Floyd Rose Tremolo Arm: Old VS New

Floyd Rose Old Style Tremolo Arm Housing
Floyd Rose Old Style Tremolo Arm Housing

Who else likes the Old Style Tremolo Arm for the Floyd Rose?  Come on, fess up.  I know I’m not alone.

First off, Old Style.  It’s sometimes referred to as the screw-in type.  That’s the one with the washers and nuts mounted on the baseplate that allows the Tremolo Arm to screw in.  You know, the original design.  Then there’s New Style.  Which is the option with the collar that lets you mount and adjust the arm without the need for the wrench.

Maybe you can already tell that I’m a little opinionated on this topic?  LOL!  Well, pretty much.

For starters, my first guitar came with a Floyd.  And not to give away my advanced age (HaHa!), it did have the Old Style Tremolo Arm.  It’s all that was available at the time.  A few years later, the Tremolo Arm with the collar came out.  Make no mistake, it’s a novel idea.  There are players that like the ability to remove the arm when stashing the guitar in a case after a gig.

Those early New Style Tremolo Arms were alright.  Especially by comparison to the ones that have been coming out lately.  Still, I do remember the first time one locked up on me.  The collar would totally loosen, but the arm would not come out.  It’s nice that the design of the Floyd Rose allows for the entire Tremolo Arm assembly to be removed from the base plate and replaced – because that’s what had to be done.

Over time, Floyd came out with the Asian-made 1000 and Special series.  Concerns with the New Style Tremolo Arms on these are often reported as magnified, possibly due to quality issues that commonly accompany lower price points.  The most common complaint about the New Style has to do with the collar.  It just has a hard time staying tight.  When loose, the arm can swing around out of place.  This is where it gets into an issue or preference.  Depending on the playing style, some players are just fine with the Tremolo Arm swinging loose.  Others want it securely in place, ready for action.

A significant benefit of the Tremolo Arm being more tightly put in place has to do with the “feel” of the arm.  This can be the “feel” of the greater control of the tremolo.  Or it can be with the “feel” of the physical resonance that comes through a tight-fitting Tremolo arm.

A tighter arm is also a big deal to the players that like some flutter in their Floyd.  Brad Gillis is an ideal example of that.

My conversations with other players have revealed that the preference for the Old Style Tremolo Arm goes all the way up to the artist level.  Steve Stevens (Billy Idol, Vince Neil, Atomic Playboys) cited the New Style collar Tremolo Arm as a reason for not having as much interest in the Floyd Rose Titanium Tremolo System when it originally came out.  Thankfully, TiSonix made an early improvement and the Titanium Tremolo System has had a tight-fitting Tremolo Arm for quite some time.

Now, Floyd Rose is aware of the “loose” factor with the New Style Tremolo Arms.  They advise people to use some teflon tape (i.e., plumber’s tape) on the threads.  A common experience is that it loosens up again rather quickly.  Floyd Rose knowing about the concern enough to have a MacGyver for it makes me wonder if I should be charging them back for all the New Style arms that I’ve replaced with Old Style arms.  LOL!

Another tell-tale sign of the greatness of the Old Style Tremolo Arm is that it appears on the Original Limited 1984 Tremolo System.  I have a few of the 1984 systems and they are worth the extra couple of bucks.

On the flip side, there’s also the relatively new Push-In Style Tremolo Arm (pictured in the banner image).  Not having tried these, I cannot comment.  But it would be interesting to take one for a spin.

However, I don’t imagine the New Style Tremolo Arm is going anywhere any time soon.  How else would Floyd be able to sell you the Turbo Trem Arm?  HaHa!  A word to the wise on upgrades: stick with the Floyd Rose brand.  If for no other reason that it maintain the integrity of the warranty of your Floyd Rose unit.

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