Put a Floyd Rose on a Stratocaster

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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

Stratocaster

Floyd Rose

Drill Press with a range of bits

Dremel tool with sanding and cutting bits

Screwdrivers

Allen wrenches

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.

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    23 Discussions

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    MarceloM170

    1 year ago

    there is a lot of instructables on you tube to do a proper installation , that differs a lot from this one , so as a luthier aficionado , i dont recommend this one , as the title says it it just "how to put a FR on a Strat".

    Using a wood screw to fix the nut , drilling the neck is a crime , knowing you can spend 5 dollars in a new nut , if you love your guitar is it worthy.

    the bridge itself needs a cavity , bigger than the regular strat , so i cant image the level of action this guitar has.

    be careful , guys.

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    sandromayor

    Question 1 year ago on Introduction

    helo sir, i'd like to ask you if what model of floyd rose tremolo are you using for fender strat? not all r2, r3, or r4 models fits strat. amazon website says floyd rose 1000 series pro will fit most guitar but im not sure about this. thanks

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    JosenS

    2 years ago

    Was there any extra routing that had to be done to the back cavity, or was it left the way it was with the initial tremolo?

    1 reply
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    BenjymonJosenS

    Reply 2 years ago

    Luckily, I didn't have to do any routing. Stratocaster routes and Floyd bridges are usually the same size, so the only woodworking I had to do was for the posts and the nut. As long as your guitar came with a block tremolo, like a Floyd or a Strat, you should be good.

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    MilesS10

    3 years ago

    Hello. Thanks for posting this. I've been working on making a frankenstrat replica and just got done installing the post holes for it. Now i have a few questions. Did the metal of your locking nut overhang on either side of the nut routing and also when i installed the high e string it played fine when it was open but when i tried to play frets, it would buzz and some of them won't change pitch and would go to the pitch of a higher fret. I didn't shim my neck so maybe that's the prolem but i'm not sure.

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    nathanwide

    5 years ago

    Ok thanks, and thank u for the tutorial before I even saw this tutorial I don't know what the Floyd rose was called but now I know and if I ever get a strat or ibanez that will be the first thing I put on

    1 reply
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    ScottS117nathanwide

    Reply 3 years ago

    really better to just buy one already factory installed Ibanez sells some great budget guitars with a licenced Floyd on them, as do other brands. look in Musicians friend, Guitar Fetish and Rondo guitar for the best deals.

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    nathanwide

    5 years ago

    Do you think you could do this to a standard Gibson or a les Paul?

    3 replies
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    ScottS117nathanwide

    Reply 3 years ago

    Better to go to Guitar Fetish. com and buy a Douglas already with a Trem on it. and its only around $400.00, looks great and a great guitar.

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    DavidS9nathanwide

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I have seen floyd rose bridge kits made for a les paul on ebay. no modification needed, but they arent cheap.

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    Benjymonnathanwide

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    You could, but it would require a lot more machining, including making a space for the bridge, which Gibsons don't usually have. I would recommend taking it to a professional for that kind of work. If you really want to do it yourself you would have to go to a machine shop and learn how to use some of the more advanced things there.

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    DavidR118

    4 years ago

    Slow way the hell down people!!! This is NOT the instructable for most Floyd Rose installations!!

    This insttuctable is for a "dry" install! (meaning the "rose" will only function the same as the strat install!!!!)

    I don't know why anybody would be so "FOOLISH" as to go through all this trouble to do the same thing the last bridge did!

    BUT, the author was correct in saying that you don't have to install it the "right" way, and by right way,

    I meant it's intentional use....
    to dive as well as rise!!

    MY WORDS ARE ONLY TO CONVEY THAT "THIS PARTICULAR POST", IS WASTE OF most PEOPLES TIME!

    I've been building Guitars for 35 plus years and this author has some good points but he misses ALLl the major points!!

    so take it for what its worth... it'll get you started in the right direction, if you have any mechanical aptitude whatsoever, you'll do 10 times better than this post.

    GOOD LUCK TO YOU ALL

    2 replies
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    nelson17675DavidR118

    Reply 3 years ago

    if you built guitars for 35 years you would know that the first floyd users (Eddie Van Halen...maybe you've heard of him?) never routed out the body to do rises. The main purpose of a floyd is to lock the strings at both ends to keep them in tune, rises are a secondary function.

    This does more than the standard strat bridge...it locks the tuning! get with the program

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    ErlikQDavidR118

    Reply 3 years ago

    Man, chill! the Floyd was made initially to be used this way, and the goal was increase tuning stability. Also this kind of installation allows you to put a D-tuna on it without having to buy trem blocks and other things. I personally like it floating, but I don't criticize who wants it only diving.

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    Kemele

    4 years ago

    So it happens that i did this, but noticed two big, BIG flaws:

    1) Either you start using 0.08 strings on drop C tunning, or wait a couple of month before wood brakes towards your bridge pickup.
    To fix this I installed some "L" shaped metal pieces to strengthen the thin layer of wood that's left there. Well, my guitar had a pool routing for the pickups cavity, and it will be most of the cases with inexpensive strats for this kind of projects. After a year, wood hasn't given up yet and stays in tune nicely.

    2) That string height!
    notice that in most strats, the bridge saddles will be much lower than what the floyd rose bridge can offer, so you are forced to rout your guitar to make room for the new bridge to go lower on it, or do what I did and lift your neck.
    I bought a small wood deck or board (whatever the name is). like 10x10 cms (very common for school projects) and cut the board to fit your neck socket. You may eventually need longer screws to put your neck back firmly, but that's no problem.

    1 reply
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    BenjymonKemele

    Reply 4 years ago

    1. I've never had this happen to me, though I don't use anything other than standard tuning. It should be fine if you just put the bridge in the neck cavity.
    2. I did shim my neck, though I didn't think about how it would affect my neck. That may contribute to the stripping in the neck, which caused my neck to fall off, though I assumed that was because of the many times I had taken my neck off and put it back on. I eventually filled the holes with dowels, but longer screws would also be a pretty good solution.
    Thanks for the insight, I'll be sure to add some precautions to the instructable.

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    jsquire1331

    4 years ago on Introduction

    So other than routing for the posts/nut, did you have to route anything else? I'm seeing a lot of other people needing to route a recess into their guitar body, which I don't really want to do.

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    Benjymonjsquire1331

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    If your guitar has a tremolo on it already, like mine did, you don't have to worry about that. Its possible that they wanted to make it a floating tremolo, in which case they would have routed a bit out at the end of the tremolo, but that's only if you want it.

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    jose20798

    4 years ago on Introduction

    and the locking nut? how did you installed ( i'm thinking to buy a floyd rose to my strat but i dont want to broke it because its the only guitar that i have)