Floyd Rose doesn't stay in tune anymore?

I’ve had a Charvel San Dimas for about 6 years now, and when I first bought it the strings would stay in tune no matter how crazy and out of control I got with the whammy bar. Recently though it seems like the strings will go out of tune pretty quickly with anything more than some vibrato with the bar. Dive bombs definitely throw them out of tune.

My guess is that some of the guitar’s hardware has aged and is no longer doing its job, but I can’t figure out what it would be. I don’t see what could be wrong with the locking nuts or the saddle clamps, as their only function is to clamp down tightly. Could some wear and tear to these parts cause slippage? I’m curious if anyone else has solved a similar problem. Thanks!

There are a couple scenarios that would do this.

1). The knife edges that contact the mounting posts are worn or the posts are worn. You can try lubricating them to see if that helps, but if it’s the knife edges you would have to change out the base plate eventually. It’s really common in trem units that use some sort of zinc alloy for the base plates. Same with the posts/studs

2). The trem springs are starting to lose their shape a bit. This is pretty easy and cheap to test.

  1. possible you might have slippage at the nut.

Does the trem fluctuate in tuning when you lift the bar up, like does it go flat when you dive bomb and sharp or back it tune when you pull the bar up/sharp? I would start looking for anything that looks overly worn.

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Less expensive trems don’t have as high quality of metal or construction process so they will develop this issue faster than say an original Floyd Rose from the 80s would. They do wear out too, just slower. It’s important to clean your guitar too, sweat builds up and causes rust and galvanic corrosion from different metals mixed with the water and salt of your sweat. When changing your strings you may want to losen up the springs or change one string at a time so that you’re not scraping the knife edges on the post if the trem pops up a bit from lack of any tension. That will wear the knife edges really fast and something that a lot folks don’t know about floating trem maintenance.

You don’t need any special tools to keep the trem in place either if you want to remove all your strings at once, I just shove a thick rag under the back or use my old shredneck tremblock. I prefer the rag though.

If you lubricate, less is more. Some sewing machine oil with a very light application. You don’t want a bunch of oil getting into the wood of your guitar or under the finish.

It’s typically more common on alloys used on more mid priced to budget models. I believe the San Dimas uses an FR1000 which is Korean made (likely ping) but hardened steel, so it should be pretty okay In terms of sturdiness and wear especially for only being 6 years old, but again I’m not sure how much whammy use we are talking about here, and the damage is usually pretty visually noticeable by the time you start having these types of issues. So a good eyeball is usually a pretty good start.

Thank you for the possible answers. I took a look at some of the things you mentioned. I think the clear culprit is worn-down knife edges like you suggested. From the pictures I attached you can see there’s some definite wear and tear. I also attached a picture of the locking nuts; I noticed they all have some clear lines where the strings are pressed down. I’m curious whether or not you think this is an issue. Thanks again.

The nut lines are fine, they make no diff.

The knife edges though, yeah that base plate is never going to go back to standard.

Darn. I feared as much, haha.

You can try to unfurl it but it would be hard. You can buy a replacement plate for that unit for around $60. If the saddle spacing and blocks are compatible, you can grab a schaller plate with replaceable knife edges for about 100, but you would have to order it from Germany.

I’ve always thought those surfaces could be made to be replaceable.

A set of files and patience could probably restore that. If nothing more than to see how it works.

maybe you can find a baseplate somewhere so you don’t have to buy a whole new unit.

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I don’t know if this is the one - but StewMac has at least one model. If that’s available, others must be. $39.

Given StewMac normal pricing…that’s cheap.

Floyd Rose Special Series Base Plate with Screws - StewMac

Those 39 dollar ones are for the special. The Charvel one is an OEM 1000 series that is available only to manufactures apparently and made by ping also. If the base plate is hardened steel and sized the same, it might work fine as a replacement. You can buy the exact 1000 base plate only though from floyd directly:

Or again if everything lines up correctly, the original Schaller with the replaceable knife edges, the plate does look to be a little thicker on these though:

A set of files and patience could probably restore that. If nothing more than to see how it works.

Unfortunately they get a notch in them, which is the issue, you could have it professionally ground again, but that would probably cost as much as a new baseplate. They could make them out of harder materials, but then they would be brittle, they’ve tried it.

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I’m curious as to why what seem to me to be rather small notches could have such a consequence on the tuning of the instrument. The OP reports that any whammy use results in tuning problems, but especially a dive bomb. It is because the notch in the base plate catches on the post, or slips, preventing the setup from returning to the neutral position?

Yeah the knife edge becomes worn and then there is more friction or even hitching. It’s important when you adjust a Floyd to loosen the string tension before adjusting the posts too. This is not in any of the Floyd documentation… grinding metal on metal like that will always dull the edge. I put the tinyest dab of sewing machine oil on mine too to keep them lubricated and my Kramer’s Floyd has lasted now for 35 years without significant wear. I’ve had to replace a few frozen saddles, but the base plate is still fine. Keep your Floyds clean too, there is dissimilar metals in them (brass and steel) which combined with sweat and certain climates creates galvanic corrosion.