Floyd Rose Tremolo
BY GERRY GANADEN
tremolo bridge apart.
Dismantling a Floyd
Rose is a fairly easy
task. Underneath the
saddles are three
Allen head screws
that are countersunk into the base
plate. Removing the
original block, I compared it to the Big
Block in size, dimension and weight.
took away the overt trebly tone, there wasn’t
any overcompensated muddiness in its place.
Recording this tone and comparing it to the
previous recording, there is more pronounced
sustain. Again, this is the same guitar, and there
were only minor intonation adjustments made
after the Floyd was reassembled.
Adam Reiver’s Big Block is the best upgrade
you can add to a Floyd-equipped guitar. It
improves the tone and resonance of the guitar,
and it brings out a more natural fullness you
may not have known was possible.
In keeping with the theme of this issue, hot-rodding an electric guitar, we could not ignore
the Floyd Rose tremolo. True, it went through
an unpopular period in the ninties due to the
retro-vogue phase. But with the resurgence of
the hot rod guitar, the Floyd Rose has again
come to the forefront of tuning stability in a
Invented in 1977 by an imaginative guitar tech
named Floyd Rose, this tremolo was an updated version of the original Fender design, eliminating friction points at the nut and saddles.
While most of its focus was on its ability to stabilize tuning, there were guitarists who noted
the thin, tinny tone the Floyd gave to a guitar’s
sound. Guitar tech Adam Reiver decided to
improve the tone of Floyd-equipped guitars by
attacking the tremolo at its heart: the sustain
block. This new upgrade, designed by Reiver,
is named “The Big Block,” and is available at
floydupgrades.com—where you can also find
other upgrades for Floyd-equipped guitars. The
sustain block reviewed here is non-descript,
looking like a rectangular block made of high-grade bell brass.
I installed a 42mm Big Block in the Floyd
Rose assembly on my main Charvel guitar.
This guitar is simplistic in design, with an
alder body and maple neck. It has only one
humbucker and a single volume pot, so wood
routing is minimal outside of the actual tremolo cavity. I recorded the tone of the existing
guitar through a Marshall 100-Watt half stack
with a moderate amount of overdrive, using
a digital recorder before taking the whole
The Big Block is significantly larger in
comparison to the original Floyd sustain block.
Note the differences:
Standard Floyd Block
1 15/16˝ width
1 5/8˝ height
5 oz. weight
Floyd Upgrade Big Block
Attaching the Big Block to the baseplate,
one thing I noticed was that the sizeable
difference allows for surface contact to the
baseplate. This would later prove to affect
the tone. Reassembling the rest of the
Floyd Rose was relatively easy; the placement of the spring attachment holes seemed
to be in the exact same position as the original block. After mounting the reassembled
bridge back onto the guitar, only very minor
adjustments were needed made to the correct float position (parallel to the surface
of the body). The only degree of difficulty
involved was re-intonating the saddles. Once
that was done, I continued the test.
Picking up the guitar, I noticed a different center of gravity. I couldn’t have anticipated the
difference three ounces makes to that area of
the guitar, but it created a different mass to
the rear bout of the guitar. When strumming
open chords, the guitar was noticeably louder
acoustically and less trebly. Amplified through
the same amp, the guitar was more articulate
in tone and less tinny than before. Though it
you want to improve sustain
and resonance of your Floyd-equipped guitar.
you like the sound of your current
Want to hear the difference?
Go to premierguitar.com to hear
clips of the guitar A/B’d with and
without the upgrade.
Street $32.95 and up
(42mm brass sustain block $39.95)