Tech Tips

Locking Tremolo Intonation Tools

Alright, guys and gals. Gonna flat out lay down the skinny that this is a rough evaluation to throw out there. Why? I have tried and tried and just couldn’t get these products to meet the expectation that I had at the time purchase. But… I know I’m not the only person on this rock, so I’m throwing it out there to you cats to make up your own mind. Sound fair?

There are two (yes, count them – 2!) products being covered in the article. How’s that for value?! And they both pretty much do the same thing. Technically speaking, yes there are differences. So please don’t blow up my inbox with cries of inaccuracies. HaHa! But the approach is identical.

SkyScraper Pick Pocket Intonation Tool
SkyScraper Pick Pocket Intonation Tool

One is the SkyScraper Guitars Pick Pocket Intonation Tool. It goes for $30 plus shipping and is based in the US. The other is the Red Bishop Accu-Locator, which is shipped out of Japan for $39 plus shipping.

Both tools straddle the fine tuner, with one end clamping in on the whale tail and the other settling in to the saddle slot. The saddle mounting screw is loosened, allowing for adjustments to dial in the intonation. Tighten the saddle mounting screw and you should be good.

Here are the difference between the two:

The SkyScraper tool is pretty much intended for the real Floyd Rose* and most licensed versions, with the exception of the Ibanez Edge. The Pick Pocket Intonation Tool is also fairly simple in design, allowing less room for operator error. You will need to use an Allen wrench to make the intonation adjustment on the business end of the tool.

Here’s a video of the SkyScraper product in action, with the Pick Pocket tool coming in at about 1:25:

My personal taste would be to check intonation in the playing position, but I’m not gonna tell you guys (and gals) how to live your life. LOL!

The Red Bishop Accu-Locator is engineered to the hilt. This allows it to fit on more products, as well as providing a handy knurled thumb wheel. On a basic level, I tend to operate by the ‘the more you overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the toilet’ principle. Although we are talking about guitar players that can set up a double-locking floating tremolo, we are still talking about guitar players. HaHa!

Red Bishop Accu-Locator

If we flash back a moment ago, to the whole thing where I prefer to check intonation from the playing position. Yeah, that can risk being a little problematic with a tool as top heavy as the Accu-Locator. But it is a single tool that can operate on the Floyd Rose, the Schaller, the Gotoh 1996T, the Ibanez Edge, Lo-Pro Edge, and more.

So what’s my beef? Well, I tried these tools multiple times on a few guitars across a few weeks. Yes, I watched that video and I even spoke to an artist that is having good luck with one of these products. However, I keep having issues with the step that involves tightening the saddle mounting screw.

The deal is that the strings should be at tension. This means you have to move the tightened string over to get the wrench in there to lock down the saddle mounting screw. Every attempt had the slightest shift or movement to the saddle that resulted the intonation being less than perfect as it was just prior to trying to tighten the screw. Basically, the tools get it perfect and locking it down would nudge it out.

The whole point of these tools is to get it tweaked in perfect with the most controlled adjustments available. As such, I wasn’t looking for ‘close but no cigar’ and I wasn’t interested in accounting for the shift and adjusting for it. But in all fairness, I think that as much of the situation rests with the saddle mounting screw being directly below the string.

Another caveat to consider is that I’m setting up with the Peterson iStroboSoft app that accounts for accuracy down to a fraction of a cent. That means you’re already getting way more hyper anal-retentive than your old school Boss TU-12 analog tuner. That means that the OCD approach of a super accurate digital tuner might not even be a factor to some of the other options for tuners that are available. So there’s that.

I do like the concept and I will keep on working at it as time allows. It’s been about 6 weeks so far, but maybe it’s the Lucky 7 that will have the big payoff. HaHa!

Should you try one? Come on, man, you’re an adult. LOL! Live your own life. HaHa! However, if I were to go with only one, I’d stick with the SkyScraper brand. It’s a little more idiot-proof, the shipping time is shorter, they offer instructional content on the website, they were quick to reply and polite when I had a question about the product, and you can buy it direct (vs eBay for the Accu-Locator).

The big takeaway here is that there is more than one way to skin a cat. What works for one person may or may not work for the next. You have to find the tune that works for you and just hum along.

SkyScraper Guitars Website | Facebook | YouTube

Red Bishop Accu-Locator via eBay

Floyd Rose Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

*Floyd Rose is a registered trademark of Floyd Rose Marketing. No endorsement by Floyd Rose is assumed or implied.