How To Tune Floyd Rose

Detailed instructions for tuning those annoying Floyd Rose-bridged Guitars.

Ultimate Guitar
Ok, I have a Floyd Rose bridge on my guitar, and I learned the hard way. (I broke 4 high E strings (Ernie Ball's too!) the first time I tried to string my guitar.) What you do is, (if it's already got the strings on) you it 6th string, 1st string, 2nd string, 5th string, 4th string, 3rd string. BUT, you must tune the first 2 strings about half a step up, the second 2 about in between half step sharp and perfect tune, and then the last 2 strings you tune must be perfect tune. The reason you do that is: the tightening of one string will loosen the others due to the floating tremolo bridge, so you want to start off a little sharp so those have room to flatten out and still be near a good tune. But make sure the screws on the bridge are exactly half way screwed in (with the low E string 3/4 in) So once you do that, you just make little adjustments until all of them are perfectly in tune. Then you lock the screws at the top of the neck. Make sure the screws in the back are tight too! Then it should be just a little out of tune. Now remember having the screws half way in? This is why; after locking the nuts, the guitar should be just a little out of tune, you use those screws to "Fine Tune" it. Tightening = sharp, loosening = flat. (The reason you wanted the low E string a little tighter to start is so you can drop D without unlocking the nut.) (Only you can never truly drop D without retuning a Floyd Rose because of the whole one string looser means other strings tighter deal...) So once you have it fine tuned, and the strings were all stretched out, it should stay in tune no matter what you do to the bridge. (Just remember not to buy Ernie Ball's the first time you try to string the guitar) Ok, now if the strings aren't on it, you have to make sure of a few things first. So you don't make my mistakes. First, on most Floyd Rose, you must cut the balls or bullets or rings or whatever off the ends. Then you lock them into the bridge, and wind normally. Just make sure you keep all of them loose. When putting the strings on, only tighten them enough to keep a little tension, not fully tune. Once you have all the strings on the guitar, they should be loose enough that the bridge is still all the way back, and the strings should be flush against the frets. Now, use your tremolo bar to hold the bridge down like a divebomb, slackening the strings so you can tune them at the top. Keep the bridge just a little past flush with the body of the guitar, so when you let go, the string tension should hold in place. Then follow directions above for tuning.

92 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Who is this mysterious Ernie Ball, and why do you guys want to cut his balls off?
    110, it was my first guitar. I didn't know anything about it. This is raw instruction. More like tuning for dummies.
    Bubonic Chronic
    NOPE! Change one string at a time from the old set to the new set for easiest re-stringing. Each time, stretch the new string. Occasionally, you want to remove all the strings and wipe the gunk off the fingerboard, but even when you do this, you want to pretty much get all 6 strings going at once. Start with all of them floppy, then slowly increase the tension of each one, switching strings frequently, so the bridge will slowly float into position. Now if you are using the same brand and gauge of strings, you should be in the ballpark (also don't forget to stretch all the strings, too, as a part of this process.) Once the bridge, and the action, is where you need it to be, lock the nut and fine-tune it. You may have to unlock one more time to give yourself more fine-tuner slack, but usually you'll be ok to lock it and fine tune all the way. Basically don't lock it until all six strings are relatively close to where they should be
    *All this "moron" talk needs to stop.. Whether people know what they're doing or not, we all started playing guitar somehow and FR tremelos are a pain in the butt at first... What the author wrote in this article is straight on according to Floyd Rose instructions and keep in mind there are many FR tremelos out there.. So all you hotshots putting down others need to zip it.. You are the ones who would get laughed at in front of pros.*
    Floyd Rose bridges are much better than the standard for staying in tune, but agreed getting them in tune can be a long and tiresome job for a newbie, but any one with patience and that cant stand having to re-tune every time you pull your guitar out of your case ( Bit of a contradiction but you know what i mean) would see the benefits of having a Floyd Rose arrangement. James
    stringing one is no way near as hard as its thought to be. i ahd mine set up in the sho[p i bought it from, and i realised they completely screwed it up. the floyd wasnt parralell to the body, abuot 4mm out infact. its so simple to change yet im annoyed they didnt.
    iv got this locking trem on my seems fyn...snapped a few strings...(i get inspired ok!) ...but my bar seem to come loose to were its attatched...the srew in thing is ****ed..i dont know how to fix it or anyting...iv tried some things but it doesnt work...i wana take it to the shop...
