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Author Topic: Tip: Re-Stringing a Floyd (Or any other floating bridge)  (Read 2779 times)

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Zilthy

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I may have posted this before, but I am posting this again.  One of the most common pain points of having a floating bridge is doing a full string change, changing tuning, or changing strings.

This is how I do it, and since I learned this method years ago, it cut down on a lot of the pain and time of doing so (So very much less time spent tuning, adjusting bridge, retuning, adjusting bridge, retuning, adjusting bridge, so on and so forth)

1) Remove all strings.  What???  This is crazy talk!!! Don't do this, replacing one string at a time makes more sense.  Well, yes, if you are using same strings, same tuning, and have no other reason to remove all strings.  But then again, that is not what makes a floating bridge hell to deal with.  If you are not changing any of those things or need to remove all strings for some reason, just replace and re-tune one at a time.  A lot easier to deal with.  Otherwise, move on to step 2

2) Strings all gone, crank down the springs on the trem.  Really crank them down.

3) Block the trem in the position that you want it.  As in the picture, I personally just use a wooden wedge on the top side, and block the bridge on the high string side (G, B and E string) once I have the 3 low strings in, I move the wedge to the other side (keeping the bridge holding in the same position) and restring the high strings.  The point is, no matter which order:  Strings tight, bridge blocked in position.

3.5) Restring, stretch, retune with bridge blocked.  At this point, it is all pretty easy, and much like restringing with a fixed bridge.  Very simple, no one complains about that.

4) Magic happens.  Remove the block.

5) Wonder what in the hell happened to the magic, the guitar is way out of tune, and the bridge is pulled really far back.

6) Loosen the screws and tension on the bridge, until it is in the position that it was blocked at.

If the strings were stretched enough, and the bridge is resting with spring tension alone as to where the bridge is blocked, the guitar should be very close to being in tune.  And there you go, a nice floating bridge reset for different tuning, string gauge, or whatever was required for a full restring.

I do not do this terribly often myself, but on the occasions that I *do* need to do so, this is my approach.

Usually, I just do one string at a time, it is pretty quick and easy.  I usually only do this when changing tunings (E -> Eb for example) or some other reason (As on this guitar, where I had to repair and re-glue the neck binding).

But, when I have to do a full re-string on a floating bridge, this way works well.

I would be interested in hearing any other people's approaches on this. :D
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W.Laturno

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Nicely written and I could not agree more with the method.

I've been with a floating Floyd since the early 90's and never find it difficult to get the ballance between string tension and spring tension much to all the negative vibe I always hear....

Hopefully your article will give confidence to people to not be afraid to give it a try.....
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rnolan

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Interesting, you make it so hard ?? Well maybe not....
 I always change  all the strings (unless one busts at the bridge so just fix it to get through, for me it's always a D so I make sure it has extra turns on the mach head, I'm assuming we are talking Floyd's and copies of, loosen nut locks feed it through, shove into jaws of life, re-tune..).
So my process:
Loosen and take off all nut locks (place to go back in same poss), take string thingy and slack all strings. (so now bridge pulled totally to the right (or left...))
Leave machine heads in position to take new string but maintain vertical alignment (so string thingy doesn't bash on them)
Take out all springs and take bridge out.... undo Allen bolts on bridge and let strings free...
Take strings off (careful not to scratch anything) (Put bridge aside, clean, wipe bridge as required)
Dress frets (now's the time. depends on when you last did it ??), if you have a rosewood or ebony board give it a good lite sand of 1200 paper (or 000 steal wool/mask the PUs BTW for steal wool), maple boards mask off so the paper/wool just effects the frets.. (this is an every few months, e.g. if you change strings every 2 days like IO used to...)
Wipe the finger board clean of jetsome, then oil and let it drink (non maple boards...) Have a drink yourself whatever....let it sink in.
Repeat if necessary (I find most finger boards wanting...) Then rub off with you fingerboard "oil" cloth.
Wipe guitar down (or polish? I just use lemon oil to wipe it down, don't put lemon oil on any unfinished/not lacquered surfaces e.g. rosewood/ebony unfinished board, it has water in it and will swell the grains, bad...).
Put Floyd bridge on something solid, cut ends off strings and install (all) to bridge (don't over tighten Allen nuts/jaws of life)
Reinstate bridge to guit, put back springs, insert whammy bar and screw down (or can break its mounting) push down..
Fold guit cloth a few times and put under floating bridge (trying to emulate final position of bridge...) (whammy bar useful here..)
Put on each string, I start with bottom E (and I use the empty string packet to prevent scratching under the string guide BTW)
Bring each string up toward tension, when they are all on and closely tuned, take out the cloth and re-tune (ensure bridge fine tuners set at max off ish + a turn or 2 on for 6/4/5 as nut lock nuts move.. and will sharpen note..)
re-tune
lock down nut lock nuts
re-tune with fine tuners
done (and if you use DR tight wounds, it will stay that way...pretty much)
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Dante

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I am definitely gonna try Zilthy's method - I kind of do the same method as rnolan, except I don't dress the frets. I just oil the fretboard and wipe it off rather soon, like a polish. So, I will be oiling the board and waiting next time. Thanks for the tips, you two!

That said, I take all my strings off every time. I like to clean the dang guitar, all of it, every nook and cranny - so it shines as best it can. Most of mine are girls, and what girl doesn't like to shine? My tuning method involves not touching the springs, I have the bridge blocked (it only dives down) so, I end up just restringing. I have been doing this for so long, I know that I need to tune everything sharp almost a half step the first couple rounds, but I get it straight within 4 tunings.

Give the strings a good stretchin (by pulling on them and by using the whammy bar a bit) and retune. Lock down the string anchors (on my Floyd, it's a locking nut...on my Kahler, it's stringlocks behind the nut) - fine tune a bit to get it perfect, and then I don't have to retune for about a month  :lol:
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rnolan

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Hey Dante, I find it's so much easier putting the new stings into the "jaws of life" with the bridge off the guitar, also less chance of an inadvertent scratch from the allen key.  I have a small wooden box with all the string change stuff in it which is perfect to put the bridge on while I put on the new set.  Both my Floyd's are fully floating and I keep the springs in the same order, also always use the same strings (gauge/brand) so never have a balance problem.  I give them a decent stretch before I lock the nut then apart from a minor fine tune (to correct for the slight spin of the lock nuts), it's good to go.  I find the DRs settle really well.
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mike_mp-1

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What I have found is, that if you always keep the bridge level with the guitar for full floating bridge, block the back to make sure it stays level.

I remove all the strings, the bridge is in the neutral position (level with guitar).

Clean what you have to clean, and replace the strings, stretch the strings a bit. Saw on the Rush tour that he takes a cloth and rubs the string back and forth a few times and I guess it heats up the string and stretches it and off to the races.

Here is a good video, I usually do it the way it is mentioned in the video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQQT9-Y0R9A

Works for me... :bow:
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