How to Tune a Floyd Rose: A Step-by-Step Guide

By Monica | News

Jul 17
How to tune a Floyd Rose

How to tune a Floyd Rose? Well, if you want to bag in a Floyd Rose bridge, you better know this skill. After all, this tremolo system has a unique setup. And because of this, tuning it requires extra precision and care.

Over the years, the popularity of Floyd Rose bridge has never gone out of the pedestal. It is among the bridges that exhibit extreme stability. It is easy to play, too. In fact, there are various companies who tried to mimic Floyd Rose, such as the manufacturer Ibanez. However, they still don't come close to the quality of the Floyd Rose.

But despite its functionality, the tremolo system of a Floyd Rose still has some issues. You might get frustrated with its setup and tuning process. But if you know the ropes behind this bridge, things would get better for you. In this article, we will teach you more about the proper setup and tuning of a Floyd Rose. Let's get started!

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How to Tune a Floyd Rose

Tuning your strings with a Floyd Rose doesn’t require any tools at all except your patience and listening skills. You can also opt for an electric tuner, by that is just an optional tool.

What You Need:

  • A Floyd Rose bridge
  • Electric tuner (optional)
How to Tune a Floyd Rose

If it is your first time to handle a Floyd Rose, learning the proper tuning is pretty essential. It gives you a leverage, especially on your playing style. Moreover, constantly tuning your device will allow you to improve its versatility over different kinds of setups.

Of course, no tuning would happen if you are not familiar with the layout of the Floyd Rose. Therefore, it is crucial that you know the physical anatomy of this bridge. Otherwise, you will get lost in the process.

When you purchase this tremolo system, it comes with a user manual that guides you to its overall parts. Get familiar with them so that you will know what to touch whenever you are tuning.

Changing the Strings

Before you tune the bridge, you must assess the quality and conditions of the strings. This is a crucial process so that you can prevent any intonation issues to arise. Any setup procedures on guitars require the thorough assessment of strings.

On the other hand, we don't recommend that you should set up the Floyd Rose bridge first before you pay attention to the strings. This is just an exhausting approach since you will still undo the strings sooner or later. For us, you need to set up with the Floyd Rose with a new set of strings. In this way, you wouldn't have to undergo a repetitive process.

Tuning the Floyd Rose

Tuning the Floyd Rose

A Floyd Rose is a unique tremolo system. We can say that it is a complicated bridge to handle and tune. The biggest reason for this is due to its structure. Specifically, the bridge is floating between the guitar strings' tension and bridge springs' tension.

Because of this, the back portion of the bridge elevates slightly from the body whenever you are tuning the guitar to pitch. The opposite happens if you detune your instrument.

Overall, it is quite impossible to adjust a Floyd Rose bridge properly if you cannot tune it to pitch. Here are the procedures to get this done.

Step 1: Adjusting the Locking Nuts

Guitars that have Floyd Rose bridges come with locking nuts. The latter is just a nut, but it has three holes dedicated for tiny bolts. Locking components are bolted to the upper portion of the nut. These flattens the strings between the locking elements and the nut. This kind of setup prevent the strings from sliding to the nut when you are using a whammy bar.

Of course, we have to remind you that these locks render the tuners useless. If you want to use a tuner, you have to loosen or take out the locks first.

Step 2: Working with the Fine Tuners

When the locks are already removed, you need to modify the fine tuners as well. Some of the guitar players we know recommend that you should unscrew these fine tuners from the bridge. Of course, we have to disagree with this method. If you start unscrewing these tuners, they will only sound sharp.

On our end, we just suggest that you put the fine tuners on their threads middle section. In this way, you can make adjustments on either the flat and sharp sides equally.

Step 3: The Tuning Process

The Floyd Rose is quite a challenge when it comes to tuning. That's why we recommend that you should follow the procedures we mentioned so that tuning it to the pitch would become easy.

