• Callaham Vintage S bridge review

    I recently replaced the stock bridge system on my black Strat with a Callaham Vintage S Model kit. The old saddles had deep creeks in them from the strings and I’ve always had problems with keeping the intonation.

    Callaham bridge

    Callaham offers a wide range of replacement parts for most Stratocaster models. The Vintage S Model is a faithful replica of the classic pre- CBS Fender bridge with needed upgrades. It also comes with a shortened tremolo arm… a welcomed feature for us Gilmour maniacs. Visit Callaham Guitars (see “S Bridge details”, left menu) for more technical info.

    One of the improved features is the tremolo block. I’d never though it would improve my tone as much as it has. The guitar sings with rich sustain, fatter bottom and a distinctly punchier attack. It’s amazing how good it sounds even when I’m just strumming acoustically. The slot for the tremolo arm is also improved making the arm very sensitive and extremely smooth. (see “block details”, left menu)

    I also love how the string slots on the saddles are slightly lengthened so that the strings flow more easily. The guitar stays in perfect tune even when I’m abusing the tremolo arm.

    The Callaham set was a great surprise and one of the best investments I’ve done in a long time. A big thanks to Ernest for recommending it! It really brought new life to my bellowed black Strat! Highly recommended!

    Post Tagged with , ,

91 Responsesso far.

  1. Jim Sholty says:

    Hello all,
    Have been running the callaham complete S Bridge on my 57 american strat build for a couple years now. I added it as an upgrade to the fender vintage bridge when I strpped the trem arm and had too much free play in the fit.
    Imediate brighter and more articulate acoustically and sonically. The callaham machining is superior if you were to inspect the individual pieces.
    The instrument rings now, stays in tune much better and the trem arm is smoother. I use 3 springs w/ Boomer 10 ga strings in the triangle configuration as a fender tech video demonstrated. I also have bridge set up full float per fender float specs. Over all, the callaham springs are stiffer but smoother. I found that I like their med legnth arm w/ the full float and 10 ga strings. I also have a 62 RI strat mij 82 that is superb. Again though the trem arm had too much play to my liking. So I installed another complete aged S bridge. I have this strat set up w/ 11 ga tuned down to E flat. I use 4 springs, no float fender spec set up. I use a full legnth trem arm for added leverage. Again, the longer slotted bridge saddles allow the strings to ring. Same imediate sonic result acoustically. Best upgrade for the buck. I might add that I also have a callaham loaded pickguard on my 57 build now. Have their special wind set. Very happy w/ the quality build and pickups. I did change Bills cap out to a .02 as found the .1 too dark. I also run the lindy treble bleed and magic cap on bridge tone pot

  2. Stefano says:

    Hej Bjørn!

    I own an American standard strat and I was thinking of trying the Callaham upgrade…by looking at the specs, it looks like they have a different model (not the S) for my guitar, so I’m assuming I wouldn’t be able to mount the S model. Have you heard or experienced whether the “standard” bridge is as good as the vintage S model?

    Thanks in advance!


    • Bjorn says:

      You need to check with Callaham for the details and specs but as for the quality – everything is top of the line. I’m very happy with everything I’ve ordered from those guys.

      • Stefano says:

        Hej again!

        After discussing with Bill Callaham himself I understood I can mount their tremolo block for american standards and install their intonation saddles, I just need to reuse my bridge plate as it has two pivot screws instead of 6 as in vintage Strats. I assume keeping my old plate is not a big deal and shouldn’t compromise the overall quality.

        I’m leaning towards ordering the kit…

        A question on top of that: I see they deliver 4 springs with the upgrade kit. I think – you can correct me – David uses 3 on the black strat. I’m playing with David’s GHS signature strings and Bill’s advice was to use 4 springs for standard .010 gauge sets – which I know is not exactly the same as the signature set. Based on experience, what do you think I should start with if I mount the new bridge? I’m currently unsure whether I want to try it completely flat first or a couple of mm off the body. I kind of like the stability of a flat bridge but also enjoy pulling the tremolo arm…

        Thanks for keeping this site alive, it’s such a great source of information! :-)

        P.S.: completely unrelated note. Have you gotten your hands on a Line 6 Helix and did you have any chance to test any gilmourish sounds? I’m a new user and I’m pretty satisfied with how its fuzz effects work together with the big muff sim to create that “wall live ’80-’81” feeling!


        • Bjorn says:

          Hi Stefano, thanks for the update! Yes, the Helix has lots of great tones!

          • Stefano says:

            Hi again Bjorn…I understand my previous message was a bit too long :-)

            To the point now: I have just installed the Callaham bridge and the springs (3 of them) are so strong that no matter how much I unscrew the claw screws, the bridge plate will remain flat on the body. I’d like to just have it floating a couple of millimeters but it looks like I have to put back the original Fender springs to be able to do it. Did you experience the same?



