As a Rock or Metal player, you’re probably wondering which tremolo bridge is best for you, Fender Vs Floyd Rose? The answer is that it depends more on your particular playing style than anything else. Still, there are many pros and cons to each bridge type.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to make your decision!
You can use the table of contents below to take you to the area that interests you. Click on the little box to open it and then click on the section of the article you want to read, or you can read from start to finish if you want the full tremolo bridge experience!
The Short Answer
Fender Strat tremolos will give you a more classic sound and playability and are better suited for subtle vibrato techniques. A Floyd Rose tremolo double-locking system locks the strings at the bridge and nut. This helps it stay in tune during aggressive whammy bar use. Although Metal players more commonly use a Floyd Rose bridge, you should choose the tremolo that works best with your playing style.
Keep On Reading (Below) To Learn More
Fender Vs Floyd Rose – Why Compare?
If you play a Fender or Squier Strat or another guitar with a Strat body, chances are it has a tremolo bridge. Most likely, it’ll be a Fender 2-point or 6-point bridge. Strat guitars made for Rock or Metal can also have a Floyd Rose tremolo bridge.
Each of these three bridge types has distinct advantages and disadvantages. To learn more, you can start with the table below, which will give you a general idea of the pros and cons of each bridge type.
Fender Vs Floyd Rose Tremolo Comparison
This will give you a quick look at each tremolo type. To learn more about the Fender or Floyd Rose bridge, click on its heading in the table below.
|Comparison||Fender Strat Bridge||Floyd Rose Bridge|
|Tuning Stability||Ok – Stings don’t lock||Best – String lock at bridge and nut|
|Bridge Movement||Both directions||Both directions|
|Vibrato Effects||Subtle to moderate||Subtle to extreme|
|Tone & Sustain||Generally good||Generally good|
|If One String Breaks||The other 5 strings may or may not go out of tune (sharp)||The other 5 strings go out of tune (sharp)|
|Other strings may or may not go flat||Other strings go flat|
|String Changes||Relatively quick||More time-consuming|
|Drop-Tuning||The other strings may or may not go out of tune||The other strings usually go out of tune|
|Availability||Most Squier and Fender Strats||Rock & Metal Guitars: Ibanez, ESP, Kramer, Jackson, etc.|
|Used By||Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour||Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, John Petrucci|
Keep On Reading (Below) To Learn More About Each Topic
Fender Strat Tremolo Bridges
Here are the pros and cons of Fender Stratocaster bridges.
What Is A Fender Tremolo Bridge?
The Fender tremolo bridges installed on Stratocaster guitars come in two varieties.
The original (vintage) Fender tremolo bridge has a 6-point design attached to the guitar’s body by six screws. It can be seen on the right in the diagram above. It was first available in 1954 and continues to be installed on some currently built Fender Strats.
In the mid-1980s, Fender introduced the 2-point (modern) tremolo bridge, which is also currently available. It is attached as a “knife edge” design to two studs that are screwed into the guitar’s body. This gives the bridge freer mobility. You can see it on the left in the diagram above.
If you want to hear what can be done with a Fender tremolo bridge, listen to anything that guitar Gods Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck have recorded with a Strat!
When it comes to tuning stability, the Fender Strat 2-point and 6-point tremolo bridges are not as stable as the Floyd Rose double-locking system but do a pretty good job of keeping a Strat in tune.
The Fender tremolo bridges don’t lock the strings at either end of the guitar, which makes it more susceptible to going out of tune with aggressive whammy bar use. The 2-point bridge is probably easier to keep in tune than the older 6-point version.
The Fender tremolos can be set up to float, giving you bridge movement in both directions. If you only use the whammy bar to lower the pitch of notes, setting it up as a “decked” bridge is your best option. For players that don’t use a whammy bar, it’s best to have it “blocked.”
If you want the best performance in bridge movement, the 2-point tremolo is probably your best bet.
I find that the Fender bridges give great vibrato effects. The 2-point Fender bridge is more responsive than the vintage 6-point version.
The whammy bar on most Fender tremolo bridges tends to wiggle around its socket, making very subtle vibrato more challenging. Applying some Teflon plumber’s tape to the whammy bar threads can make it sit tighter and help solve this problem.
Tone & Sustain
A properly set up Fender Strat bridge can give you quite a bit of tone and sustain. I find that the 6-point tremolos are better in this regard than the 2-point bridges.
