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Guitar Shop 101: Installing an EVH D-Tuna on a Floyd Rose

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Preliminary setup. Before I install a D-Tuna, I make sure the guitar’s action is adjusted to match my client’s playing style. In fact, I like to give a guitar a thorough setup before installing the D-Tuna. For a detailed description of the process, check out “How to Set Up a Floyd Rose-Style Trem” on premierguitar.com.

Blocking the tremolo. Once the action is adjusted, it’s time to block the tremolo. This is to prevent the inertia block from drawing toward the spring claw after you’ve dropped the low E a whole-step and reduced string tension.

The best way to do this? Carve a slim wooden shim to position between the Floyd’s inertia block (where the springs attach to the trem system) and the edge of the spring cavity. I like using maple for this because it’s so durable. The tools are simple—you can use a small hobby saw and a belt sander or a few sheets of medium and fine sandpaper—but it takes time to measure, cut, shape, and fit the shim, so be patient.

And here’s an important detail: I recommend sizing the shim so it’s level with the body at the edge of the spring cavity. In other words, avoid using a shim that extends as far as the inertia block, as this can cause the springs to bind on the shim and create tuning issues. (Refer to Photo 2 again to see how the shim stays level with the body.) Another reason to use a shim that’s shorter than the Floyd block: You want to be able to raise or lower the bridge to adjust the overall action without dislodging or bumping the shim.

Designed for double-locking tremolo systems, the D-Tuna lets you quickly lower your bottom E string a whole-step to D.

As you shape the shim, make sure the tremolo base remains level with the guitar top when the strings are tuned to pitch. Unless you’ve made a few of these shims, assume that the fitting and shaping will take several passes, and it’s crucial to retune to pitch each time.

Once the shim is installed and the tremolo is level with the body, you’re ready to secure the shim to the edge of the spring cavity using medium viscosity super glue. I don’t recommend attaching the shim to the inertia block.

After you’ve glued in the shim, check the tremolo for any slack. If the bridge tail can draw back, you may want to tighten the screws on the spring claw to eliminate this slack, but be sure that the tremolo remains level with the guitar body.

Adjusting intonation. Next, use a high-quality electronic tuner to check the 6th-string intonation at the 12th fret one more time. In fact, I like to check the 12th-fret intonation with the string first tuned to E and then retuned down a whole-step to D. If the fretted note is sharp relative to the 12th-fret harmonic, move the saddle back (away from the neck). Conversely, if the fretted note is flat compared to the harmonic, move the saddle forward. Most Floyd Rose systems use a 2.5 mm hex key to unlock the saddle’s set screw.

Installing the D-Tuna. Here comes the easy part! Unlock the 6th string at the string nut and slacken the string with the headstock tuner. Remove the 6th-string locking screw at the bridge (Photo 4) and replace it with the D-Tuna device. Typically this requires a 3 mm hex key.

As I mentioned earlier, the D-Tuna ships with two different length screws for attaching the D-Tuna to the bridge. Photo 5 shows the original screw (top) compared to the longer replacement screws. Choose the replacement screw that gives you enough room to fully disengage the D-Tuna and thus drop the low E to D. For this guitar, I used the shorter of the D-Tuna screws.

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