Been spending alot of time with my Strats lately. Learned alot too!

One thing I've been doing is weighing all the bridge/tremolo units on a triple beam and comparing the USA Fender Vintage Reissues with the three original '61, 62 and 63 units I have and with the 80's MIJ units I have.

The USA units sound better. Deeper and more solid and authoritive.

And all of the Fender USA Reissue units weigh about the same too: around 373 to 375 grams with the bridge saddles in place.

The 80's MIJ units weigh in at about 320 grams, even with a full size block and the saddles in place. I'll be weighing more of these as I remove them from my guitars. We'll see if they're all that light.

The three vintage '61, '62 and '63 units weigh in at 375 grams or more. But they are not all identical! All three are slightly differant in depth from each other and deeper than the Fender USA Reissue...maybe a 1/16" to 3/32" difference in depth between the three original 60's blocks I have.

In fact, when the tremolo is screwed down flat with the top of the guitar and all five springs are in place, the springs where they attach to the block actually stick out a little on the back of my '63 Strat! The block on the Fender USA RI tremolos is about 1/16" shorter in depth compared to my three vintage 60's blocks, so that "problem" has been corrected with the Fender USA RI blocks.

I think that diff in depth is due to how much was ground off of the tremolo block to flatten it up for a tight fit when attached to the bridge plate. It was probably done by hand in the 50's and 60's and each ended up being slightly diffrant from the next. But only slightly.

The best tone comes from the heavier units, and I don't hear much diff (if any) in tone between the '61, '62 and '63 units and the Fender Vintage Reissue unit.

So the first step in the Ultimate Stratocaster Tone quest is changing all the trems in my MIJ Strats to the Fender USA Reissue Tremolos. The tone has improved in all of them!

Now...onto set-up: