The Floyd Rose Bridge is a revolutionary guitar bridge and saddle design that allows a guitar to stay in tune even when the vibrato is used with extreme changes in pitch. However, changing the strings with this bridge system can be difficult without a good method. This lesson covers a step-by-step approach to changing guitar strings on the Floyd Rose bridge system…
In this article we will discuss how to restring a Floyd Rose style bridge.
Before you begin… The following explanation will assume that you already have your guitar’s “setup,” properly dialed in and you are replacing your existing strings with the exact same type and gauge of string.
You’ll need to assemble a toolkit prior to starting this job. Get yourself the following:
- an electronic tuner
- a pair of wire cutters
- new pack of guitar strings
- a precision screwdriver kit
Add the above items to the Allen keys and other tools that you would have received with your Floyd Rose equipped guitar when it was purchased new.
STEP 1). Before removing the old strings, stuff something under your Floyd Rose fine-tuners, (just like it is shown in the video), to keep the Floyd Rose in a ‘floating’ position. This will be important when you release the tension off of the strings.
Loosen the bolts on your locking top nut with the Allen key supplied with the guitar and de-tune the strings. Keep going until the strings have no tension on them at all.
Using the same Allen key, loosen the bolts that hold the strings in place on the Floyd Rose bridge. The strings can now be removed. Coil the old strings and dispose of them carefully.
STEP 2). Open the package of your new guitar strings. Using your wire snips, cut the ball ends off of each string. Be careful that the ball ends don’t fly across the room and get lost on the floor – it can happen. Dispose of the balls in the trash.
Push the end of the new string into the correct block in the Floyd’s saddles. It’s very important that you make sure you can feel the string hit the bottom of the saddle.
With the string held in place, use your Allen key to tighten the bolt that clamps down the string. Be gentle, because you can damage the saddle block if you tighten the bolt too much. This system is made from cast metal and can break under too much pressure.
STEP 3). With the string bolted in place on the bridge saddle, thread the other end of the string through the correct notch in the locking top nut and begin winding it around the correct tuner’s machine-head.
Repeat steps 4 to 7 with the other guitar strings.
STEP 4). Tune the guitar, stretch the strings and tune it again. When the tuning settles, remove the block you placed under the bridge. If the tuning is still a bit off, tune, stretch, and tune again until the tuning of the guitar settle properly.
Final Overview: Look at your Floyd from a side view angle. If it sits parallel to the guitar’s body, tighten the bolts on your locking top nut. After that you’ll want to check the tuning again and make any final tuning adjustments from the fine-tuners on the base of the Floyd Rose if necessary.
If you switched string gauge to a thicker or thinner type of guitar string, the Floyd Rose bridge angle may be too far forward, (or too far back). If this occurs you will need to adjust the bridge angle accordingly.
This adjustment can be done by removing the rear plate, (located on the back side of your guitar’s body). This plate covers the vibrato cavity. Inside of the cavity you’ll find some springs and a claw that holds these springs in place.
If your Floyd Rose bridge is sitting too far forward, tighten the two large screws on the string supports claw plate. This will increase the spring tension and adjust the Floyd back into the proper alignment position. If the Floyd is sitting too far back, then you’ll need to loosen the screws.
Turn the screws which adjust the claw-plate slowly and carefully. Stop intermittently and check the guitar’s tuning. Pay close attention to your progress as you go.
The bridge balance will eventually find symmetry between the tension of the guitar strings and the Floyd Rose spring mechanism. Once everything is level, tighten the three Allen screws for your guitars locking top nut.