Changing the sustain block on most guitar bridges a fantastic upgrade for many guitars. I’ve tested a few brass block upgrades for various Floyd Rose type over the past few years, and have definitely noticed a change in tone and feel. Brass is great for beefing up and warming up a Floyd Rose equipped guitar. I had heard that titanium was great for providing extra clarity and brightening up a tone. This really appealed to me, especially after trying my Hantug Custom Guitars titanium and brass vintage 6 hole Strat bridge. I thought I would contact them again and see if they would be interested in manufacturing some brass and titanium sustain blocks for Ibanez Edge and Lo Pro Edge bridges.
There already are sustain block upgrades for these bridges made by some of the established players in the game, but there was an issue that many Ibanez players discovered when using their products. The block designs were very basic at best, just straight rectangular shaped blocks much thicker than the stock design. These provided a great boost in mass, but with the downside of restricting pull-up range. This put off a lot of players, because whilst they want the boosts to their tone and sustain, they were more concerned with losing the range in which they could change the pitch of notes.
I sent Hantug Custom Guitars a stock Ibanez Edge sustain block for them to base a brass and titanium block off. I asked them to beef up the dimensions a little, but make sure that the tapered in like the stock one so that pull-up range was not impeded on. The block I sent was a very early larger sized one that was on an Edge that sat as a top mount, non-recessed bridge. I asked for the brass and titanium ones to be 32mm tall, so they would fit all Edge and Lo Pro Edge bridges without sticking out the back of the spring cavity. The other thing that puts Ibanez players off the established players blocks is the lack of spring retainer. I’ve never had an issue with springs coming loose on an Edge equipped Ibanez, but many prefer that the retainer is on the block. I asked Hantug to not only make a retainer bar, but to make one that allowed up to five springs to be installed with the retainer fully fastened.
Hantug were happy to make products based on these requests made some brass and titanium upgrade blocks. I received a brass and titanium block to compare and review, which I installed on my 1995 Ibanez RG 470, with a retro-fitted Ibanez Edge bridge.
First off, the quality of the blocks are top notch. Each fit perfectly on my Edge baseplate, and the finishing was fantastic. The titanium block had a lovely etched Hantug Custom Guitars logo on one side. The spring retainer bars allowed up to five springs to be installed with the bar properly fitted. This is fantastic because the stock Edge ones only allow 3 springs with the retainer bar properly fitted. With a length of 32mm the blocks easily fit inside the spring cavity, which is great for those who like to leave the cavity covers installed.
First off I installed the brass sustain block. as mentioned earlier I’ve tested brass blocks before, and found them to provide a much ,louder, warmer full bodied tone than the stock block. The case was the same with the Hantug made block. The low end is beefed up, and the mids are boosted. The clarity is better, with harmonics really jumping out, and Dimebag squeals are much bigger too. When analyzing the wave form of a stock block sample versus the brass block you can see that sound is more compressed, which gives the impression of louder volume, and helps sustain too.
Titanium takes over from the brass and takes things up a notch. The tone is brighter, with an increased clarity and overall presence. Each string can clearly be heard when playing chords. the brass block also has this to a certain extent, but the titanium is just even more obvious. Some may worry about the tone getting too shrill, but this is not an issue. Sustain and volume is about the same as brass, so the choice really is about the sort of tone you seek.
The wrap up
Hantug Custom Guitars have done a fantastic job with the Ibanez Edge sustain blocks. The size and shape of the block is just right for the cavity, which will make many Ibanez players very happy. The spring retainer bar is an evolution over the stock unit which will also please those players who use more than three springs on their bridge.
Tone-wise both the brass and titanium blocks are fantastic. Neither is inherently better, but both offer different tones to suit differing tastes. Both offer a boost in output and sustain, as well as increased harmonics. If you are after a warmer tone the brass is the easy choice. If you are like me and seek a brighter tone with more articulation than titanium is the one to go with.
Price wise Hantug Custom Guitars are extremely competitive compared to the established players. Combine that with the fact that the sustain blocks have been shaped to suit the Ibanez guitars cavities specifically, and you are on to a clear winner.
If you are looking to upgrade from the dull sounding stock Ibanez Edge sustain block you cannot look past the Hantug Custom Guitars brass and titanium block upgrades. Each offer fantastic tone at a great price that cannot be overlooked.