    The George
    all the work is worth it though i mean my guitar never goes out of tune unless it gets cold lol i love my trem
    wow dude, well, if you change tunings ALL the time or your string gauge All the time, yeah then i would hate my floyd too.
    Floyd rose guitars are not that hard guys Its just more loosening and tightning than a regular guitar just that sometimes its takes a while to get it right and its a pain
    Floyd rose guitars are not that hard guys Its just more loosening and tightning than a regular guitar just that sometimes its takes a while to get it right and its a pain
    Ok, first of all getting a guitar with the floyd rose is based on personal opinions. i myself have a Jackson with the floyd rose. when i first got it, i was lost as ****. it is alot different then a normal guitar. it takes a little bit longer to get it into tune, but it stays in tune alot longer then a regular guitar. Second of all, whoever said the floyd doesnt make different music is obviously a dumbass. the floyd can do a million things, IF you know how to use it. If you guys listen to a band called Children of Bodom, they use the floyd rose alot and for a shit load of different things. the floyd can hit deeper pitches and higher pitches then any wammy bar on the market. it is a kick ass whammy bar, maybe not for everone. Oh and by the way, **** ernie ball strings, they are good for bass. get some ****ing dean markleys. ive broken maybe 3 strings and ive been playing for about 2 years, the reason you broke 4 e strings is because when u first tune it, you cant turn the bracket that fast, cause the string has to stretch slow or it will snap. anyway like i said, the floyd rose is all about personal preference, but if you play metal and use alot of pintch or natural harmonics, i suggest getting one, cause they kick some major ass.
    ok so im a lil new so i need a quick trying to drop my guitar tuning from standard E on whole step down. when i tune down i tune like a quarter step low so they will glide in tune. but my bridge keeps collapsing and it like no longer floats. so how do i tune it but keep the bridge parallel to the body and all. i know i must sound retarded but i have had a jackson half v which a tech told me was ****ed up anyway and now i have a dinky DXMG. anyone have somw tips...much thanks.
    :o how did you break four strings at once? One is understandable. Your walk-through for tuning the floyd rose guitars makes it sound super complicated. :S You're scaring the beginners
    I recently bought a bc rich, with a floyd rose tremelo from a friend with , it came with no strings on it. I had never owned a guitar with this setup before but managed to tune it with a bit of help from the internet. Ignorant people seem to be the only ones complaining about this type of setup because, with a little common sense and patince you should be able to tune it in no time. Please stop crying about set ups you don't know how to use.
    guys, im really quite sick of my guitar locks. i have an ESP ltd f250 with em on, and they are not working for me. i tune my guitar with them off, then put em on! but when i put them on, they screw with my tuning ! and they dont stay in tune, i took it in for servicing the other day. he tuned it well, put on the locks. 3 days later i start playing some chili peppers and the strings become completelu ou of tune. if anyone knows what im doing wrong, pls let us know, cause im really getting frustrated...
    Here's a tip keeping a FR in tune and steady as a mofo..I rarely use a whammy but when I do, I usually bend up rather than down..... Place a small block of wood in the cavity right side of the springs..Might have to cut and shave it to size but this will totally keep you in tune and keep the tremelo stable. Works for me.. "If it's stupid but works, it's not stupid".....