            • Bjorn says:

              You should be able to get some float with the springs. I have mine in a triangle – close on the claw and every second hole on the block. That seems to ease some tension. I also have the two outer plate screws all the way down and the four middle screws a quarter to half a turn off.

              • Stefano Vecchi says:

                Same spring configuration here, but I have an American Standard so I only have the two pivot screws which I’m guessing don’t really need to be touched. A bit puzzled…

  3. Jo says:

    I racently got used Callaham bridge for MIM St without trem arm, i do use stock MIM arm with Callaham block. Is that reason arm feel unsmooth, nonsesitive compared to $ 20 stock bridge?

    • Bjorn says:

      Overall better quality parts but it also depends how it’s set up…

      • Jo says:

        Agree, i tryed another Fender one and it`s much better, by end of week original ’64 VITRTUAL POP IN (CA21020) arive from UK. It been drop in replacement without something special addjustments, only 6(actualy 2 ones at end) screws is what i still dayly fine tuning. It is awesome sounding bridge with superior quality feel and look. Since i`m lifelong Gibson man, quiet recetly fall in love with single coils,
        just wanted opinion on maybe something i miss?

    • Jo says:

      After week or so playing/addjusting at Callaham i conclude that this upgrade is very good investment for us who prefer tone before money. Received Callaham trem arm(standard, midle size) and had to bend it away from picguard 2cm for better control. Arm length and overall bridge have no cons, very joyfull to play.

  4. Thanks a lot for your answer, Bjorn! That’s what I wanted to hear. I’m very happy with the Callaham block so far .

  5. Jerome Niquille says:

    Hi Bjørn, I’ve just put a Callaham tremolo block in my strat 2 weeks ago and I especially like the smoothness of the vibrato. As you’ve got some experience with the block now, are you still happy? Did you have to get the Delrin bushing replaced? Does the arm still stay well in place (I hate it when an vibrato arm falls down and dangles)? Thank you in advance for your feedback. By the way, congrats for “Forever comes to an end”. A very nice album and some great guitar works!
    Best regards from Switzerland, Jerome

  6. Dimitris says:

    Hi! I ve got the Callaham 6point tremolo bridge on my Strat with the medium arm length, and I ‘d like your opinion.
    You have mentioned, that you use three springs. You do it straight, or with the triangle setting as in Gilmour’s Strat in the photos?
    Also, if I tighten the screws of the claw as much as all strings main totally unaltered when I bend, the tremolo gets very stiff. If I unscrew them to get it smoother, my bass strings “detune”, when I bent.
    Last, wouldn’t longer tremolo arms be more soft, than shorter ones?

    • Bjorn says:

      A shorter arm would give you less pressure so yes, it will be stiffer and you would need to adjust your original setup. All my Strats are set up slightly differently for optimal playability as none of them are identical. All have three springs but some have them straight and some in a triangle, with the springs closest in front. The tension and float is really about nuances and finding that sweetspot. Too much and it will be too tight but too lose, you’ll have a hard time keeping it tuned. Start by tightening all six screws on the plate until they are fastened – don’t force them. Loosen the four middle screws a quarter to half a turn and adjust the claw screws to get the float you want.

  7. Geoff says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    As this review was some time ago I was curious what you would recommend now. Is this still the dog’s preverbials or is there now a better alternative?



  8. uwe says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Have you tried the Germany made, Milled from steel block, ABM 5050 tremolo?

    ABM is top quality, and as you’re in the EU, you won’t have to pay the Custom taxes like with callaham.


  9. GilmourIsGod says:

    Callaham is now making a super short “Gilmour” trem arm now too. Very cool. :)

    Love the site Bjorn. Thanks for all your hard work.

    [That’ll be very interesting! Cheers! – Bjorn]

  10. Pete says:

    Hi Bjorn i know this is a rather late respons to a question asked quite a bit earlier, but regarding fitting EMG’s yes he will have to do soem routing quite alot in fact the EMG’s (the SA’s that GIlmour uses anyway) run as part of an active circuit so he’ll need to route a cavity for the battery holder to go in, (and will also need to decide if he wants to run them as 9v or 18v) he has 2 choices under the scratch plate (not recommended as it makes it very hard to change the batteries in a hurry, though odviously there are no outward changes to the guitar) or he can route a cavity into the back of the guitar and cover it with a “skratch plate which will hold them in or get one of the GOTOH quick changes battery holders (most luthiers should have a couple in stock) which is in my oppinion by far the best way of doing things

  11. Trevor says:

    So I’ve decided on buying a Callaham birdge for my 50s classic. Looking at the trem arm lengths, the 4 1/8″ “Gilmour style” they looks way shorter than the pictures of David’s guitar. Is it really that short or is the 5 1/4″ 64 closer?

    [The 4 1/8 is the one. – Bjorn]

  12. orjan says:

    where did you by the callaham bridge??

