The official description for the Floyd Rose Titanium Locking Nut is “Made in USA. Body and clamps are formed from heat treated titanium for incredible strength– designed to secure grip, resist string grooves, and ensure that the threads will not distort if the clamps are over-torqued.”
I have to say that I really enjoy the journey through titanium parts for my double-locking tremolos. What started with saddles and mounting studs (both made in the USA by TiSonix) expanded into a full titanium Floyd Rose rig for one guitar. So now every guitar I own is fitted with titanium parts to one degree or another.
The Floyd Rose titanium locking nut is something I’d been eyeballing for some time. And then you wonder if the value validates the cost. Let me tell you… if you want a reliable locking nut that is precision crafted, clarifies your tone and increases sustain… then, yes… the value is more than validated.
You get an entire assembly. Nut, nut blocks, block screws and all the screws needed to mount behind the neck or on top of the nut shelf. So, yeah, everything you need. At first look, you can see that it’s a precision crafted piece of titanium. Lines are precise.
Speaking of precise, I’m the sort of dude that wants to be thorough for you, gentle reader. So I pulled out the calipers and referred to the established specs. The TiSonix titanium locking nut is dead-on to spec. Many of us that have dealt with out-of-spec parts for our double-locking tremolos can appreciate that level of detailed dedication. Go ahead, click on that photo. Check out the fit of the nut clamp blocks. Look at the properly defined string channels. Hint: you will want to remember that here in a minute. LOL!
It installed like a champ. The first one went on a Charvel MIJ Pro-Mod San Dimas, which already has titanium mounting screws and titanium saddles. A quick review of the action and intonation and I was off and running. As with all my existing experience with titanium, it opened up the tone. Titanium doesn’t “take” or “rob” the energy of the strings. It allows your guitar do more of what it intends to do. It doesn’t enhance, as much as it gets out of the way. Some people think it brightens the tone. It seems to me that it replaces parts that were soaking tone out of the guitar. More about my thoughts on tremolo metals HERE.
Chords have definition and roar with added resonating sustain. If tapped and pinched harmonics could squeal any more or any longer, it would be from the satisfaction in how they don’t just pop out so much more pronounced… but also in how they sing so long that you’ll think you have a sustainer built in to your guitar.
“But… nut material doesn’t matter once you fret a note!” Alright, alright. You can stop laughing. Yes, I hear people say that. Aside from why people pay for bone nuts over plastic, just try this: hit a chord and reach over with your picking hand to feel the headstock. Is it vibrating? Well, of course it is. Think about that for a second when you encounter someone suggesting that nut material doesn’t matter.
How does it stay in tune? I ran it through my ups and downs. Then I found a buddy that eats locking trem systems for snacks and let him abuse it for a while (side note: he’s since bought several). I found it to stay in tune exceptionally well. That gives total confidence of coming back from a dive bomb or a Dime/Vai-ish squeal to an in-tune guitar. One of the first ones to use these titanium locking nuts was Eddie, who got over 30 to take on the 2007 VH reunion tour.
A little more on tuning stability from a locking nut. Floyd was very clear from his earliest design: the nut clamp blocks need to fill up that channel. A nut clamping block that is too small can shift when being locked down. That is uncool. Floyd took that same idea to task on these high-precision titanium parts. With that in mind, let’s take a peek at this lame copy-cat titanium nut on the loose in the market (you can click for large version):
Egad! How does an item with that many design flaws get in the market?
Those string channels are ginormous! Evel Knieval couldn’t jump the extra space left in those string channels! Look at all the slop around those poor-fitting nut clamp blocks. The gap between the nut and the fretboard is problematic. And I’ve seen that same gap in other copy-cat locking nuts from that same source. Check out my article on Trem Hot-Rodding & Upgrading for a reference to some common metal tensile strength found in trem parts. Floyd’s TiSonix titanium comes in with at least 165 KSI. I am not aware of that spec for any of the copy cat titanium out there.
AND that sad looking copy cat locking nut is 15% HIGHER in cost than the Official Floyd Rose titanium locking nut. You know that I don’t make it a habit to go off like that, but I know I am displeased when I got conned by a snake oil sales tactic. So I’d not like to see it happen to anyone else.
Finally, check out this. If you want your titanium locking nut to match your other hardware, they can also be made with a plasma application process in ‘Aural Gold’ and ‘Diamond Black’
Take that money you were going to throw away on a stomp box that alters your tone and will be in your junk drawer within a year. Make a solid investment in a part that will unleash the tone that’s already in your guitar and waiting to get out.