The Floyd Rose Tremolo is a specific style of vibrato arm that uses two locking mechanisms to keep the strings in place and from going out of tune. This mechanism, on the bridge of the guitar, made it so the player could bend and stretch the strings with little consequence. It was such a popular device that the best and most famous guitarists are all fans of the Floyd Rose Tremolo. While Floyd Rose Trems might not be installed on people learning beginner guitar, the effects this kind of tremolo makes is useful to know for every player.
Vibrato and Tremolo Effects
When you are looking up the actual terms of vibrato and tremolo, they have a distinct difference. Tremolo occurs because of a difference in the volume while vibrato is a change in the pitch of the note played. However when it comes to guitar these two terms are often mixed up, tremolo bars help create vibrato effects.
The vibrato is achieved by using a lever or bar to bend the pitch of the notes rapidly, it requires a special bridge, so the strings or guitar are not broken. The first commercial vibrato arm was the Bigsby, which was made popular by Merle Travis. The ability to bend the pitch allowed for a lap steel type change in the sound. Soon other makers like Fender jumped into the vibrato arm game with their synchronized tremolo and whammy bar.
Regardless of the method used to create the vibrato, the method became a staple of rock music. Early surf rockers like Dick Dale and The Ventures made use of it as well as the most famous psychedelic and blues rock guitarists like Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page. You can even try out some tremolo and vibrato effects of your own with these artists’ beginner guitar songs. Soon the designs of vibrato arms and bridges would change to allow for even more pronounced pitch bending effects.
The Floyd Rose Tremolo Design
In 1976 engineer Floyd Rose created a locking system to help the guitar deal with the extremes of vibrato. As cool as vibrato sounds, when the strings are bent with a lever they tend to go out of tune. There are tricks to avoid this if possible, but without a system to lock the strings in place, eventually they will detune.
Floyd Rose helped get around this problem by locking the strings tightly to the nut and bridge, which is allowed to pivot. When the arm is pushed down the bridge moves counterclockwise and flattens the notes, when the arm is pulled the bridge pivots in and sharpens the notes. The double locking system allows to raise tones up to a seventh with no adverse tuning effects.
The Most Famous Floyd Rose Tremolo Guitar Players
This double locking system is so incredible that many of the best guitarists ever are on the list. While there are a variety of vibrato or tremolo arms on the market, the greats seem to agree that the Floyd Rose Tremolo allows for the most string manipulation with little to no tuning issues.
Eddie Van Halen
Van Halen helped create the idea of the shred guitarist and he was one of the early users of the Floyd Rose Tremolo. One of the coolest effects to do with a vibrato arm is the dive bomb (prominently heard in the “Eruption” solo). The dive bomb is best done with a Floyd Rose as other tremolo bars cannot create the effect as well.
Eddie did more than dive bomb with the vibrato arm, he wailed, howled, and created siren like intensity with all his pitch changes. If you want to play like Eddie Van Halen, a Floyd Rose Tremolo is essential to handle his shredding style.
Metal wasn’t the only genre that was moving in a progressive direction, rock bands like Rush were also focused on virtuoso style guitar playing. While Rush began before the invention, their guitarist Alex Lifeson eventually became a convert to the Floyd Rose Tremolo installed on his Gibson Les Paul.
But it wasn’t just the progressive and shredding bands that adopted the double locking system. Neal Schon used it while playing with the arena rock band Journey. Like Alex Lifeson he also used it on a Gibson.
Brad Gillis also used one in the band Night Ranger which mixed metal and pop with hits like “Sister Christian.” He went on to play with other bands like Ozzy Osbourne, but his signature whammy style has always been unique.
The lead guitarist of Metallica even finds the Floyd Rose setup to be essential among the variety of guitars he plays. He first used it during the album Ride the Lightning. Not all musicians solely use the locking tremolo, but most find it to be a useful tool on some songs.
Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe used the Floyd Rose and his guitar tuned down to D, to create his signature sound. You can hear him make use of the vibrato in songs like “Dr. Feelgood.”
Darrell used the Floyd Rose Tremolo to help develop his sound with Pantera, in songs like “Cemetery Gates.” He mixed pinched harmonics and the whammy bar to create a squeal like sound near the end of the song.
And of course there are so many other artists who may use these locking vibrato arms on occasion like Prince, Richie Sambora, and Joe Walsh. Basically if you played guitar in the 80’s, or are looking for that sound, you will find these tremolo arms to be essential.