    [I ordered it from Callaham. Check out their site. No problems with shipping to Norway… I think it took a little under a week. E-mail me if you have any questions. – Bjorn]

  13. Frails says:


    Make sure you perform a setup on your guitar after installing the Callaham. If some strings sound better than others, this is probably the reason why.

  14. Adrian says:

    I got my one of these yesterday!

    So far its awesome! New strings today, then we shall see.

    My old E, A, and D strings definitely sounded a LOT nicer. That was just running clean through my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.. I rewired my guitar at the same time, with a new pick board and now its noisy though :( Will have to look into it.

    Anyway, thanks for the awesome recommendation Bjorn! I highly recommend it to ANYONE thinking about it, or looking for nicer tone. I got mine from http://www.specialtyguitars.com and the service was exemplary. Shipped to my door in Sydney, Australia, in under a week.

  15. Jason says:

    tis an onboard, active control; battery powered and is controlled by a pot. the review on the website also mentions it being pretty cheap, which you’d probably expect from an onboard device. also comes as a pedal.

    its on the demeter website, click on products, easy to find. make sure to read the review on there, sums it up nicely (he didn’t try it on a strat tho! – you’d generally expect that kinda response from tele pickups would you not…?)

    i also looked it up on harmony central. you’ll notice one gentlemen mentions gilmour! (but opinions often differ of course)

    def worth checking out i reckon. im investigating swapping out my emg’s for some passives (perhaps callaham treated fralins) but the SPC is such a great tool and i dont wanna lose that option so this is appealing if i ever do decide to change

    [Thanks for the info Jason! It seems very interesting! – Bjorn]

  16. Jason says:

    soooo, Frails how do you like the CS 54’s compared to the DG-20/SA’s set???? – give us a nice, long comparitive review… lol

    also, i noticed demeter make a mid-boost control that seems to work like the EMG SPC for passive p/ups – that would be helpful in fattening up the CS 54’s (or any passive) if one would want to go down that path.


    [Do you have more info about the new Demeter Jason? – Bjorn]

  17. Jeffrey says:

    Well, I ordered one of these from Callaham for my 57 RI strat. If nothing else, it will be nice to have the shorter, pop-in trem arm w/ mint green tip to match my mint green pickguard. (Ok, my strat is not completely gilmourish – :). I’ll report back with details on any improvement.

    [I think you’ll be very pleased! Let us know what you think. – Bjorn]

  18. Jeffrey says:

    Barney Chamorro said on September 4, 2007 at 8:43 pm
    Is it worth chaning the bridge to a Callaham on a brand new American 1957 RI Hot Rod Stratocaster?

    [I recommend at least the tremolo block. – Bjorn]

    So Barney, did you ever do this? I’m thinking of trying the upgrade on my 57 RI strat. The trem has never felt smooth to me.

  19. Nate says:

    The shielding technique that Frails mentioned can make a huuuuge difference in the amount of noise that the pickups in a strat (or anything with single coils for that matter) make. I shielded my mexican strat before I had the emg pickups and it make a very noticeable difference. It’s definitely worth checking out, although some guitars come wired/shielded better than others, so it might not make a big difference for everyone.

    BTW you’ve got me looking at those bridge assemblies for my two strats… I am wondering if the whole hardware kit comes with locking tuners or just “normal” ones. I’d really like some locking tuners as well.

  20. Sylvain says:

    I had forgotten to thank Ernest and Bjorn for sharing your tips about the height of your pickups…but are they “tilted” ?

    About the strat :
    I had’nt read the rest of the page 2 but it’s interesting :
    The first stratocaster (after the “prototypes”) has the following number : #100 and was built in April 1954. Strangely, the strat with the NUMBER 0001 WAS BUILT IN SUMMER 1954…The employees didn’t care about chronology. Until 1956, the wood was in ash (“frêne” in french). BUT, apparently, the “Gilmour’s strat” is not the only one to owns the 0001 number. Some people say that Leo Fender gave to Pee Wee Crayton a fiesta red from the same year with the same serial number…
    I had already heard something like that : strats with the same 0001 number…curious.
    I don’t know if it’s totaly true, there’s so much confusion, but I think it’s pretty close to the reality. If I have other news, of course, I will let you know.

    [Hi Sylvian. No, mine aren’t tilted. Thanks for the info! – Bjorn]

  21. Jason says:

    yeh i received Am Std upgrade, yesterday and can only reiterate those comments also. the trem arm is awesome, great control. playing clean sounds so much better and fuller and it has eliminated some “tinging” sounds that were previously occuring (which i attributed to my heavy gauge strings not fitting in the nut and still do but this has compensated for that somewhat). also my bends in the upper registers of the fretboard are holding much better.

    all in all very happy with this, ahaha i told my local guitar store guy i ordered new saddles and a trem block from “an engineer in the US” (i live i Australia) and he was like “what???!) – oh if he could only see me now! haha.

