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GFS full block tremolo for MIM strat- MY REVIEW

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  • GFS full block tremolo for MIM strat- MY REVIEW

    After receiving my GFS full size complete tremolo I have had time with it to look it over and check it out closely. I just want to say this is my personal review of the tremolo and my observations from it.

    Upon first unpacking it from the box my first impression was that it looked cheap. Really cheap. Especially the stamped steel saddles. I compared the stamped steel saddles to the "Fender" MIM saddles and they are definitely sub quality. The "Fender" MIM ones are much thicker and just look stronger. The chrome on the bridge plate isn't that great either. It actually chipped a little bit from when I screwed on the tremolo arm.

    The good thing about the tremolo assembly is the steel block. It's THICK and is most definitely FULL SIZED. Jay wasn't kidding when he said they made a full size steel block, it's freaking huge haha. Definitely much bigger then the one on the MIM bridge.

    Here are some picks of the bridge assembly. Take a look for yourself by like I said the saddles look pretty cheap and feel pretty cheap.






    The next thing I wanted to address was the fit of the tremolo block. I guess it varies by guitar, but for me it's not a direct drop in. The bridge plate is too big and doesn't fit with the pickguard. In fact I need to cut away some of the pickguard and enlarge the bridge area because the bridge plate is much better then the opening the pickguard allows. The other problem with fit is that I need to enlarge the tremolo cavity of my Strat. The full size block is very tight in there and doesn't move very easy. It's not hard, just sort of too big for the cavity. Here are the pictures of those two issues. You can see how the plate falls on top of the pickguard and how the steel block doesn't fit too easily in the cavity.




    Overall I probably will not buy another budget bridge. I guess you really do get what you pay for. I don't think I'm going to put the bridge in my MIM Strat because I have put a lot of effort making sure that it is a quality built guitar and I feel as if this bridge is no up to par with the rest of the things that have been done to it. However, I'm not going to bash on GFS or anything because my Squier needs to be completely rebuilt and that doesn't have a bridge therefore this will be going on the Squier instead.

    Anyways I wanted to give you guys my honest description and review of this product. Sorry if I offended the hardcore GFS fans, but I personally do feel like this isn't a very good bridge. At the same time I don't think it's garbage or anything like that, I just don't think I'll be putting in my main axe, this is definitely going on the spare parts build. Sorry for the poor review, this just how I honestly feel. I do think the stock "Fender" MIM bridge is much better quality. I think I'm going to invest in the Callaham full size block for my main guitar even if it is $60 bucks. I just think that will be more worth it.
    "Man who stand on toilet seat is high on pot"

    The Squier Army
    The "Official" Stratocaster Club


    2010 Gisbon Les Paul Studio
    2001 Fender Fat Strat
    1997 Squire Strat Project

    Blackstar HT1RH w/ 1x12 Eminence Cab

    Boss ME-50
    Whammy IV -> Vox 847 Wah ->TS9 -> Phase 90 -> DigiDelay -> Boss GE7 EQ

    Good Transactions: PunkKitty, MetalGuitar08, conky

  • #2
    thanks for your full honesty. i was actually considering buying the exact same bridge for my MIM strat and i am glad that i have the opportunity to reconsider.

    Please give an update (or PM me personally) about the Callahan bridge you plan on buying. I hope it all works out
    Have had good dealings with: protoge x goaway smashingtime

    Comment


    • #3
      You're entitled to your opinion. Doesn't look cheap to me, though.
      Good Sales / Trades

      Comment


      • #4
        You're entitled to your opinion. Doesn't look cheap to me, though.


        Me either, they look on par with just about any other stamped saddle. I've certainly seen worse. That said, things can look a whole lot different when you are holding them in your hand.
        Listen...

        Comment


        • #5
          Also, it depends on what they're made of and how well they're made. Thicker saddles aren't always superior.

          The sustain on my Edwards strat is crazy, and the saddles look pretty much exactly like those.
          Good Sales / Trades

          Comment


          • #6
            Also, it depends on what they're made of and how well they're made. Thicker saddles aren't always superior.

            The sustain on my Edwards strat is crazy, and the saddles look pretty much exactly like those.


            Very true. That's the kind of thing you can't necessarily tell by looking.


            I do appreciate the review btw.
            Listen...

