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September 12th, 2005

It only took me a year or so...

Many months ago I had purchased a 7-string Ibanez electric guitar. It's a pretty cool guitar, but getting it in tune is an absolute nightmare, because it is equipped with a Floyd Rose floating tremolo. Which basically means that the bridge is in a delicate balance and tuning any string has an influence on the tuning of all other strings. It took me a while to get the technique down with my old 6-string, and the addition of the extra heavy B string makes it considerably more difficult. Heavier wound strings pull a lot more tension on the bridge, and therefore adjustments on them have more effect.

When I first received that guitar, it wasn't in tune out of the box. Trying to get it in tune back then messed things up even more. I spent a few days trying different things, but was never able to get it properly in tune. Since then, this guitar had been essentially gathering dust in a corner of my room.

Today I decided to give it one more try, started from scratch, and managed to get it back in almost perfect tune! I can finally make use of my investment. I'm so proud to have finally managed to beat that damn Floyd Rose nightmare! The key was to find a way to hold the bridge in place while retuning the strings, to get it back in balance. Then a few adjustments to the springs in the back did the trick. I am just stunned that there are absolutely no online resources explaining how to do this. Only pieces of info here and there, most of them applying to 6-string instruments.

Next challenge on this guitar will be to put a higher gauge of strings, but I think I'll hold that for a little while. At least until my other light sets are through. I think I have the technique down now, but it's still not trivial. The good thing about Floyd Rose locking tremolos though is that the strings tend to stay in tune for a very long time. So the painful exercise of tuning the instrument is rewarded by the fact that you don't have to do it as often.