The first thing that you need to do is to tighten all the strings. You should do this by turning the pegs few times. Do not over-tighten the strings! Moreover, you should begin with the lower E string. As we mentioned earlier, the Floyd Rose is a floating-type bridge. Tuning a string to a pitch at a time won't make any progress. Instead, doing this will just make the bridge shift continuously.

  • Because of this, you need to turn all the tuners a few times until such the time, the back portion of the bridge will elevate from the tension of the strings. Once you can achieve this, you can start tuning each string. You have to tune them in a way that you prefer it (e.g. standard pitch or open tuning).
  • Do not make the strings sound too sharp. You might assume that this is a fast method to tune the strings. But in reality, it doesn't affect anything at all. Therefore, we suggest that you tune the strings "up" to the pitch, rather than going "down." It might take time before you can traverse the low E string to high E string before the Floyd Rose levels itself. But don't worry. It is all worth it.

Step 4: Tuning the Strings

After you reached the high E string, you need to go back to the low E again. Try to play it and see if it is flat. If it is indeed flat, you need to re-tune all the strings again. But this time, you have to do it a little sharper compared to your previous tuning. Once the low E string is already sharp, you can re-tune the rest of the strings (the tuning should be slightly flat this time).

As we mentioned earlier, you need to do this trial-and-error process to achieve the perfect pitch of each of the strings. After all, we are dealing with a Floyd Rose bridge here.

Step 5: Working with the Base Plate

Check if the base plate of the bridge is in parallel with the surface of your guitar. If you noticed that the base plate is quite tilting forward, you have to tighten the spring tension of the tremolo. You can do this by turning the claw screws in a clockwise direction. After this, you have to repeat the processes we mentioned in Step 4.

  • If the bridge is tilting backward, you have to loosen the spring tension. Just turn the claw screws in a counterclockwise direction. Tune the strings again based on the procedures highlighted on Step 4.
  • We have to remind you that you should exercise extra caution when adjusting the claw screws. It might affect the overall setup of the bridge to your guitar. Specifically, there is no need for you to make some exaggerated adjustments so that you can correct the bridge angle.

Moreover, take note that the adjustment should be done in the same amount. You need to make sure that your Floyd Rose is flat throughout the surface of the instrument.

Stretching the Strings

When the bridge is already on its correct floating position, you can already assume that the strings are already tuned. The next thing that you need to do is to stretch the strings. This process is essential because it promotes the longevity of the tuning.

Step 1: Placing Your Fingers on the Strings

Place your thumb on the top of the string and the fingers on the bottom. The positioning is pretty similar when you are doing fingerstyle.

Step 2: Pushing the Strings

Next, push the string up and down with the use of your fingers. Ideally, you should start from the bridge, going up to the neck. Stretch some other parts of the string as well. It is pretty important that you do this stretching on all of the strings. Of course, you need to retune the strings again because the stretching might have affected their respective pitch.

Meanwhile, here is a detailed video about how to tune a Floyd Rose style tremolo guitar

Conclusion

These are the necessary procedures that you need to do so that you can tune your Floyd Rose properly. As you can see it, the approach is not as straightforward as ordinary tremolo systems. This is the reason why you need to give proper attention to the components of Floyd Rose. But once you can get the hang of this, tuning your guitar strings with this bridge will become convenient.

Just be patient when it comes to tuning. After all, it is an essential procedure to make sure that your rig will sound the way you like . The proper setup will optimize the performance of your instrument throughout the mix!

Did you learn from this article? If you have any comments, questions, and suggestions, just feel free to ask us. We love to hear from you!

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About the Author

Hi everyone! Im Monica and I am an avid lover of guitars and everything in-between. My current profession is not really music-related. It is quite discouraging but I just don’t want to drop my zeal–especially not to guitars! I created GuitarTrance.Com so that I can keep up with my hobby. Of course, I want to engage with the community as well! Hope we can all get along!