            Comment


            • #7
              It would have been nice to do some side-by-side comparisons with the stock MIM bridge. What is the width of the base plate where it meet's the pick guard?
              Peavey Ultra 120 Plus
              Genz Benz G-Glex 2x12
              Great transactions with: GuitarMan216, rockitsauce, lackingimpact, Ballfuzz, ToWillOneThing, airship71, litzilong, Exdeath, RUExp? (x2), Boris the Blade

              Comment


              • #8
                Also, it depends on what they're made of and how well they're made. Thicker saddles aren't always superior.

                The sustain on my Edwards strat is crazy, and the saddles look pretty much exactly like those.


                Yes, that's the real test. How does it sound when installed on the guitar. Just going by looks isn't very scientific or appropriate when dealing with a musical instrument.
                Peavey Ultra 120 Plus
                Genz Benz G-Glex 2x12
                Great transactions with: GuitarMan216, rockitsauce, lackingimpact, Ballfuzz, ToWillOneThing, airship71, litzilong, Exdeath, RUExp? (x2), Boris the Blade

                Comment


                • #9
                  The saddles don't look as "crisp" as the ones on my MIM 72 Tele Thinline.

                  The whole assembly reminds me of the typical fare that you find on Korean guitars--like my Brian May. That bridge is made by Il Sung and it will NOT return the guitar to pitch even if you barely touch it. The cast parts are simply not as precise as, say, a comparable Fender Classic Series (MIM) unit.

                  I have two vintage style Fender trems on two strats and they work great. If you know how to set them up, they will return the guitar to pitch as good as any non double-locking trem on the market except for the PRS which is amazing.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    But if it does not fit without modification...that's not cool, either. Glad to see some honesty here. When I first started reading, I thought this was gonna be another attempt at a parody thread....but it wasn't! Thanks for the info!
                    My Gear:
                    2015 Taylor 214ce Deluxe
                    2008 Fender American Standard Telecaster
                    Epiphone Les Paul Standard Pro
                    2006 Fender American 60th Anniv. P-Bass
                    Takamine acoustic

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I don't know if this will help, but these are MIM saddles:


                      Comment


                      • #12
                        But if it does not fit without modification...that's not cool, either. Glad to see some honesty here. When I first started reading, I thought this was gonna be another attempt at a parody thread....but it wasn't! Thanks for the info!


                        Yeah to be honest the fitting is kind of a crap shoot. It does not fit in the Squier without some extra routing of the body and pickguard. I plan on doing that though. In the MIM Strat is barely cleared the body cavity, but it made it without rubbing. It didn't clear the pickguard too well though. It's pressed up pretty damn tight against the pickguard on the MIM. On the Squier the tremolo actually sits on top of the pickguard, on the MIM you have to loosen up the pickguard to provide some slack then you can go ahead and tighten everything down. Doing this makes it the tremolo pressed against the pickguard with some pressure though.
                        "Man who stand on toilet seat is high on pot"

                        The Squier Army
                        The "Official" Stratocaster Club


                        2010 Gisbon Les Paul Studio
                        2001 Fender Fat Strat
                        1997 Squire Strat Project

                        Blackstar HT1RH w/ 1x12 Eminence Cab

                        Boss ME-50
                        Whammy IV -> Vox 847 Wah ->TS9 -> Phase 90 -> DigiDelay -> Boss GE7 EQ

                        Good Transactions: PunkKitty, MetalGuitar08, conky

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          So I went ahead and did a comparison of the Fender MIM tremolo and the GFS full size block tremolo. Other then having a full size the Fender factory unit is hands down a much better tremolo.

                          Here is the comparison between the saddles on the Fender and the saddles on the GFS unit. The saddles on the Fender are much beefier. It's a little hard to tell on the picture, but if you look closely you can actually see that the Fender saddles are actually a little thicker.




                          Next thing you can also see that fitting is a kind of a crap shoot. It doesn't fit my Squier Strat (black guitar) without some extra routing of the guitar cavity and the pickguard. In the MIM Strat (white guitar) the unit barely clears the cavity in the body but still has to be seriously nudged into place in order to fit with the pickguard.


                          You can actually see the top of the block does not fit with any room to spare in the body of the Squier, so I'll have to route myself a little bit. Now in the MIM you can see that it barely made into the body cavity.



