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The influence Floyd Rose’s double-locking electric guitar vibrato (tremolo) bridge system has had on rock music can’t be overstated. To understand just what it can do, you’ll need a suitably equipped guitar and, as long as it’s set-up well and is of a given build quality, a Floyd Rose has the potential to open up all sorts of unexplored musical avenues.
To the initiated, the squeals, bombs, whinnies and shimmers that embellish the music of Vai, Satch and EVH aren’t empty effects designed to fill space until the chorus comes around, they’re a result of the integration of a Floyd (or derivative) with each player's own distinctive style. If you end a standard four-bar rock solo with a spiralling dive-bomb, you’re probably not using the unit to its full potential: if we’re honest, we’re hardly guiltless in this regard either.
Modern guitars at all price points are available with Floyd Rose-branded bridges of wildly differing qualities and, of the four guitars here grouped in the £690-£830 bracket, one features a Floyd Rose Special and another an original Floyd, with the remainder each loaded with their own licensed versions of the design.
As we’ll discover, there are other facets of the spec that distinguish the guitars still further and a even quick glance at the pictures here proves that it’s not all about shock tactics when opting for such an instrument - subtlety can be just as striking an option too. That said, we’ve decided to simplify our choice of models on test here by including the additional requirement that they all feature EMG pickups and, to that end, each is loaded with a set of 81/85 active humbuckers.
These pickups are capable of so much more than simply providing an incendiary rock tone - much like the Floyd, it’s the application that counts - and we’ll endeavour to show that any of the quartet can be used in virtually any musical arena you desire.