Strat & Floyd Rose Installation© KramerForum.com
2003 - 2010
All Images and Content © 1992 Fender Musical Instruments
This is a scan and transcription of the installation document which came stock with Floyd Rose tremolos during the Fender distributorship of the units in the 1990s. This site takes no responsibility for the material contained herein or for your installation experience. Seeing that there was no authoritative source of information on installing Floyd Rose tremolos on a strat and that comprehensive info was hard to find, we scanned the original installation document here. Please follow the measurements carefully, make sure all templates are to scale, and Keep Rockin'!
The installation of a Floyd Rose Tremolo is one of the most difficult modifications to make on a guitar. Anyone attempting this installation should be familiar with precision woodworking tools and equipment and be very confident in their ability to do this job properly. If you have any doubts about your ability to install the Floyd Rose Tremolo in your guitar, do not attempt it. Take your guitar to a qualified luthier or repair technician and have it professionally installed. The price of an expertly installed Floyd Rose Tremolo is cheap compared to the expense of replacing a destroyed guitar. Please read this entire manual prior to beginning any work on your guitar.
If you are comfortable with your ability to do this properly, then there are some other things to discuss. There are many ways to install a Floyd Rose Tremolo and every luthier and repair technician has their own thoughts on which way is the best. Such factors as the height of the unit above the body, whether the unit will "float" or rest solidly on the body are best determined by the player. Each of the installations described here (one for the Floyd Rose Original and one for the Floyd Rose Pro) is the simplest way possible to mount the unit on a Stratocaster guitar equipped with either a Vintage or American Standard Tremolo System.
The installation described here has the tremolo unit floating 1/8 inch above the body with approximately 1/2 step of pitch rise on the high E string. The overall string height off of the body is greater than the stock height and the neck is shim med or tilted to accommodate this. There are more complex methods of mounting such as counter sinking the whole tremolo unit into the body but these are not covered in this manual. There is, however, a lot of information on these techniques available in book or video form from luthier supply sources such as StewMac, and Allparts. These sources also carry specialty tools to help with Floyd Rose installations and are well worth looking into.
To complete the installation described here you will need the following tools and equipment:
1. A vertical milling machine or a routing jig for locking tremolo nut (available from luthier supply shop).
2. A hand router with the following bits: 1/2" top follower bearing cutter and possibly a 1/2" laminate trimmer bottom follower
3. A jig saw or coping saw, files, sand paper, etc.
4. The following drill bits: 9/64", 11/64", 1/4", letter I, 25/64" and a 1/2" 82į counter sink.
5. A 5/16" counter bore with 11/64" pilot.
6. A roll of double sided tape.
Again, the instructions in this manual are only for the simplest mounting method possible for each of the Floyd Rose Tremolos, If you have any doubts at all about performing this operation, donít do it. Instead, take your guitar to a qualified luthier or guitar repair tech and have them do it.
BODY TEMPLATES AND ROUTING
If you are installing your Floyd Rose Tremolo on anything other than a Fender Stratocaster guitar (either Vintage or American Standard), you should definitely study the previously mentioned information on tremolo installations available from luthier supply shops. In the most general sense you want the intonation point of the saddle to be the exact scale length away from the nut with some amount (.050") of travel still available toward the nut. The center line of the studs on the Floyd Rose is approximately .415" forward (toward the nut) of the intonation point with .050" to spare. Subtract .415" from the scale length and measure this distance from the nut.
We have provided template patterns for Fender Stratocaster guitars. You can glue these to 1/4" hardboard or plexiglass using a spray mount adhesive and cut them out with a jig or scroll saw. If you use a printout or copy of the template patterns, be sure to check them against the measurements shown. Printing / photocopying can distort the size and ruin the accuracy.
If your Strat is an American Standard, drill the inside two holes in your template with a 1/4" drill and countersink them to at least 1/2" diameter as shown (Figure 1). This should be done on a drill press as accurately as possible. These holes will determine how well every other part of the installation will fit. Use 1/4-28 x 5/8" UNF flat head machinescrews to bolt your template to the guitar body. The screws go into the brass inserts in the body. Some early American Standard Strats have #14 wood screws instead of the machine screws and inserts. If this is the case in your guitar, use #14 x 5/8" flat head wood screws to affix your template.
If your Strat is a Vintage type, drill your template as shown (Figure 2). Use #6 x 5/8" wood or sheet metal screws to affix your template to the guitar. It is also acceptable to use double sided tape to locate the routing templates. You can use the holes in the template as a guide to position them over the bridge mounting holes. The American Standard mounting holes and the outer two holes on the Vintage are in the same location, 2.220" apart.
When your template is secure, mark the location of the Floyd Rose mounting screws. These are the outside two holes on the template. You may use a convenient size transfer punch or small drill bit to mark the centers of these holes. At this time you are only marking the locations. The holes will be drilled later, after the template is removed. If you will be using the wood screw type of mounting studs you will start by drilling a .272" hole (letter "I" drill) so that the full diameter goes 3/8" (.375") deep
(Figure 3). It is a good idea to start with a center drill first to assure your location. After the .272" holes are drilled, follow them with an 11/64" (.171") drill to a depth of 1-3/8".
If you will be using the bushing type mounting studs (Figure 4) you will drill these holes with a 25/64" (.391") drill to a depth of 13/16" (.812"). Again it is a good idea to start your holes with a center drill. You will then drive the bushings into the hole so that they are slightly below the surface. If you decide to recess your tremolo as described in the various installation materials mentioned at the beginning, remember to add the distance of the recess to your hole depths.
