Here is a guitar repairs question that takes me back a few years. “How do I attach the strings to the tremolo end of a guitar with a Floyd Rose Tremolo?” It takes me back because I remember when I had that question. Getting an answer from a guitarist who knows how to do it is a joke. They forget that at one point it was a problem for them.

I looked through YouTube for a video, I found nothing that gets to the point without going around the block. Such a routine procedure and nothing viable when I do a Google search. In fact, the first 20 queries for finding this information gives the same lame overdrawn answers, it’s crazy.

Simply put, at the tremolo end, looking at the unit itself we can see:  In view 1 we can view the string tightening saddle/holder block/clamp/vise screws. There are six of each, you can see the shiny pointer stuck in the allen hole of one of the screws in this photo. These allen screws loosen up so the string ends can be inserted into saddle, much like a vise. Note: That’s the catch, you have to cut the ball ends off the end of the string about one inch below the ball. The ball, which is used to lock the strings in 99% of other styles of tremolos or bridges is not necessary.

Guitar Repairs: Floyd Rose Tremolo view 1

Guitar Repairs: Floyd Rose Tremolo view 1

Once the ball ends are trimmed off of the string/s, you now have a solid string without an end, insert the end of the string that you cut the ball off of into the clamp or vise and tighten it appropriately. Remember it is made out of aluminum, so don’t put to much pressure on the spindly clamping screws.

It is an easy job for the most part, the actual setup of this style of tremolo is somewhat more complicated since it has several additional adjustments to make to keep the guitar in tune. That is  a lesson in itself.

Below is a breakdown and explanation of the parts on a Floyd Rose Tremolo unit.

Guitar Repairs: Floyd Rose Tremolo Breakdown1. Saddle: A metal box the string is locked into. There is one saddle for each string, hence six for the standard 6-string guitars, and seven for 7-string guitars. Each saddle contains a long screw that fixes the string holder block inside it. An Allen wrench is required to loosen or tighten these.                                                                                                                       2. String Holder Block or Saddle Block : A cube-shaped metal block that presses the string end into the saddle wall to lock it tight.
3. Intonation Screws: Screws that kep the saddles in place. Driving these screws in or out of the saddle leads to a intonation difference. Again an Allen wrench is needed.
4. Fine Tuners: Screws that are used to fine-tune strings instead of the machine heads which cannot be used after the nut has locked the strings at the neck. It can be rotated with bare hands.
5. Tremolo Arm: The most visible part of mechanism, a handle that can be used to change played notes pitch up and down during play. This is also called the tremolo or whammy bar.
6. Nut: A string clamp, on the place of the “zero fret”. It has screws and braces called locks, to lock the strings tight.
7. String Retainer: A metal bar installed at headstock to retain strings that go to the machine heads.
8. Springs: Springs are in the back of the guitar to pull the bridge into a floating position. There are usually 3 springs, but this can be adjusted to the players wish. Some guitars have just one spring and others have 5.
9. Spring Claw Hook: A connector between the guitar body and springs. It has special “claws” to attach the springs to. This part is usually mounted to the guitar body using loose long screws that can also be used to change the tension of springs and thus re-balance the whole tremolo system.
10. Allen wrenches: Three sizes are usually supplied with the tremolo. The smallest is used for intonation screws; the mid-sized wrench is used for fixing screws on saddle blocks and the largest is for nut screws. This is also a nice example of the cost efficiency with Floyd Rose licensed tremolo, they only supply the customer with two wrenches and they make the screws on the saddle blocks and the nut the same.

I hope this clears up how to install the strings in a Floyd rose Tremolo. If I missed something or someone has a better method of doing this guitar repair/job, please leave your input in the comment box so GuitarPlayersCenter can display your remedy.

15 Responses to Guitar Repairs: Floyd Rose Tremolo Restring..

  1. Derek Vadneau

    From the first paragraph I’m guessing you just wanted to include information that you found missing in other articles/tutorials. From the title I would assume there was some instruction on how to restring. However, the only mention of this is to cut the ball-ends and place the string in the saddle blocks. If I was reading this as a beginner I might assume that’s how to restring the guitar, then be dumbfounded as to how much string should be left or if I needed to tune the strings and how. Even just mentioning how much string to leave and that the next step would be to tune the guitar would leave the user with the notion that they should now look for a tutorial on tuning a floyd. I know a lot of beginners (or newcomers to floyds) never change the strings because they haven’t the foggiest idea how.

    Something I’ve noticed people do with these bridges that I don’t understand: cut the ball-ends off. If you do this, then lock the string on one end, you still have to do what you do on non-floyd guitars at the tuners, which is to try to wind the string while making sure it doesn’t slip.

    Instead, feed the string through the tuner first. That way you have the ball-end holding the string at one end. Then cut the end that’s past the bridge. It sounds tricky because you have to leave enough string to get looped around the tuner at the other end, but you would have to do that anyhow when winding at the tuner. I typically cut the string an inch or so past the end of the floyd. You then lock the string in as you’ve described, with the saddle blocks.

    Now you have a string that is held at both ends. Just make sure to create a bit of tension while you wind the string so it loops around the tuner head properly.

    You have a floyd. You have a mechanism to lock the string in place, why limit yourself by cutting off the ball-ends? It’s like having locking tuners and not using the locking part.

    Also, number 3, you state: “Driving these screws in or out of the saddle leads to a intonation difference.” Actually, the screw just holds the saddle in place. If you loosen it, the intonation will adjust because the string (assuming it’s under tension) will pull it. Tightening it won’t adjust intonation, just lock the saddle in place. To adjust intonation you have to slide the saddle once these screws have been loosened. Adjusting the intonation with the strings under tension is difficult. Although the intonation process is painful as a whole on a floyd-equipped guitar since you have to re-tune no matter how you do it. And tuning a floating bridge is not quick.

    In the description of parts you neglect the spring block – not pictured.

    In the picture of the bridge and parts there are screws you don’t mention: the pivot points. Rather important part and allows the adjustment of action (string height) on the guitar.

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