Practical Tips for New Floyd Rose Users
Guest Post by Jennifer Gamble
OK, so you finally bought a guitar with a floating tremolo and locking nut. You are STOKED! No more out-of-tune strings when you do a dive bomb. You figure you will put a brand new set of strings on it because who knows how old these strings have been sitting on it before you bought it. You proceed to unlock all the clamps, remove all the old strings, and replace them. WHOA!!! Three hours later and it still won’t go back into tune. You are thinking this really sucks and maybe you should just return the damn thing. What you really need to do is the following:
First, go back to your local music store or any place that offers guitar repair. You need to start by having your guitar “set up.” This means that when you purchase a new instrument you should take it to a professional (unless you are the all-knowing type and capable of doing this yourself) to get the bridge and intonation set. Your guitar shop may recommend that block your floating tremolo (a wood block inserted underneath the bridge). This will keep the guitar from going out of tune if you break a string (and it will – horribly) but there is a down-side to all good things, it will drastically limit the mobility of the tremolo. Please also note that it’s important to have a backup guitar for your live performances should you travel down the Floyd Rose highway. Once properly set up, the bottom of your floating bridge should lie parallel to the body of your guitar and your strings should stay in tune all the way up the fret board, and that helps the rock!
Now that your guitar is setup and intonated properly, the best way to approach changing your strings is to only replace two at a time.
- Remove one nut clamp.
- Loosen both strings from under that clamp.
- Loosen the bridge screw from both of the strings until you can pull them out from the bridge clamp.
- Replace the strings one of two ways:
- Clip the bridge end of the string off and reuse it – the strings ALWAYS break at the bridge so if you take the weak, clamped portion off you can often reuse the string.
- Put a brand new string on threading the string so the ball end is at the head of the guitar.
- Stick the end of the new strings back into the saddle block clamp and tighten the screw to hold them in.
- Make sure that the fine tuners are set in the middle of their range.
- Wind the two strings back up, stretch them, and then tune them to the rest of the strings.
- Now you can replace the nut clamp and repeat on the next pair of strings.
- Finally, after all the strings are in place and clamped. Give your guitar a couple of whammies and tune all the strings with the fine tuners. If anything is way out of whack, loosen the nut clamp and tune from the machine head.
If you tend to sweat a lot, take the time to wipe off your Floyd Rose after playing so it doesn’t rust. Eventually, the locking screws will get stripped. It is easy to order replacement parts online if you can’t find them in your local store.
Now go forth and rock the world!
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