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Drop Tuning with a Floyd Rose

Updated on March 6, 2015

Getting Started

So you've been enjoying jamming on a Floyd Rose Locking Tremolo but now want to drop the tuning? It can be a little scary for someone just getting used to a floating bridge but it really isn't as much of a hassle as some would have you believe. With these steps you should be able to tune down a half step, whole step, drop D or whatever you want. You can even use it to tune back to standard. It's all the same procedure.

You will need an allen key and a screwdriver. A chromatic tuner would also help.

Step 1

The first thing you must do is find something you will be sticking underneath the floating bridge. A small stack of business or playing cards work fine. I use my checkbook. Press down on the tremolo arm (whammy bar) to lift the bridge. Stick your cards underneath.

Place a stack of cards or something similar under the floating bridge. I use a checkbook.
Place a stack of cards or something similar under the floating bridge. I use a checkbook.

Step 2

With your floating bridge now in a fixed position, loosen the locking nuts at the top of the neck. You DO NOT have to remove them. Just loosen them so they are not pressing so hard on your strings.

Step 3

Adjust your fine tuners so they are all in the middle position. Your fine tuners are the little knobs on the bridge you can turn with your fingers to add or subtract tension to the strings. Make sure all 6 of them are perfectly in the middle and 100% level with each other. Now is a good time to stretch the strings to keep them from going out of tune.

Make sure all fine tuners are perfectly in the middle.
Make sure all fine tuners are perfectly in the middle.

Step 4

Now it's time to tune your guitar to whichever tuning you desire using the tuning pegs. No matter which tuning you choose, always tune in this order:

  • Low E (6th string)
  • High E (1st string)
  • B (2nd string)
  • A (5th string)
  • G(3rd string)
  • D (4th string)

You will notice that with every string you tune, the previous will go out of tune. This is normal. Just keep repeating this step until the guitar stays in tune.

Step 5

Re-tighten the locking nuts and remove the cards from underneath the bridge.

Re-tighten the locking nuts
Re-tighten the locking nuts
Remove the cards from underneath the bridge
Remove the cards from underneath the bridge

Step 6

After tightening the locking nuts and removing the cards, your guitar will be out of tune. What you do now is turn your guitar over so you are looking at the back. If you have a back plate, remove it so you can see the claw springs in your guitar. Now take a screwdriver and adjust the screws to manipulate the claw springs. What you are doing now is tuning the guitar by use of the claw springs. Keep your eye on your tuner and keep plucking the low e string while turning the screws until you see the string is in tune. You entire guitar should be in the desired tuning now. There is just one more thing to do.

Use a screwdriver to remove the back plate
Use a screwdriver to remove the back plate
Use a screwdriver to adjust the claw springs
Use a screwdriver to adjust the claw springs

Step 7

You tuned your guitar via the claw springs but some strings still might be a little bit off. Don't worry, this is where the fine tuners come into play. Pluck each string one by one. If a string is sharp, turn the fine tuner to the left to loosen it. If it is flat, turn the fine tuner to the right to tighten it.

That's it! Your guitar be in tune now and stay in tune. If you ever want to change the tuning again, just follow these steps.

Use the fine tuners to get the tuning 100%
Use the fine tuners to get the tuning 100%

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