Saturday, May 18, 2013

Installing the Floyd Rose 7-String Tremolo Bridge

The home stretch continues.  Today, we'll install the 7-String Floyd Rose tremolo bridge.  You may recall from a previous post, we discussed installing the 7-string locking nut in the guitar's neck.  This isn't quite as straightforward, but wasn't that large of a task.

Here's the tremolo cavity.  After finishing this guitar body with layer, upon layer of lacquer, things tend to get a bit gunked up.  The pre-drilled post holes for this tremolo system are no exception.  Without properly cleaning these holes, it would be very easy to crack the guitar body and cause MAJOR headaches.

Using a dremel, with a fluted routing bit, I very carefully cleaned up the excess nitrocellulose lacquer buildup from each of the post holes.  You want to be extremely careful not to actually enlarge the post holes, as the Floyd studs need to fit very tightly.  Also, you want to make sure not to change the shape of the hole.  Very light passes, and constant checking is definitely the way to go.

I learned a trick from those crazy Interwebs, that said to stick the metal post holes in the freezer for 24 hours.  This would cause the metal to contract slightly, and make installation easier.  So I figure "what the heck", and popped those things in the freezer next to the frozen peas.  The next day, I put each of the bridge mounting pegs in place, and using a wooden block as a buffer (between the hammer and peg) tapped them gently into place.  Now I'm not sure if the freezer thing helped, but I didn't have any issues so let's just say it did.  I used the wooden block so that I didn't damage the mounting studs by hitting them with a hammer.

Here are both Floyd Rose bridge mounting pegs, fully installed.

And another shot with the actual bridge in place.  As a side note - This hunk of metal is HEAVY.  I didn't realize a 7-String Floyd bridge would be so substantial, but I guess it would have to be.

Flipping the guitar body over, I installed the bridge tension spring mounting claw.  This not only holds the tension springs in place (as many as five springs) but provides the ability to fine tune the angle at which the tremolo unit sits in reference to the body.

I put the bridge back in place, and attached two tension springs to hold it.  After final assembly, it will be necessary to not only add springs, once the tension of guitar strings pull on the bridge, but to fine tune the spring claw to correct the bridge angle.  More on that in later posts.

And it's coming along!  The lighting and pickups are done and the bridge is installed.  The only things left to do is to complete the wiring, slap on the neck and get some strings on this thing.  See you soon!

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