    Man that sounds pretty messed up im sorry i might get that bridge when im 30 and i am more experienced, right now i wanna spend my time actually playing my guitar and not spending 3 hours on the damn thing tuneing it but i will get one eventually
    floyd roses are sweet and cutting the balls off your strings is a ****in waste of good strings, just slide em though the black tube thing on the bridge
    Commenting on whether you like floydy's or not doesn't hold water. It's confined to the parameters in which the guitarist plays, or likes to play. That's why some of us buy telecasters, and others buy ESP M-II's. They are only shit if you buy a cheap ass guitar with a copy of a copy trem, or you don't know how to set them up correctly. Once set up to a decent standard, these trems keep their tuning til you are ready to change strings again. I recently dug out my jackson PS1 after 2 1/2 years of neglect, and it's still in tune! Learn how to set it up correctly, and it will always serve you well.
    Floyd Rose's are easy, this article just makes it confusing. Also Floyd Roses are good if you have weak fingers and aren't good at bending. Heres an easier to understand instructions: 1. Cut off ball/round end of strings. 2. stick one end in the 'saddle' of the tremolo. 3.stick through tuning things like on any old guitar. 4.make sure you loosten the fine tuners enough now. 5. Tune at head of neck. 6. lock 'em 7. fine tune 8. Repeat =]
    you dont need to cut the balls of the end.. just put the strings on backwards through the headstock down the body and trim the tips to the fine tuners.. and then put the strings in.. you dont need to cut both ends off..
    BUT, you must tune the first 2 strings about half a step up, the second 2 about in between half step sharp and perfect tune, and then the last 2 strings you tune must be perfect tune
    always struggled with floyd tuning, but this worked so well!!! thanks!
    It's better to change the strings while the older ones are on that way you want have annoying pitch changes.
    This was a horrible review. You totally made it more complicated and confusing than it needed to be. just put the strings on and tune it. if you have a problem with the bridge raising up, take something (i use a 9V battery) and place it in front of the plate on the floyd rose in the back of your guitar so that it cant raise up, get it in tune and then tighten the screws holding the springs or add springs or reposition springs. whatever you need to do to add enough tension to where the bridge wont come up. Simple as that. since they're new strings you're gonna of course have to tune them a few times but the bridge should stay down. you will have to change your spring tension every time you change string gauges. SIMPLE!!!
    millerdrr wrote: Who is this mysterious Ernie Ball, and why do you guys want to cut his balls off?
    That was seriously F*cking funny dude lol..
    when u string these bridges check if they stay in tune before you lock them down. after u retune them just keep retuneing til theyre perfect. you don't need a fancy pattern. make sure the locks face the rightway and if it was set up at a decent shop your fine. i got one after my 1st year of playing and i got it right away. ppl with problem can check out my article i wrote on here. these bridges are a god send, understand them before you write an article
    dont know why im saying this again, cause everyone else already said it..suuuuper shitty article. noone listen to a word of it. i had no experience with a floyd till 3 days ago, (bought a schecter sunset fr) the tec at the store gave me a quick 2 second intro to changing strings, and i did that, and balanced the bridge in half an hour. someone said it way back..if you take a minute to look up a PROPER guide or 2 online, have half a brain, and common sense, its not a big deal at all. Id say its actually faily easy.
    Thank you so much, finally i learned how to tune my guitar, seriously thank you. keep posting things like this [2] * However, i have a problem :S. When I bought my guitar i changed gauge from 09-42 to 10-46, and I tried too many times to tune it, but i failed repeatedely. Finally i tuned it with a way similar to yours, but the bridge wasn`t parallel to the body.. It was a little tilted forward. Then a friend told me to tighten (or loosen) the springs. I did it many times and the guitar was got out of tune again and again when i was setting the bridge parallel... I have the guitar 2 months and i don`t use it... What should I do?
    Thank you so much, finally i learned how to tune my guitar, seriously thank you. keep posting things like this
    Yeah, I have a Jackson with a FL.(AKA pain in the ass!)lol Anyways, it always goes out of tune quickly and the notes just don't sound as clean for some reason... So I'm selling it and buying something with no whammy lol. And thanks for the help
    umm, yeah... for all of you people that are calling this guy an idiot, you should really check this out:
    is it really necesary to cut the balls of the string before stringing the guiar? because i lost the little pieces of crap that holded the strings!!
