For anyone who has a Made In Mexico Fender Stratocaster, I hardily recommend that you check out the Callaham replacement tremolo blocks! These blocks are made from "cold rolled steel" as apposed to the small, light-weight alloy that Fender uses in their MIM Strats.
Now first I have to say that if your not proficient at doing your own guitar setups, if you purchase one of these trem blocks, take it to your local shop to have it installed! The installation does require removing the bridge and saddles and a full setup after the new block is installed. If you do your own setups however, installation was pretty much what one might expect...take the strings and the bridge off, remove the saddles and the old block, install the new block and put it back together and do a complete setup. The new block I recieved was installed my my '96 MIM Fender Strat and it was a -perfect- fit. The -only- gripe I have about the installation was that you do need to replace your trem arm as well. Callaham drills these trem blocks out for a standard USA trem arm and the MIM trem arms do not thread in properly (this is mentioned on their website!).
Now to the meat...
These replacement trem blocks make a huge difference with the sustain of a MIM Strat! If your looking for that long, singing sustain of vintage Strats, don't bother with blocking your trem or getting a "Fat Finger"...get a Callaham trem block! Right out of the package you will see that these are much "beefier" and a great deal heavier then your standard MIM Strat trem blocks. These Callahams are very similar to the trem blocks found in the high end "Custom Shop" Strats and as such create a great deal more "mass" under the bridge. Quite honestly the difference in sustain was night and day and with a little compression cranked up, you can hold a note forever!
Now I have read other reviews that state that these will make more of a difference with your guitars "tone" then a new set of pickups...I have to honestly say that is just hype. After working with my Strat and the new trem block for a couple of weeks now, there really isn't any signifigant difference in the actual tone of the instrument. If your really looking to change the tone of your MIM Strat, then I would strongly suggest you get new pickups before you do anything else. However if you want miles of sustain, for $55 these trem blocks are a very great investment and upgrade!
My only other grip about this transaction was that they do not allow "online" ordering...you have to either fax or mail your order in to them. Now with that said, the ordering process wasn't terribly
painful. You simply print out their order form, fill it out and either fax or mail it to them. The shipping was very quick...I recieved confirmation of my order 3 days after I mailed it (via snail mail) and then 3 days later the new block was in my mail box!
All and all I'm going to give Callaham a 5 out of 5 on their replacement Strat tremolo blocks! If you have a Mexican made Strat and you've already replaced the pickups and done the other upgrades and your still missing that "certain something" then this is -it-! I've seen similar blocks going on Ebay for as much as $80 or more, so at $55 (plus shipping & handling of course) these are a good deal and a very worthwhile upgrade!