#1
By all accounts Kahler tremolos are well-liked by players and yet, as far as I can tell, only Slayer-associated guitars come with Kahlers. The Jackson custom order form mentions in addition a Wilkinson tremolo, I've never heard of it nor seen it.

The first guitar I bought, a used Charvel, had a Kahler and I liked it. I have a BC Rich on order with an FR so I can't really say much about FRs at this point. But folks do tend to complain that FRs are a pain. So, how did it happen then that FRs have become the standard tremolo for all brands of rock/metal guitars and other tremolo brands are barely represented?
#2
It is a very good tremolo that solved a lot of problems that players had with older trems. It also included some innovations. And it did all of that earlier than most of the similar advanced trem designs- Kahler, Wilkinson, etc.- and in partnership with more major brands.

That they did it first is key: across all products in all countries, the greatest predictor for success in a market is being first. This is correlation, not causation. Later introduced products can take the market lead over an older one by virtue of being better (or other methods), but being first is like a head start in a race.
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#3
Kahlers also can't be as "wild" as Floyds. You really can't get the classic "80's tremolo tricks" with them, but they are much more stable if you're point of having it is to just use it like a normal trem.
#4
I guess a lot of it is good marketing and getting the patents right.

Bill Gates was successful because he knew how to sell ms-dos, not because it was inherently better than cpm and its other rivals. - He sold the software independently of the hardware, and thereby grabbed a huge market share. I bet FR did the same thing.
#5
Floyd Rose held the patent on the locking but and in the 80s had an exclusive production license with Kramer, many tried to copy including Kahler who would find themselves on the losing end of a 100 million dollar patent infringement lawsuit for unlicensed use of the locking but. This allowed the Floyd/Kramer partnership to have roughly a decade without competition!

Ten years is a pretty damn good head start, of course having Mr. Van Halen weilding a Floyd Rose didn't hurt either.

I have several Floyd's real ones as well as licensed and I have a Kahler on my B.C.Rich the Kahler is really wiggly and nearly effortless to move while the Floyd's are a bit stiffer. Both are great for dropping the bar til the strings are flapping but the Kahler won't flutter.

I like them both the Kahler definitely has the advantage when it comes to changing strings and for converting to a fixed bridge which can be done by simply tightening a set screw, conversly with a Floyd you have to either block it or install a Tremel-No or some other style of trem stopper.

The saddles on the Kahler can also be adjusted sideways to alternate string spacing.
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Last edited by Evilnine at Jan 7, 2015,
#6
Quote by Megadethfan245
Kahlers also can't be as "wild" as Floyds. You really can't get the classic "80's tremolo tricks" with them, but they are much more stable if you're point of having it is to just use it like a normal trem.


IDK Hanneman and King always got pretty damn "wild" with their tremolos .According to Kerry King the flutter is the only thing he can't pull off with a Kahler!

Modern Kahlers are capable of pulling off some pretty intense string acrobatics! They are definitely underated.
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
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Last edited by Evilnine at Jan 7, 2015,
#7
Another thing about the Floyd is that at the bridge end, it was a simple replacement on a Strat - no routing or cutting of any kind. You still had to cut the nut, but it was one less thing that had to be done. Also, at the time that these tremolos were becoming popular (1980's), the Floyd stayed in tune better than any other (most Floyd's were set up to not float). With EVH, Brad Gillis, and George Lynch playing Floyd's, of course they became the premiere tremolo. I worked at a music store in the 80's and we installed a lot of Floyd's!
#8
The Floyd replaced a lot of non-locking Fender trems.
Kahler was actually in a position to take over from Floyd at one point, but some fiscal mismanagement within the Kahler company (unrelated to the popularity of either trem) had them late delivering trems to a number of manufacturers. In the end, they more or less folded, not because they weren't popular or because the trem wasn't good stuff, but because there were some really stupid people involved in the financial path. Some of the manufacturers were burned (having paid for hardware they never received) and will not deal with Kahler no matter who's in charge (can you say "Carvin?"). They just got burned that bad.

