I wanted to put a Floyd Rose tremolo system on my Fender Stratocaster, so I did. I decided to document how I did it because I could never find a how-to anywhere else. Enjoy!
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Step 1: Materials
Drill Press with a range of bits
Dremel tool with sanding and cutting bits
Step 2: Taking Apart the Guitar
The first thing you need to do is take apart the guitar. This is one of the things I love about stratocasters. Screw the neck off, then undo all of the screws in the body. Take everything out. I kept my parts organized by putting them into bags organized by type of screw and what they held in. New screw, new bag. You wont be able to take any of the electronics out unless you want to re-solder them.
Step 3: Measuring the Holes for the Floyd Rose
Next you need to measure the holes for the posts. A floyd rose works by leaning on the posts when you push down the wammy bar, so putting these in correctly is very important.
First, you want to measure the diameter of the posts.
Step 4: Drilling the Holes
Once you measure the holes, you need to drill them. I suggest using a drill press for this because you need to make sure they are perfectly straight. Once you have these, you will need to cut out parts of the pickguard to make room for the posts and the bridge.
Step 5: Putting in the Posts and Testing
Once you have everything cut out, you need to make sure it all fits. If you measured correctly, the posts should be able to slide in, but still be snug, and not move or fall out. Put the bridge in and make sure it is parallel to the direction of the strings. This is very important and will make or break your guitar.
Step 6: Measuring the Nut
Next you need to put the nut in. Measure the depth of the nut, because that is what really matters in this case. Sand down the neck until it is deep enough that the string slots are just above the line of the neck. There are five holes in the nut piece: three of them, in a row, hold the screws for the locking tuners. The other two, slightly smaller holes, are for the screws that hold the nut to the neck. Carefully drill where the holes are, with a slightly smaller bit than the screws so they are guaranteed to stay in. Then screw it in to make sure that it fits.
Step 7: Putting It Back Together
Do just that: put everything back where it goes! Screw the nut in and set the bridge down. When you put in the springs for the bridge, you also need to put strings in to balance it out. To put the strings in, you cut off the ball at the end, slide it between the block in the bridge and the slot, and tighten that screw as far as it will go, and then farther. Then bring them up to the tuning mechanisms and string as normal. Once you get your guitar in tune, slightly lower it, because when you put the locking screws on, it raises the pitch slightly. Then tune your guitar with the bridge screws, not the tuning pegs. This is very important because you will break the strings or move the nut if you tune with the pegs.
Step 8: Finished!
You're done! Screw in your wammy bar, and dive bomb to your heart's content!
Step 9: Repairs and Adjusting
There are many things that could go wrong in this kind of system, but the biggest problem i encountered had to do with the nut. In this case, the hole for the screw was stripped, thus rendering the whole system useless for those two strings. So, instead of buying a whole new nut, i found a slightly longer screw, and put it into the wood under the nut. The only problem with this is that it may interfere with your truss rod, so you need to be very careful about the lenght of the screw. I ended up cutting it to the proper size.