Floyd Rose Tremolos are not cheap, and they require some skill to install, but it’s clear that they provide amazing benefits for vibrato. From the short list above it is obvious that the best guitarists see what an amazing mechanism it is. If you want to shred and bend technically complicated guitar riffs, the Floyd Rose is worth looking into.
We are proud to show off our new, extra-sturdy box design for the Floyd Rose Tremolo System! The matte black finish is adorned with a gloss black UV-coated tremolo image on the lid and classic "The Floyd" imprint on the inside. This new design marries the heritage of the first Floyd Rose boxes in the early 80's with modern sleekness and durability.
Interior soft cell foam keeps the bridge, arm, and hardware box snug and prevents shifting during transit, thus limiting any damage to the bridge or lost screws. And once you're done installing the tremolo, it makes a great box for your strings, picks, and small tools!
Look out for the new packaging with new Original, Special, and 1000 Series Pro Tremolo systems shipping starting in this month, as well as other models later in the year.
We are pleased to unveil our newly-designed saddles for the German-made Original Tremolo System, the first major design change of the Floyd Rose Original in our 40-year history. The modern CNC (Computer Numbering Control) machining method replaces the former saddle design allowing for more consistent production tolerances, precise functionality, and a cleaner overall appearance.• A slightly rounded inner saddle area (due to the CNC production) will require a new modified beveled-edge insert block. The new inserts will also work with older saddle sets and will replace the existing squared-edge aftermarket insert blocks.
Some small changes due to this technique will be visually noticeable and should be noted for easy identification:
• The bottom floor of the saddles will be solid. The saddles will no longer have a pressed-in brass floor like the previous version as this has been prone to falling out and unnecessary for operation.
All Original Tremolo Systems manufactured beginning in May 2021 will feature the new saddle design, while all replacement parts purchases will begin using these entirely once the current production inventory is out of stock. Please note that the new beveled string lock insert blocks must be used with all new saddle sets to ensure proper locking of the strings.
The Floyd Rose artist relations team had a chance to speak with Phil Collen of Def Leppard. Phil took time out of his busy schedule and we talked all things Floyd hardware, guitar shop & more! His world is sure to get hectic once again when Def Leppard touring resumes, so we want to express our thanks to Phil for his time and longtime loyalty to Floyd Rose.
Q: When did you first see or hear about Floyd Rose bridges?
In the late 70’s my Friend and fellow guitarist Rudi Rivière introduced me to the whole Planet Eddie Van Halen.
Q: Did you get one soon after?
I had a tried another brand initially & it was mid 80’s when I got my first Floyd!
Q: Given the inherent tuning stability design-what other benefits do you feel the FR hardware gives the guitarist?
It gives more sustain, and when it is setup (correctly) it makes the guitar feel like a living entity.
Q: Do you have your FR bridges setup floating? any special setup preferences or tips?
I do have them floating almost flush flat with the body so I can pull it up or go all the way down equally.
Q: You use a number of guitars live due to bands live set requirements. At home, what is your favorite guitar?
At the moment my favorite guitar is a Jackson PC Custom Supreme with the fattest neck Jackson have ever made. It was initially made as a fun thing but it has the best tone out of any of my guitars. It is also the guitar that anyone who sees DL usually comments on the sound of it.
Q: Has the band got any touring plans locked in yet?
We were scheduled last year for a giant stadium tour. We’re definitely going to reschedule all of the dates. Just waiting for the world to give us the green light.
Q: Any more residencies planned?
Not as of yet but I’m sure we’d do it again. We had a blast last time.
Formed in 1977 in Sheffield, England Def Leppard combined their love of their favorite rock bands and youthful energy to reach for the stars. They achieved those rock and roll dreams by the early 80’s with Def Leppard’s music as part of the burgeoning new metal scene. The hard rocking & well-crafted songs with clever studio production are core elements of their initial success. Def Leppard’s continued enthusiasm to rock music with devotion to (and expressed back from) their fans vaulted this band into iconic status. Now Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members, Def Leppard have sold millions of records and still tour to sold out crowds worldwide. Until the Covid pandemic dragged touring plans to a grinding halt, the group was poised to bring their exciting live shows to stadiums across the US. If C19 health restrictions allow, Phil Collen and his band mates may yet perform live in 2021!
