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Thread: Edumacate me on the various temolos

  1. #1
    PRS Addiction CoreyT's Avatar
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    Edumacate me on the various temolos

    OK, I have tremolo on my SE Custom 24, E Santana, SE Tremonti Custom, and on my 408.
    The latter two have the up routing on them.

    I have heard of the Floyds before, and they look strange with knobs at the bottom of them, and I see PRS is now selling a few models with the Floyd.
    What makes the Floyd better over the PRS tremolo, or what makes it more desirable for some, and for PRS to use them now?

    And what are those black knobs at the base of the Floyd?



    verses



    Also I have yet not had to take off all of my strings at once on any of my PRSi, but when it is time to clean the fret board and change strings I will.
    If taking off all the strings at once with the PRS tremolo, does stuff get messed up with the specs verses changing one string out at a time?
    In fact I have not had to change out strings on any of my PRS guitars yet, as I have not broken any, and they still sound clean since I mainly only get to play on weekends.
    When I was young I always broke strings, have not broken one string yet on any of my six guitars.
    They must make them better these days

    I quit playing around 1981, and then started up again spring of 2012.
    Yeah, a very long break from playing.

    What about the Floyd system, same thing, specs make get get out if you pull all the strings off at once?

  2. #2
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    First the important part: If you take all the strings off your PRS trem, be sure to put a piece of thin plastic/cardboard under back side so it won't press back and damage guitar finish.

    The Floyd has a locking nut at headstock, so the the knobs on the trem allow for micro tuning adjustments. Basically, you tune it, lock nut, then adjust at trem side as needed. The locking nut & angle of the floyd allows you to fully drop the tension on the strings - dive bomb style. If you're familiar with the classic Eruption by EVH, he uses that technique quite a bit. The PRS trem doesn't allow that much slack.
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  3. #3
    As MOB mentioned, the Floyd Rose tremolo enables a much wider range of pitch bending down (and up) without going out of tune. Watch what Steve Vai does with his Floyd Rose to get a feel for how crazy you can get with one.

    A Floyd isn't necessarily better (or worse) than a PRS or other non-locking tremolo, it's just a different animal. Some people think a Floyd Rose hurts the overall tone of the guitar.

    Speaking of Eruption, I play that on my DGT at gigs and I get the bar down pretty much to the wood and it always comes back in tune. YMMV...
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    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    A Floyd also locks the strings at the saddles. The goal is that the guitar can't go out of tune, because the strings aren't sliding over the nut or the saddles. The caveat is that it must be set up properly, which can be the trouble for some people. Plus it's kind of a pain in the butt because you need hex wrenches to change strings. When setup properly, their ability to keep tune is incredible. I guess guitar acrobatics are coming back in style, so that's pretty desirable. Just watch some videos of Steve Vai playing live and you'll see what I mean.

    The uprouting lets you bend up farther, plus it allows you to do warble effects (when you grab the bar and release it quickly) without whacking into the top of the guitar.

    You have to be careful with any floating bridge (i.e. suspended above the top of the guitar) if you take off all the strings. I find that a popsicle stick works pretty well under the bridge. Or you can get a Tremol-no and lock it down.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillybri View Post
    As MOB mentioned, the Floyd Rose tremolo enables a much wider range of pitch bending down (and up) without going out of tune. Watch what Steve Vai does with his Floyd Rose to get a feel for how crazy you can get with one.

    A Floyd isn't necessarily better (or worse) than a PRS or other non-locking tremolo, it's just a different animal. Some people think a Floyd Rose hurts the overall tone of the guitar.

    Speaking of Eruption, I play that on my DGT at gigs and I get the bar down pretty much to the wood and it always comes back in tune. YMMV...
    Near-simultaneous posts, and we both name-drop Vai. He's probably the number one Floyd abuser out there. Fortunately for him, he has an excellent tech and the support of Ibanez. He gets a new bridge whenever he wears one out (which is pretty often!).
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  6. #6
    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    What makes the Floyd better over the PRS tremolo, or what makes it more desirable for some, and for PRS to use them now?
    The string changing process, functionality, feel, maybe tone...these come to mind.

    And what are those black knobs at the base of the Floyd?
    Once you are locked at both ends you need a way to tune. This are fine tuners.

    If taking off all the strings at once with the PRS tremolo, does stuff get messed up with the specs verses changing one string out at a time?
    Shouldn't, but I suggest blocking it with something like some cardboard. Lenny changes strings all at once. If that's how he does...it's certainly good enough for me.

    What about the Floyd system, same thing, specs make get get out if you pull all the strings off at once?
    Should be fine, but I would use something to keep it flat like some cardboard.
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  7. #7
    I was severely impressed Herr Squid's Avatar
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    If you use the bar a lot, or you find yourself wanting more range (especially downwards), and you wind up retuning a lot, you want a Floyd.

    It's finicky to change strings on, and it's hell to do intonation adjustments. But once you get it in tune and lock it down, it pretty much stays in tune no matter how much whammy abuse you dish out.

