First up Greg, there's nothing wrong with blocking a Strat trem. There are a lot of
guitarists out there who never use the trem but prefer the sound of a trem Strat over a
hardtail Strat. And Eric Clapton is high on that list, so you are in good company.
Tonally, there are a few things going on when you block the trem compared to a
hardtail. First of all, all that missing wood from the trem cavity changes the body
resonances. Secondly, the trem assembly sounds different to a hardtail. And the trem
springs function a little like a hardware reverb.
There are two ways of
blocking the trem, both equally valid. One is to fit a lump of wood between the back of
the trem block and the body so the trem can't move in either direction. The other is to
tighten the trem claw so tight that the springs pull the trem plate flush against the
body, which does allow you to use the trem for down bends if you want to.
done both conversions many times for customers. My personal preference is the second,
because I feel that gives the best 'trem spring reverb' which I like, and can be fine
tuned by using different strength springs and 'tilting' the trem claw to make the springs
on one side tighter than the other.
However, the 'trem spring reverb' might
slightly confuse the Roland pick-up tracking. Not a great deal, but it might slow it down
a fraction. So you might want to consider replacing the trem completely with a hard tail
bridge, although it would have to be strung through the rear of the bridge rather than
through the body.
So, I would suggest tightening the trem springs first to pull
the trem plate flat to the body. If you have tracking problems, whack in a wooden block
between the trem block and the body, and finally consider a hardtail bridge if all else
When the going gets weird, the Weird turn Pro.