FULL Floyd Rose Setup Including Intonation – The SkyScraper Method


if you’ve ever been frustrated by
anything involving a Floyd Rose. I guarantee the next 15 minutes will be
well worth every second of your time. Before I turned the camera on today I
removed the clamps from the locking nuts. I also removed the truss rod cover
and the piece here, I’ll call it the string tree. That’s essentially the job
it does is to pull the strings down after they’ve exited the nut.
I also adjusted the fine tuners to about 50% of the way down and then tuned the
guitar to pitch. Let’s take a look at the tools and apparatus we’re going to use.
First is about an inch thick block of foam. I use it to keep the butt end
of the guitar up off the workbench because we’re going to be sticking a
Trem Block in the back of it to keep the tremolo level and to keep it blocked out
the entire time. If you don’t have Trem Blocks If you haven’t bought those you
can use the 9-volt battery. You can wrap it in tape and make it thicker you can
also use a deck of cards or a stack of business cards. Just something that you
can change the thickness of, that’s the key. Some wire cutters here for the
strings. We’ve got a capo so we can set the neck relief. I’ve got a couple string
winders out. This is the kind you can stick in a drill if you want to. This is
the kind I prefer because they just don’t make noise.
A couple truss rod wrenches out here. One that I made myself. I just took a socket,
filed the top of it, drilled a hole in it and then use an Allen wrench (as a handle). This is just a cheapo from Amazon and it works really really well. Then this is an
expensive one from Stew Mac that, on this guitar, just flat out won’t work. I’ve got
a Floyd Rose intonation tool. This is a new thing from SkyScraper Guitars. I just
got done with the design and the first run of these here in December. I am
extremely happy with this if you don’t have one of these a lot of people out
there have “the key” this was the de-facto Floyd Rose intonation tool and everyone
used it. I think a lot of people cuss when they use these. On this one, the
knob is stripped out and I’ve done that to a handful of these which is why I
designed the tool that I did. Because I was very frustrated. There’s no
alternative for this tool out there, so I decided to make one. A couple feeler
gauges. They’re cheap, they’re like eight or ten bucks at the auto parts
store. I take out my favorites, put tape on them and write the numbers on
them so I don’t have to go searching through. I’ve got my
my string height and fret rocker. This is obviously from SkyScraper Guitars as
well. You don’t have to have this kind. I wanted to make a nice fret rocker that I
knew was ground on the edges and I thought, you know what while we’re at it
let’s add a string height gauge to it just for a little more value. This is the
Stew Mac version of the string height gauge. Not a fret rocker. Wonderful,
wonderful tool. This is this is made very very well. This is the cheap kind that
you can get on Amazon for just a few bucks. These are terrible don’t waste
your money on these. The measurements are inaccurate, the lines aren’t spaced
evenly. Fresh set of strings, a microfiber towel, a neck rest. You can use foam, you
can use rolled-up newspaper and magazines it doesn’t really matter. We’re
not filing frets today, so it can it can be whatever you want it to be. I like
mine to have holes drilled in it so that my screwdrivers don’t wind up all over
the bench and wind up scratching the guitar I’m working on. I’ve got a couple
allen keys here, for all of the floyd rose work. Next we want to grab our capo
put it on here. We’re gonna start with 12 thousandths on the neck relief we’ll
check it at the ninth and the seventh fret and see if we can get it sweet
there; and if we can’t without any fret buzz will go for fourteen. With the capo
on we’ll hold it at the 24th fret and just see if we get any movement there.
And we absolutely don’t. We’ve got quite a bit more neck relief and I haven’t
adjusted this truss rod since we moved. I’m in a way drier climate here in
Colorado and that’s probably why. So we’re going to tighten up the truss rod
just a little bit. I always like to illustrate how little tension it takes
by pushing down on the headstock here. Watch this shadow and that string.
I’m just barely putting any pressure on that, but that tells you what the truss
rod adjustment is going to do. It doesn’t take a whole lot of pressure to affect
that string height. I always loosen these just to see if the truss rod works and
this one hasn’t been adjusted in a while so we’ll kind of go down and then
tighten her back here, because we do need just a little bit more than where we
started. Sometimes you can actually help by pushing down just a tick on the
headstock. This is the ninth fret here and you can see the gap in the shadow
sometimes that helps and sometimes the actual reflection of the string on the
feeler gauge helps you know whether or not you’ve got it. There we’ve still got a
little gap and we’ve got gap at the seventh fret as well now. Before anybody
freaks out about this being done not in the playing position, we are roughing
this in so we’re getting it as close as we can to the spe. I want, before we go
forward. You can do this at the 24th you can do it at the 20th, however you
