How do I set up my guitar with the Floyd Rose bridge?

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First, check relief in the neck by holding the lowest (bass) string down on the second fret with your fretting hand, then hold it down on the 12th fret with your right thumb and tap on the string in the middle to show how straight the string is. It should be no more than the thickness of a thick business card, and no more than that. It can be less than that, however, down to practically nothing. If there is no relief in the neck, apply a little pressure in the middle of the neck (downward) after adjusting the trussrod wheel should take care of it. If not, please contact us as it may be necessary to send the instrument in.

The bridge should sit parallel to the body, both from the bass and treble side to the front and back of the bridge. Anything other than that will damage the finish - very important! It is recommended to change strings at least one string still tuned to pitch, and if it is only one, it should be the lowest string. Do not remove all the strings at one time! Install strings with ball end toward the nut in order to fish the ball end under the string retainer in order to avoid scratching the finish. Strings should come off the retainer toward the nut so that the string is touching all of the nut to keep the string from changing pitch when installing the nut clamp.

Factory string setting for standard tuning starts at the bass side 2/32" (1.59 mm) to 5/64" (1.98 mm) and the treble side is 3/64" (1.19 mm) to 2/32" (1.59 mm) measured from the 12th fret to the bottom of the strings. The top of the strings should have the radius of the fretboard when you are looking at the strings in the playing position and by rotating the instrument while at the same time bringing strings into view one at a time. Remember, string height is ultimately determined by your preference and playing style.

String height should be determined by each player's individual playing style. To adjust string height, the guitar needs to be disassembled to replace, remove or add shims in the neck (not recommended for the inexperienced or faint of heart). Remember to always protect the finish around the bridge by holding it firmly while removing the tremolo springs. After assembly, start back at step one.

Now, you are ready to play your guitar. If a string buzzes on an open string to the 5th fret and no higher, more relief is needed. If there is more buzz from the 5th to the 12th fret, the neck needs to be straighter. You should check the string height after every adjustment. If the buzzing happens throughout the neck, the string height needs to be increased.

To test the tension of the springs: This is measured by bending the G string two steps (notes) or as many steps as you normally would plan to bend. Do the bend at the 12th fret or so. There should be just enough spring tension to keep the bridge flush to the body while bending the G string 2 whole steps. Be careful not to apply too much tension, or damage to the finish may occur. To tighten the spring tension, turn the screws holding the tremolo claw clockwise - lessen the tension by turning the screws counterclockwise. The tremolo claw is located under the tremolo back plate.

Last modified on Tuesday, 26 October 2010 11:38