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Best practices for a floating bridge

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  • Best practices for a floating bridge

    Most of us have resigned ourselves to the Pros and Cons of living with a Floyd Rose type bridge but the six point bridge can be made just as functional if one has the patience. I'm going to expose what I've learned in this thread to see if others have noted the same. Let's look at some key differences:
    1. A six point bridge can float properly at any angle where a Floyd Rose likes a flat straight mount.
    2. A six point bridge is less stressful on the body.
    3. A six point bridge has more configuration options.
    My personal preferences for mounting a six point are a 30 degree angle forward mount with an 8mm screw head height. This usually gets me close to a minor third shift that stays in tune in either direction. How do you guys set yours up?

  • #2
    I remove the strings and springs then slacken all 6 screws so the bridge plate sits flat on the body. Then carefully tighten the first screw until the rear of the plate just begins to lift, then I slacken it a little until the plate just settles back on the body, then do each other screw in turn. Most of my customers with a 6 point bridge just need a little trem wiggle rather than a more trem-technique style of playing.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Dulles View Post
      Most of us have resigned ourselves to the Pros and Cons of living with a Floyd Rose type bridge but the six point bridge can be made just as functional if one has the patience.
      Really? Ok, that's simply impossible. I'm pointing it out because of that. But I'll give it a pass because I think I understand the sentiment.

      Originally posted by Dulles View Post
      How do you guys set yours up?
      I set it up with the springs tight and never use it. Or I set it up on a shelf after I've routed my guitar for a floyd

      Ok, A little dip on chords can be cool. And who doesn't love Jeff Beck? But really, there is so much that guitar trems are about anymore that the Fender trem falls far short. The only exception being that it has the right construction, mass and peripheral mounting requirements like springs, etc. to sound exactly right for vintage Stratocaster tone. For that it's perfect. As a tremolo, not so great. That doesn't mean it doesn't work at all or that it can't be "tuned" in to work at it's relative peak performance. But as good as a heavy blocked, fully locked at both ends Floyd Rose? Nope.
      "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

      "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

      "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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      • #4
        There is no doubt that a Floyd Rose is superior regarding range and tuning stability as well as from a purely mechanical POV.This said, I much prefer the SOUND AND FEEL of a vintage type vibrato (I refuse to use the wrong term "tremolo", because tremolo means amplitude modulation. Fender mixed it up all the time.)
        Actually I never played or even heard a Floyd Rose equipped guitar that sounded interesting to me. No doubt, I am addicted to a vintage strat tone a la Hendrix or SRV.

        My personal preferences for mounting a six point are a 30 degree angle forward mount with an 8mm screw head height. This usually gets me close to a minor third shift that stays in tune in either direction. How do you guys set yours up?
        I use the vibrato bridge mainly for a slight and even chord wiggle (e.g. SRV's "Lenny" or Hendrix's "The Wind cries Mary") or sometimes to produce an up-slide effect. Up-bends I do with my fingers. So I set the baseplate rather flat, the tilt producing a gap of no more than say 2mm above the body.

        The problem I see with a strongly tilted baseplate (30) is that finger-bending notes will cause much more de-tuning of the other strings than with a flat setting. So double-note bends will be almost impossible or at least sounding flat. Also the more tilt, the wider your finger bends will have to be as the bridge unit's yielding counteracts the string bending.
        Last edited by Helmholtz; 11-10-2019, 06:32 PM.
        - Own Opinions Only -

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Helmholtz View Post
          The problem I see with a strongly tilted baseplate (30) is that finger-bending notes will cause much more de-tuning of the other strings than with a flat setting. So double-note bends will be almost impossible or at least sounding flat. Also the more tilt the wider your finger bends will have to be as the bridge unit's yielding counteracts the string bending.
          Is this because of the crown of the saddles?

          I would also think that with a 30 tilt there would be a tendency for the saddles to start floating with much more tilt.?.

          As far as keeping them in tune...

          Standard practice is to use graphite on the nut slots (or a graphite nut). Make sure the nut slots are filed correctly. Keep the string tree as shallow as practical. Use as few string wraps on your tuners as you can get away with (or get locking tuners). Stretch your strings well before final tuning.

          Notice that none of that has anything to do with the bridge itself. The bridge is what it is. Limited, but not unusable. If your mounting screws aren't misaligned badly and there are no glitchy moving parts on the saddles then that's about the best you can do regardless of the of float height or angle. Some guys solder the wraps near the string ball ends to reduce slacking. I doubt it actually does much though. If I used my vibrato (not tremolo, Helmholtz is absolutely right) I might try using a little Loctite or CA on the saddle screw parts (assuming the guitar is set up and adjusted already). Also may not help much.
          "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

          "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

          "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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          • #6
            Is this because of the crown of the saddles?
            Maybe a little. But the main reason is the lever principle. The more parallel the strings and the baseplate are, the more force/tension is necessary to tilt the bridge.