want to do it. That’s getting pretty sweet right there. A little bit more… Let’s see where we’re at.
That’s close, we’re about right at 14, so let’s close the gap a little bit more
and see if we can get it perfect. Rubbing on the 14 and the 12 is sliding
in there really nice. We’ll check it a final time in playing position after we
get new strings on and everything else is adjusted. I hope everybody can see
this but the back of the bridge is just a little bit lower than the front so
that means the springs on the bottom of this guitar are just a tick too tight. So
to set up the floyd the first thing I’m going to do is back these two screws off.
We’re just going to do one full turn. So there’s a quarter, there’s a half,
3/4 and . We’re gonna do both of them the same. I
get the question all the time that if you back these off and screw them in,
don’t you wear out the threads in the body of your guitar? I go through this
set up about once a year on this guitar just to keep it playing nice.
I’ve had this guitar for well over 20 years and never had a problem. If you
just back them out a couple turns it’s not gonna snap them off, it’s not gonna
wear anything out. So that’s my experience. I know a lot of people
will cuss and say these springs need to be straight. I’ve been
running this setup since I’ve had this guitar and I’m happy with it. If you
bring me your guitar and you want me to work on it I’ll put them straight for
you unless you ask me to do it this way. Ok with the springs backed off here,
we’re going to take a peak at the bridge. I hope the camera can keep up here,
but the bridge should be leaned slightly forward. If it’s not you can loosen up
your springs a little bit more. This is where I use these are my Trem Blocks
that I make. They’re just a graduated block. There’s four different sizes this
is the biggest one it’s 3/4″ to 5/8″. Then they go down from there, so they get
kind of skinnier. Down to this one which is 1/4″ to 3/8″. So you can see the
difference in those sizes of blocks. The idea with these, is you put
them in the back here between the sustain block and the body of the guitar
you push them in far enough that, since the trem was leaned a little bit forward
you push it in and you’re pushing on that sustain block until the trem gets
set back level and then it will sit level until we are done working on this guitar.
With that sticking out, that’s why I have the rubber block there you can set
it here without fear that it’ll want to push up any further. Checking
string height with this guy at the 12th fret and you can just see that line
under there and that’s that’s what we’re looking for. Sorry about the dirt on my
frat rocker there. I’ve got five sixty fours on the bass side five 64’s on the
treble side. I like to play with a little higher string action on the treble
strings than what most of the factory settings will tell you because I’ve got,
I guess I’d call them thick fingers, I don’t know. But I like the string to hit
more in the middle of my finger when I’m bending strings. I don’t know if that
makes sense to anybody but when you have them too low it wants to hit on the
fleshy part of your finger instead of the end of your finger. I don’t like
that as much so I tend to have my treble strings a little bit higher. I was
just checking with the Stew Mac and we’re getting the exact same measurements so we are dead on there. Sharp on the A, sharp on the D,
This is where we start to use our new intonation tool here. I’ve
got it stretched out just enough for the A. Basically, the reason I adjust
these to 50% is there’s a relief in here that allows this fine tuner to work and
it doesn’t allow the fine tuner to come all the way to the top. It’s just a
limitation of the design of the tool. If you have it at 50% it
it fits pretty comfortably in there. So the same allen wrench that tightens and
loosens this screw works on the back of this tool. I do include that allen
wrench because I know everybody out there in YouTube land has misplaced the
allen wrench for this guy. We all have the the big one for changing strings and
getting rid of the locking nut but everybody tends to lose this one. So what
we’re going to do is, we’re going to reach in… You’ve got to move this
string just a little bit here, loosen that guy up. This
will work under string tension which I don’t believe “the key” will. So I’m just
gonna pull it back a little bit. So we’re going to twist it; one, two, and then I’m
going to tighten it down and we’re gonna tune it back to pitch and see if we’re
intonated properly. We’re gonna leave it in place though for now. This is the
Peterson. So we’re locked up on the A. That’s the natural open note. The
harmonic is locked up and then the fretted note is just, I mean just, a shade
sharp. So here we go. We’re down on the A again. We’re just going to loosen that a
little bit, then we’re gonna pull this guy, I’m gonna say about a quarter of a
turn tighter, then we’re gonna lock this back up, tune
it to pitch and see what we got. There’s the open fundamental, the
harmonic and the fretted note. We’re locked up. I’m going to go through the
balance of the strings and get them intonated. So now we can take this guy off we’ll go
through fine-tune everything. I’ll let you guys watch the Petersons as we run
through high E, B string, G, D, A and E. So we are locked in, roughed in. I forgot to
