Here I will try to show how you get the right angle
on your tremolo unit.
It will really help your guitar to stay in tune and to make the
whole tremolo perform better.
This is one of many causes of problems with a tremolo that won’t
go back to pitch after it has been used.
In the pictures is an old Ibanez EDGE tremolo,
but it will be the same for LO-PRO-EDGE,
EDGE PRO, EDGE PRO II, LO-TRS and TRS.
(It is the same on all types of Floyd Rose style tremolos.)
What we want to do is to get the tremolo knife (the black arrow
points at it) to be parallel with the body of the guitar. This will
make the tremolo () return to pitch better after it has been used
(or at least, it will help).
A tremolo works like this. The strings pull the bridge to go up
(in the direction of the green arrow) and the springs in the back
pull the bridge down (in the direction of the orange arrow). So
when we do a dive-bomb and lower the pitch, the springs have to
pull the bridge back again. And if we raise the pitch with the bar,
then the strings pull the bridge back in place.
So these two forces have to be balanced against each other for the
tremolo to stay parallel with the body of the guitar (look at picture
2 for more about that).
Well, what we really want to do is to get the tremolo knife at a
90 degree angle with the bridge height adjustment screw (indicated
with a green arrow). The angle of the tremolo should be like the
white lines drawn on the picture. And in most cases, the 90 degree
angle means that the tremolo is parallel with the body.
The tremolo can only be set up in three different ways: too low,
too high or just right.
This picture shows one that is way too low. The tension from the
springs is too much for the strings to pull the tremolo up the right
This is what you will see if you go from thicker to thinner strings
(or if you tune down).
So we remove the spring cover plate from the back of the guitar,
to get to the springs that are holding the tremolo.
There are two screws (the one where the screwdriver is and the other
one to the side of that) called spring tension adjustments screws.
We screw them out (in the direction of the arrows) to get the tremolo
to come up higher. What we do is to loosen the tension of the springs.
Make sure that you screw out both screws the same distance.
The tuning of the guitar will get way flat so you need to tune it
up to see if you turned the screws enough. It is a little balance
work to get it right, but it is well worth the job.
This is what it will look like when the bridge is too high, like
what you see if you go from thinner to thicker strings. The tension
of the strings is too high for the springs to pull the tremolo down.
We do the same thing as in section 4, but we screw in the other
direction (as the arrows point).
Same thing here, the guitar will go sharp so you need to tune it
to see if you got it right.
If you find that you have screwed the adjustments screws all the
way in and the tremolo is still too high, then the solution is to
put one more spring in there and redo the setup again.
This is the way it should look when the bridge is right and in a
90 degree angle with the bridge height adjustment screw.
You don't have to change this again, unless you change the thickness
of your strings (and sometimes if you change to another brand of
strings, even if the are the same size).
But before you screw the cover plate back on, take a piece of a
thick rag (or something like that) and push it in under the springs
(like you can see on picture 6).
This will prevent the springs from ringing and make unwanted noise.
Now, screw the cover plate back on and play your brains out.
All this will really help the tremolo to go back to pitch after
you use it.