    I'm getting a Jackson Warrior XT brand new and was wondering what I can do to set it up best to semi-tone lower tuning (DGCFAd) because my music is heavily influeced by Death and I would like to basically use all the same techniques Chuck used (R.I.P.). After setting it up for this tuning I dont think I'll need to change it afterwards. Thanks in advance.
    This is why I'll probably never buy a Floyd Rose. I would rather spend my time playing then tuning.
    Yeah, I've had two Ibanez RG 350DXs. I couldn't figure out how to keep the ****er in tune at first. But I got the hang of it. Just make sure you stretch your strings and only replace one at a time, if necessary then use something to keep the bridge up but eventually you wont even need that. My only problem with my new RG is that everytime I do a divebomb it goes a little sharp or flat. It's really annoying, seeing as thats one of my favorite techniques.
    For all of you guys who have a guitar with a Floyd or an imitation on it: THE BEST WAY TO LEARN SOMETHING IS TRYING TO DO IT YOURSELVES. All these articles on the internet are confusing, so go try and learn from your mistakes. I've got an Ibanez with a Floyd on it, and I know how to tune it and replace the strings because I FAILED MANY TIMES TO LEARN THE RIGHT WAY!!
    this is a f***ING confusing article. i just bought a floyd rose for my fender strat, i replaced the vintage six screw stock trem with the new floyd. i didn't have any problems except with me getting used to the floyd rose, it was not that hard to string the floyd, this article is just confusing you. you can string your guitar from the headstock going to the floyd, then lock it to the floyd. if you ask me it looks way cooler for the ball end of the strings to just hang out from the headstock side. FLOYD ROSES ARE COOL. expensive, but cool
    I have the problem when i tune all of my strings that there always ends up being one that is out of tune. does this way really work?
    Cambridge Metal
    I recently bought a high end dean USA rust, my first guitar with a tremolo. Unfortunately i tried to adjust the springs because it was not level,and ended up untuning the guitar and having to take it to a guitar tech who would show me how to set it up. I had no idea how completely insane the tuning method was. Oh, well. You can't get squeels like dime any other way!
    i bought a Schecter C-1 FR (Floyd Rose) Hellraiser guitar about 3 weeks ago from Guitar Center. After I bought it, I took it to a little music shop nearby (I had heard it was tough to tune so I figured I'd rather pay to get it done) and the guy did it in less than 10 minutes (like 7) and only charged me 4 bucks... It's still in perfect drop D tuning!!! Don't let this guy influence you on buying a Floyd Rose, they're awesome!!! oh, and I use Ernie Ball super slikys
    umm, yeah... for all of you people calling the person who wrote this an idiot, you should really check this out: it says basically the same thing as what the author of this little tidbit said, so quit giving him/her grief... they're just trying to help out.
    Nice thing about floyd rose is that I just pop my strings in backwards. If they break it always happens at the bridge and you just unlock, unwind, repull it and tune. Takes 1 min max. BTW there are quite a few reasons to totally disassemble a floyd rose, especially during a restoration. People who say you are a moron for taking all the strings off are atleast 1 notch lower than morons. A good from scratch guide can always come in handy, though this gent's was a bit cryptic and not entirely accurate. Good effort though. Really its interesting cause reloading a FR is alot like changing a tire... I prefer the star method heh. Oh and women and little girls complain about how difficult it is too. LOL.
    Honestly i think this article is a bit helpful.especilally the tuning which string first and how much. u saved my day.5 stars
    i have an ibanez rg270 and its not that hard to restring, you made it sound way more complicated than it is... stupid article, made me more confused than anything.
    everybody who's saying that they will never get a floyd because of this article, don't let this idiot who can't string floyds correctly influence your decision, floyds are not that hard to string, but it's asstards like this that make it sound confusing