point out the block’s in here but if you were going to use playing cards or
something… You just stack up enough of them. However you want to do it to fit in
there. If you’re gonna use a battery, same thing. You just put electrical tape
around it and get it in there. When we take the strings off this will come out so we’ll just pull it out now.
We’ll remember where we had it. I don’t like to just cut strings off. It’s kind
of like… I feel like it’s a little bit akin to running your car into a
wall. You can do it, you’ll probably be alright, but it’s maybe not a good idea. This is always a great time to come in
and get the dust and grime off the guitar. I don’t do this every week
obviously, I do it once sometimes twice a year just to keep my guitar
playing and looking nice. If anybody’s coming over, sometimes
I like to make them look nice. I don’t keep any of my guitars in their
case and I know that’s probably a bad habit but I like to just be able to come
downstairs and play and not fumble through a bunch of cases. A lot of
times if I’m playing, I will go through two or three of my guitars in the same
session because I keep my strat tuned down to E-flat, I always have this one in
E and I’d like to play my acoustic once in a while… Well actually I shouldn’t
say once in a while… All the time. It keeps your fingers strong so, to
each their own. If you keep your guitar in a case you probably don’t have nearly
as much dust. This guitar is; I believe from 1988 or 89 so it’s from the 80s and
always had great luck. I’ve never had any complaints so I do things the way I do
them and you’re welcome to do them the way you do them. I think it’s all
good. I think there’s about a million ways to take care of a guitar and the
way I do it is one of those million. So there’s no magical formula here. I just
like to cut these off at the back of the saddle. You don’t have to worry about
wraps around the post or anything like that because on a Floyd Rose
you don’t rely on those string wraps to pull the the break angle down. So you just cut them long enough to get in there. You can actually
cut it shorter than what I just did. Sometimes when you lean the bridge up,
you get a little bonus there. You do use your Wang bar to bring
these forward. Now to put this thing back on;
Essentially you just kind of lift him up, get it across the strings there and then
since I take that screw completely out (which I know some people probably will have
issue with that some people have issues with pretty much everything it doesn’t
matter how you do it. If you do it their way somebody else will have issues) so
anyway this is how I do it. So we can see here that the string is above the back
of the nut so what I’m going to do; I’m going to bring that down so the string
is in contact with the back of the nut there. if you attempt to tune up your guitar at
this point without blocking the tremolo on the backside, you will enter the
neverending seesaw of the Floyd Rose. That’s why a lot of people hate the
Floyd Rose. So here’s the example of how this just works against you. Here’s my A
then the D. There’s a D now (in tune) let’s listen to the A string again. The A is now a G sharp, so
it dropped half a step. It goes like that… You go back and forth and back and
forth. So we’re going to block the back of the trem. I’m gonna get it level and
then we’ll get everything tuned up in one shot it’ll be sweet. Okay we’ve got
the Block in there now… I never show stretching on camera. I will stretch all
the strings just so you can see that I actually do it. Take the fine tuners turn
them all the way out and then I turn them in just a little bit. I find
that the strings tend to go flat over time and you need to bring them up. It’s a
pretty rare day when you have to back these things out. So then I’ll put
on our locks at the end of the nut and we’ll be done with this one. We’re taking
a look. This is the 12 thousandths sometimes we check it at the 12 – but
they’re at the 9th… We’re just perfect. Just perfect. We’ll
check for string buzz on all the notes. Those little farts you hear
are me. That is playing super sweet. We’re a bit out of tune. We need to get it
back in tune here real quick and then we’ll adjust the springs at the back.
This last part is the fun part. Essentially what you want to do is go
quarter turns (I’m going to do a half here just because I think we’re gonna
need it) There’s a half… Until this block falls out… You can kind of see when it’s
loosening up. So we’ll go quarter, half. If you remember when we started this thing, It
wasn’t set up poorly. It’s real loose now, so probably another quarter and quarter…
Let’s see… Yep there it is. This guitar has got a ridge inside of here it doesn’t
like to fall all the time, but usually they’ll just fall out. Let’s make sure
it’s still in tune. Perfectly in tune. We’ll make sure on the Peterson
but that is it for the Floyd Rose full setup including intonation. There you
have it how to set up your Floyd Rose guitar using a few tools you might
already have around the house and maybe a few tools that you don’t have. I do
have this entire session captured in an e-book that’s available on my website:
Skyscraperguitars.com. There is a link in the description below. While you’re
there, take a look around I hope you see something that you like and in the
meantime… Rock on!!!

