Vintage Floyd Rose Original Setup Instructions
Intonating Your Floyd Rose
Note - Before intonating your bridge you must tune your guitar using the tuning instructions listed on the left.
Check the intonation:
Tune all the strings on your guitar to an electronic tuner with all the nut clamps released.
Determine if the intonation of the string you wish to change is sharp or flat by chiming the string directly over the 12th and checking the tuning. Then, carefully press the string down to the 12th fret and check the tuning again with the string fretted. If the fretted note is flat when compared to the chimed note, then the saddle must be moved toward the nut until the chimed note and the fretted note match. If the fretted note is sharp when compared to the chimed note the saddle must be moved away from the nut until the chimed and fretted notes match.
To move the saddle:
Once you have determined which direction (toward or away from the nut) to move the saddle, loosen the string until it is limp.
Loosen the attachment screw holding the saddle to the bridge plate while holding the saddle in place. Move the saddle in the desired direction a small amount (about 1/16in on the first adjustment and your best guess on subsequent adjustments) and re-tighten the screw. [Note: If the saddle will not move forward because it is resting against the attachment screw, you can move the screw to the next hole forward on the bridge plate. This will give you more adjustment range. Also, if you need to move the saddle away from the nut to a position where the attachment screw can no longer clamp the saddle firmly, you can move the screw to the next hole back on the bridge plate.]
Re-tune the string and check the intonation again using the procedure outlined above (check the intonation).
Repeat this cycle until each string is properly intonated.
When you’re finished with the intonation procedure re-tighten the nut clamps. This will not change your intonation setting.
String Tuning Instructions
Loosen the three string clamps at the nut
Set your fine tuner screws on the bridge to the middle of their adjustment range.
Tune the strings to your desired pitch (this can be drop tuning, open tuning, or standard pitch, the procedure is the same for any tuning) with an electronic tuner starting with the low ‘E’.
When you have finished tuning all of the strings, check the tuning on the low ‘E’ again. If the low ‘E’ is now flat, re-tune the strings starting again with the low ‘E’ but this time tune the E, A, D, G, and B strings a little bit sharp, then the high ‘E’ to pitch. If the low ‘E’ is sharp, re-tune as just described only tuning the first five strings a little flat. You must tune the strings a little sharp or flat to get to your tuning because every time you change the tension (or pitch) of one string, the other strings change pitch in the opposite direction.
Repeat step 4 until all the strings are at the desired pitch.
When the strings are at the desired pitch, check to see if the bridge base plate is sitting parallel with the top surface of the guitar. If the base plate is tilted forward away from the body, you must tighten the tremolo springs tension by turning the spring claw screws clockwise and repeat step 4. If the base plate is tilted back toward the body, you must loosen the tremolo springs tension by turning the spring claw screws counterclockwise and repeat step 4. [Step 6 only needs to be done on initial setup of the bridge or if you change to another gauge of strings or change to a different tuning.]
When the bridge is sitting parallel to the face of the guitar and the strings are tuned to the desired pitch, re-clamp the three nut clamps and re-tune (if necessary) once again using only the fine tuners.
When tuning is complete, check the action of the strings off the neck. If your action is to high or to low, adjust the action with the two rocker screws (bridge pivot screws) using the 3mm Allen wrench. This adjustment will slightly change your tuning. If your fine tuners run out of range you must repeat steps 1 through 7.
Licensed vs. Authentic
How to tell:
An authentic system will have our logo on the top of the base plate. In addition, German-made systems have a stamp on the bottom stating "Made in Germany". The Special and 1000 Series will not have a stamp, but can be identified by the logo on top of the system.
The licensed systems will normally bear the phrase "Licensed by Floyd Rose Patents". This means that it is not manufactured by Floyd Rose, but is licensed to an OEM to make their own.
Saddle Height Adjustments
Q: How do I shim my saddles to match my guitar's radius?
A: The standard radii on Floyd Rose six string systems are 10" with the preinstalled shim and 12" without. To change the radius on a tremolo, it is recommended that you shim the individual saddles to match the preferred radius on your guitar. A small piece of copper or aluminum tape is an inexpensive and simple way to raise the saddle height.
A standard radius gauge can be used to measure your neck and bridge's radius: http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Special_tools_for_Neck,_fingerboard/Radius_Gauges.html
Troubleshooting TipsTrouble Shooting the Floyd Rose Tremolo
If your bridge is an Original Floyd Rose, it should function perfectly if properly installed and properly setup. Here are some things you can check that may be adjusted incorrectly or might be damaged.
Check to see if the base plate is sitting parallel with the top surface of the guitar. If it seems to be tilted forward, toward the pickups, then you need to tighten the springs and retune the guitar and check the tilt again. If it is tilted back toward the body of the guitar loosen the springs and retune the guitar. Repeat this procedure until the bridge sits level.
Make sure the nut is attached securely by tightening the nut attachment screws. This is critical for tuning stability.
Make sure the string clamps at the nut and bridge are very tight.
Make sure the saddle intonation screws are tight.
If these things have been done correctly and your bridge still does not come back to the proper pitch when using the tremolo, the knife-edges may be damaged. To check this you must remove the bridge. You can easily remove the bridge with the strings still clamped in the bridge by removing the tremolo springs. [Be sure to hold on to the bridge when removing the springs.] If you don't feel comfortable doing this, take the guitar to a good guitar repairman. Check the knife-edges. They should not be dull or rounded or chipped. If they don't seem sharp you can order a replacement base plate by contacting us here.
The dull knife edge is a rare problem on Floyd Rose Original bridges, but is more common on licensed bridges. If your bridge says, "Licensed under Floyd Rose Patents" or similar anywhere on it, this is a licensed bridge, and "not under our quality control." If your bridge is a licensed bridge, you should contact the manufacturer of your guitar for replacement parts.
If your tremolo is "floating" (i.e. you can pull up or push down on the tremolo arm) and you bend a string, the other strings will go slightly flat. This is normal operation. If you don't want this to happen you must block the tremolo so that you can't pull up on it (Edward Van Halen uses his Floyd blocked this way). When the bridge is mounted in this manner it is as stable as a fixed bridge for string bending but the trade off is the loss of subtle vibrato effects. This blocking should be done by a qualified guitar repairman.
Swapping Your Floyd Rose
For ease of swapping, the following Floyd Rose Tremolo Systems share the same dimensions and can be swapped with each other without the need for additional routing:
- Custom Shoppe
- 1000 Series Original
- Original 7
- Custom Shoppe 7
- Special 7***
- 1000 Series 7
***The string lock screws of the Floyd Rose Special are marginally shorter than on the Floyd Rose Original. If your guitar was routed using the Original routing diagrams, this will not be an issue-- some manufacturers, such as Fender, route smaller, tighter cavities on guitars outfitted with FR Specials, in which case you may have to route a little more space if you want your tremolo to have upward motion.
Note: After removing studs and inserts from a guitar body, the postholes may be stripped (the new studs and inserts may not fit firmly in the hole). If this occurs, you'll have to dowel the holes and redrill for the new studs.
Licensed Tremolo Systems
There are dozens of "licensed" tremolo systems on the market, each with their own dimensions, specs, and materials. It should be noted that many of these may require additional modifications to the body cavity to allow for the patented Floyd Rose base plate shape and size. If you are unsure, please check out the routing diagrams available on the Technical Documents page.