installed a new maple/maple neck on his vw stl and now as i think about it , that may be an eden .. hey southpaw, what about it, was that an eden? if so how about some help here :) ... i'm always happy to save a few more dollars where i can ;) ... peace



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posted on 17-2-2008 at 11:38 PM


Hey zigg.

My next door neighbor is putting together a guitar (very slowly) and he has an EDEN neck in his possession.
It has the proper headstock shape but is NOT a LIC. F*nder neck.
I had the opportunity to measure it today. It is almost exactly the same size as my Agile ST neck. The only difference is the radius at the heel of the guitar, it's more squared like a Tele heel. I'm obviously not talking about the radius of the fretboard.

I tried it on my SX SST and it was a little smaller than the stock neck. I'm not saying that one couldn't make it work though...

I went on ebay and made an offer on a RW neck from the guy in Vancouver for $19.99 and he accepted it. $12 for shipping and I'm giggling like a school girl! :P

And finally yes, I recently saw a post by southpaw putting an Eden neck on his STL. I would definitely like to know what MODS he had to do to make it work. HINT HINT!!! :P

zigg, you better get started on that thread! I'm anxious! :dance:

[Edited on 17-2-2008 by scarpazoid]
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posted on 18-2-2008 at 09:27 AM


Zigg,
So you are saying that the mighty mite necks are far superior to the SX ones? Is it an easy install or did you have to do anything special to get it to fit?




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posted on 18-2-2008 at 11:47 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by gilmourjunkie
Zigg,
So you are saying that the mighty mite necks are far superior to the SX ones? Is it an easy install or did you have to do anything special to get it to fit?

far superior? it seems like lately here that a statement like that can cause a riot HAHAHAHAHA lets just say that to my ear and those who have played my guitars , there is a noticable improvment in overall tone (acoustic tone) .. i have no doubt at all that there are some who would prefer how the sx sounds with the original neck , so i want to be careful not to insult anyone on this subject ... i only know what i prefer to hear in an instrument
every fender reg. neck i've installed on an sx went on with no major issues but for one (if i'm remembering correctly) which was the 3tsb ash .. the neck pocket was too deep for a 22 fret neck .. i had to recut the pickguard around the bottom of the fretboard to allow the 22nd fret to lay directly on the body (sliding the pickguard under as one usually would lifted the neck from the pocket) not a big deal , easy fix... one thing i want to point out since we're talking necks that i think is important ..... it has become the norm for necks in many price ranges as well as on new guitars , to be frankly poorly dressed in the fret area .. i find it very common to have to dress the frets on many a new neck .. it seems to have become the norm ... just a heads up ... peace

p.s. where bolt on necks are concerned , shims are also very common, always have been .. to the point that fender and many other makers have used different approaches such as the microtilt



[Edited on 18-2-2008 by zigg]




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posted on 18-2-2008 at 02:54 PM


I'm trying to glean all the info that I can so I got another question for ya zigg.

Why do necks need a shim anyways? I have heard of people shimming their necks with playing cards, comb teeth, thin picks, etc. What exactly is shimming for?

Yes, in some things I'm incredibly naive. :(
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posted on 18-2-2008 at 05:09 PM


let me get to the shim question a lil later, i'm kind of in a hurry to get outta here right now ... but i wanted to post this as soon as i could .. of course here i've given sx and mightymite a solid ok and today i recieved 2 mightymite maple maple necks , both intended for sx mods.. i'm waiting on the arrival of one of the sst's but the other intend was the vw b stock i recently received .. here we go again as to the sx varying for guitar to guitar .. the vw's neck pocket is quite wide and both mm necks are too small with a fair amount of space on either side .. i'll figure it out and make it work but this is something that if it happened to someone looking to do a simple swap out , would find frustrating and unexceptable .. i'll let ya know how it ends up when i figure it out ... peace

[Edited on 18-2-2008 by zigg]




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posted on 18-2-2008 at 05:18 PM


The mighty mite necks are not high enough in the pocket

ANd the neck holes in ssts are off




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posted on 18-2-2008 at 05:33 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by scarpazoid
I'm trying to glean all the info that I can so I got another question for ya zigg.

Why do necks need a shim anyways? I have heard of people shimming their necks with playing cards, comb teeth, thin picks, etc. What exactly is shimming for?

Yes, in some things I'm incredibly naive. :(


Zigg can probably give you a better answer, but in the mean time:

Shimming a bolt on neck is a way to fine tune the way it approaches the bridge. If the neck is angled into the body it can mean that the bridge cannot get low enough to get low action. If it is angled up from the body it can mean that you have to raise the bridge unusually high to get it to be playable at all.

So, in short, I shim mine to get the bridge/saddles where I want them when the action is where I want it.

[Edited on 2-18-2008 by dabbler]




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