            A practical example: Suppose you want to lift up one end of/erect a heavy pole lying on the ground, via a rope attached to its upper end. How would you pull the rope? Surely not along the axis of the pole. The least force is required when pulling at right angles.
            (Hope you're getting my point in spite of the awkward English.).
            Last edited by Helmholtz; 11-10-2019, 04:45 PM.
            - Own Opinions Only -

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            • #7
              I understand that principal with no trouble. For some reason I simply hadn't considered it here. Makes sense.
              "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

              "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

              "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Helmholtz
                Also the more tilt the wider your finger bends will have to be as the bridge unit's yielding counteracts the string bending.
                It's not the tilt, any floating vibrato, Floyd Rose included, exhibits the same problem angled or flat. Bending increases the tension load on those strings which causes adjacent strings to go flat. Double locking limits it a bit but if you're going to do country style bends, use a hardtail or consult Jeff Beck

                All good points being made but 30 is fine for the saddles except for when they are flat on the plate (ie: no screw height). In those cases, I would drop the angle 5. The reason I angle is the get an even pitch variation in each direction. The right angle centers the pitch delta. The screw height dictates the amount of the delta. When I'm centered by angle I turn the screws to increase or decrease the sweep limit. It's a pain to do but it works, eventually. Some set up in hours, others take days, sometimes weeks to get just right.

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                • #9
                  The Kinman site has some good strat set up tips that I find very helpful (and refer back to occasionally) https://kinman.com/perfect-guitar.php specifically https://kinman.com/perfect-guitar.php#stayingInTune onwards.
                  May need to create account and log in for some stuff.
                  My band:- http://www.youtube.com/user/RedwingBand

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                  • #10
                    It's not the tilt...
                    I agree that there are other influencing factors like saddle height and position (distance from the pivoting screws) but generally more tilt increases the detuning issue. Just use your tuner to verify.
                    I understand your arguments for the 30 angle, but your set-up won't do for me. Of course there is always room for different preferences/opinions. What else do you want to hear?

                    I have been tinkering with different whammies and set-ups since I bought my first strat in 1970. Also studied pros' set-ups and made adjustments to them in my shop.
                    Last edited by Helmholtz; 11-11-2019, 03:37 PM.
                    - Own Opinions Only -

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                    • #11
                      One more point: With a 30 tilt the pivot screws need to be slackened quite a bit because of the flat bottom of the traditional screw heads. This bears the risk of an undefined/moving height position of the baseplate. To avoid this I would recommend using countersunk head pivot screws.
                      - Own Opinions Only -

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Helmholtz View Post
                        One more point: With a 30 tilt the pivot screws need to be slackened quite a bit because of the flat bottom of the traditional screw heads. This bears the risk of an undefined/moving height position of the baseplate. To avoid this I would recommend using countersunk head pivot screws.
                        Needed another for this one.

                        Something I've done is to use modified screws. You can use a Dremel to put a recess just below the screw head and remove the inner two screws. It's not hard to align the remaining four. I used four because I figured that was enough for the tension, two was not (just one at either end) and six was just complicated overkill. Having the bridge "seat" itself on the screw heads makes life a lot easier too in the long haul for adjustments and use.

                        JM2C (Dremel skills are up to the individual )
                        "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

                        "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

                        "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Theres a bit of alchemy and luck involved. I wore out my favorite Strat that had a very stable Trem. I had it re-fretted. In the process they replaced the nut. Ive never got it to be the same since. Im in a band with a guy that uses a Floyd on an Ibanez with EMGs. One thing about a Strat.. you are consciously aware of using your Trem. This guy just hammers that Floyd at the end of every song with a ton of distortion... drives me nuts.

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                          • #14
                            Something I've done is to use modified screws. You can use a Dremel to put a recess just below the screw head and remove the inner two screws. It's not hard to align the remaining four. I used four because I figured that was enough for the tension, two was not (just one at either end) and six was just complicated overkill. Having the bridge "seat" itself on the screw heads makes life a lot easier too in the long haul for adjustments and use.
                            To achieve something like this ?

                            Click image for larger version

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                            I tried all this stuff over the decades and always came back to the original hardware (Fender Vintage, Callaham, Gotoh) because I liked the sound and feel best.
                            - Own Opinions Only -

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Helmholtz View Post
                              To achieve something like this ?

                              [ATTACH=CONFIG]55924[/ATTACH]

                              I tried all this stuff over the decades and always came back to the original hardware (Fender Vintage, Callaham, Gotoh) because I liked the sound and feel best.
                              Very much like that. It figures that someone makes them. I used countersink heads and my groove was a continuation of the slope on the bottom of the head. I was worried it would be too tight but it worked out well. I like those screws better though.
                              "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

                              "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

                              "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

                              Comment

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