Now that the mounting holes are marked, rout away the excess wood in the tremolo pocket using a 1/2" or 3/8" bearing piloted router bit (again, available from luthier supply shops). Rout down as deep as possible. On the Floyd Rose Original, you need only rout down to the level of the spring pocket. The block is narrow and will pivot into this pocket. The Floyd Rose Pro has a wide block that requires you to rout all the way through the body. You may finish rout it from the back side using a laminate trimming bit which has the bearing on the bottom side of the cutter. You will start down in the cavity and work your way up until the excess wood is cleared out. Also on the Floyd Rose Pro you need to rout a second level as a clearance for the fine tuning mechanism. A plan for this template is also included. It should be screwed down using the same method as the block cavity template. Using your same router set-up, rout this cavity to a depth of .550".
If the Floyd Rose Pro you have purchased has a short block (less than 1.650"/42mm) the spring pocket on the back of the guitarwill have to be deepened by .150". You can do this with the piloted router bit by running
it along the existing spring pocket wall. Only the back two-thirds of the pocket needs to be deepened (approximately 2-3/4") (Figure 5). Be careful on American Standard Strats because you will be very close to the brass bushings from the other side of the guitar.
At this point install the mounting studs and test fit the bridge. Make sure it pivots properly with no interference. Also test fit the springs to be sure they do not rub on the spring pocket floor. You should also check the amount of clearance you will need to cut from the pickguard. Lay the pickguard in place and put the bridge on top of it. Trace around the outline of the bridge with a pencil and add about .060" clearance. Carefully cut away the excess pickguard material and test fit the bridge. If everything looks correct to this point, you can move on to the neck.
NUT ROUTING AND INSTALLATION
The nut area of the neck must be routed away to allow installation of the Floyd Rose locking nut. This is a delicate part of the installation. First you must determine which of the nine available nuts you will be installing. A chart is included to help you with this choice. If you are using a shallow nut (#1, #2, #4, #6, #7, #8, #9) you will need to rout a shelf .215" below the
level of the top frets (Figure 6). A taller nut (#3, #5) will require a .265" shelf depth. The front edge of the factory installed nut (edge toward bridge) will be the front edge of your shelf rout. The old nut will have to be removed to do this.
On a Strat Plus model with a Wilkinson roller nut you will have to add .095" of wood to the "nut" end of the fretboard (Figure 8). This is because the roller nut has extra length in front of the intonation point to capture the rollers. The shelf for the Wilkinson nut is cut .095" forward (toward bridge) to allow for this. You must therefore replace this material before installing your Floyd Rose locking nut.
If you have access to a milling machine, it will be easy to rout the shelf. If not, you will have to buy a nut installation fixture from one of the previously mentioned luthier shops. These come with instructions for setting up and making this cut.
On early American Standard Strats with the bi-flex truss rods (86 thru mid 87), there is a steel plate underneath the nut. You will be able to see it when the nut is removed, It is important to use a milling machine to cut through this plate instead of a router. The router bit will burn (bad) or shatter (worse), which can cause serious injury. Please do not attempt this cut with a router.
Once the shelf is cut, use the locking nut base to locate the two mounting holes (Figure 7). Drill these two holes with an 11/64" (.172") drill all the way through (use a drill press or drill block to make certain that these holes are perpendicular to the nut shelf). From the back side of the neck, use a 5/16" (.312") piloted counterbore to recess the mounting screw heads. Counterbore deep enough to have at least .100" of thread sticking up from the shelf. However, no more than .200" should stick up or it will interfere with the locking blocks.
Once the nut is mounted you should be ready to assemble
guitar. The bridge height should be adjusted to sit about .100" above
face of the body. The height above the body will allow clearance for
front edge of the bridge when "dumping" the tremolo. This also will allow about 1/2 step of "pull back". The neck will have to be shimmed about .060" to allow proper action. You may also use the tilt adjust screw on American Standard Strats. Once this
done follow the operating and set-up instructions to set-up your guitar.
These are nine available nuts for the Floyd Rose Tremolo, but the
nut is the most common for Fender guitars. They are as follows:
Templates - make sure these are to scale!
If you'd like to buy a pre-fabricated template on plexiglass, you can buy it from Stewmac here.
Excerpts from Dan Erlewine's Guitar Player Repair Guide:
The countersunk holes are most safely drilled by using a step-bit. Stewart MacDonald makes a step-bit with an 11/64"
pilot to follow the 11/64" hole drilled earlier, and a 5/16" outer bore that drills a shallow flat-bottomed hole for the bolt heads. Extra care must be taken to avoid the bitsí grabbing or tearing the wood by accident.
the rear, countersink the holes until three or four threads protrude through 1edge when the bolt is inserted. This is plenty to hold the nut tight--any more, and the bolt could come through the locking nutís top and touch the string clamps. Go ahead and mount the nut. If your nut ends up too low, itís common to shim it up to the right level. Good shim materials include 3M wet-or-dry sandpaper in the 400, 600, and 1200 grits, or mesh-like drywall sandpaper with a good grip (check your lumberyard).
Last of all, mount the retainer bar. Locate it 1" to 1 1/8" from the front of the nut, and centered from side to side as at right. Drill the two screw holes with a 9/64 II bit marked with masking tape as a visual depth stop to prevent drilling through the headstock! Put your strings on, and check your work. Youíre done with the worst part.
Original Floyd Rose Diagram courtesy of Warmoth Custom Guitar Parts
Original Floyd Rose Diagram 2 courtesy of Carvin Guitars
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