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Floyd Rose Bridge Question

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(@cmaracz)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 155
Topic starter  

I'm not going to ask for a full explanation of what a floyd rose is and how they work, since apparantly that is a complicated issue. I am satisfied just in knowing that it's a floating, non-fixed bridge. What I am not satisfied in is not knowing why anyone would use them.

All the sites about this bridge type I've seen just discuss the various aspects which make it more complciated and to me seem worse than fixed bridges. Can anyone tell me the advantages that Floyd Roses have over fixed bridges? So far I can't see any reason why anyone would use them, unless a more expensive, harder to tune bridge is the goal of most players. It's confusing me.


   
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(@elpelotero)
Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 93
 

well for starters obviously you can dramatically alter the pitch of a note very easily. its great for solo work, especially rock to metal solos. a problem i foresee is that many people abuse it. it should be used tastefully, not to play around with for fun. many ppl just grab it and wham it for fun. its true a minus is that it requires maintenance and you need a knowledge of how to maintain it, but im sure its not too difficult after a bit of practice, as with changing guitar strings.


   
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(@ignar-hillstrom)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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not to play around with for fun.

Why not? Heck, I play the entire guitar for fun.


   
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(@undercat)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 959
 

It's something 40% of guitarists think they need and only 1% actually do.

As you stated, a Floyd Rose is the premier design in bridges that are "Fully floating", it's resting position is based on balancing the tension between the strings and the trem springs over a pivot point.

What makes these setups undesirable to some guitarists (myself included) is that it's a lot of tradeoffs for a relatively small benefit.

Typical downsides of a floating bridge:

1. Tuning: FR equipped guitars are more difficult to tune because everytime you tune up one string, another one goes slack, due to the constantly rebalancing tension on the bridge.

2. Tuning: It's not uncommon to use the whammy, and have the bridge not come back to the EXACT position it was in before, resulting in widespread out-of-tuneness. Various systems are always attempting to remedy this, most notably the trem-setter.

3. Sustain: Guitars with FR's have noticibly less sustain than their stop tail counterparts. The bridge is not as firm and therefore some of the string's vibration is lost.

4. Typically now-a-days FR guitars are equipped with locking nuts to minimize the tuning instability from that end, this makes jumping to alternate tunings near impossible in a short amount of time, as they must be unscrewed to use the tuning heads.

5. The way the strings affect eachother means that if you go to play one string, let it ring, then go fret a note on another string and then bend it, the FIRST note will go flat, which is a very unpleasant sound.

By contrast, the benefits of a FR bridge:

1. You can whammy, sometimes both up AND down, depending on the guitar.

If whammying seems like a big enough issue that all that annoyance might be worth it, take this into account: the Fender trem: 90% of the effect, 5% of the annoyance. What is now known as the "vintage" trem system is very stable, does not affect tuning as noticibly, and can be almost completely ignored when changing strings and doing alternate tunings.
So far I can't see any reason why anyone would use them, unless a more expensive, harder to tune bridge is the goal of most players.
For most people, it's a gimmick, they buy it because they think it looks cool and they think they might use it and they don't research it's downfalls.

Congrats on being informed.

Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life...


   
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(@forrok_star)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 2337
 

Tremolo systems are just like everything else associated with guitar takes time and practice to utilize them effectively. And as you see you'll hear some that love them and some that don't. It is true that when they first came out and everyone was installing them on non-tremolo guitars they did sound thin an tin. Vast improvements in that area has made a big difference. I've been using them since back in the 80's and have never had any problems.

Mostly when some have problems is usually because their not set up right or don't understand that you don't need to push or pull it beyond their limits. Yes, it takes a little more to tune but once a double locking system is in tune they stay in tune.I use it way too much for a lot of people, but it's part of my style.

Floyd Rose Tremolo's have gotten some bad press because cheap impostors.

Joe


   
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(@ignar-hillstrom)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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Undercat:

Go to a local store and grab an Ibanez RG2550. Around $900, so not uber-expensive by any means. Play it and see how much #2 and #3 are an issue. That thing NEVER loses tune and sustain is pretty darn endless.

#4 is correct, but alternate tunings would have been impossible anwyay to do quickly due to #1, so not much a of a point. As for the Fender vibrato: if you mean their current and latest version you've got a good point. If you really mean the classic vintage vibrato, no friggin way. Hendrix' didn't had to retune every four seconds for nothing. That bridge design is a disaster. IMHO ofcourse. :lol:


   
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(@undercat)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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Undercat:

Go to a local store and grab an Ibanez RG2550. Around $900, so not uber-expensive by any means. Play it and see how much #2 and #3 are an issue. That thing NEVER loses tune and sustain is pretty darn endless.

My first two guitars were Ibanez's with trem systems. I played them to death and frequently told all my guitar playing compatriots how great and without flaw the trem system was. I played virtually nothing else, I wasn't shopping for another guitar, and then on a whim I grabbed my friend's SG and discovered the incredible joy of the hardtail. I currently own 1 Ibanez T-shirt, 1 Ibanez mousepad, and 0 Ibanez guitars.