Special thanks & our appreciation to Helen Collen: http://www.helencollenphotography.com/
The Floyd Rose artist relations team had a chance to speak with the legendary Steve Stevens (Billy Idol, Bozzio Levin Stevens, Michael Jackson, Vince Neil) while in quarantine:-What have you been doing during this crazy unexpected press of the “pause button” in the music industry?I finished my last live show with Billy Idol in March of 2020. We then quarantined and were able to record new music with producer Butch Walker who had also quarantined. The three of us successfully finished our new songs.
-Tell us about your signature model with Knaggs guitars. How did it come about? Why Joe’s guitars? Do you spec the FR on all your personal guitars when you speak with Joe or his guys about a new build? Etc…Peter Wolf is the artist rep for Knaggs Guitars. I worked with Peter back in the 80s when i was a Hamer guitars artist. I always liked Peter. He contacted me a number of years ago and explained he was now at Knaggs Guitars. It turns out Joe Knaggs was head of the PRS custom shop and had built me one of favorite guitars. It’s been an amazing collaboration and we now offer three different SS guitars. One is an acoustic. Anytime I have a guitar with a tree system I request the Floyd Rose. I got my first Floyd equipped guitar in 1984 and never looked back.
-When did you first start using FR bridges?I got my first Floyd equipped guitar in 1984 and never looked back. That bridge is a featured element to the Rebel Yell album.
-What do u prefer about FR bridges over other hardware brands?Floyd’s just feel solid and I love the fact that the company now offers many options to really customize the bridge.
-Do you have any special setup tricks or tips?Although not always possible, I do like having the Floyd bridge sit flat against the body. That connection really allows the strings to vibrate on the guitars top. The other advantage is breaking a string does not put you out of tune. That said, there are many effects that are only available if the bridge is floating….flutters, and subtle vibratos.-Have you tried the FRX (surface-mounting) bridge???I did have a guitar built with it.
-Are their any tentative live shows planned for post Covid-19 touring? With Billy? Or other projects?Our new record will be released the first half of 2021. There are rumblings that touring for bands may return around September 2021 in some capacity.
-Were you close with EVH?I got to really know Ed when I supported Van Halen while playing in Vince Neil’s band. I have jammed with Ed previously and he’d join Billy Idol onstage when he’d come see us. I loved the guy. Obviously his musical output is legendary but he was just great fun to hang with. Generous to a fault and had none of that bullshit rockstar attitude.
-Any projects or causes you would like us to help raise awareness on?I have a signature overdrive pedal “The Rockaway” with J Rockett. 20% of all proceeds go to St. Judes Children’s Hospital. You can donate here.
For more information on Knaggs Guitars, please see check out their website:
Like many manufacturers, Floyd Rose has been facing supply chain disruptions that have led to significant delays, particularly on our German-made tremolo systems and parts. In addition to Covid-related setbacks, we were forced to retool some parts which has further pushed back our production timetable leading to product shortages.
We understand that this combination of factors has been an inconvenience to our customers. Most importantly, we did not want to cut any corners and rush out inferior products which made these delays necessary. Floyd Rose is navigating the scenario as best we can given the circumstances and we sincerely appreciate your patience.
We hope to have production and inventory stabilized by the summer.
Again, thank you for your understanding. In the meantime, stay safe!
Rick Pierce Group has just released a new song co-written by Floyd Rose entitled "Tick Tock" on Crusader Records. The song features the new FR Del Mar Series guitar throughout, particularly evident on the blazing solo section.
Rick and Floyd were previously members of Seattle-based Q5 along with Evan Sheeley and Gary Thompson, releasing two studio albums: Steel The Light (1984) and When the Mirror Cracks (1985) before disbanding in 1989. They have continued working together ever since.
Take a listen to "Tick Tock" below or on any of the major streaming services:
Countless artists have used the Floyd Rose tremolo system over the last 40 years, changing the face of music forever. For our ruby anniversary at the 2020 NAMM Show, we received dozens of videos from guitarists and figures thanking Floyd and co. for continuing to make the best double-locking tremolo on the market. Here's what they had to say!