                          In the next pics you'll see the original Fender factory tremolo and that it fits nicely within the pickguard space.


                          If you look closely now at the GFS tremolo it's right up on the pickguard on both sides and if you look even closer you can notice the holes don't line up and so this requires you to loosen the pickguard in order to tighten down the tremolo and then tighten down the pickguard. This makes both parts literally pressing onto each other rather badly.



                          Those are the pictures of both units being compared to each other. I personally didn't think the GFS unit was great and feel like the saddles are pretty cheap. I wouldn't put it in a main axe or one that I gigged, and it's not going in my main guitar. However, the unit is not horrible, after all, it was only $35! If you're willing to do some fitting on a cheap guitar you're trying to get working again then this is a good unit. It's cheap as hell and does it's job. Personally I think keep the Fender unit, especially the Fender stamped saddles, and buy a Callaham full size block. I know the Callaham is $60 for the block alone, but in reality, you do get what you pay for.

                          That said, even though this tremolo didn't work out for my MIM Strat, at least it got the ball rolling on my Squier!
                          "Man who stand on toilet seat is high on pot"

                          The Squier Army
                          The "Official" Stratocaster Club


                          2010 Gisbon Les Paul Studio
                          2001 Fender Fat Strat
                          1997 Squire Strat Project

                          Blackstar HT1RH w/ 1x12 Eminence Cab

                          Boss ME-50
                          Whammy IV -> Vox 847 Wah ->TS9 -> Phase 90 -> DigiDelay -> Boss GE7 EQ

                          Good Transactions: PunkKitty, MetalGuitar08, conky

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            Upon first unpacking it from the box my first impression was that it looked cheap. Really cheap. Especially the stamped steel saddles. I compared the stamped steel saddles to the "Fender" MIM saddles and they are definitely sub quality. The "Fender" MIM ones are much thicker and just look stronger. The chrome on the bridge plate isn't that great either. It actually chipped a little bit from when I screwed on the tremolo arm.


                            Here are some picks of the bridge assembly. Take a look for yourself by like I said the saddles look pretty cheap and feel pretty cheap.


                            The next thing I wanted to address was the fit of the tremolo block. I guess it varies by guitar, but for me it's not a direct drop in. The bridge plate is too big and doesn't fit with the pickguard. In fact I need to cut away some of the pickguard and enlarge the bridge area because the bridge plate is much better then the opening the pickguard allows. The other problem with fit is that I need to enlarge the tremolo cavity of my Strat. The full size block is very tight in there and doesn't move very easy. It's not hard, just sort of too big for the cavity. Here are the pictures of those two issues. You can see how the plate falls on top of the pickguard and how the steel block doesn't fit too easily in the cavity.


                            Overall I probably will not buy another budget bridge. I guess you really do get what you pay for. I don't think I'm going to put the bridge in my MIM Strat because I have put a lot of effort making sure that it is a quality built guitar and I feel as if this bridge is no up to par with the rest of the things that have been done to it. However, I'm not going to bash on GFS or anything because my Squier needs to be completely rebuilt and that doesn't have a bridge therefore this will be going on the Squier instead.

                            Anyways I wanted to give you guys my honest description and review of this product. Sorry if I offended the hardcore GFS fans, but I personally do feel like this isn't a very good bridge. At the same time I don't think it's garbage or anything like that, I just don't think I'll be putting in my main axe, this is definitely going on the spare parts build. Sorry for the poor review, this just how I honestly feel. I do think the stock "Fender" MIM bridge is much better quality. I think I'm going to invest in the Callaham full size block for my main guitar even if it is $60 bucks. I just think that will be more worth it.


                            You're a very brave man........now go put your flameproof suit on.

                            I agree with your overall assessment, it is definitely not a dropin replacement.
                            The one I bought wasn't either.

                            Same for the two replacement blocks (for IMPORT strats) I bought. The block is too tall and will interfere with the trem cover on Squiers, don't know about MIM............

                            If you leave the trem cover off, you will have the block digging into your gut.

                            Before I get blasted by the GFS Posse, I should point out that when I contacted Jay about these issues , I was indeed offered a full refund, but decided to keep the parts and modify them..........
                            good transactions with dcindc, mindriot, 98 les paul, drawdeep and jelloman

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              OP is this the trem you ordered?
                              http://store.guitarfetish.com/minmeimuptrg.html

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