#1
Hello,

Could some pros or anyone with a good ear tell me, do the amount of springs you have in a floyd rose and their position affect the sound of the guitar?

I have been messing with my springs to sort the bridge angle out. I got the right angle with an extra spring, but now it sounds different, in a bad way. I've tried raising/lowering the bridge posts etc but I'm having trouble solving it.

Any thoughts?
#2
Not sure about how the tone would change, but I had an interesting situation once when I had three springs on my floyd (it was totally floating at the time) and they resonated perfectly with the open G string. Not enough to get caught by the pickups, but annoying all the same. So I put an extra one in.


There are mechanical aspects to think about if you can't decide tone-wise though:
-you will have more precise fine tuning with three springs (turning the claw screw say a half turn will change the tension by a smaller amount if you've got three springs).

-not sure if it's noticeable (never thought of this before) but the amount of extra force you need to raise the bar by to achieve a certain amount of bending will be different too.

-if for whatever reason you break/lose a spring (it's is a possibility if you keep the back plate off) you would probably be more likely to be able to get away with re-setting everything by increasing the tension on the remaining springs if you had more in the first place - losing one of three springs is gonna leave you with only two, which might not be enough, whereas you're probably gonna be able to work with three if you originally had four.


The most important thing of course is that your trem is set up properly - three of four strings, who's gonna care if you're not even in tune?

Also you move the bridge posts to adjust your action - that's a personal preference, it's not really got much to do with getting the guitar 'working', if that makes sense. Like how the type/comfiness/etc of the seats you have in a car isn't gonna affect how well the car itself works, just how well you work with it.


Not sure what you meant by 'I got the right angle' though?
#3
Springs do affect the timbre of the instrument in some way. I was delighted to discover this with my newest guitar.
Ibanez AS93
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#4
i think it's debatable really.

i've always added more springs in order to have 5 to take the extra tension of the heavier strings that i use, but never added these springs without also going up at least 2 string gauges, so i really couldn't say for sure how much the springs contributed to the tone, as opposed to the strings.

i think there may be a little difference, somewhat similar to the effect of using heavier gauge strings, but nothing substancial. though perhaps i should mention that eric clapton tends to block his strat trems as well as fitting 5 springs to them even though they don't serve any purpose because the trem is blocked with a piece of wood. i guess there must be a reason why he does that, even if it's only something that matters to him that nobody else would notice.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#5
Thanks for the feedback.

When I said "angle" I just meant the usual getting the bridge to float level issue...... that was all I was trying to fix.......... it's always been tilted a little too far forward into the body.... never enough to annoy me too much.... so I dared not mess with it because I knew it would be a pain in the backside to fix. It finally annoyed me enough that I tried to fix it, and now naturally everything is going wrong.

So I added another spring to try get it floating level, but then I had 2 problems, a) it didn't sound as good b) the strings were now catching on the fretboard (the action was very low to begin with, so although it was now level, the strings were catching on the fretboard). So I messed about with the bridge posts a little and managed to fix the catching problem, but it still doesn't sound right. Hence me wondering about springs and tone.

The only other option which I'm thinking to try next, is revert back to 3 springs, but screw the spring plate (or whatever it's called, the thing the springs attach to fixed inside the body) further into the body of the guitar..... thus streching them more adding more tension to fix the floating-level issue, and hopefully maintaining the original tone it had. The only problem is I doubt I could do this, as the screws for the spring plate were originally screwed almost all the way into the body.
Last edited by Jonashred at Oct 25, 2011,
#6
Hmm..

'it's always been tilted a little too far forward into the body' - a little ambiguous, as your other comments seem to suggest it's tilting the other way...

Clarify for me ( ) if you raise the whammy bar (and therefore the pitch of the strings), does the trem get More level, or does it make the angle worse? This'll help me figure out exactly what's wrong, in case this wall of text doesn't help


The action thing: the most obvious cause is the increase in tension: you've added an extra spring, and the bridge has rotated to increase the tension and pitch of your springs. This is due to the way the trem works mechanically - whenever you Raise the pitch of the strings by raising the whammy bar, the strings get Closer to the fretboard. And visa versa when you lower the whammy bar. (remember the fact that if you raise the whammy bar, you actually sort of lower the back of the trem into the body. try and you'll see what I mean)


If this Is your problem, you need to basically re-set up your guitar. This involves blocking your trem so that it's at the angle you want it (i.e. it's level) and it can't be moved at all, tuning all strings correctly, and then removing the block so that you can adjust the tension of the springs by the screws at the trem claw (what you called the spring plate). If you're finding you can't get enough tension using the screws (i.e. the strings are still Flat when the screws are All the way in) you need to add another spring, and probably loosen the screws as by now you'll probably have too much tension, therefore your strings will be sharp.

After setting up your strings and springs so they're correct, you need to change your action by the sound of it. To do this, loosen (but don't remove) your locking nuts, then carefully remove All springs in the back of the guitar (but Do Not move the screws on the trem claw), and then slowly and carefully rotate your whole trem out of the body cavity, strings still attached. Adjust the height of the trem posts with your fingers or a wrench (they should be loose now, hence fingers should be enough), then refit the trem by rotating it back in then replacing the strings. You may find the trem's not level any more - so re-block the trem, re-tune, then unblock and adjust the springs in the back till the trem's level again. Play the guitar, see how the action feels. If it's not how you want it, repeat the steps in this paragraph and adjust the trem posts accordingly.
Note: I've told you to go through the hassle of removing the trem etc because it's bad practice to rotate the trem posts while the trem's attached and under tension. In some cases (mostly trems made from soft cheap metal) this can totally ruin your knife edges and therefore make your trem go out of tune very easily after a whammy manoeuvre.


The change in tone may be to do with the fact that your strings are a different distance from your pickups than they were before. If this is the case, you need to make sure your strings are set up properly (trem tension balance, trem angle and string height) then move the pickups to the distance they were from the strings before. This'll be possibly by using a screwdriver on the little screws on each side of the pickup in question (make sure you work out which way to turn the screws for the pickup movement you want, it can be confusing sometimes!)


Last thing to remember: say you've added extra tension, by tightening the screws on the trem claw or by adding another spring. So now, your trem is level, great! Now check the tuning on the strings. Unless you've adjusted them (or used the method above to do all this), your strings are gonna be Way out of tune, they'll be far to sharp. If you tune them correctly (and without blocking the trem this can take forever) you'll find that your trem isn't at the level it used to be - in the same way that loosening the screws on the springs lowers the tension in them, lowering the pitch of your guitar strings is gonna change the tension on them too, which will unbalance them. If you're fiddling about with spring tensions, trem angles or anything like that, Block Your Trem!
#7
The action and stability of the bridge should come first. Use however many springs you need at whatever tension they need to keep yourself in tune.

I've not noticed any difference in tone between 3 springs at slack tension and 5 springs really tight thought, so I don't think it matters anyway. I can definitely tell the difference between a fully blocked bridge and one which just has a lot of springs/high tension. Havign springs in there at all does sound different to having a solid bridge. But the number of springs doesn't seem to make a difference to the sound.
#8
I think I fixed it. I stretched the 2 outer strings to the sides like so



Now I have the similar feel and sound of 3 parallel springs, but the bridge is balanced level normally

Thanks for the support ppl.