    [Nice to hear that you’re pleased Jason! – Bjorn]

  22. Luciano says:

    Hey, Bjorn,

    Talking about tunning stability, I would like to know what you and the guys think about roller nuts.
    Does it have any influence on tone?
    Is it easy to install (should a moron like me – and Frails, hehe – get it installed by a tech)?

    I’ve never used it, but it seems to me that the roller nut not only reduce the friction of the strings, but also is more durable than the plastic one? In fact, it seems to last forever (or maybe not, since the saddles, that are metallic too, may get rust)…



    [I don’t have any experience with that. Anyone? – Bjorn]

  23. Barney Chamorro says:

    Is it worth chaning the bridge to a Callaham on a brand new American 1957 RI Hot Rod Stratocaster?

    [I recommend at least the tremolo block. – Bjorn]

  24. Sylvain says:

    An other article (from the same site) : Link
    In page 2, to sum up, it’s written that David owns a “desert sand” ’54 strat (the 0001 I think) which is, if I have understood, a “custom color” prototype stratocaster…so this guitar is much more rare than what I thought. There are only maybe 200 or 300 prototypes built before october 1954 and only 3 or 4 “custom color” are known today. There are other articles giving a clue about the birth date of this 0001 stratocaster. If I find them, I’ll let you know.
    Is there a section here about this guitar ?
    A nice and beautiful woman, nice children, a lot of precious guitars…hmm, I think David is the luckier man that I know.

    [Thanks for the info Sylvain! Too bad I don’t read French… I haven’t written an article about the #0001 Strat yet but I have a lot of stuff laying around so there will be one. Anything you might find is most appreciated! There’s one little piece on this page (bottom). – Bjorn]

  25. Dean says:

    Hey Guys,
    Just received and fitted my Callaham bridge today, and all I can do is confirm all the praise that is already here.
    My tuning stability when using the trem is now unbelievably good, and the improvement in tone and sustain is fantastic. This upgrade has even made me reconsider replacing the stock pickups in my Classic 50’s Strat. The bridge PU has always seemed a little weak and wiry, but now with the new bridge, the tone on the bridge PU is trebly and cutting, but not weak anymore – it sounds like a Strat bridge PU should!
    Thanks again for the recommendation.

    [Great to hear that you’re pleased Dean! – Bjorn]

  26. Frails says:

    Update- Figured out that the extreme noise from the CS 54’s was actually due to me being a bigger moron than usual. I wired the output jack backwards. I will now go to the penalty box and feel shame! There is still a faint buzz that actually sounds quite pleasant when playing something old and clean.

    [Well, there you have it! Good thing you didn’t need to replace the pickups!. – Bjorn]

  27. Sylvain says:

    I didn’t know where to post this… :
    Read on a french producer’s site (who owns an original ’54 strat) :

    Une « custom color » bleue de 54 – il a existé une petite dizaine de ces prototypes au plus, et 3 ou 4 sont connus de nos jours – s’est vendue en deux jours pour plus de 250 000 $ au printemps 2007, à David Gilmour, qui possède déjà un autre prototype de couleur crème.

    Translated in english :

    A blue “custom color” from 1954 – there are only about ten of these prototypes at most and only 3 or 4 are known today – was sold to David Gilmour in spring 2007 for 250 000 $. He already owns an other cream colour prototype.

    I think it’s pretty rare, so I wanted to share this with you. Did you know that ?

    [Hmm… No I didn’t know that. Interesting to know where he got that info from but I don’t doubt that Gilmour still hunts down those rare gems. The other guitar he’s referring to must be the #0001 Strat of course. David has a couple of other highly priced guitars too, such as the Gretsch Pengiun, Fender Strat lake placid blue that’s supposed to be extremely rare and he has 4 of 100 produced Gibson J-200 Celebrity (seen on PULSE) and a couple of extremely valuable Martin acoustics from the 1930’s. Not to mention all the rare pedals and effects (notably the EMS Hi Fli). Thanks for the info! – Bjorn]

  28. Frails says:

    Yeah you definitely might be right Bjorn. I can’t say for sure until i go through the shielding practices and see what helps. The pickguard currently only has the pots foiled. According to the site I posted, I need to remove the ground loops also. I’ve decided to put the EMG SA’s onto the new cream Strat (Gawd I love the color!). So I’ll let you know what I find with Blackie. I can say that when I very lightly place my foot on a pedal switch, the noise is drastically reduced. That right there says grounding issue. Thanks for the suggestion.

