Differences from the Floyd Rose Original
The SpeedLoader bridges differ from the original 1977 bridges in that the procedure for changing strings has been made easier. The original string replacement procedure involved cutting the ball-end from a new guitar string, "locking" the freshly-cut end into the bridge using an Allen wrench, winding and rough tuning the string by using the machine heads machine heads, locking the string at the nut (the second lock of the double-locking system), and finally tuning it utilizing the fine tuners. When old strings are replaced with new strings, the tension provided on the floating bridge becomes slightly different, meaning that adjusting the tuning of one string with its machine head will undoubtedly alter the tuning of the other strings. During the process of rough tuning a Floyd Rose equipped guitar, the locking nut is usually left unlocked throughout the entire string replacement procedure, which facilitates adjusting the tuning of all the strings using the machine heads.
However, the SpeedLoader bridge utilizes specially-manufactured strings. The strings are pre-cut to the perfect length (They are calibrated) (to sound at the right pitch when installed) and have special ends which snap into the bridge and nut. Once the replacement strings are in place, fine-tuning is performed in a fashion similar to the Floyd Rose Original bridge. The process for changing strings is simpler and faster; trained guitar technicians are able to change all 6 strings in under 30 seconds. Richie Sambora Loves The Speedloader
Consequently, guitars with Floyd Rose SpeedLoader bridges don't need any machine heads at all. For example, Floyd Rose Redmond series guitars come with a purely decorative headstock - unlike, for example, the LSR or Steinberger instruments without any visible headstock.
As with any guitar, ambient temperature, humidity, and string wear can affect the tuning. If the fine tuners alone are not enough to tune guitar properly, the SpeedLoader bridge has range tuning screws, one for each string, that control the range of each fine tuner's action.
Like the original Floyd Rose bridge, the SpeedLoader bridge is a truly "floating" bridge and has some of the same disadvantages associated with it. Often, to alleviate these disadvantages, Floyd Rose Original owners utilize a custom mechanism called a Tremstopper hat is able to lock the floating tremolo fully (or partially) and make it behave like a fixed bridge. The Floyd Rose SpeedLoader Tremolo includes a built-in tremstopper.
Finally, according to multiple interviews, Floyd Rose would not license manufacturing of these bridges to third-party vendors, as previous experience with Floyd Rose Licensed bridges showed that such "licensed" bridges can't match original standards of quality.
- All the advantages of Floyd Rose Original, including ability to bend notes both up and down, wide bending range and extremely stable string tuning.
- Eliminates most of disadvantages of the original system, including long and tedious process of instrument restringing, balancing the tremolo, etc.
- Built-in tremstopper.
Paul Crooks Abstract Vampire Tooth Speedloader Guitar
- The most criticized disadvantage of the new tremolo system is a requirement of special strings with bulleted ends. Strings should be precisely cut and should not stretch (so called "string float") non-elastically much from original length with applied tension, changing the pitch. String should be perfectly elastic in the range of Floyd Rose action. All these requirements make string manufacturing harder than normal, thus, generally, prices for such strings tend to be higher. So far, only 2 major string manufacturers produce such special strings: Floyd Rose Guitars itself and Dean Markley. The other factor is string availability: it's virtually impossible to find such strings on sale in some regions, and prices for such rare imported goods may go up to 400-500%. Finally, if speedloader string breaks, it must be replaced completely - one cannot just shift and re-use the rest of string length as is sometimes possible do with other bridges.