One evening, while casually watching TV after a particularly aggravating rehearsal in a freezing-cold storage unit, Floyd noticed that the windings of his E string slid across the nut when the tremolo arm was depressed. Curious if this could be the source of the problem, he marked the string at the nut, and then used the tremolo arm; as he expected, even after minimal use, the mark on his string was displaced from its original position at the nut. Floyd’s first attempt to control this displacement involved Krazy Glue, and even this primitive method had some initial success; enough to encourage further experimentation.
Floyd’s job at the time would prove surprisingly fortuitous; in 1976, he was making jewelry by day, so he owned a lapidary rig and applied his tools to create a thin brass nut that used three U-shaped clamps to lock the strings in place. He installed this system on the 1957 neck of his 1963 Fender Stratocaster, drilling two holes into the neck beneath the new nut—a risky maneuver to perform on vintage hardware, even in 1976. This initial model of the locking system worked well as long as the tremolo arm wasn’t too deeply depressed. Soon after, Floyd borrowed $600 from his parents to have his second model made at a machine shop; he considers this to be the first real model of what we now know as the Floyd Rose Tremolo Locking System, the only problem being that the material it was made of was not strong enough. His next model used more durable materials, moving from easily dented brass to hardened steel, and included a locking bridge. A multitude of artist endorsements, with Eddie Van Halen at the forefront, would lead to an explosion in popularity, an ensuing patent and mass-manufacture with Kramer.