Setting up your Tremolo or Floyd Rose

stratamania

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In order to have an easy point of reference as the question gets asked from time to time, here is a thread for all things tremolo set up related.

Setting up any tremolo especially to float can be a challenge. But these tips will help you to do it as easily and reliably as possible.

Compared to standard tuning if you tune down to Eb, the strings are under less tension so the springs also need to be. (Some may use heavier strings when tuned down, but either way, you need a balance between the strings and springs). It's no different to setting up for standard tuning as far as the adjustment steps go or for any other tuning for that matter.

Here are some videos which should be of help.


Feb 12 2020 Updated the next Fender video for floating a Strat tremolo. Previous video was no longer available.


Hollow Points are also a useful addition to a Floyd. If you don't want to use Hollow points a tool called the Key will be of a huge help when setting a Floyd's intonation.



Update: 12 Feb 2020

A very useful device is available from Red Bishop called an Accu-locator for setting intonation on Floyd Rose style tremolos. There are different types available for Floyd Rose type variants.


Update: 4 August 2021

5 Most Common Floyd Rose Setup Issues Problems Solved



Shims to adjust the Radius of a Floyd Rose.
 
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Back in the 80's I wrote a series of "how to" articles for String Instrument Craftsman (which was published by Guitar Player magazine) on installing, setting up, and maintaining Floyd Rose, Kahler, and stock Fender whammy systems. Dan Erlewine even recommended them in the first edition of his book on guitar repair. They are hard to find now, but the magazine's content was purchased by the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans, who now publish Guitarmaker magazine. I haven't checked for awhile, but it would be excellent reference materials for anyone needing instruction on whammy systems.
 
GREAT post.  I always referenced the Ibanezrules tutorial, but a visual guide is so much easier to digest.
 
Let's talk briefly for a moment about Floyd's on the 10-16" radius.  There's a lot of info about that particular topic out there on the web, but since this is a trem/Floyd setup thread, I figured I'd throw that into the ring, since it's an issue I'm currently having.

I just "finished" my build (in "quotes" because...the string action needs some attention!).  It's my first build, and out of all the guitars I've tinkered with over the last few decades, I'd never done a fresh install of a Floyd.  Come to find out...you just might need to more closely match the bridge end of the radius (the nut end is fine....a Floyd R3 nut is 10", as is the fretboard at that end).  The Floyd is 10" radius, unless you remove the shim that rests under the A/D/G/B saddles from the factory, which increases the radius to a 12".  Although I do realize that I may very well need a crown/polish (I'm just going to get it PLEK'd....MUCH better option than a standard crown and polish), I hand-cut some shims out of playing cards after seeing somebody else do just that in a video.  If anything, they're slightly thicker than the suggested thickness, and although they definitely helped bring the whole bridge plate down lower....I'm still getting some buzzing issues, especially on the B string, around the 14th-16th frets.  Neck relief, if anything, is little MORE than I'd like, so I don't dare give it even more neck relief, as well as the fact that the string action is still TOO HIGH, and yet I'm already getting some buzz, with the action a little high, and shims installed (don't knock the playing card shims....they're cut properly, and they work, they're just not as easy to install as a purpose-built shim). (Should I just schedule a PLEK service, or is there a less expensive option I should be trying in the meantime?)

So....let's talk about that....matching bridge radius on a Floyd and similar double locking trems, to the radius of the fretboard, especially on the widely popular and often ordered 10-16" radius. 
 
ChrisMC. Your observations seem to be more related to neck set up in general rather than the tremolo itself.  Perhaps it might be better to put those in your build thread.

I am not sure what your post is asking?
 
Great thread and timely posting!
Thanks to Stratamania and the guys at W for steering me straight with my recent purchase.

2 Questions:

Black vs gold?

Besides the obvious aesthetic, is there a noticeable difference in tone or sustain?

Sustain blocks?

Stone Tone etc. A noticeable improvement  in sustain on a Wilkinson VS100?

Thanks!
 
DustyCat said:
Great thread and timely posting!
Thanks to Stratamania and the guys at W for steering me straight with my recent purchase.

2 Questions:

Black vs gold?

Besides the obvious aesthetic, is there a noticeable difference in tone or sustain?

Sustain blocks?

Stone Tone etc. A noticeable improvement  in sustain on a Wilkinson VS100?

Thanks!

This thread has been around since 2018. I update the first post from time to time with additional information etc.

The thread is "Setting up your Tremolo or Floyd Rose".

Are you trolling black vs gold, is there a tonal difference...not a serious question and off topic as is the next question.
 
stratamania said:
DustyCat said:
Great thread and timely posting!
Thanks to Stratamania and the guys at W for steering me straight with my recent purchase.

2 Questions:

Black vs gold?

Besides the obvious aesthetic, is there a noticeable difference in tone or sustain?

Sustain blocks?

Stone Tone etc. A noticeable improvement  in sustain on a Wilkinson VS100?

Thanks!

This thread has been around since 2018. I update the first post from time to time with additional information etc.

The thread is "Setting up your Tremolo or Floyd Rose".

Are you trolling black vs gold, is there a tonal difference...not a serious question and off topic as is the next question.

No troll.
I may be late to the party but these questions are not far from home and they are timely in my world

Gold is a metal right?
Black is a color? that potentially adulterates the original metal and potentially adds artificial friction/resistance to resonance?
 
afaik it's not real gold, my dude. Its just a coating same as like chrome or black. not gonna change your tone.

Blocks are def way mo' subjective

personally, i dont give af. The brass that comes with any floyd is fine and there are a billion ways to alter ur guitar's sound before changing a trem block. but thats just, like, my opinion, man. ppl will sell u anything to make a $buck

But you do you, my turtle. you either go out with a bang or you die with intact eardrums
 
DustyCat said:
No troll.
I may be late to the party but these questions are not far from home and they are timely in my world

Gold is a metal right?
Black is a color? that potentially adulterates the original metal and potentially adds artificial friction/resistance to resonance?

These questions have nothing whatsoever to do with the thread.
 
The topic is on how to SET UP (and adjust) a tremolo.
What color or material or country or planet applies to the tremolo doesn't matter.
Once again: The topic is on how to SET UP (and adjust) a tremolo.

Now for the next step in the process: How to keep it in tune (tuning stability), ESPECIALLY a non-locking tremolo.
THAT is a whole 'nuther topic altogether, and deserves its own topic discussion, and I don't mean to hijack this topic, and hope that people don't start chiming in with their tips in this area, although we all know that somebody will anyway, even though it's not a part of this topic discussion.
 
I don’t even install the springs until the entire instrument has had all of the other treatments first. I block the sustain block under string tension in the final position and do all the set-up as though it were a hard tail, ie; truss rod, string height, intonation, and final stretching.

Once all of that is done, I install the springs with the claw positioned nearly at slack, then I tighten the claw evenly across until the block just falls out, then a final adjustment to the claw to ensure that the entire instrument is in tune from the inside strings outward, D, G, A, B, low E, High E. And I rarely have to make any adjustments after that.

If using a Floyd Key for intonation, I start with the saddle furthest from the neck, that way, I am only ever loosening “ The Key” as it doesn’t like being tightened. Makes my Floyd setups take so much less time with far better accuracy.
 
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When I’ve setup bridges to have low action with a 10-16 compound and then check the radius at the bridge with an under string radius guide it’s a 20 inch radius. You might want to shim the floyd to that.
 
When I’ve setup bridges to have low action with a 10-16 compound and then check the radius at the bridge with an under string radius guide it’s a 20 inch radius. You might want to shim the Floyd to that.

Eighteen inches would be mathematically optimum, but twenty would also work.
 
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