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August Issue
more... GearReviewsPickups & AccessoriesFloyd Rose-equippedFebruary 2009Big Block

Big Block Floyd Rose Tremolo Review

Big Block Floyd Rose Tremolo Review
Floyd Upgrades Big Block
Before & After comparison coming soon!

In keeping with the theme of this issue, hotrodding an electric guitar, we could not ignore the Floyd Rose tremolo. True, it went through an unpopular period in the ninties due to the retro-vogue phase. But with the resurgence of the hot rod guitar, the Floyd Rose has again come to the forefront of tuning stability in a modern-made guitar.

Invented in 1977 by an imaginative guitar tech named Floyd Rose, this tremolo was an updated version of the original Fender design, eliminating friction points at the nut and saddles. While most of its focus was on its ability to stabilize tuning, there were guitarists who noted the thin, tinny tone the Floyd gave to a guitar’s sound. Guitar tech Adam Reiver decided to improve the tone of Floyd-equipped guitars by attacking the tremolo at its heart: the sustain block. This new upgrade, designed by Reiver, is named “The Big Block,” and is available at floydupgrades.com—where you can also find other upgrades for Floyd-equipped guitars. The sustain block reviewed here is non-descript, looking like a rectangular block made of high-grade bell brass.

I installed a 42mm Big Block in the Floyd Rose assembly on my main Charvel guitar. This guitar is simplistic in design, with an alder body and maple neck. It has only one humbucker and a single volume pot, so wood routing is minimal outside of the actual tremolo cavity. I recorded the tone of the existing guitar through a Marshall 100-Watt half stack with a moderate amount of overdrive, using a digital recorder before taking the whole tremolo bridge apart. Dismantling a Floyd Rose is a fairly easy task. Underneath the saddles are three Allen head screws that are countersunk into the base plate. Removing the original block, I compared it to the Big Block in size, dimension and weight.

The Big Block is significantly larger in comparison to the original Floyd sustain block.
Note the differences:

Standard Floyd Block
Floyd Upgrade Big Block
1 15/16˝ width 1 15/16˝
1 5/8˝ height 1 11/16˝
1/4˝ thickness 1/2˝
5 oz. weight 8 oz.

Attaching the Big Block to the baseplate, one thing I noticed was that the sizeable difference allows for surface contact to the baseplate. This would later prove to affect the tone. Reassembling the rest of the Floyd Rose was relatively easy; the placement of the spring attachment holes seemed to be in the exact same position as the original block. After mounting the reassembled bridge back onto the guitar, only very minor adjustments were needed made to the correct float position (parallel to the surface of the body). The only degree of difficulty involved was re-intonating the saddles. Once that was done, I continued the test.

Picking up the guitar, I noticed a different center of gravity. I couldn’t have anticipated the difference three ounces makes to that area of the guitar, but it created a different mass to the rear bout of the guitar. When strumming open chords, the guitar was noticeably louder acoustically and less trebly. Amplified through the same amp, the guitar was more articulate in tone and less tinny than before. Though it took away the overt trebly tone, there wasn’t any overcompensated muddiness in its place. Recording this tone and comparing it to the previous recording, there is more pronounced sustain. Again, this is the same guitar, and there were only minor intonation adjustments made after the Floyd was reassembled.

Adam Reiver’s Big Block is the best upgrade you can add to a Floyd-equipped guitar. It improves the tone and resonance of the guitar, and it brings out a more natural fullness you may not have known was possible.
Buy if...
you want to improve sustain and resonance of your Floyd-equipped guitar.
Skip if...
you like the sound of your current Floyd-equipped guitar.
Rating...
5.0

Street $32.95 and up - Floyd Upgrades - floydupgrades.com

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