Thicker gauge strings will give you a better overall sound.
With both types of Fender bridges, you can maximize the tone and sustain by blocking (immobilizing) the bridge. If you use your tremolo bar, a decked bridge will usually have better tone and sustain than a floating bridge.
String breakage And Single-String Finger Bends
A floating Fender tremolo bridge is a setup for these string problems. If you break one string, the other strings will go out of tune (sharp).
String bends can also be problematic with a floating bridge because if you play two strings and bend one, the other string tends to go flat. A decked bridge can also exhibit this problem if the bridge is not held down on the guitar’s body with enough tension.
Strings changes are quick and easy on a Fender Strat tremolo bridge since they are not locked at the bridge or the nut.
Drop tuning can be challenging to do “on-the-fly” with a floating bridge because if you drop the pitch of one string the others will go sharp.
Appearance And Availability
A Fender 6-point tremolo bridge gives a Stratocaster a “vintage” look, while a 2-point bridge creates a more “modern” appearance. Both tremolo types are widely available. They come standard on most Squier and Fender Strats.
Many pro players still use Fender tremolo Strat bridges, even in Rock and Metal. Players like Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, and Yngwie Malmsteen have all used stock Fender bridges.
If you think you can’t shred on a Strat with a vintage 6-point tremolo bridge, have a listen to Yngwie’s music!
Related Article ➡ 2 Vs 6 Point Tremolo Bridge – The Ultimate Comparison!
Floyd Rose Tremolo Bridge
Here are the pros and cons of Floyd Rose bridges.
What Is A Floyd Rose Bridge?
The Floyd Rose bridge was the first double-locking system designed to keep a guitar in tune, even with the most aggressive whammy bar use. The strings are licked in place at the bridge and the nut.
Minor tuning adjustments for each string can be made using the fine tuners on the bridge without having to unlock the strings at the nut.
Floyd Rose eventually licensed custom or cheaper versions of its tremolo bridge to various guitar makers. These days, you can purchase guitars with original or licensed versions. These bridges can also be added as after-market hardware by routing a guitar’s body for the tremolo and neck for the locking nut.
Players like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani have taken the Floyd Rose bridge to new expression levels!
The Floyd Rose tremolo was made for aggressive whammy bar users. It is tailored for Metal players but works great for Rock and other musical genres.
It locks the strings at the bridge and the nut, essentially preventing it from going out of tune, assuming it is set up correctly. If you do a lot of divebombs and whammy bar tricks, you’re probably better off with the Floyd Rose bridge.
The Floyd Rose gives excellent bridge movement in both directions, especially when dripping the string pitch. You can easily drop a note three to four whole steps with excellent clarity or divebomb it until the notes disappear, assuming the guitar is correctly set up.
A Floyd Rose bridge can give you excellent vibrato effects. The whammy bar is snugly seated in the socket, allowing you to go from subtle vibrato to extremely wide sounds.
Tone & Sustain
The tone and sustain are generally good to excellent, assuming the guitar is set up correctly. Thicker gauge strings will give you a better overall sound.
Note that routing a cavity for the tremolo can affect the guitar’s tone and decrease its sustain.
String breakage And Single-String Finger Bends
Strings are less likely to break because the ball ends are cut off, and the strings are locked into place, but if one string breaks, the others will go out of tune (sharp).
Like the Fender floating bridges, if you play two strings at once and finger-bend one, the other string tends to go flat.
Changing Strings On A Floyd Rose Bridge
String changes and tuning are the Floyd Rose bridge’s true “Achille’s Heel”! Since the strings are locked at the bridge and the nut, you need an Allen wrench to unlock and remove them. To reinstall new strings, you must cut off the ball ends to lock them in place at the bridge.
This can really slow down string changes.
Floyd Rose tremolos have “fine tuners” at the bridge, but you have to unlock the nut to make big tuning changes at the headstock.
If you drop-tune one string, the others will go sharp. You can use a “D-Tuna” to drop the pitch of the D string without having to retune the others.
Appearance And Availability
Floyd Rose bridges will give your Strat an aggressive-looking profile. They typically look great on Super Strats and “Metal” guitars with radical body graphics.
Original and licensed Floyd Rose bridges are available as factory installations or can be retro-fit on guitars with or without tremolos.
