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Floyd Rose Les Paul.

posted Apr 30, 2014 19:07:26 by GsxJones
Ive been messing with my new guitar,and found as I tighten the allen key's at the nut,the tuning can go flat or sharp depending on what the guitar's thinking. lol.
Ive ordered a new nut assembly,with a shim to see if I can stabalise the tuning.
It's a minor glitch,but no worse than having to change the nut on a non trem guitar.
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12 replies
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MichaelWamback said Apr 30, 2014 19:12:27
Easier by far. Just have to unscrew the nut and shim it. Don't recall if it had a string retaining bar on the headstock side of the nut, but they are sometimes essential to get the strings to lay properly in the nut. The strings need to be at the correct angle (and not too shallow.)
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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t3kn0h1ppy said May 01, 2014 09:30:58
It is normal on my Ibanez and Jackson for the tuning to sharpen when you clamp up the top nut. Usually I tune it to putch with the fine adjusters in teh middle of their travel, clamp the nut , then tighten strings to pitch. the Flattening or Sharpening can also be affected by the spring tension. Ideally the top of the bridge should be parallel with the top of the guitar when the strihgs are at pitch - at least on an ibanex (assumes that the top of the bridge is flat and not at an angle, but I;m sure you get the drift)
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MichaelWamback said May 01, 2014 15:30:55
Having the strings pull sharp when you tighten the Floyd nut is because the strings are at too shallow an angle over the nut. If the string retainer is set correctly, the strings lay on both the front and back edge of the nut. But if the string angle is too shallow, the string will be above the headstock side of the nut a bit - and when you clamp down it will pull down on it, making it go sharp.

It's not a big deal, and once clamped you should still be fine. You can learn to compensate by just tuning a hair flat when you change the strings, so that it comes closer to tune when you clamp the nut. You can also allow a little extra room for adjusting on the Floyd (rather than centering the adjustment when you change strings.)
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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GsxJones said May 01, 2014 20:05:06
Thank you all for the helpful comment's.
I ordered a new nut with the spacer shim,but after ordering I noticed you can lift or lower the bridge assembly. This has helped massively. Im not going to mess with it until the new nut arrives,and think I should get it playing nicely.
Ive had Floyd Rose guitar's year's and years back,so just need to remember how I set them up. lol.
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MichaelWamback said May 01, 2014 22:29:56
Yes, usually two Allen adjustments on either side of the front of the bridge to raise/lower it. In setting it up, the 3 crucial measurements are:

1. The height between the bottom of the strings and the height of the first fret.

In this case, it's adjusted by sanding away some of the wood shelf to lower the nut a bit - or inserting small metal shims to raise it a bit. With the guitar fretted at the 3rd fret, the strings should have just a hair of a gap between the bottom of the string and the top of the first fret. If the strings are resting on the first fret when fretted at the 3rd, then the nut is too low. Too big a gap will cause notes on the first couple of frets to pull a bit sharp, plus tire the hand when playing near the nut.

2. The height between the bottom of the string and the top of the 12th fret.

This is a bit subjective, but few electric guitars should be greater than 4/64 on the treble side and 6/64 on the bass side. Acoustics can be 5/64 and 7/64. Gibson spec is 3/64 and 5/64 respectively. But it's a matter of personal taste. Some people prefer action a bit higher, some a bit lower. My personal preference for electrics is 3/64 treble and 4/64 bass - but you need really level frets or you will get buzz that low. This height is adjusted by raising/lowering the bridge

3. Neck relief

It's crucial to make sure your frets are level, or this measurement can get thrown off.

Place a capo on the first fret and then press the string to the last fret. Measure the gap between the top of the 7th fret and the bottom of the bass "E" string with a feeler gauge. There should be a slight gap, so that the guitar does not buzz. Most guitars will play well with .010 inches of relief, but again it's a matter of preference. Metal players often like a neck that is almost perfectly straight - it's faster, but you will get buzz (which you won't hear because of all the distortion.) If you play jazz or really clean sounds, you may want to go up to .012 of relief. I have my 12-string neck on my double neck at .008, since it doesn't buzz and it helps make it play easy with all that string tension. This height is adjusted by tightening/loosening the truss rod.