    [Hmm… yeah, that’s grounding. Congrats with the new guitar! I’d love to see a pic!- Bjorn]

  29. Jason says:

    i think its a matter of taste though, i find myself using the EQ controls less and less these days. i get some nice SRV tones with my amp driven hard and the spc all the way up but when using my beaver i just made i dont even touch the EQ. the EXG makes a great difference on the bridge p/up whem playing clean but just muddies up on neck p/up way too much. im trying to work out whether the EXG is actually really great or whether its simply because the p/ups lack punch when the EQ’s aren’t turned on.

    i also noticed Callaham sell a plate to stick onto your bridge p/up to fatten it up a little (probably only for passive p/ups tho).

    i spose there are so many options though i should just stop thinking and be happy with what i’ve got! (or at least until i get more money to get myself another strat, those fralin special 54’s look mighty fine…)

  30. Jason says:

    cool, Frails, post your findings up here when you can!

    yeh i would like to have diff guitars with diff p/ups but there is no way i have the money for that atm! – to be honest i could not imagine going to back to passive p/ups after using these active ones – once you get used to the no sound it would be hard to re-adjust to the passive hum, i get annoyed with ANY noise whatsoever now but from what i remember with my stock Am std’s the noise wasn’t unbearable. actually i went into my local a few weeks ago to try out the Muff reissue and played it with a mexican fender strat pretty loud and i definately noticed the hum but i didnt cringe at all.

    i was reading about pickups last night and on the lindy fralin website (the p/ups Callaham recommends) there was a piece about an Silent Single Coil system that takes the place of your back-plate and wires into your electronics – apparently it eliminates noise while it doesn’t affect your sound at all.

  31. Frails says:

    Jason- I’m trying to give the CS 54’s more time. But really, side by side, the EMG SA’s are my PUP of choice hands down. I’ve never used the SA’s without the EXG or SPC so I can’t speak to the sound without. But the SA’s have balls! You can get humbucker-type tones and they just aren’t thin sounding like the CS 54’s. I guess it’s just what your personal taste is. Ideally, I’d put one set in one Strat and the other in another Strat. In fact that’s what I’m going to do as I’m picking up a cream colored Strat tonight from a local Craig’s List Seller. From there, we’ll see which one I play more. But my prediction is that I’ll stay SA’s more often than not since a Treble Boost or other pedal can thin my sound out enough to sound like the CS 54’s. I haven’t found a pedal that can fatten up the CS 54’s enough to sound like the SA’s. The noise issue alone is enough to make me consider switching back. It’s unbearable on my Strat but I plan on shielding it this weekend using some of the techniques from the site I posted. We’ll see…

    [Are you sure that there’s nothing wrong with your picups? I think it’s strange that you find the noise to be unbearable. Both my CS 54 and 69 has a slight hum but they’re far from all too noisy. Have you tried to just hook up the guitar to the amp and compare? As these pickups aren’t shielded, you will hear the hiss, hums and rumbling of your pedals and what interferance your cables might pickup. The EMGs are very silent but I don’t have the experience that the Fenders are too noisy… just a thought. – Bjorn]

  32. Jason says:

    hey Frails, how would you compare the SA”s and the CS 54’s? i’ve got the SA’s and i love the no noise but they sound a tad lifeless without any of the eq controls turned on (exg and spc). they’re definately better than my stock Am. std p/ups tho.

    i think they respond really well to effects compared to the Am stds though – the reverb from my amp sounds heaps better.

    cheers for the review as well Bjorn, needless to say i’ve ordered my upgrade from Callaham! – also liked the piece you just did on the binson, very interesting.

    [Thanks Jason! – Bjorn]

  33. Frails says:

    Hey Fellas! I’ve been having a hard time adjusting to the Custom Shop 54’s from the EMG SA’s. Don’t get me wrong I love em, but the noise is just unbearable. So I came across this little diddy on shielding and thought I’d share. It’s about the most in-depth piece I’ve seen on the subject so take a look: Link

    [Thanks for sharing Frails! Looks very promising! I guess if you’re used to humbuckers or any kind of noiseless/active single coils then both the CS 54 and 69 might appear a bit too noisy. I really don’t see it as a huge problem but then again I have always used them… Again, as I’ve mentioned before, – ugrading the instrument and patch-cables will eliminate some of the noise. – Bjorn]

  34. T.R. Willey says:

    Hey Bjorn,
    Is the difference in the Callaham bridge plate worth getting the whole bridge assembly or is purchasing the block and saddles enough? I have a MIM Jimmie Vaughn Strat with the stock US vintage style trem. (probably the same as your MIM Classic…)

    [I think it’s worth it as the whole thing is improoved. All the screw slots lets the bridge float more naturally and the string slots on the saddles are lengthened so that the strings moves smoothly. All this keeps the guitar better in tune. – Bjorn]

  35. ChrisZ says:


    Recently I have checked another bridge system. It is G&L Tribute bridge. It is similar to Floyd Rose but much more smoother. I really like it. Did you have touch with it? I ask because I don’t know if it is suitable for Fender Strat hole in body.
    Unfortunately nobody in Huddersfield knows the Callaham bridges :( Maybe one day I will buy it but the thing is that I have noticed that Gilmour usually pulls up his tremolo arm rather than using it in both sides. I tried many Strats at stores and had always the same problem that in every Vintage Style bridge there was a small loose/gap that couldn’t let me to use it smooth. Right, the only way to avoid this loose is to place the arm very tight in the hole but then the arm stays to close to strings. Or maybe I do something wrong with it (help). I didn’t have this problem using G&L. Btw, G&L makes great guitars. They sound like Fender ones but the Tribute model has a very deep and clean bass.