63 thoughts on “FULL Floyd Rose Setup Including Intonation – The SkyScraper Method

  1. My Sambora Kramer & Sambora Fender Stratocaster

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D4q_FLdVUAER-V-?format=jpg&name=large

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D4q_LPuUcAAedsg?format=jpg&name=large

  2. My guitars are on stands and collecting dust too Greg..lol…I'm diggin' the intonation tool mate but won't work on the Jackson licenced Floyd Rose…Have a good one mate.

  3. I’ll be buying your products pretty soon. I have a question for you. When you do the guitars intonation in standard tuning and get it all dialed in. Can you tune to e flat and still be okay or do you need to redo everything you just did?

  4. I wish i could find a video about intonating a floyd rose but with heavy gauge strings for drop c im having so much trouble

  5. Hey, I have a question for you, I bought a used floyd that was previously tuned to e flat but had obviously not been tuned in a while and the frets were buzzing but with the amp it was fine so i figured it would be a minor adjustment/tune it. I got it home and got it all tuned up (properly) and it is still buzzing on all of the frets and all of the strings. It looks to have enough relief and the bridge is level. I have not replaced the strings. Is it the truss rod, the nut, or the bridge that is causing this ? Sorry for all the detail

  6. Wow… this is why I hate having guitars with a floyd rose .. Excellent video though props man ,you sir are a bad ass …

  7. You can tell Jackson influenced virtually every guitar company from about 1984 through the late 1980's. Kramer guitars owned the Floyd Rose distribution before Floyd licensed his tremolo… if you custom ordered a Jackson guitar… Kramer wouldn't sell Floyd Rose trems to Jackson… you had to buy the Floyd, then send it to Jackson yourself. One of the reasons Floyd Rose licensed his patent to other companies. A little trivia for ya.

  8. when checking for neck relief make sure to put the capo on at the first fret and not push at the last fret as some fretboard have a slight decline near the very end (rule of thumb 1 fret before the last fret)

  9. This is an awesome video! Just what i needed. I just broight home my fender squire stagemaster with dual bucks. Nice sounding git-fiddle and plays well too. Took forever figuring out how to change strings and tune it back. 😒 but I won! Will your intonation tool work for mine? It appears it will. Oh my tuner is the tc electronic poly tuner which has a strobe function. As well as my tuner of my tc electeonic bh250 which is also a pretty soild tuner. You opinion on using those?

  10. Informative. Liked it -exept for the backwards stringing (with the ball ends att the tuners). I just don't see the point to do that with a locking nut. But hey: Everyone has their own personal preferences. As long as that works You: It's the right way to go….

  11. This is great!! My order a set of 4xTrim Block plus Intonation and it arrived in 3 days. Thank You, man! Now I do all the Floyd Rose tremolo guitars setup and restring like a Pro.

  12. At about the 7:15 mark you say that you only do this set up twice per year, with regards to loosening the claw screws… Can I ask how you change the strings the rest of the time? Do you still use the block or do you do one string at a time or any other differences from this video? This is a great video, Thanks

  13. Great video! I used a Sharpie pen instead of a 9v battery for a trem wedge, worked really well. I found that if the Sharpie wasn't big enough I could add a guitar pic until the trem was flat.

  14. If you're going to disparage another manufacturer's product (ie the cheaper action gauges) can you provide some actual evidence, rather than just 'saying' you think they're not accurate ? I just checked the cheap one I bought against a standard and it's spot on. How would you feel if someone just 'said' your company's fret rocker wasn't flat without proving it ?