Are you quarantined and curious? In the meantime, check out some of the demo videos below for a sneak peak of the new USA-made Floyd Rose Guitars. Stay tuned for more info and don't forget to subscribe to these guys' YouTube channels!Tim Pierce - Session Guitarist (Michael Jackson, Roger Waters, Phil Collins)Ben Higgins - Online guitar teacher, Guitar World ContributorSteve Stine - Master instructorTroy Grady & Teemu Mäntysaari
To our dear customers, suppliers, and friends,
We are all together amidst the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. As we navigate the daily situation, we at AP International are taking the necessary precautions to ensure that we are continuing to operate and service our customers as best we can while keeping our staff and community safe.
Shipments have been slowly resuming from our partners in Asia, but our suppliers in Europe remain uncertain at this time as the outbreak continues to spread. We will be working from our office as long as we can and continue to monitor the situation. If there are any changes to our status, we will notify you.
In the meantime, we wish everyone the absolute best in navigating the perils of this unprecedented challenge. We are all fighting the same battle together. Our thoughts are with those who are on the front lines of this fight: our doctors, nurses, hospital staff, experts, government officials, and the victims. Although there is no timeline to adhere to, there WILL be a time when this is all behind us. Until then, please keep informed and stay healthy.
All the best,
AP International/Floyd Rose Marketing
We're celebrating 40 years of bending the rules! Come pay us a visit in booth #5629 in Hall D at the Winter 2020 NAMM Show in Anaheim and join us in reminiscing about the past and talking about the future. Floyd D. Rose himself will be on hand for signings, and we'll be showing off some new guitars, bridges, and parts.
With our distributor, AP International, we will also be displaying Floyd Rose & Floyd Rose Audio, Stone Tone Products, KTS Titanium bridges & parts, the new Ray Ross Bass Bridge, Pure Tone Technologies' new output jacks, and Fret Butter Fretboard Cleaner.
Most hard rock or metal guitarist’s would say that playing alongside Ozzy Osbourne night after night on-stage would be their #1 dream gig if they had a choice. Well how about playing alongside Zack Wylde night after night?? Not a bad alternative right?? Either in a recording studio or performing live around the world in Black Label Society, guitarist and Floyd Rose devotee Dario Lorina is indeed living that dream.The Floyd Rose artist relations team had a chance to speak with Dario Lorina following the 2018 Black Label Society world tour:
FR: How did you get started playing with the Black Label Society?
Dario: A while back I was playing in the band Lizzie Borden, during a hiatus, we had some mutual friends and management in common and I’d send them (Zakk) some tapes and some videos of my playing; Zakk heard the stuff that I had sent him and he invited me up to California-I went up there and that was pretty much it!FR: What is the most satisfying aspect about playing with Black Label Society?Dario: well I enjoy it all; I love being ‘up’ there. Everybody is so cool, strong in what they do...I'm constantly learning something new. We’re like family - I love all of it!FR: Do you prefer playing onstage or in the studio?Dario: Nothing compares to the energy of when you’re playing a rock show -definitely the stage. That can’t be topped.FR: In what would you attribute to your success in your career?Dario: A mix together of skills, drive, and motivation-with a splash of luck in there. When I was in school as a kid, I always thought, "I'm gonna be a guitar player"; like how some kids say "I'm gonna be a Doctor...or a football player". Being a guitar player was all I thought about. That was the path that led me here. From giving lessons early on to putting a band together - just laying the road to get here brick by brick...FR: What songs represent the best “Dario” sound or writing statement?Dario: I have two instrumental albums on Shrapnel records. Both of those express myself as a guitar player. Probably though “ Echoes of a Stone heart“ & “Demon Rum”FR: How did you get started using Stone Tone products?Dario: Some years back while I was playing with Janni Layne, I was out at the NAMM trade show where I met Rob DiSanto. I played a granite covered EVH Wolfgang model guitar and that guitar had such a bite - like nothing else! I played that guitar for a long time and it was such fun to play; so that’s how I met Rob…FR: What is you favorite guitar to play these days?Dario: The guitar that is most meaningful to me are my Gibson Les Paul and Les Paul Junior. Both of those guitars came from family members. I had that Junior refinished into a killer lime sparkle green. A friend of mine who paints hot rods hung it up in his garage and detailed the back of the neck as well, and I played that guitars on this past tour with BLS...FR: Tell us about your Floyds...Dario: I’ve always had a Floyd somewhere from the beginning with my guitars -always live and always in the studio. When I do my lead work, “it” always has a Floyd on them. When you need that extra flavor "it" always gives it to you. A Floyd Rose Trem has always been in my arsenal!!FR: Is there one piece of go-to electronic piece of gear in your rig that you feel is a “must have”?Dario: Yeah - an overdrive pedal!! Not a distortion pedal but an overdrive ... I’ve been using the Seymour Duncan 805 for a long time…since it came out. With Zakk I've always used his signature overdrive pedal. They’re in the same park. The key is having an overdrive in front of my amp pushing the signal into the head. I feel like that is a pretty vital part for me.FR: What’s coming up for you as a solo artist or for Black Label Society?Dario: Well we just finished up a long tour for this year. The rest of this year Zakk is doing a bunch of Ozzy stuff, and I’ll be doing a couple different things: I’m working on a new solo album which I’ll be singing on. It will be more than just an instrumental release. BLS will be coming out on tour at the beginning of next year...lots of great stuff comin' up!