The company's in good shape these days, the product is good, and while there's still some misinformation out there (you can do things with a Kahler that you CAN'T do with a Floyd, such as bend a note and have the other strings stay in tune) passed on largely by people who've never owned one, they've begun to come back. Floyd's popularity will be difficult to overcome, but Kahler's good stuff, and they've been producing some interesting things that work with, for example, 8-string guitars and basses that the F-word company doesn't have.
#9
FR had the advantage of being first to market and of course they worked really well. kahler has a different feel to them which players used to a strat style trem didn't always like. having eddie van halen as a user didn't hurt sales for sure. kahler could be found stock on many guitars in the 80s but right or wrong the Floyd was considered t be better. one issue is that you coudn't have an actual locking nut as that was a floyd patent. the solution was to have a clamp behind a regular nut which could cause tuning issues.
#10
I've had alot of different types of trems over the years , Kahler, Washburn's Wonderbar 2000 Wilsonson VS100 , Ibanez Zero trems, Fender start bridges. In my experience nothing stays in tune better than a properly setup quality Floyd Rose. That includes non- trem guitars with or without locking tuners i own or have owned (Lp's Tele's ect).

That being said there is nothing worse than a cheap licensed Floyd Rose.

Congrats on your BC Rich , I have two Warbeast WMD's with floyds . They get played more than anything else i own.
Last edited by Tone is King at Jan 8, 2015,
#11
I think one of Kahler's problems were some of the early units you find on Gibson brand guitars had bridge saddles setup much like a Fender Strat (screw on a spring with 2 individual action screws), and those particular units, due to the complexity and lack of support to the saddles could reduce your Gibson to sustain far less than a Jaguar or Jazzmaster, and speaking of, the strings would jump out of the saddles if the breakover was not right either. I have a Gibson branded Kahler (and the two aforementioned guitars as well BTW), I've experienced this first hand.

The Washburn Wonderbar was the best of all from an installation standpoint, you did not even need a Tremolo routed guitar to install it, it was omnihanded, so you did not need two different versions of tremolo for Righties and Lefties. It just screws to the top with 4 screws. I have one that floats around from one guitar to another in my collection randomly.

I've used tons of tremolos over the years, to me, the best tremolo is any, you just have to figure out it's weak spots. All of them have their downsides, even Floyd Rose. They all also have their strengths as well.

As for Floyd Rose's success, like the other's said, Celebrity Endorsers + an early start in the 1970's really helped them take off.

However, Celebrity endorsement, as big as it was, it did not sell much of the Rockinger trem that Kramer was pushing just before Ed met Floyd. Kramer was intending to sell THAT as a the "Eddie Van-Halen Tremolo", reading that on Vintage-Kramer made me laugh. Oddly, for all the trems I've played, a Rockinger has not been one of them.
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#12
Quote by Mad-Mike_J83
I think one of Kahler's problems were some of the early units you find on Gibson brand guitars had bridge saddles setup much like a Fender Strat (screw on a spring with 2 individual action screws), and those particular units, due to the complexity and lack of support to the saddles could reduce your Gibson to sustain far less than a Jaguar or Jazzmaster, and speaking of, the strings would jump out of the saddles if the breakover was not right either. I have a Gibson branded Kahler (and the two aforementioned guitars as well BTW), I've experienced this first hand.

The Washburn Wonderbar was the best of all from an installation standpoint, you did not even need a Tremolo routed guitar to install it, it was omnihanded, so you did not need two different versions of tremolo for Righties and Lefties. It just screws to the top with 4 screws. I have one that floats around from one guitar to another in my collection randomly.

I've used tons of tremolos over the years, to me, the best tremolo is any, you just have to figure out it's weak spots. All of them have their downsides, even Floyd Rose. They all also have their strengths as well.

As for Floyd Rose's success, like the other's said, Celebrity Endorsers + an early start in the 1970's really helped them take off.

However, Celebrity endorsement, as big as it was, it did not sell much of the Rockinger trem that Kramer was pushing just before Ed met Floyd. Kramer was intending to sell THAT as a the "Eddie Van-Halen Tremolo", reading that on Vintage-Kramer made me laugh. Oddly, for all the trems I've played, a Rockinger has not been one of them.


I liked my wonderbar I had the A-mount adapter for mine that allowed you to fit it to a Les Paul without molesting it in any way. The only thing i didn't care for was the weight they were damn heavy.

I agree to a point its true that any trem will work if properly setup, its really a matter of how well it will work and for how long. You are right they all do have their down sides.
Last edited by Tone is King at Jan 8, 2015,
#13
Patents. Floyd Rose keeps refining his designs and patenting the new versions. Most of the other designs are just variations on expired Floyd Rose patents.

Floyd Rose is also smart about licensing. If you want a Floyd and want it cheap…it’s not their fault you’re willing to waste money on pot metal.