Router Template for Recessed Floyd Rose Tremolo

Instructions for routing a top recess for use with Floyd Rose-style tremolos.


Instructions refer to the diagram at bottom of this page.

Recessing the tremolo creates extra clearance at the rear of the unit, and increases the range of upward arm movement. The tremolo (and the strings) can be closer to the guitar's face, reducing the need for neck shims. Also, bridge saddles which have been adjusted to an extreme forward position no longer "bottom out" when the player dives the arm downward.

These instructions assume that the tremolo has been installed in a standard Floyd Rose® rout. The #1119 template can be used for an original Floyd Rose tremolo or for Schaller's licensed copy. For best results, we recommend a 3/8" router bit with 3/8" guide bearing. Tune the guitar to standard pitch and adjust the intonation (bridge saddle locations) correctly. Remove the strings, the tremolo tension springs, and all electronic components and hardware that might interfere with the routing operation. Leave the tremolo mounting studs temporarily in place.

Place the tremolo in its original position against the mounting studs. Using masking tape to protect the guitar's finish, carefully trace the outline of the tremolo unit onto the top of the guitar. Remove the unit and the mounting studs. Place the template's larger hole over the front part (neck side) of the tracing, with the template's mounting holes toward the rear. Square the template to the body and center the hole equally over the traced outline from side to side. Slide the front edge of the hole 1/8" in front of the tremolo's traced outline. Without repositioning the template, attach it to the guitar with flathead wood screws through mounting holes (A) and (B). If necessary, double-stick tape can be used instead of screws.

To control the routing depth, four shims are provided for holding the template up off the instrument. The cavity should be routed from 1/8" to 5/16" deep, depending on the desired tremolo action. The guide bearing on the router bit shaft must rest against the inside edge of the template hole. Use one shim thickness for a 5/16" cavity depth; use two shim thicknesses for a 1/8" depth. Adjust the shims and the router to determine the exact depth required. Measure carefully—if the tremolo is installed too deep, the studs must be lowered accordingly, possibly coming through the back side.

After completing the first rout, slide the template forward. Square up its smaller hole and center it equally from side to side over the rear portion of the traced outline. Slide the rearmost edge of the hole 1/16" back from the rearmost edge of the tremolo's traced outline. Without repositioning the template, attach it through mounting holes (C) and (D), using the shims as needed. If the guitar lacks sufficient wood from the original rout for the screws to bite into, drill a third pair of recessed holes in the template as needed.

The second cavity can be deeper than the front rout if an extreme upward tremolo range is desired, but leave the front cavity 1/8" to 5/16" deep to allow sufficient wood for the studs. After routing, re-drill and deepen the mounting stud holes. Choose the drill bits carefully. The stud requires two different bit sizes, one for the threaded portion, and a different size for the stud shank. The sizes vary among tremolo manufacturers.

If the guitar pickguard also requires modification, remove the hardware, locate the template correctly, and attach it to the pickguard with double-stick tape, adding the necessary shims.