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I have had a discussion with a friend recently, involving Floyd Rose guitars and the way they behave during bends.

The issue is that, since the bridge floats, by design, when performing a string bend the bridge would move along (albeit less) with it, making the distance to bend different than those of guitars with a fixed bridge.

This influences the learning process of the technique, and will it be necessary to relearn when changing to a fixed bridge system.

I was wondering if is there any way to address this issue, by making the bridge not move (or move considerably less)? Maybe something involving the springs?

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If you want to fix the bridge, there are two simple ways:

  1. Replace it with a locking bridge - my Hohner G3T has one of these. It is only useful if you really need to use it as a fixed bridge guitar.
  2. Adjust the spring tension to make the bridge into a divebomb-only bridge. To do this, increase the spring tension until the bridge lies solidly along the surface of the guitar. A gentle bend will not pull it away from the surface, but a divebomb with the whammy bar will.

My own suggestion would be to just learn the bend with the bridge free floating. It really doesn't take much to alter your bend when you move to a different guitar. It's a bit like playing the violin - you always adjust based on the pitch you get, even when you know exactly what note you are going for.

  • I had heard both about ways of locking the bridge (not interested at the moment) and pulling the bridge towards the body (this one sounded really risky). But that last point is great: I think I'll take that approach. – ravemir Dec 29 '13 at 23:39
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    It's not actually that risky. You don't actually need much more tension, but you will want to lower your bridge pivots to let the bridge lie flat. – Doktor Mayhem Dec 29 '13 at 23:44
  • So the bridge is not laying depressed backwards then? – ravemir Dec 29 '13 at 23:59
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    Have it lying flat on the surface, with enough tension that it doesn't tilt forwards. – Doktor Mayhem Dec 30 '13 at 1:04
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It's going to depend on the gauge of strings you're using. The heavier gauges will benefit from more / tighter springs (I'm talking about Strat. type whammies here, but think the same process occurs). Even with light gauge strings, a tighter set up will give less movement on the bridge.

Even when you've learned to bend properly - take a 'pre-bend as an example - on your original guitar, you'll have to re-adapt the bending on any other guitar, with different action and different strings, let alone whether it has a fixed/floating bridge.

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