    [Hi Chris! I haven’t tried the GL system so I really can’t tell. A small correction tho: David’s bridge is flat on the body and he doesn’t bend the arm upwards. But what he often does is that he’s bending the arm down and bending the string up. – Bjorn]

  36. Ernest Peske says:

    Bjorn, I noticed you did install a 500K push/pull volume pot (refering to the Allparts / nr. on your site).
    My (USA) strat comes, standard, with a 25oK volume pot.
    I replaced a 250K push/pull volume pot last week, so with the same resistance value.

    Here maybe, some interesting stuff about the volume pot:

    general “rule-of-thumbs”:

    1Meg = very bright sounding
    500K = bright sounding
    250K = warm, vintage sounding

    1Meg = bright HB…shrill SC
    500K = warm HB…bright SC
    250K = muddy HB, warm SC

    HB = humbucker
    SC = single coil

    …the HIGHER the pot resistance value, the LESS high-frequencies are attenuated.
    …the LOWER the pot resistance value, the MORE high-frequencies are attenduated.

    TONE control pot value doesn’t matter too much because the overall “taper” or “rolloff” can be ‘adjusted’ by simply changing the cap value.


  37. Ernest Peske says:

    (Sylvain- what’s the height of your pickups)

    I finally did adjust my ’54 pups by ear:
    listening to the attack, sustain, loudness (and perhaps to the “sweet harmonics”) playing different notes / frets, with overdrive and clean.
    Pups to close to the strings can kill sustain!
    My result is about: (fretting on the highest fret: 21 or 22!)
    low E string to pole: space = 3 mm.
    High e string to pole: space = 2.5 mm.
    Some people prefer less space, but it’s all very personall!

    Bjorn, finnaly, my amp has been fixed by Fender, great support and free of charge (still warranty): there were some problems with the power supply!

    Also, my guitar shop installed a push-pull in my strat. I now can combine neck & bridge pup. sounds great! Very usefull.
    (by pulling the volume pot I activate the neck pup, then select 1st position on 5way switch to combine neck & bridge pups).
    I am quite happy with my strat now, regarding all the mods. ;-)

    Cheers, Ernest

    [Thanks for sharing Ernest! – Bjorn]

  38. Sylvain says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I need to ask you a question : what’s the height of your pickups (close to the strings…) ?
    Bye !

    [The CS 54s are about 4 millimeters off the 1-ply pickguard and the CS 69s are a couple off millimeters off the 3-ply pickguard. – Bjorn]

  39. bjorn, did you buy your delay?

    [No… not yet. My pocketbook is nothing but dust. – Bjorn]

  40. Frails, your answer didn’t arrived… please send it to kelton.gomes@gmail.com


  41. Barney Chamorro says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I just ordered the Callaham Vintage Bridge Assembly for my Fender 57 RI Hot Rod strat. I can’t wait to try it. Hurry up with that new pic of your downsized rig/board! lol I check for updates every day.

    – Barney

    [A picture is coming in a week or two. – Bjorn]

  42. Dean says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Thanks for the tip about the Callaham bridge. I’ve been searching for a solution to my 50’s Classic’s tuning issues when using the trem, so I’m hoping that the Callaham bridge I just bought on ebay will get me sorted out. Plus I get the bonus of improved tone!!!!!
    Can’t wait for it to arrive.

    Thanks again


    (I think you’ll be very pleased. I also recommend chaging the plastic nut on the top of the neck. Over time, the strings will dig deep creeks and they’ll fasten making it hard to keep the guitar in tune. – Bjorn]

  43. Oscar says:

    Hi again, Bjorn.

    I was wondering if the Vintage S bridge would fit in my American Series Stratocaster? (The one with the ugly bridge…)

    [No. Check out the “AmStd Upgrade” in the left menu on their site. – Bjorn]

  44. Collin says:

    I see you’ve got a Remember That Night guide coming soon…

    [You got sharp eyes! Yes it will be up with the release in medio September. – Bjorn]

  45. lyle watt says:

    hey bjorn

    when are we gonna get to see pics of the downsized rig?


    [Soon! Just a couple of things I need to sort out… It’s quite smaller than the one pictured under My Gear but I’ve got a much cleaner signal with less noise. – Bjorn]

  46. Frails says:

    Yes. I replied back.

  47. Frails, I sent you an e-mail about your DG-20 set. did you get it?

  48. Mauri says:

    excellent article..
    i didn knew that a bridge would be so complex
    hey bjorn just one question:

    what brand of slides does dave use?
    (i hope you understand my english is not very good)

    thanks for helping

    [I think he’s using Dunlop tonebars. – Bjorn]

  49. Kuba says:

    Hey Bjorn, would I be able to put Callaham’s S Bridge onto a CIJ ’57 reissue strat? I know it has the Zinc block which raises my question.

