For the past several years there has been a lot of interest in aftermarket tremolo upgrade components. Sustain blocks, springs, and even the humble spring claw have been reworked to provide better tone and sustain. Killer Guitar Components (KGC) are one such company that offer a myriad of upgrade parts for your guitar’s hardware. KGC contacted me to see if I would be interested in testing out their Killer Brass Claw, and I was happy to oblige.
The Killer Brass Claw is milled from a solid block of brass, making this a very different construction to most stock and aftermarket spring claws. It is an extremely hefty piece of kit compared to a stock bent steel claw, and quite frankly, a much better looking piece. KGC were forward-thinking enough to install a solder-free heat shrink lug to make installing the bridge ground wire even easier. They also provide two sets of screws, two 1 ½” brass screws, and two 1 ¾” stainless steel screws for those guitars where the 1 ½” size are two short.
My test bed for the KGC Killer Brass Claw in my Ibanez RG450DX, with basswood body, maple neck/rosewood fretboard, and Edge Pro bridge.
Installing the Killer Brass Claw is a breeze, especially with the solder-free lug. Simply take the springs off your bridge, remove the bridge ground wire from the claw, and unscrew the stock claw. Thread the ground wire into the lug and use pliers to splice the ground wire, and use a heat gun, lighter, soldering iron, etc on the heat shrink tubing. Choose the appropriate pair of screws for the installation, screw the claw in, and re-balance your bridge. This all should take around 10-15 minutes without rushing anything.
One thing that is noticeable after installation is the increase in the transfer of vibrations from the strings, to the bridge, and finally to the body of the guitar. There is an increase in sustain, and a bit more clarity and complexity in the tone of the guitar. The guitar feels and sounds a little more “alive” for lack of a better word.
It is surprising to think that something as small as the spring claw could have such an impact on the tone of a guitar, but it does. I can imagine that pairing up the Killer Brass Claw with one of KGC’s brass sustain block options would result in a very impressive improvement in tone and sustain.
Overall the KGC Killer Brass Claw is a nifty little upgrade that provides a nice boost in tone and sustain. Strat-type and Floyd Rose type bridges are tonally at a bit of a disadvantage compared to hard-tail designs, but upgrades like the Killer Brass claw help provide a much more level playing field when it comes to tone.