Tuning, Maintenance and Setup
of a Guitar Equipped with a

Floyd Rose Vibrato

The Floyd Rose Original vibrato is arguably the best, most stable unit available.  This page will hopefully take some of the frustration and mystery out of tuning and adjusting a guitar equipped with a Floyd (or similar floating bridge).  

 

Contents of this Page:
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General Description of Features
(starting from bottom left)



Fine Tuners Use these to zero the tuning after locking the nut down (if a nutlock is used). 
Saddle Block Screws (3mm) Clamps and unclamps the string Saddle Block.  Don't over-torque these screws when clamping the strings ends.
Saddle Blocks Small vices that grip the string ends.  Snip ball end of string 1" up and affix string end here.
String Height Stud
(3mm)
Use these 2 hex bolts to raise and lower the action.
Intonation Adjustment Set-screw (2.5mm) Loosen and move individual bridge piece forward or backward to adjust intonation.  Watch the torque here, too.

 

TUNING PROCEDURE

Please follow Floyd Roses procedure on string changes,
taking care not to over-torque the bridge clamps.

Assuming you have just installed new strings of the same gauge, have not yet tuned them up and still have the nut unclamped here it goes:

Screw the fine tuners of the vibrato unit out until they stop and then screw them back in one or two turns.  Get out your digital/analog tuner (a MUST-HAVE), use the neck tuning keys and tune the low E string to pitch.  Then the A,D,G,B, and high E (in that order).  Repeat the tuning of all six strings starting with the low E.  Repeat this procedure as many times as it takes to finally get the all the strings in tune.
 
***Never go sharp over the desired pitch***!  Always tune UP to the correct pitch then stop and go down to the next string.  The mistake most people make is going sharp and having to tune DOWN.  You'll never get them in tune that way.
 
As you keep repeating this process of tuning the LowE-A-D-G-B-E, the amount of tuning that you have to do to each string will lessen with each pass.  When you finally get the strings close, turn the keys very carefully so you don't go over the correct pitch.   This is where quality tuning keys really help.

So after a few minutes, they should be in tune.  Now gently stretch and tune (were still using the headstock tuning keys here) each string repeatedly until stretching no longer detunes the string.  This takes another few minutes.
 
Tighten the locking nut (if you have one).  Only use enough torque to hold the strings.  If your particular locking nut causes the strings to go sharp when you clamp the strings down, then you will need to do the initial tuning a little flat.
 
Use the Floyd's fine tuners to do the rest using the same process as you did above remembering to not go sharp over the correct pitch.  When the guitar is tuned to A440, the faceplate of the Floyd unit should be parallel (not necessarily flush or even) to the body of the guitar.  If it is not parallel, then a slight spring adjustment may be necessary.
 
After a week or so on the same set of strings, if you check the tuning, you may notice some more stretching has taken place.  Simply use the fine tuners to bring it back up to pitch, following the above method.

If you have run out of adjustment on the fine tuners, screw the knob(s) all the way out, unlock the nut and bring the string(s) in tune using the headstock tuning keys, repeating the process above.

 




Floyd Rose
SETUP ADJUSTMENT PROCEDURE

The "Original" Floyd Rose is an amazingly stable vibrato bridge.  However, proper setup is vital - one important requirement is that the faceplate must be parallel with the guitar's body when the strings are tuned to pitch.  Below is a straight-forward procedure to get it there.

1.  First unlock the nut and unscrew the fine tuners until they stop and then give them all about a half a turn in.  We'll leave the locking nut and fine tuners alone until we get the springs adjusted and guitar in tune.

Examine your present setup.  After the strings are tuned to pitch, the bridge's faceplate should be parallel with the guitar's body - not leaning more to the front or back.  If it is tilted too far to the rear, go to step 5.  If the unit is tilted too far forward (arm too low), start below on step 2.

2.  Using the regular tuning keys, tune all strings flat.  It's easier to set up a Floyd if the unit is already adjusted too far back, so remove the spring cavity cover on the rear of the guitar and tighten the spring adjustment screws in a few turns (see diagram below).  The idea here is to get the face plate to tilt slightly back after the strings are in tune.

Go to step 3 to tune the strings and we'll see if we adjusted the unit back enough.

3.  Tune the strings.  This may take a bit of time so get out your digital tuner and sit somewhere comfortable.  Using the tuners on the headstock, start with the low E and work your way across.  Since the bridge gets pulled forward with string's tuning, you will have to go through several full passes.  Notice that each pass requires you to have to tune up less.  Never tune the string sharp over pitch.  Keep making passes and eventually it will get to the point where no more tuning is required.

4.  It's in tune now and if the spring adjustment we did in step 2 was enough, the faceplate should now be at an angle that's too far back and you can go to step 5.  If you got extremely lucky, the faceplate will be parallel with the guitar body and you can go to step 6.  If the bridge is not angled back enough, go back to repeat step 2.

5.  If the faceplate is angled back, now you can begin adjusting the spring tension screws out a little at a time.  Turn both screws counter-clockwise maybe 1/4 turn then tune the strings back up to pitch using the method in step 3.

Don't try to use the spring adjustment screws to get the unit all the way parallel because the counter-tension from the strings being raised into tune will pull it down even farther.  Just use 1/4 turns at a time followed by getting the guitar completely in tune.  Repeat this small incremental spring adjustment / tuning process until the plate is exactly parallel with the guitar body.

6. Once it's in tune and the faceplate is parallel, you can lock the nut and use the fine tuners to get the tuning zero'd.  Start with the low E and work your way across making as many passes as it takes to get the strings in tune.

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Note:  On these floating bridges during regular tuning, always tune UP from flat and if a major spring adjustment is necessary always start with high spring tension (excess backward tilt) and adjust from there.

 

 

Links

http://www.floydrose.com/
http://www.musicgearreview.com/features/floyd-rose-setup.htm

Downloads

Floyd Rose Instruction Sheet PDF (Adobe Acrobat)

 

 

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