Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Feature Gear Review : Floyd Rose Discovery guitar

Welcome to the future with the new Floyd Rose Speedloader bridge system. I was first made aware of the Floyd Rose guitars from talking with Greg Howard who was on the road with Aerosmith handling guitar tech duties for Brad Whitford at the time. Greg was raving about the quick change of strings on the Speedloader bridge and I knew at that point I wanted to investigate it further. Adam at Floyd Rose was kind enough to send me a Discovery series fixed Speedloader bridge guitar.The Discovery series guitar is the import model. The test model features a fixed bridge Speedloader system and 3 single coils pickups.This guitar incorporates proven classic guitar elements with Floyds vision of a better bridge system and a better overall guitar design. No more string stretching, no more wrenches and no more headaches that were sometimes associated with locking bridge systems, and that brings up another point, No more locks! It is hard to believe but changing strings is as simple as pushing on the bridge saddle, pulling a pin and removing the string. THATS IT. Please see the movies above and watch Floyd change out a string, it is incredibly simple.

The guitar can be tuned however you see fit. Drop D, half step down, 1 step down, there is no limitation on tuning. Your initial tuning is done with a small allen wrench on each saddle. Once the guitar is in the tuning you desire you can use the fine tuners on the Speedloader just like the Original Floyd Rose system. But here is the kicker. Once you are in tune, when the strings are replaced the allen wrench is not required. The strings are always within a quarter turn of the fine tuner of being in perfect tune evrytime. Let me be clear here, the allen wrench is only needed for your initial tuning, after that no wrenches are needed. Pop the string on, push down the saddle, fine tune and you are done. I was skeptical when I initially read about it. I sat in disbelief when i watched the video of Floyd doing it. I was pleasantly suprised when I tried it myself and had zero problems with it. I was one of those guys that loved the Original Floyd Rose but was not good at setting them up or restringing them. The Speedloader is a totally different beast and the learning curve I think is actually lower than restringing a standard bridge. A full set of strings can be replaced and in perfect tune within 5 minutes. If you doubt this please watch the videos above, it is truly amazing what Floyd has come up with.

Being a long time Strat player myself the guitar felt instantly at home in my hands. On initial inspection I was suprised that resting your hand near the bridge did not feel awkard like the original Floyd Rose. It was very odd looking down the neck and not seeing any tuners. The neck is very comfortable. I was assuming it would be a thin Ibanez type neck. Not at all. It sits in your hand like a vintage strat but has a little more bulk in the right place. It is one of the most comfortable necks I have played. Very low gloss on the back, actually a light satin finish allows fast play in all positions. This guitar has all the comforts of my older strats and then some. With the technical advances of the Speedloader bridge it makes it a best of both worlds for me and I am totally sold on the guitar.

Lets remember we are talking about an import guitar in the 400-450 range. I actually thought it was the US model until Adam let me know it was the import ! Stevie Wonders current guitarist was testing the Discovery series guitar and a US version and actually preferred the Discovery! He is using it live! You really have to play one and change the strings on it before you can come to any conclusions. I was very suprised how playable and comfortable this guitar is. I was in awe when I found out how simple the Speedloader bridge is to use.

I personally found the pickups not as hot as my double stacked humbucking single coils but I have played that set up for years. I dont use standard singles so I couldnt actually count that has a con, I am just used to more power. They sound great ripping off blues licks at lower gains. My current gig requires a higher gain so I will be replacing them with double stack hums.

The Speedloader bridge does require the Floyd Rose double bullet strings available at FloydRose.com and retailers all over the country.

As happy as I am with this one I will definately be looking at a Humbucker version with the Speedloader trem. It feels like a good strat youve been playing for years that has been reworked for a stress free future. Needless to say the Discovery will be gigging with me very soon.ReviewHave your own Custom Floyd Rose guitar built. Quotes within 72 hours!Click here!With his 1977 introduction of the Floyd Rose Locking Tremolo, Floyd Rose revolutionized the guitar industry.

After 25 years, Floyd has done it again.

Introducing the groundbreaking Speedloader Series, a radical advancement in guitar bridge and string design. The speedloader Bridge and Speedloader Strings build upon the legendary tuning stability, durability and versatility of the original Floyd Rose Locking Tremolo.

The integrated Speedloader Bridge and Speedloader String Design allows a complete set of strings to be changed in less than one minute by eliminating the need for tuning keys, wrenches, string stretching or major re-runing.
For more info please visit Floydrose.comDiscovery series with Speedloader fixed bridge

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