    [The Vintage S bridge should fit. It’s the same specs as my CIJ 50’s. – Bjorn]

  50. Nate says:

    Barney: I have no troubles running my strat with the dg-20 pickups into garageband. To me it sounds as good as other guitars plugged into it, you just need to lower the levels a little to compensate for the higher output of the emgs. It doesn’t sound nearly as good as a real amp with real effects, but if you need to use headphones it’s great!

  51. Frails says:

    I just installed my Classic 54 PUP set and because of this, am selling my EMG SA’s with midrange expander and presence control. This is a right handed set. The pickup covers have yellowed slightly into that vintage look (no longer bright white) and the lettering is slightly faded. Having said all that, they still sing! if anyone’s interested, please let me know. Trades welcome also. frails@hotmail.com

  52. Sal says:

    can i install a vintage s model bridge on my mex strat 6-pivot 2 1/16 string spacing?

    [Not on a Standard model. Check out the “Mex Upgrades” in the left menu on their site. – Bjorn]

  53. Pavan says:

    so are you going to bid on it? its really cheap!

    [No… I don’t think so. I’m not really into rack units… – Bjorn]

  54. Collin says:

    OK, so the body should work… now I just need to find somewhere to get the DG-20s on the cheap.

  55. Pavan says:

    off topic, but, Bjorn, if you’re still looking for a Delay Check out this MXR on eBay.
    while it is a rackmount, it looks similar to what David used

    hope this helps

    [This is the one David’s been using on and off since 1977! – Bjorn]

  56. Frails says:

    Hey Col, Frails here….I have a 1998 Mexican Standard with EMG-SA’s and routing was not necessary. Not sure how different the Classic 50’s is (if at all), but I’d guess you’re in the clear. The battery compartment section is a tight fit but it does fit.

  57. Anders says:

    Hi Bjørn!

    Great info. I’ve always had an idea of getting the Callaham bridge for my guitar. But when I look at Callaham’s webpage, I get a little confused.

    I’m playing a Fender Stratocaster – it’s a Standard Mexico Strat. Will the S-bridge fit do you think?

    [Take a look at the “Mex Upgrades” in the left menu. – Bjorn]

  58. Col says:

    I’m seriously thinking about getting a Classic ’50’s Strat in Dakota Red (My EMG Strat, I guess), and I was wondering if the neck has “Made In Mexico” printed on the back of the headstock, and if I would have to do any routing for the EMG pickups.

    [Yes, it’s says “Made in Mexico” on the back of the headstock. Routing EMGs… Anyone? – Bjorn]

  59. Barney says:

    hI Bjorn,
    Another off topic question:
    I plan on using Garageband’s amp sim as my main practice rig therefore im going to buy pickups depending on which one sounds best with GB. My favorite Gilmour tone is the Pulse tone so ive been thinking about the EMG DG-20. How do these pickups sound with Garageband? Am I better off with passive pickups (C54)?

    [I haven’t tried the DG-20’s in years so I can’t really tell… I guess they would go OK with Garageband. Just keep in mind that they have a very high output and you might realise that it’s difficult getting a clean tone… Garageband is VERY basic and you only have a couple of pre-amps to tweak. – Bjorn]

  60. Hugo says:

    HI. Fo those looking for a online store of some callaham products, try in http://www.specialtyguitars.com/trem.html. Buyed my shortened tremolo arm there without problems. Cheers

  61. Ryan says:

    would this also work for the classic 70s?

    [Yep. – Bjorn]

  62. Tony James says:

    Hi, I’m building the black strat from scratch, I’ve got one of these bridges arriving anytime now, also the callaham special wind fralin pickups with reverse wound middle, all pots and pick ups cryo treated with a push,push vol switch for bridge + neck combo. I’ve got a 57 reissue usa neck, but I’m using a 57 reissue usa body black with nitro finish.
    Just wondered Bjorn, now you’ve changed bridges have you altered the number of trem springs?
    I’ve also ordered the seymour duncan custom shop gilmour set,
    but that won’t be here for 7 weeks, so I’ll let you know how the callaham fralin pickups compare.

    Fantastic website, hope to see some of you at the odeon leicester square in september.

    best wishes


    [Hi Tony! No, I’m still using 3 springs… In fact, I don’t use the Callaham springs. The guitar tech I’m using is making his own slightly better springs that I’ve been using for years. Very smooth and I noticed quite a difference from the Callahams. Please let us know what you think about the Fralins and Duncans! – Bjorn]

  63. Hey Hugo, i’m interested!!! Drop the link! ;-)

  64. Ernest Peske says:

    Bjorn, great to hear you’re happy about the Callaham replacement bridge! Glad everything did fit well in your MIJ strat. It really is an amazing improvement in sound: unplugged or plugged (including better sounding pedals).
    I also like this “virtuall pop in arm”. Good “Gilmourish” lenght and smooth control, better then Fender.

