The Floyd Rose Locking Tremolo, or simply Floyd Rose, is a type of locking vibrato arm for a guitar. Floyd D. Rose invented the locking vibrato in 1977, the first of its kind, and it is now manufactured by a company of the same name. The Floyd Rose gained popularity in the 1980s through guitarists like Eddie Van Halen, Neal Schon, Brad Gillis, Joe Satriani, and Steve Vai, who used its ability to stay in tune even with extreme changes in pitch. Its tuning stability comes through the double-locking design that has been widely regarded as revolutionary; the design has been listed on Guitar World‘s “10 Most Earth Shaking Guitar Innovations” and Guitar Player‘s “101 Greatest Moments in Guitar History 1979–1983”.
Floyd D. Rose first started working on what became the Floyd Rose Tremolo in 1976. He was playing in a rock band at the time, inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Deep Purple. He frequently used the vibrato bar but couldn’t make his guitars stay in tune using traditional approaches like lubricating the nut, or winding the strings as little as possible around the tuning pegs.
At the time, Rose made and sold jewelry, and so had the skills and tools to fabricate small metal parts. After noticing that one issues with regular nut design is that the string moves freely, he made a brass nut that locked the strings in place with three U-shaped clamps. He installed this nut in his 1957 Fender Stratocaster. Later he improved this design by using hardened steel—otherwise the strings wore the clamps down too quickly—and redesigned the bridge, which also locked the strings with clamps.
Rose hand-made the first bridges and nuts, which were quickly picked up by some influential guitarists at the time, such as Eddie Van Halen. Other well-known guitarists who picked it up early were Neal Schon, who purportedly got serial number 3, Brad Gillis (serial number 4), and Steve Vai.
The first patent was awarded in 1979, and shortly afterward, Rose made an agreement with Kramer Guitars because he could no longer keep up with demand manufacturing the bridges by hand. Kramer’s guitar models with the Floyd Rose bridge became very popular, leading them to drop the earlier Rockinger vibrato in favor of the Floyd Rose between June 1982 and January 1983. The Floyd Rose design’s popularity led to other companies making similar bridges, thus violating the patent. Notably, courts found that Gary Kahler’s vibrato bridge infringed on Floyd Rose’s patents, and awarded a judgment in excess of $100M against Gary Kahler.
Floyd Rose and Kramer went on to make licensing agreements with other manufacturers, and there are now several different models available based on the double-locking design. Because the bridges and nuts were no longer hand-made it was necessary to update the design, and the bridges were changed to add a set of tuners that allow for fine-tuning the guitar after the strings are locked at the nut.
In January 1991, Kramer’s exclusive distribution agreement with Rose ended when Fender announced they would be the new exclusive distributor of Floyd Rose products. While Fender used Floyd Rose-licensed vibrato systems previously, this move allowed Fender to offer a few models with the original Floyd Rose Tremolo, such as the Richie Sambora Signature Strat in 1991, the Floyd Rose Classic Stratocaster in 1992 and the Set-Neck Floyd Rose Strat in 1993. Floyd Rose collaborated with Fender to design a Fender Deluxe Locking Tremolo, introduced in 1991 on the Strat Plus Deluxe, the USA Contemporary Stratocaster, and the Strat Ultra. Fender used the Floyd Rose-designed locking vibrato system on certain humbucker-equippedAmerican Deluxe and Showmaster models until 2007.
In 2005, distribution of the Floyd Rose Original reverted to Floyd Rose, whereas the patented designs were licensed to other manufacturers to use.
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The ESP E-II Horizon Quilted Maple FR RDB w/ Case Electric Guitar features:
- Set-Thru Neck
- 25.5” Scale
- Mahog Body
- Quilted Maple Top
- Maple Neck
- Ebony Fingerboard
- 42mm Locking Nut
- Thin U Neck Contour
- 24 XJ Frets
- Floyd Rose Original Bridge
- Black Hardware
- Gotoh Tuners
- Duncan SH-2 (N) & TB-14(B) passive pickups
- Finish: Reindeer Blue
- Electronics: Vol/Tone(P/P)/Toggle Switch
- Model No: EIIHORQMFRRDB