Stringing a Floyd Rose Style Bridge

I have never used, let alone strung, a floyd rose style bridge. The Ibanez RG350dx comes with the Edge III locking bridge and nut, so I’m hoping that by following this video, I’ll be able to string the guitar and get it all tuned up and get the intonation, string height, etc. perfect in time for my friend’s anniversary. I’ll also use a general guitar repair manual I’ve got that has a few pointers as well.

Here’s a helpful video I used as a reference point.

Stringing the guitar was easier than I thought. I was actually able to do it in my office during my lunch break. I took all the tools I needed and started clipping the balls off the end of the strings so they could be clamped down in the bridge (I totally understand the simplicity of the Steinberger double ball string system now). I started with the low E string. It went fairly well, but when I tried to strum it, the string was pressed against the frets. I think this guitar was reverse wound for a lefty. The bridge was at the opposite angle of what you would suspect. Low on the bass end and high on the treble end. So I used my 3mm allen wrench to fix it, strung up the rest of the strings and tried to get it in tune.

Then came the painful process of getting the bridge to float. The screws holding in the springs were screwed almost entirely in to the body. I started with 3 turns of each screw, but I had to unscrew them quite a bit to get the bridge to start to level out. It isn’t perfect, but I ran out of lunch break.

I’m just happy to have it all together. I’ll fine tune it over the next few days as the strings stretch and I have more time. I will say that the warped pick guard isn’t in the way of the strings but my pick hits it a lot more than on my guitars that don’t have a warped pick guard.

Actually, none of my guitars with pick guards have warped pick guards. You know what I mean. It may need to get replaced sooner rather than later, but I’ll let that be his call.

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Vicarious Guitar

Now that I’ve had the chance to take a few pictures, here is the vicarious guitar purchase…otherwise known as “the gift.”

This is what it looked like without any work. Not bad. There are a few minor nicks in the paint, but nothing bad for a used guitar.

There were basically three “problems” with this guitar (other than needing strings).

  1. Missing locking block for the low E string on the bridge.
  2. No trem arm.
  3. Warped pickguard.

I was able to pick up an individual locking block at my local guitar store, which is nice because this is the Ibanez Edge III bridge and it has custom parts. Everyone wants to have proprietary parts. Why can’t all Floyd style bridges use the same parts?!? My local shop had it in stock and for less than a dollar!

Another local guitar shop had a silver trem arm in their box of used trem arms. Wow! After digging through their box of arms I realize just how many guitars without trem arms are out there. I know that the recipient of this guitar will want a black one, but the guitar tech said I could bring it back when the new owner is ready to order a new black one.

Finally, the warped pick guard is not worth replacing at this point. A new one is at least $40 according to the internet and the current one doesn’t actually block any of the strings. And knowing how the recipient likes to make stuff, he’ll probably make one to replace this warped one.

Now I just need to string it up, do a proper set up, and make sure everything is still in working order after I’ve done some work on it.

Vicarious Guitar Purchase success!

Thanks to my loving family, I was able to purchase a white Ibanez RG350dx on behalf of my friend. His wife wanted to get it as a surprise for their anniversary this month and he is really getting into guitar since he and his son started lessons with me.  I have to make a minor repair to it and get a new trem arm, but otherwise it seems to be in good working order!

Nick Names

I have some recurring people in my guitar life, but it has got to be a little frustrating as a reader to figure out who I’m talking about when my limited creativity simply refers to everyone as “my friend.”

So, dear readers, I ask you, would nick names be helpful, distracting, or simply a bettter way to show my poor ability to be creative?

So far, my children are (or at least should be referred to as) Girl and Boy. My wife has always been “my wife,” but that is boring and she is certainly NOT boring. There’s my friend who wants me to build the military insignia guitar. There’s also the father and son duo in my pseudo guitar class. There’s the teenage girl who wants to trade babysitting for guitar lessons. The friend who is letting me fix up all his guitars. Guys who regularly help me at the local guitar shops. And don’t forget the members of the Breakfast Club. Oh, and Her Lovely Trees is another one, but I don’t know if she actually uses her blog anymore and she may not like her self-created nick name.

Comments? Thoughts? Ideas?

Quick Fix

So I took my first dive into fixing someone else’s guitar. It was an easy fix, but I have to admit I was a bit nervous. What if I really screwed something up.

As you can see in the picture I had already taken out the jack. The 1/4 inch jack was loose in the jack plate. It had been twisted around enough that the ground wire had broken at the solder joint of the jack. So I fired up my soldering iron and quickly fixed it.

Sorry for the bad picture. The lighting wasn’t very good. But after that it worked fine and I played it a bit for fun. It reminded me of the guitar I lusted after for a while at my local guitar shop. That seems like ages ago. I was happy to play my friends now working red version, but I must admit I love my Warmoth project guitar and am much happier with it! A nice reminder to be happy with my own stuff.

Now I just have to find out if my friend wants me to put new strings on the guitar, which will allow me to clean the gunk off the frets and oil the rosewood. But if he is ready for it now (the strings seem to be pretty new too), I’ll get to work on his other guitar!