    The PRS trem bridge is a pretty freakin' amazing design and stays in tune really well with minimal fuss. It looks like a strat-style bridge but works way better! The Floyd is another animal altogether, and probably the best choice for trem nuts.

  8. #8
    Senior Member RedGuitars's Avatar
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    If you want to turn tuning and string changes into a living hell, go with the Floyd. For the life of me I don't see why anyone would choose that over a PRS trem... I wouldn't wish a Floyd on my worst enemy. I agree with Herr Squid above, and then some.
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    One thing I've found on floating terms, which the PRS is one, when you take all the strings off and start to restring/retune it you need to turn the low E higher, like F#, first and then as you go you keep keep tuning higher than A440 just not as high with each string and when you get to tjhe high E it should be turned to E and everything will be pretty in tune with minor adjustments after that.

    If not it can be a bear to get them to stay in tune.

  10. #10
    Senior Member RedGuitars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimistephen View Post
    One thing I've found on floating terms, which the PRS is one, when you take all the strings off and start to restring/retune it you need to turn the low E higher, like F#, first and then as you go you keep keep tuning higher than A440 just not as high with each string and when you get to tjhe high E it should be turned to E and everything will be pretty in tune with minor adjustments after that.

    If not it can be a bear to get them to stay in tune.
    Somewhere early on, someone told me to never take all of the strings off at once, because it releases all of the tension on the neck. I've seen that a ton of guys don't follow that philosophy, but I've stuck to it, and it's worked for me. I change strings one at a time, tuning and stretching as I go. Never had a problem, and I'm a PRS trem guy, and all of my non-PRS electrics are trems as well (Fender, and Wilkinson on my DTM).
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  11. #11
    A♥ hoards guitars A♥ rugerpc's Avatar
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    Up routing allows you to pull up on the whammy bar, stretching the strings and raising their pitch as opposed to pushing down on the whammy bar, slacking the strings and lowering their pitch. The sound is more like when you bend a string with your fretting hand - it goes sharper, not flatter.

    Tuning any trem guitar is an exercise in patience. tightening or loosening any one string affects all the others because the bridge will seek a tension balance between the strings and the springs. Tighten one string and all the others will go flat. Loosen one string and all the others will go sharp. Making multiple small adjustments is the only way to get there without pulling your hair out.
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    Senior Member gush's Avatar
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    I used to insist on floyd trems. They work better than anything on the planet for staying in tune. Yes, using allen wrenches to change strings is a pain. That's a fact. I would compare it to using winged tuners instead of PHII or PHIII tuners.

    What you do is cut ball end of string off, insert into saddle then use allen wrench to clamp string at saddle. Then feed string through locking nut and tuner. Wind to pitch, stretch the hell out of string then go to next string.

    When all strings are on, stretch strings till they stop dropping in pitch. Make sure all fine tuners are in the middle of adjustment, tune guitar and tighten locking nut. Done

    One thing I would do is feed string through tuner first then through locking nut. Cut string long so you would have 3 to 4 wraps on tuner then insert into saddle and lock it down. What this does is allows you to reuse string when it breaks. Having ball end at tuners keeps string captured while you unwind, recut string and insert it back into saddle. The extra 3 or 4 wraps allows you to reuse string after two breaks AND if you have to do this at a gig the string is already stretched. Reusing string doesn't take as long to do as one would think and can be done on stage in about 4 minutes with practice.

    The down side of a floyd, unless you have an EVH D-tuna installed you can't switch to drop-D tunings on the fly. The most obvious down side is when you break a string you are DONE. No limping through a song.

    I have had Fender, G&L, Kahler, PRS and Floyd trems. Nothing stays in tune like a Floyd.

    As far as PRS trems go, they are easy to put strings on and intonate. They also stay in tune reasonably well. That's why I Use them. Having said that. Yes, I would buy a production PRS with a floyd but I wouldn't custom order a Floyd PRS.

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    I think every topic has been covered...but here are my thoughts, for what there worth...(very little??)...Pluses...you can grab that "wanker-bar" and go crazy and Floyds will come back damn near perfect every time (of course, a good set-up is mandatory prior to this). Fine tuning is pretty cool on the fly by turning the round buttons on top of the bridge.
    Minuses...PITA changing strings...there are methods on-line that will help. (never tighten the top nut locks until extremely close to final tuning, etc...). When I set them up, I always leave the tuning slightly flat, as I have found when locking down the strings at the nut takes them sharp. Also , prior to installing new strings, set the fine tuners on bridge near center, so there is room to move in either direction once everything is locked down. There used to be a piece of plastic you could buy with a little handle and a rubber bottom for holding the trem in place if you want to remove all strings at once, to protect the body from the trem slapping back against the guitar's top. Trem-tool...???Trem-setter...???
    Also, I usually remove 1 string at a time, unless I intend on treating the fingerboard with some type of cleaner or treatment. Opinions vary GREATLY on this topic.