And finally - set the intonation.

You tune the open strings with a good quality tuner, and then check the notes at the 12th fret. If the 12th fret note is a bit flat, then you adjust the saddle forward a bit, retune and check again until both notes are the same. If sharp, then you lengthen the string a bit by moving the saddle back. Just be careful not to bend the string even a little when setting intonation, or you will pull it a bit sharp.

I also like to personally set all of these up (or at least check the measurements) with the guitar in the playing position, rather than laying flat on it's back. Even under playing tension, gravity will tend to pull down on the strings just a bit, and you are working within .001 of an inch - especially relief. Setting the guitar up in the position you are going to be playing it in just makes sense.

Anyone can do a setup on a guitar - so long as the frets are level. None of this stuff is difficult to do - and there is no reason to pay a tech to do it for you.
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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MichaelWamback said May 01, 2014 22:36:05
I should also have mentioned that in the case of this guitar, you will want to adjust the tension on the springs for the Floyd Rose as well.

To do this, the way I like to do it is to hardtail the bridge - meaning to screw in the screws to tighten the springs until the bridge fully makes contact with the back of the guitar. You then decide how much you want the notes to pull sharp when you pull up on the trem arm (either 1/2 or 1 step - depending on the trem.) In the case of 1/2 step, you tune each note up 1/2 step to E#/A#/D#/G#/B#/E# (for 1 full step it would be tuned F/B/E/A/C/F.) You then loosen the screws to release tension in the back strings, allowing the bridge to raise up and release tension until the notes are in tune (E/A/D/G/B/E). That should give you the perfect travel in your trem so that it will be exactly 1/2 step sharp when you pull up on the arm.

I've seen it suggested that you just set the Floyd so that it is level with the body when the guitar is in tune, but I much prefer having control over the pitch when you pull up on the arm. I just feel it is a more accurate way to set up the trem.
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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GsxJones said May 04, 2014 09:46:48
Wow,Thank you Michael for the very informative tutorial! I changed the nut for a new one (with a shim),and straight away the guitar feel's better. I fitted new string's too. I must be strange,but I havent even plugged the guitar into an amp yet. I will do soon,which should give me an idea of how it sounds and plays.
I messsed about with raising and lowering the bridge to give me a nice action height,but Im still expecting to fine tune thing's as best I can.
Ive learned more on this forum about set up's in the last month or two than I have in all my life! So thank you once again!
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buell1320 said Jul 06, 2014 15:15:42
Hello FigsxJones . Could you please let me know what nut replaces these "Floyd Rose Licensed" froyd lose models ? I just bought my first chibson and have seen numerous people saying that once the nut is replaced, the unit works reasonably well. I followed several setup procedure videos to set mine up perfectly. Setup, string height, intonation were all spot on -as long as you don't actually USE the tremolo hahaha. By my research I'm almost positive my problem is a non locking- locking nut. I'm just looking to make sure I order a the right upgrade. Thanks , Paul
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buell1320 said Jul 06, 2014 15:19:37
P.S. Love your guitar


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MichaelWamback said Jul 06, 2014 15:44:49
Not an expert in Floyd, but I know the nuts come in at least 2 different widths. I suspect you just need to measure.

Changing a Floyd nut is super easy, in that they just unscrew. It's then just a case of sanding off a bit of wood if they need to go lower, or installing a small shim if you need to raise it up a bit.
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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buell1320 said Jul 06, 2014 18:43:21
The height of mine is actually fine. It just isn't gripping the strings , and I don't want to break off the clamping screws. I think I will look into seeing if maybe the actual clamping saddles (or whatever they are called) can be replaced/upgraded. I have a feeling I will be replacing this entire trem system but I wasn't expecting much so I'm actually very happy with this guitar
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MichaelWamback said Jul 06, 2014 19:56:02
Before you go to all the work, take the saddles off and grab some really coarse (80 grit) paper. See if you can scratch up the surface a little bit. If you can rough it up some, it may do a better job of grabbing the strings.

Just went through this with a cheap replacement Floyd bridge. The strings would slip - so we took out the little metal blocks and roughed them up a bit so they weren't quite so smooth. Seems to have solved the problem.
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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