I'm going to fight on the sustain thing though. Of course you can compress the hell out of it, crank your gain and vibrato your guts out, and get an unlimited sustain, but that's not exactly what I'm speaking to. Playing the guitars acoustically or on clean settings, hartails sustain longer, and the sustain is thicker. It's just a question of physics, take a guitar string and tie it to two nails in a board, tune and strum: it will vibrate for a suprisingly long time. Essentially that's what you have in a fixed bridge situation: fixed end points and no where else for the energy to go but into more string vibrations. We need Greg in here, he does physics.

Joe: I'll concede that the bad rep of the FR is at least in part due to the copies. The original apparently is the best, but I can't comment on that specifically, since mine were all "Liscenced By".

Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life...


   
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(@Anonymous)
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the ones on Ibanez's arent even FR's. they are ones made by Ibanez. im listening to George Benson....


   
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(@ignar-hillstrom)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5349
 

Undercat: some of Ibanez' floyds are not inferior to a standard floyd at all, allthough the cheaper models are indeed far less. As for sustain, ofcourse a hardtail has a longer sustain. And maybe for the kind of music you're into that sustain is important. But I still believe that the sustain of the 2550 is more then enough for most people.

But in the end there are drawbacks and advantages, and it depends on the user on what is more important.


   
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(@danielsan)
New Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 2
 

I play a Washburn N2 with a bridge licensed by Floyd Rose.

@ Undercat:

#1 You get used to it and it's not really difficult.

#2 Never happens. My guitar is perfectly in tune, even after playing for hours.

#5 Didn't notice at all.

You'll have to use a tool for changing strings. So you will need a second guitar for playing live gigs.

Another thing I don't like is that you really have to take care while muting with your palm, sometimes you press to hard on the bridge.

Anyway for some effects you'll need a floating bridge and it's really fun to play some nice surer sound with this.


   
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(@kyoun1e)
Trusted Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 54
 

So glad this thread is here...I was going to ask about Floyd Rose because I'm interested in picking up a Jackson RR3 or Kelly.

I'm relatively new to guitar...about 2 years old. My time is limited as a 37 year old professional with family. I find that my patience is limited as well -- it drives me nuts alone to just change strings.

Would I be best served to avoid this system?

Should tremolo systems be avoided by beginner/intermediate guitar players?

Everything I hear about "tuning one string and then another gets out of tune" scares the hell out of me. I don't want to spend the 1 hour I have to play tuning my guitar.

This will be my 2nd guitar coming up...and I expect to have several. Avoid Floyd Rose for now and get it later?

Thanks. KY


   
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(@strunglikeahorse)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 18
 

I don't think FR's are gimmicky at all. I own an Ibanez RG1527 with Edge Pro bridge and locking nut. Most of the time I keep the whammy bar off, but, I can bend the strings like crazy and be sure that I won't return it to pitch to find it's slipped and gone out of tune (the exception to that being if I've done a bad re-stringing job and forgotten to tighten properly on either end). It's especially good for being able to do extreme bending on the lower frets and lower strings, which sounds really cool when you whip out a bit of the old pinched harmonics ;)

Yup they take longer to string, and you have to look after them. But in return, they look after you! As long as they're used sensibly, you can look forward to weeks of solid tuning without ever having to reach for tuner and allen key.

The downside is, I guess, that retuning is fiddly and best left alone. I tried detuning my first FR guitar only to find out it sounded terrible, and it was best set up for normal tuning. If you think you'll be changing tunings alot, get a HT, or maybe even both. Keep the FR in the tuning you know you'll use most, and have a cheaper guitar off to the side to experiment with (and also as backup).

Who sucked out all my mids?!

http://www.soundclick.com/chimpspanner


   
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(@undercat)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 959
 

Everything I hear about "tuning one string and then another gets out of tune" scares the hell out of me. I don't want to spend the 1 hour I have to play tuning my guitar.

This will be my 2nd guitar coming up...and I expect to have several. Avoid Floyd Rose for now and get it later?

I wouldn't go so far as to say it's scary, it's just not worth the hassle for me. Like I said, it was really more of a cost vs. benefits issue than anything else. I was taking time to accomodate this bridge, losing versatility, and with no real benefit to me, since I was hardly using the trem.

I am pretty darn quick with the tuning and string changing and little maintenance issues on an FR, but it didn't come to me overnight, I wasted a lot of time fooling with it in the beginning, reading manuals and guides online and generally being frustrated. I don't think most brand newbies need that.
I don't think FR's are gimmicky at all.

That really depends on the player, but I would venture to say that for 90% of players who buy one, it is very much a gimmick. For those that use it regularly in a musical context, I salute you, but from what I've seen, you are in the minority.

Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life...


   
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