Retro-fitting a Floyd Rose bridge requires routing the body cavity and creating a neck channel for a locking nut. Only a certified guitar tech or luthier should attempt this. You can permanently damage your guitar, which might never play and sound right again!
Floyd Rose bridges are used by Metal players like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Janick Gers.
Are You Qualified To Make Guitar Adjustments Or Modifications?
It’s great to work on your guitars, especially if you have a lot of them, but you should always be aware of your limitations.
Adjusting things like an electric guitar’s string height (action) or pickup height can be straightforward. Still, some adjustments require the proper training and experience, like adjusting a guitar’s truss rod.
Adjusting the height or angle of your guitar bridge may also require a truss rod adjustment. Installing a Floyd Rose bridge requires you to route the body cavity and neck to install the bridge and locking nut. You could permanently damage your guitar if you do not have the proper equipment or training.
When you doubt your ability to adjust, repair, or modify your guitar, it’s always best to bring it to a competent guitar technician or luthier (guitar designer & builder). You can permanently damage your guitar, and it might never play and sound right again!
Making modifications to your guitar can void its manufacturer’s warranty and cause permanent damage to the instrument. Certain modifications are irreversible, so you may be stuck with them, even if you desperately want to restore the guitar to its original condition!
I learned that the hard way over the years until I did a three-year apprenticeship in a guitar repair shop. Now I have my own home workshop with the proper training and equipment to safely maintain and repair all my instruments.
Remember: “When In Doubt, Send It Out!”
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the questions I get asked about Floyd Rose tremolos.
If your question does not appear here, please put it in the comments, and I will get right back to you with an answer.
Do I Need A Floyd Rose For Metal?
No, but most Metal players tend to use a Floyd Rose bridge. Neo-Classical shred master Yngwie Malmsteen is a notable exception.
How Many Springs Does A Floyd Rose Bridge Have?
Floyd Rose bridges typically come with three or four springs installed. However, the spring claw can accommodate five springs to give the bridge a stiffer feel and improve the tuning stability.
Can A Floyd Rose Break Strings?
Yes, if you use the bridge to raise the pitch of the strings too high, you can break a string, especially if you use a light-gauge set.
Can You Lower The Action On A Floyd Rose?
Yes, you can lower the action on a Floyd Rose bridge by screwing the contact studs deeper into the guitar’s body and changing the bridge’s angle.
How High Should A Floyd Rose Bridge Be?
Generally, the bridge should be close to the surface of the guitar’s body, with the top raised about ¼ inch higher or less. The bridge should sit roughly parallel to the guitar’s surface, although you can have a slight upward angle.
Can A Floyd Rose Be Put On Any Guitar?
Yes, a Floyd Rose bridge can be installed on any guitar, but it will typically require the body and neck t be routed to accommodate the bridge and lock nut.
I hope this article helped you decide between a Fender Vs Floyd Rose tremolo bridge for your guitar!
The Fender Strat tremolo bridges come in two flavors, 2-point (modern) and 6-point (vintage). They are great for all-around whammy bar use. Since they don’t lock the guitar strings, they have less tuning stability than a Floyd Rose bridge; however, they let you change strings relatively quickly.
Fender bridges are used by various Rock And Metal players. Setting them up to work as decked or blocked will allow you to break or bend strings and do drop tunings without putting other strings out of tune
Floyd Rose original and licensed tremolo bridges are usually found on Super Strat guitars. They are great for Metal and Rock. The double-locking system (bridge and nut) makes them ideal for aggressive whammy bar use without going out of tune.
If you finger-bend or break a string with a Floyd Rose, the other strings will be out of tune. For players that use drop-D tuning, adding a D-Tuner to a Floyd Rose bridge will keep the other strings in tune.
String changes on a Floyd Rose are more time-consuming than with a Fender tremolo bridge. If you use a Floyd Rose guitar on stage, it’s best to have a backup guitar.
How Rad Can You Get With A Floyd Rose?
Here’s a video from Trey Xavier demonstrating his seven favorite Floyd Rose tricks and tips. Check it out!
Tell Me What You Think
Please leave a comment below if you enjoyed this article, have any questions about tremolo bridges, or want to give your point of view. I will be happy to help you.
- Do you prefer Fender or Floyd Rose tremolo bridges? Why?
- Which bridge type do you think is more expressive?
- After reading this article, are you thinking of changing your tremolo bridge?
- What else is on your mind?