    How about replacing/upgrading your Tele(?!) and MIM strat (the one with the ’69 pups)…?

    Right now, I am seriously considering to order one of those new TC Nova Delay pedals…

    [Leandro said on August 16, 2007 at 4:11 am
    Congratulations for your new investment! Too bad they don’t make “2 point syncronized” bridges for new strats…]
    – Just replace/upgrade the block including a set of saddles (made for the Am.Series Strat). The standard two pivot bridge-plate is fine and “smooth”. – Ernest

    Thanks for the credits in your little review, Bjorn ;-))

    [I’m very pleased with the Tele and I’ve already fitted it with Custom Shop pickups. I’m definitely going to ugrade my 70’s Classic with Callaham! The Nova looks very promising indeed! … and small! – Bjorn]

  65. Frails says:

    Just wanted to add that I’ve seen quite a few of these on ebay, making the price that much more justifiable. Unfortunately for me, they are not left-handed. Even still, I’m taking the plunge! That’s Ernest and Bjorn.

    [I don’t think that 120$ is too much… Like I said, it’s one of the best investments I’ve done in years… right after the Evidence Audio cables. – Bjorn]

  66. Hugo says:

    I’ve just received the Callaham short tremolo arm and it’s great, much better control!!. Didn’t ask for the bridge replacement because my strat already have an american vintage bridge that is (supposedly) much better than those used in most MIM Strats.

    I have the address of a on-line store that sells callaham’s parts internationally if there is someone who migth be interested.

    congrats on your new bridge Bjorn!!


    [Thanks Hugo! Perhaps the tone won’t be improved that much but the bridge has a lot of improved features that’s superior to most Strat models. I’ve never played a guitar with as smooth tremolo as I have now. – Bjorn]

  67. Dan Dartington says:

    I put a callaham block in my strat plus last year. The improvement is huge, and really defies description. The note just becomes stronger. It doesn’t just improve the sound, it improves the way the string feels under your hand as you play it. It is the best value for money guitar product you will ever buy (even beyond a digitech bad monkey-the best value for money pedal out there IMHO).
    if you have a guitar with a 2 point bridge you can just get the block, they do a range, as I did.
    I would also mention that most upgrades, ie pickups, need to be on a good guitar to make a difference. With the callaham block the opposite is true. If you have a custom shop strat I suspect the difference won’t be that great, if you have a mexican fender/squire etc it will transform your playing experience.
    if you have a strat of any sort take the plunge, you will never regret it.
    oh and I’m the worlds least practical person but I managed to install it myself with no trouble.

  68. nick says:

    i can’t express in words how the callaham upgrade to my guitar has improved my tone. i own a 2004 american strat and i replace the thin tremolo block and the ugly looking saddles with callaham american strat parts. upgrading to a bigger steel block, like the callaham one, is incredible, the sustain is amazing and i get a much fuller sound from my guitar when compared to the old, thin block that came stock with it. i enjoy the new saddles on my guitar also, though i can’t say how much of an improvement they’ve made to the overall sound, they sure are a helluva lot better looking that the american stock saddles

  69. Barney says:

    I forgot to ask you. How did you order it? Did you have to call Callaham or did you fax the order form?

    [I faxed the order form. Fast delivery. – Bjorn]

  70. Barney says:

    I’m also getting one for the strat im building. Bjorn, does your black strat have a C shaped neck?

    [Nope, it’s a ’57 reissue neck… V-shape. – Bjorn]

  71. Leandro says:

    Congratulations for your new investment! Too bad they don’t make “2 point syncronized” bridges for new strats…

    Take Care,

  72. Matt says:

    Amazing! I am soong going to overhall my strat… maybe a brand new one.. I will be adding this to it though

    [It really improves the overall sound! – Bjorn]

  73. brett says:

    mmmmm, sounds like we need some new audio clips of this new improved tone ;)

    glad you like the new bride, looks like a good buy according to what ive read on the Callaham site. Keep up the good work on the site.


    [It’s difficult to show the improvements with a recording as you don’t have anything to compare it with. But I’m rerecording most of my soundclips this autumn, so you’ll get an idea. The Callaham site also include a lot of great tips on how to make your guitar sound better. – Bjorn]

  74. Lurch says:

    I, too, have a Callaham tremolo block, and I second the fact that they make a much bigger than expected difference. The increase in sustain alone makes it worth twice the price.

    [Agree! – Bjorn]

  75. Collin says:

    I wonder if the premium upgrade kit for American Standards would be good for my Strat…

  76. Oscar says:

    Wow, that looks awesome! Bjorn, do you think that the Callahan kit makes as big difference as a pickup replacement does?

    [It’s a different thing… The bridge improves your sound but it doesn’t change it as new pickups would but I strongly recommend replacing the bridge too if you’re considering new pickups. – Bjorn]

Hey! How about a comment on this post?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.