Floyd Rose Marketing and Seca Group LLC are pleased to announce the introduction of our latest collection of our patented Wired 3-D Crystal Stereo Sound with Dual Speaker Drivers/ Dual Sound Coil Technology and frequency divider boards to produce the ultimate ultra luxury 3-D sound experience through over-ear headphones and earbuds. Designed and engineered in Europe and the USA, our teams worked with Floyd Rose himself, to produce the ultimate listening pleasure to the human ear.
Our innovative earcups each boast a powerful driver for superior bass and midrange, and small high-efficiency driver for high sound frequency which creates a dynamic balance between bass/mid/treble. This technology creates a 3-dimensional stereo sound that has a broader range with perfect highs and lows! The speakers adapt to the music played to offer superior sound never heard before in the music industry.
Features include: Durable Headphone cable, Lightweight Design, Metal Construction, Colorful and Stylish Fabric Finish, Soft Forming Earpads, Fabric Carrying Bag for FR-52. Available: August 2018
The luminous burnt chrome finish is now available in our wide-spaced 1000 Series Pro tremolos, giving you the option of adding a special flavor to your rig. Each finish is uniquely torched so that no two bridges are exactly alike. We have added the burnt chrome option to both the 6 and 7-string versions, so you 7-string slingers can also join the party and look as flashy as you sound.
New shirts and, finally, a classic baseball cap to show your love for the world's favorite tremolo system! See it here!
Floyd Rose FR-360 Pro Series Wireless Sport Earbuds with In-Line Microphone are hand crafted and deliver world-class sound combined with state-of-the-art high fidelity technology. We married unparalleled sound quality with luxury design.
Delivering true balanced highs and lows for superior audiophile sound, the combination delivers flawless sound clarity and comfort for an amazing sound experience in personal audio.
A superior driver offers a full 20-20K Hz frequency range, gives a beautifully warm and articulate recreation of sound. An anti-tangle cable with built-in microphone and volume control. Cushioned earbuds offer superior comfort by contouring a comfortable in-ear experience, delivering isolation from outside noise without adding bulk.
A fine pair of audiophile headphones deserves an unparalleled presentation. Each pair of Floyd Rose FR-360 Bluetooth earbuds includes an 1800 mAh power bank charger with micro USB charging cable and S, M, L eartips.
Put them on, sit back and enjoy true concert like sound! Available in black or white!
- Bluetooth Version: CSR 4.0
- Sweatproof and Water Resistant
- Plastic and Leather Cabine
- Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz
- Impedance: 16 ohms
- Charging Time: 1.5 hours
- Playback Time: 4-6 hours
- Working Distance: +/- 33 feet
- Anti-Tangle Cable with volume control and built in microphone
Package Includes: Earbuds, USB charging cable, Power bank charger, Extra S, M, L ear tips
A few of us here at Floyd Rose & AP International took a trip down to hot, sweaty Nashville to show off our latest shiny things. Thanks to Guitar World for documenting it for old-times sake!
Do you feel the need for speed? The limited-edition burnt chrome Special Tremolo System is the ultimate finish to quench that insatiable thirst, and it's now available right here on FloydRose.com!
Rad, right? Check it out HERE.
Testing, testing. Here we are, live from the new home of Floyd Rose on the web! We decided it was time to update to the modern era with a fully responsive, easy-to-use, e-commerce site. Sign up for our newsletter in the footer and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up to date on new products, sales, and all things Floyd Rose!