If there’s anything more troublesome and nuisance ridden in the world of guitars than the floating bridge, I have yet to find it.For those of you unaware of what a floating bridge, as you might be living in the land of Fender Synchro trems or Fixed bridges, it’s the mechanism on the bridge that uses string tension to hold it up, with spring tension to pull it back. And in order for it to work properly, you need to reach a perfect equilibrium between the springs in the back of the guitar, and the guitar strings on the front of the guitar to get the “Floating” action. What this does, is it gives you both upwards and downwards motion on the tremolo bar instead of downward on the Fender strat-style tremolo.
The Edge Pros, Floyd Roses, Kahlers and all of the others. Sure they are great if you’re into divebombing and whammy coloration of your notes, but for the sheer trouble they cause, I find them terrible.
Setting up: Floating bridges are the worst to set up. For the floyd roses, you have to cut the ball ends off of the string and clamp them into the bridge. Ibanez at least had the right idea with the Edge Pro which allows you to leave the ball on, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a floating bridge. Still, you need tools to tighten the clamps at the bridge on all floating bridges. If you own a guitar with a floating bridge, you will ALWAYS need tools when changing strings.
Tuning: You’ve got your new nickel-steel janglies on your guitar, and now comes the process of getting that bridge to be at a perfect equilibrium with the rest of the guitar. The bridge has to be level, and all of the strings have to be in tune. Through the tedious process of tightening the spring claw, tuning over and over again, you may finally reach the point where you can call it tuned, but it will take awhile. Sure, you can change them one at a time, leaving the rest on, but the others are being replaced because they are dirty, and therefore not the same as clean strings. They’re soaked in sweat, corrosion what have you, and have a different effect on the floating bridge.
Alternate Tunings: Don’t even think about it. If you’re commited to floating bridges, get a different guitar for every tuning. If you tune one string down, another goes up. Tune a string up, the others go down.
Solutions: There are products out there like the Trem Setter, the tremol-no and some others, but the best one is to avoid the thing altogether. I get that you like the freedom of a whammy bar, but please, think of the tuning!