Step 2: The Dream Machine Tremolo

Posted on 7 CommentsPosted in Guitar in general, Guitars, Mark Knopfler gear

After the loaded Schecter-style pickguards, I am now proud to offer a second high-quality component to upgrade  your guitar to make it look and sound more like a Van Nuys era Schecter Dream Machine: the Dream Machine Tremolo.

Unlike the standard Fender Tremolo that is made of steel (or often even cheaper substitutes like zinc for the tremolo block), the Dream Machine Tremolo is made completely out of  bell brass. For all those who love Mark Knopfler’s sunburst Dream Machine, I have a gold-plated version, and the fans of e.g. Mark’s  metallic red Schecter Strat can get it in chrome-plated. Indeed, even the chrome tremolo systems on all vintage Schecter Dream Machines were made completely of brass!

The Dream Machine Tremolo – available in gold-plated (24k) or chrome-plated bell brass

Brass –  the Magic Sound Secret of the Seventies

Schecter started as a part supplier in 1976. Their philosophy was to offer upgrade parts of superior quality for all important parts on a Fender guitar (plus some others) . You could get metal pickguards instead of plastic, or beautiful exotic woods instead of just plain maple, alder and ash. And all metal parts that are invloved in the sound production, like the bridge, saddles, and the nut, had to be of brass. Brass was known to increase the sustain and tonal qualities of an electric guitar. For this reason Fender also started the ‘Brassmaster’ series with brass replacement parts for their guitars in the early eighties, and their exclusive top-of-the line model The Strat (introduced in 1980) featured a solid brass bridge, brass knobs, and a brass nut. This does not mean that vintage Fenders with their steel parts sound bad- we all know how wonderful vintage Strats can sound – but the softer and warmer bell-like tone of brass is simply different. However, for all who are looking for the sound of a guitar with brass hardware, like all of  Mark Knopfler Schecter Dream Machine guitars, there is no other option than brass because this is what these sounds were produced with.

The chrome-plated tremolos on Schecter Dream Machine Strats were also of brass
The chrome-plated tremolos on Schecter Dream Machine Strats were also of brass

An easy mod in the late 70ies was to replace the tremolo block with a brass block (who knows, maybe Mark even had one in one  – or both – of his red Fenders – as said, it was very popular at that time).  But it is not only the block that contributes to the sound but also the bridge and the saddles themselves which are in most direct contact with the vibrating strings. Furthermore,  brass and brass is not always the same, as brass is an alloy of mostly two other metals: copper and zinc, and the zinc percentage  can vary between something like 5 to 40 percent. The Dream Machine Tremolo is made of a special, sonically ideal bell brass to produce the best sound without compromises. It rings like a bell!

Other Features

Just like the Schecter tremolo, the base plate of the Dream Machine tremolo is thicker and more solid than on a Fender vintage tremolo or other reproductions. Also the shape and the look with much rounder edges is a bit different, just like vintage Schecter stuff. And then there are the saddles, which are – as most of you have surely noticed on any picture of Mark’s Schecters – not of bended steel but much more solid, and also completely of finest bell brass. Gone are the times of rattling or buzzing string contact at the saddles!


Highest Quality made in Germany

The Dream Machine Tremolo is not a cheap reproduction from the far east, it is made with high-technology computer controlled tooling exactly to our wishes, exclusively for by  Germany’s top-reputation guitar parts supplier – ABM in Berlin. The idea was the same as at vintage Schecter: to build the best that is possible!

If you want to upgrade your guitar and want to replace your tremolo system, you can get the Dream Machine Tremolo without mounting screws, springs, and tremolo arm (any arm with US thread should fit) , or you can get the full assembly to build  your dream guitar out of scratch.

I have one on my Dream Machine clone
I have one on my Dream Machine clone

Get it here in the shop exclusively:


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The hang tag shadow on vintage Les Pauls

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Guitars, Mark Knopfler gear, Vintage guitars

Today’s blog article is just about some little detail you might have noticed on Mark Knopfler’s vintage Les Pauls. I wrote a blog post about the fading red dye on old Les Pauls some time ago, so it is something like common knowledge that the old Les Pauls from the late 50ies came in a colour called cherry sunburst and the red faded when exposed to sunlight, resulting in a lot of colour variations with names like honey burst, tea burst, or “unburst”.

But maybe you have asked yourself why many old Les Pauls – like Mark’s 1958 – have more red left at a particular place , near the pickup selector toggle switch? The reason was the hang tag – a little piece of cardboard listing some features of the Les Paul that was attached to the toggle switch on new guitars. When the guitar was in a shop window or at some other place where it was exposed to sunlight, the hang tag caused a shadow that preserved the red dye under it. On some Les Pauls you can see exactly one position of this hang tag, on others you might have several shadows due to varying angles of the hang tag.

A vintage Les Paul with the hang tag they came with when new
The hang tag with some original Les Paul pics (picture courtesy of Eric Ernest)

The features listed on the hang tag were:

Greater Tonal Range

More Brilliant Performance

Longer Sustaining Quality

Easier Playing Action

The hang tag shadow on Mark’s 1958 Les Paul

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New Products Coming

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Guitar in general, Mark Knopfler gear, Misc

There will be some new products in the online shop soon, or already are.


**Guitar Effect: Sex Drive by Durham Electronics

The effect you could see in the Guitar Stories documentary when Mark demonstrates his Les Paul in his British Grove studio. Already available in the online shop.


**Guitar Sound: The Dream Machine Tremolo by

A tremolo system of finest solid bell brass, made in Germany by ABM Guitar Parts exclusively for, just like the tremolo bridges on the vintage Schecter Dream Machines, available in gold-plated brass like on Mark Knopfler’s sunburst Schecter Strat, or with chrome finish like on his metallic red Schecter. Available very soon (about mid December).


**Hardware: Telecaster Metal Pickguards

Telecaster pickguards from white enamel aluminium or brass, like on Mark’s red Schecter Walk of Life Tele, available in Schecter style (5 screws plus screws for the neck pickup) or Fender style (8 screws, no screws for neck pickup), available about December/January.


**Pickups: Tapped Telecaster Dream Machine Pickups

Tapped Telecaster pickups like in Mark’s red Walk of Life Schecter Telecaster, made by Haeussel Pickups in Germany to our specifications, available in January 2013.


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