Now Open

The first two guitar repair projects arrived from my friend’s collection. I am very excited. One is a complete overhaul of his first guitar. It’s a late 80’s Squier strat. He wants the thing gutted. New tuners, new pick ups, new pots, new switch, new bridge, new everything.

The other is a Fender super tele with set neck and dual humbucker pick ups. He described it as having a short in the jack. I’ll do a complete test and see if it is just some soldering.

Exciting stuff!

More Vicarious Guitar Shopping

The wife (and now bass player) of the father in my beginner guitar class contacted me about getting a guitar for her husband. She has a very limited budget and is putting all her faith in me. Her husband has already been to the local guitar shop and expressed interest in some super strat Ibanez guitars, so that is where I started my search. I quickly found an Ibanez RG350dx just barely out of her price range. I think he would love it and online reviews show it is a decent guitar (although I’m a little intimidated by the locking floyd rose tremolo system).

I also did the requisite search for strat starter packs and found three within 5 miles with amps and accessories for under $100. So I provided her with both options (Ibanez or strat starter pack) and will wait to hear from her. Why is guitar shopping always so much fun?!?

Other Pedal Project – Tap Tempo

While shopping at our local thrift store, I also found a great metal enclosure for my tap tempo switch for my Boss DD7 Digital Delay. I could use the internal tap tempo, but I really like having the external one since I find it easier to use.

The nice thing is that this entire project cost me the 99 cents I spent on the enclosure. I used an old 1/4 jack and the SPST switch that was originally on the feedback pedal I got for my other project. So all I had to do was empty out the original contents, drill the hole on top to the right size (it was a bit too small), install the two parts, and solder them together.

Getting the inside emptied was easy, but I ran into problems with the drilling. The metal casing is not aluminum and my 1/4 inch paddle drill bit did not carve a nice hole in the case like it did on the aluminum case for my effects loop pedal. It ended up just bending and twisting the metal. So I used tin snips to cut the jagged edges off and then a round file to get rid of the sharp edges.  It took more work than I expected, but now everything is in there and soldered together as it should be.

You can see it on the bottom left of the picture.

And once again, it works! It actually controls the tempo of the Boss DD7 delay effect. Very cool!

Guitar Pedal Mod Completed

A week or so ago I figured out what I was going to do with the feedback pedal I had found in my local guitar shop’s parking lot sale. See my solution here.

Once I figured out what I was going to do, I had to gather all the parts and figure out when I could do it. First, I pulled spare wires and parts from this broken Fender Stage Lead II I got out of the dumpster at my local guitar shop (with their permission).

I already mentioned the installation of the switch to easily change the pedal from an effects loop to a feedback loop. I also installed an old 9v power supply plug that I had from a failed project I had undertaken years ago. I used my 1/4 paddle drill bit (I don’t know what they are really called), which worked on the aluminum case, but it wasn’t a perfect circle for some reason.

I then set up everything on a table in the tv room so I could work on it while my wife and I caught up on Doctor Who episodes. I mean what else are we going to do on a Saturday night besides solder guitar pedals and watch Doctor Who?

I really got into my work (and Doctor Who), so no pictures of the soldering process, but here’s the final project on the inside.

Unfortunately it was too late to test it out (both the noise factor for the sleeping kids and I was too tired), so I hoped for the best and went to sleep.

The next afternoon I finally got a chance to plug everything in and try it out. Here’s my new guitar pedal chain.

As you can see, it doesn’t all fit. And the first test of the loop pedal was to plug in my Digitech RP200 (which I generally keep at work to play during my lunch break using headphones), which I’m using to try to recreate an organ sound. It isn’t nearly as good as the POG2, but I’m getting somewhat closer thanks to tweaking other people’s web postings about the settings they use.

Anyway, my current effects line goes: Boss TU-2 Tuner, EH Big Muff Pi (American), Marshall Guv’Nor +, Morley Wah, EH Pulsar Tremolo, Digitech FX-75B Stereo Flanger, Effects Loop (with Digitech RP200 set to Organ attempt in the loop), Ernie Ball Jr. Volume Pedal, Mod Tone Analog Delay, EH Holy Grail Reverb, Boss DD7 Digital Delay, Morley A/B/Y (connected to the Marshall and Fender preamps of my Frenzel Super Sportster Champ head). All the pedals are powered by a Voodoo Pedal Power 2 plus.

Did I mention that the feedback loop works too?!? It does! The only thing that doesn’t work is the LED indicator to show when the effects loop/feedback loop is on. I’ll have to figure that one out another night.

Class is on Fire

I taught another guitar class today. I am teaching them Ring of Fire with the A, E, and D chords they know so far. We are also working on the little intro single note thing to learn how to play on different strings. Up till now we’ve only played single note riffs on one string. This will use two strings!

The lesson itself wasn’t great, but we had fun. The father and son duo in my class had a surprise. The father’s coworker gave him a bass and an amp, so his wife is joining us on bass! It was really fun to get everyone to play a very simple version of Ring of Fire and sing along. I don’t know if I gave them the tools to learn and practice the song at home, but hopefully they’ll figure it out together.