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    As far as restringing one at a time vs. all at once, for what it's worth I stopped into Music49 week ago last Saturday. They had PRS folks there including Skitchy himself doing free setup/adjustments. He was restringing everything he worked on all at once, allowing him to clean/treat fretboards. He had them restrung pretty quickly, so I doubt it had any negative effect on the neck. If you were to remove them all and leave it that way for an extended time, you're going to have the wood in neck relax and throw things out of whack.

    Minor note: You should have seen Skitchy's face light up when I brought my Cu22 out with the PRS Forum TRC!
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    PRS Addiction CoreyT's Avatar
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    Thanks guys for all the info.
    I have officially been edumacated.

    Yes, very familiar with EVH and Vai.
    Posted this nice clip this morning of some great trem work http://prsguitars.com/forum/showthre...-example-tones

    Myself getting a Floyd would not be worth the hassle.
    Thanks for the tips on putting something under the term, as when I go to change strings next time, I will pull all at once to use Gorgomyte on my fret board before restringing it.
    Strings will not be off for more than 15 minutes, so hopefully the neck does not vet to relaxed.

    I hardly use my trems to be honest.

  16. #16
    Senior Member RedGuitars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MOBirds View Post
    As far as restringing one at a time vs. all at once, for what it's worth I stopped into Music49 week ago last Saturday. They had PRS folks there including Skitchy himself doing free setup/adjustments. He was restringing everything he worked on all at once, allowing him to clean/treat fretboards. He had them restrung pretty quickly, so I doubt it had any negative effect on the neck. If you were to remove them all and leave it that way for an extended time, you're going to have the wood in neck relax and throw things out of whack.

    Minor note: You should have seen Skitchy's face light up when I brought my Cu22 out with the PRS Forum TRC!
    Yeah - their was a video online at some point at the PRS factory, showing one of those dudes grabbing all six strings with one hand from a PVC string holder contraption, and threading them all through the trem in basically one fluid movement. Pretty impressive!

    Found it!

    Last edited by RedGuitars; 12-19-2013 at 10:57 AM.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillybri View Post
    I get the bar down pretty much to the wood and it always comes back in tune. YMMV...
    This.

    When I bought my first PRS 20 years ago it was to replace some ESPs with Floyds, I just couldn't deal with what a PITA they are. The PRS/Mann trem along with winged tuners is a thing of friggen beauty, I can/have/do bottomed out dive-bombs all the time with no more tuning issues than with a Floyd or Edge or Kahler double locking system, they all require you to spot check your tuning a little between songs after insane amounts of wiggle-sticking.

    In fact after seeing PRS releasing more guitars with Floyds I did a little bit of whammy abuse on my KL yesterday after accidentally stepping on a distortion pedal.. and it comes back in tune! I can't see why they need to offer it outside of some people thinking they need it, or are just used to torture. If you need a little more "travel" on your core line PRS trem you can increase the angle of your bar by putting it in a vise and bending it up a bit creating more leverage.

    It's interesting to think how these new Floyd guitars fit within Paul's "Rules of Tone" philosophy... Look at how elegant all of the PRS bridges are, they have as few solid pieces of top self material that are milled and not cast as possible.. Compare that with all the extra parts on a Floyd and there's got to be more transmission "loss" I guess, from them... And tuning your guitar in two places, twice (once before you lock the crappy little nut pieces and once after)? Barf on me.

    YMMV.

  18. #18
    Senior Member RedGuitars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    Barf on me.
    No, this!

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  19. #19
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    FYI - Lenny told me he uses a magazine subscription card folded over and covered with painter's tape. I've set up a couple - easy as pie. Card folded in thirds. Feels way too light to do what you're asking it to do, but it works beautifully.

    I should talk to Len about a signature line of these for $59.95...
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  20. #20
    I'm a one-string-at-a-time guitar stringer, too.

    If I have to clean the fingerboard, I just do it one half at a time with the old strings on, i.e., loosening the old top 3 strings, cleaning that part of the board, re-tightening, and then do the same thing with the bottom strings. I don't care if the strings get stuff on them, since I'm going to take them off and throw them away anyway.

    Then I put new strings on. The tension on the neck stays pretty constant, and the trem doesn't hit the top of the guitar. You probably don't have to do it this way, but WTF, I'm not a talented guitar adjuster like some of the guys here, and I just feel better doing it like this. The idea that I'd have to adjust the neck...well...I've never been able to do it right. And I've tried!

    I've had one Floyd-equipped Jackson guitar (but maybe one more...were the old headless white Steinbergers Floyd equipped or was that a Steinberger trem?? I don't remember, and only had it a short time).

    I think the fine-tuners at the trem of a Floyd are a good idea, honestly, but the rest of the design threw me. I absolutely hated the locking nut, the two different allen wrenches I had to use, and changing strings was torture for me.

    I think it's great that PRS offers Floyds for those that want 'em. There may be a tradeoff in tone and convenience, but for players who really need to use one because they bang on their trems, I would guess that staying in tune during a song is worth the tone tradeoff. After all, being out of tune kinda sucks.

    For me, however, no Floyds, thanks.
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