How to Tune a Floyd Rose Tremolo

If you can already see yourself pulling off mad dive-bombs and slick dime-squeals after witnessing a pro player showcase their skills, chances are you’ll end up buying an electric guitar with a floating tremolo bridge yourself – perhaps even one with a genuine Floyd Rose. What many beginners don’t realise, however, is that a floating bridge is rather sophisticated, which can quickly lead to confusion and irritation. To help you out, I’m going to show you exactly how you can tune a Floyd Rose, Ibanez Edge or any other comparable tremolo bridge system in just five steps.

Before We Get Started

If you’d like a little more background information about the Floyd Rose or a similar tremolo system, or if you want to learn how to string and intonate yours, check out our extensive Floyd Rose blog!

How to Tune a Floyd Rose Tremolo

The Problem in a Nutshell

When tuning a Floyd Rose bridge, it basically all comes down to the balance between the tremolo springs and the tension of the strings. The tremolo springs are found in the back of the guitar and are installed to pull the bridge, while the strings are obviously on the front, and pull the bridge forward. When tuned properly, the bridge sits flush with the body as seen in the image below.

How to Tune a Floyd Rose Tremolo

Imbalance

After one of the strings break, the other five are immediately thrown out of tune because the balance between the tremolo springs and the strings is off and the bridge is pulled ajar. The same thing actually happens when you want to tune your guitar in a drop-tuning. As soon as you tune the low E-string, the tension reduces, affecting that of the other strings and the pitch in the process. Fortunately, there are a number of easy ways to fix this.

How to Tune a Floyd Rose Tremolo in 5 Steps

Let’s get to it. Here’s how you can tune a Floyd Rose in just five steps. Please note: the tremolo bridge must be in the correct position (as discussed above) before it’s worth going through the five steps.

#1. Loosen the String Blocks on the Locking Nut

Loosen the string blocks on the locking nut with a 3mm hex key to free up the strings. By the way, any instructions included here related to a locking nut only apply if your guitar has a double-locking tremolo. If it doesn’t, you can skip these parts.

How to Tune a Floyd Rose Tremolo

#2. Turn the Fine-Tuners to Half Height

Make sure all of the fine-tuners are roughly at half height. To determine how high this is, simply turn one of the outermost tuners all the way up and the other all the way down. This way, you can easily see where the middle should roughly be. Continue with the middle tuners and finally set the outer two at the right height. This should give you enough headroom to tune the strings higher or lower as preferred after you lock the string nut again (step #4 and #5).

How to Tune a Floyd Rose Tremolo

#3. Tune Up in the Correct Order

Next, tune the guitar as usual using the machine heads at the headstock. Start with the middle strings and work your way towards the outer top and bottom strings. In other words, tune the strings as follows: G → D → B → A → High E → Low E. For now, it doesn’t have to be perfect and it’s probably better to leave a little slack since the clamps at the locking nut will also tighten up the strings when they’re secured. Please note: New strings fall out of tune quickly at first. It’s best to tune these, then stretch them and tune them again. Repeat the process until the tuning remains stable. You can gently stretch the strings by lifting them with your index and middle fingers before carefully pressing down on them with your thumb. Make sure to do this along the entire length of the string.

#4. Secure the String Blocks at the Locking Nut Again

Secure the string blocks to the locking nut manually and make sure they’re not too tight, or you’ll risk damaging the locking nut or flattening the strings and causing them to break. Tip: Fasten the screws until there’s enough resistance then give them a last little nudge with a hex key.

#5. Adjust the Fine-Tuners

The strings aren’t fully in tune yet, but that’s what the fine-tuners are for. If one of the strings is tuned too low, turn the fine-tuner clockwise. If it’s too high, rotate anti-clockwise.

Ready to Rock

I hope you’ve managed to get your guitar in tune again using the steps outlined above. If all is well, you’re now able to fully enjoy the benefits of your Floyd Rose, Ibanez Edge or other tremolo bridge, so you can go unleash your wild vibratos without dropping out of tune! If you’re ready for the next step, you can also read our blog about how to set up a Floyd Rose. Either way, have fun!

Do you have any practical Floyd Rose tips to share? Please leave them in a comment!

See Also

» Electric Guitars with a Double-Locking Tremolo
» Guitar Bridges
» Guitar Tools
» Electric Guitar Strings

» How to Tune Your Guitar or Bass
» How to String and Set Up a Floyd Rose Tremolo
» Guitar in Drop D Tuning: How and Why
» How to Set Up Your Electric Guitar

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