Kahler Pro (2300 series) Vibrato
Tuning, Setup, and Maintenance
 

 

 
Topics Covered On This Page:

 

Labeled Diagram
Description of Features
Maintenance
String Changing Tips
Tuning Procedure
Setup Procedure
Parts / Links / Info
It's not really called a tremolo



If you have a 1980's Kahler flat-mount bridge

and need some help, tips or instructions, hopefully you will find
what you're looking for here.  Some of the information contained on this page will also apply to the Kahler Flyer and stud-mount type bridges.




 

Below is a diagram showing a 1984 chrome Kahler Pro with stainless steel rollers.

 

Listed here are the Kahler 2300's main features with a description
starting at the top of the diagram above and going clock-wise:

  • Bridge Rollers
These came in stainless steel (black) and brass.  The ball bearings need to be maintained by applying a small amount of light household oil at the end of each roller opening.

If you are having trouble getting a smooth roll, you will need to remove the unit from the guitar and flush the bearing out with shots of WD-40 while you roll the saddles with your fingers.  Wipe, let it dry and reapply a light oil to the roller ends.

  • String Height
Use the .050" hex key to individually adjust the action for each string.  Intonation may be slightly affected after adjusting string height.
  • Arm Clutch
Use the 5/64" hex key here to adjust the amount of play in the arm.  You can set it loose so that the arm drops freely when released or tighten it so that it holds it's last position.
  • Main Spring Tension
This hex (5/64") adjustment changes the spring tension which will raise or lower the bar angle.  Spring tension will need to be adjusted when changing string gauges.
  • Cam Stop
This hex screw is supposed to limit the rear (pullback) travel of the unit if desired.  The idea was to be able to lockout the rotation of the cam so the pitch could only be dropped.   With the routing on my guitar, I found that it interfered with the operation so I removed mine.
  • Fine Tuning Knob
After tuning the string to pitch using the neck tuning keys, clamp the locknut (if you have one) and finish tuning using these fine tuners.  For more help with tuning during string changes, see the article below for tips in tuning a guitar equipped with a floating bridge.
  • String Block
This is the slot where the ball of the string anchors to the bridge.  Both sides of the ball at the end of the string must rest evenly on their respective sides.  If the ball is cocked sideways, reposition the ball so that it is seated evenly.
  • String Spacing
Loosening this .050" set screw allows for the individual side-to-side adjustment of the roller assemblies.  When retightening, get it snug but don't over tighten.
  • Intonation
Loosen these Phillips screws to individually adjust the intonation of each string.  String height will be affected slightly when this is adjusted.



GENERAL PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE

Once every few months put a very small amount of light household oil (3-In-1 works fine) on each side of the saddle rollers.  Also lightly oil the pivot bearings on each end of the cam and the treads on the fine tuning knobs.

Hypodermic insulin syringes work great for neatly getting oil in these tight places.

 

REMOVING THE UNIT FROM THE GUITAR

There may be an occasion where you may want to remove the Kahler 2300 for maintenance or other reasons.  The unit is self-contained... there are no springs attached to the wood as with conventional floating bridges.

To remove a flat-mount type Kahler, simply remove the strings and the four mounting screws.  Usually the screws from the rear of the bridge are longer so make note of the size differences when you remove and reinstall these screws.

As a final check, make certain the grounding wire contacts the bridge plate when reinstalling the unit.

 

UNDERSIDE OF THE KAHLER


There are two counter-springs on the bottom which connect the cam to the Kahler's body.  These springs are about 1" in length and connect using 4 countersink-type Philips machine screws.

 

STRING CHANGING TIPS

The Kahler 2300 can be a very accurate vibrato bridge provided a few extra steps are taken during string changes.  For accurate, dead-on pitch return I found that pre-bending and soldering the strings are a must.

The main friction point is the cam and you want the string to be pre-bent to match it's curvature.  I bend each string over the end of my thumb to put a gentle curve at the windings.  Bend the string so that the smooth side (with no obtrusions) will be towards the cam. 

Notice how the bend is done with the flat sides of the ball toward the sides.  See the image below:  

It will help the stability of the tuning if you solder the windings on all six strings with electrical solder.  This locks the winding and will prevent slippage.  Only let the solder flow into the winding... don't let it creep where the string contacts the ball or upward past the winding.

It also doesn't hurt to sprinkle a little powdered graphite on the cam surface before installing the strings.

When placing the ball into the string block be sure that the "shoulder" on each side of the ball rests on it's respective side in the block.  If the ball is cocked after the string has a little tension on it, push the bar down to release some of the tension and use a small hex key to manipulate the ball so that it sits evenly in the block.

 

 

TUNING A GUITAR WITH A FLOATING BRIDGE

Assuming you have just installed new strings of the same gauge
and have not yet tuned them up, 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) and using the neck tuning keys, 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 (we’re 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 bridge'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 arm should be at your desired angle to the guitar.  If it is not, then a slight spring tension 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.

 

SETTING UP A KAHLER 2300 VIBRATO

Assuming that you have a Kahler Pro (2300) equipped guitar and when the
guitar is tuned to pitch, the arm/cam is too far forward or rearward.

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 cam/arm height adjusted and guitar in tune.

Examine your present setup and if after tuning the strings to pitch, the cam is rotated too far back (arm sticking up too far), go to step 3.  If the cam is rotated too far forward (arm too low), start on step 2.

2.  Using the regular tuning keys, tune all strings flat.  It's easier to set up a Kahler if the cam is already adjusted too far back, so find the 5/64" hex key that fits the set screw in the center of the cam, between the D & G strings.  Since I don't know the position of your cam, you'll have to go by feel -  turning the set screw clockwise increases the spring tension which rotates the cam toward the rear and raises the arm.  The idea here is to get the arm to sit slightly back after the strings are in tune.

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

3.  Tune the strings.  This may take a bit of time so get out your digital tuner and sit somewhere comfortable.  Start with the low E and work your way across.  Since the cam 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 where no more tuning is required.

4. It's in tune now and if the spring adjustment we did on the arm was enough, the arm should now be at an angle that's too far back.  If you got extremely lucky, the arm is where you want it to be but that would be a fluke!  Anyway... if the arm is not angled back enough, go back to repeat step 2.

If the arm is angled back enough, now you can begin adjusting the spring tension screw
counter-clockwise a little at a time.  Turn it counter-clockwise maybe 1/4 turn then tune the strings up to pitch using the method in step 3.  Don't try to use the tension adjustment screw to get the arm down all the way in the desired position because the counter-tension produced from the strings being tightened 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 increment spring adjustment / tuning process until the arm is in the position you want.

5. Once it's in tune and the arm is right, 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.  Now LEAVE IT ALONE! 
Just kidding!

-------------------------------------------

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 rotation) and adjust from there.  I know this is a pain but this is basically the same procedure with all floating bridges when the setup (string gauge) is changed.  Once you get it set, you won't have to mess with it again.   

 

DOWNLOAD

I have a scan of the original adjustment guide
that you may download HERE.

 

Links

http://www.kahlerusa.com/


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www.kahlerparts.com


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