Sunday, March 25, 2012

Floyd Rose Part II

So to continue our floating tremolo talk, I was thrilled to death that another issue came up which is so near and dear to the critical thinking Don't Get jacked was meant to promote.

As many of you know, there exists a market for stabilization devices for tremolos. I could never hope to do justice to that subject the way this excellent website does. Go have a look, it is well worth your time.

Almost without exception, and yesterday was par for the course, any discussion of tremolo stabilizers is undoubtedly met with "well those things change your tone"

What a perfect call to arms for the friend of every critical thinker and the sworn enemy of every marketing company in the universe, the dreaded ABX test!

Now, you can conduct this experiment yourself without too much hassle. There is a problem that it wont be fully blinded, as you will know while supplying the raw data (actually playing the guitar) if the stabilizer was on or off, but the listening test should be decently blinded. Maybe have a friend do the playing instead.

I have done this a few times through the last 20 years, but certainly not enough to be statistically significant.

When doing this test I ask two questions

1: Identify which one has the stabilizing device
2: Which do you like better

The results have been VERY close to random for me.

Slightly more than random, people get #1 wrong

Slightly more than random, the guitar with the stabilizer wins #2

Why should that be? Again, I say, my sample data pool is too small and probably need many more test subjects, but I have a suggestion.

If I look at the waveforms generated by the stabilized and non stabilized guitars on a frequency analyzer, I can't tell the difference. Sometimes I think i can pick which is which, but then I realize I am just fooling myself. However! Looking at the waveform itself, the stabilized guitars almost always sustain longer, sometimes far, far longer on the plain strings than their nonstabilized counterparts.

Does more sustain sound better? That's the only real tonal difference I can quantify

Saturday, March 24, 2012

"There's a trick to making floyd rose's stay in tune"

..."thru proper tension"

A million variations on this one. A discussion I've had about four billion times with Billy Siegle, Michael Kaye, and Skully the great

Usually not such a big deal as far as unsinkable rubber duck myths go, but sometimes its a right pisser. Today, unfortunately for me, it was said in front of a band I was working with. By a real deal guitar tech. Youch

So lets examine this one. Let's ignore what is truly the skill of a good guitar tech, which is to get rid of all the binding and loose tolerances that can impede the mechanics of the tremolo system. Let's look at the actual physics involved:

From the biggest noob to the greatest guitar tech in the universe, a full floating tremolo will come to rest when string tension = spring tension


No real space for magic in there.

Rest your palm on the tremolo to palm mute. Surprise! You just raised your string tension and lowered your spring tension

Do a bend. Surprise! You just raised the tension on the bent string and lowered the tension on the unbent strings.

Well you knew all that right? But what about this:

When you pick a chord, you change your string tension. And your spring tension! Yeah, that's that nasty crap sound that bugs the hell out of you on even a perfectly intonated floating bridge guitar when chords are played.

This is how it is on a fully floating bridge guitar. Don't like it? Too bad. As said so many times on this blog, the laws of physics do not even BEGIN to give a crap how you feel about them.