  15. Do we really need a rundown of what you need obviously if you're going to show us what you're doing you're going to use the tools why would people do videos they get so anal about everything just show us

  16. LOOSE THAT FUCKING STRINGS AND GIVE A REST TO THE NECK THEN ADJUST TRUSS ROD, YOU''RE GONNA DESTROY THAT GUITAR MAN… ARE YOU A NOOB ?

  17. I never understood why you can’t just cut your strings off without loosening them. I’ve heard it said that it puts undo stress on the neck. But yet when playing, they’ll grab the bar and dump it until the strings flop, then pull up for a screaming harmonic. I don’t see the difference. That being said, I still slacken the strings.

  18. Great video and really cool guitar! I just got one of the new SM1 models and they're fantastic, although 1988 is my birth year so that makes yours just that much cooler! 🙂

  19. Excellent video! I've had a Floyd guitar(Jackson reverse dinky) for 25+ years, and its nice to learn a new trick or two about easier ways to set them up. One thing I've always wondered. On "regular" guitars with a bone or plastic nut, people always go on about filing and setting the nut height. With a Floyd, its steel, and you never see anyone adjusting the height. Are they just that accurate because they are machined? Also, mine doesn't have that extra bar behind the nut, and now I see why I need one. When I put new strings, I put the fine tuners all the way out, then 1 turn in because after tuning and all that, when I tighten the nut locks, it makes the note sharp and sometimes I have to turn them out. That extra bar probably prevents that by keeping the strings flat against the nut. I will definitely be using your "ball end on the tuners side" technique. Genius!

  20. It’s so refreshing to finally see someone setting up a Floyd Rose properly I’ve watched many videos and this is the only one that has got it right

  21. I don't even bother blocking up my Floyd Rose when tuning. I just put the strings on and tighten them to similar tension until the Floyd Rose is parallel with the body, which is where it should be if setup properly. Start tuning: some strings will be sharp, others flat…just do a "slop" tune to get them close. If the tension on your claw is correct, you should now be fairly close on the tuning….this will avoid that never ending see saw you speak of. Now you can fin tune it like you would any guitar. Of course as the strings stretch and snug up around the tuning machines, you'll have to do this a couple times…but that's the same with any guitar.

  22. Would like see you set up a peavey Wolfgang special! I tried putting strings on it for the first time and I screwed the action up on it can’t get it back the way it was

  23. Excellent and informative videos….can u give me some advice?… i always seem to get this problem when restringing my 22 fret guitars and the problem is that the strings seem to have a lot of tension when bending a note?…i dont get it on my 24 fret guitars?…i use 9 gauge strings…thanks in advance.

  24. Regarding how you have your springs set up in a “V” pattern, if anyone gives you crap about it, let them know that in Floyd Rose’s original patent illustration, that is the way he drew it up. That tells you that is how he designed it and intended for them to be setup.

  25. IDK Maybe I'm Lucky Guy But From The First Time I Bought A FR Guitar, I Don't Facing Serious Problem Like Any Other Guitarist Said About A Floyd Rose Bridge. The Hardest Part of Floyd Rose IMO Is Just Gettin In Tune After You Do A Dive Bomb or Do Brutal Tremolo Action Like Steve Vai Do. And The Only Solution Is Change Your Fake Floyd Rose With The Original One (floyd Rose or Cort or Ibanez) and Adding FU-tone/Tremol-no Are Make Your Guitar More Stable In Tune.

    Keep Sharing About Guitar Especially Floyd Rose Guitar .

    Cheers

  26. That's how you sell products. Watched the video, went straight to your webstore and bought the block set and intonation tool. A bit pricey but it'll be worth it. I remember what a pain in the ass changing strings and intonation used to be on my Jackson back in the 90's.

  27. Thanks, nice tips! I have an Edge Zero II trem but you give very good tips. I could think of two advantages of having the springs straight, but I honestly don't believe it makes a noticeable difference in the sound. Like you say, you explain how you do it. Thanks again!

  28. The angle your springs are at here versus straight, does that make any difference also what about using only 2 springs?

  29. When you have the two outer trem springs splayed-out, that means they are under more tension than the middle spring, all three of them should really be set so they are parallel to each other, so that they have an equal amount of tension on them, otherwise the middle spring won't be doing much and may have a tendency to fall out of the trem-block when doing pull-ups, if that happens all the strings will go flat when the bridge is returned to it's neutral position (the bridge will actually end up sitting so it's angled forward rather than parallel to the top of the guitar body).

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