Guitar Gadget Review

Tone Vise Keyless Locks

Do you have a locking nut?  Want a little less hassle?  Check out the Keyless Locks from Texas-based Tone Vise.

Tone Vise Keyless Locks Chrome
Tone Vise Keyless Locks Chrome

Back in the dark ages of the mid-80s, yours truly managed a real guitar fitted with the German Floyd Rose.  And it somehow made it out of the music store without any of the wrenches.  Don’t even ask how I worked it out!  LOL!  Thankfully, my mechanical abilities have fortunately improved in the countless years since then!  HaHa!  Yet it’s that very experience that makes me appreciate the Keyless Locks.

Tone Vise’s proprietor has been on the tech side of guitar for quite some time.  It’s also cool that the Keyless Locks and his other trem-related parts are gear that he started developing and machining his own self.  Forgive the snark factor, but that refreshing approach seems to be getting a little rare in the locking trem accessory market these days.

What do they do?

Do you have a double locking tremolo system?  That can be the Floyd Rose, or the Ibanez Edge, or the Schaller.  You get the idea.  Tone Vise even makes them for behind-the-nut Kahler options!  The Keyless Locks engages the nut clamp block without the need for the allen wrench.

You can’t throw a Marshall cab without hitting internet experts that somehow haven’t tried the product.  The Keyless Locks are no different!  HaHa!  As such, I put a few of the complaints of the have-never-used-it types to the test.

The most common comment that I notice is that you actually do need an allen wrench for the Keyless Lock.  All right.  You got me there.  Yes.  For the installation process, you do.  Once the Keyless Locks system is in place on the guitar, you do not.  That’s right.  No allen wrench is necessary for the regular operation of the Keyless Locks.  That’s what those handles are for.  Turn the handle and loosen the nut clamp block.

Tone Vise Keyless Locks Black
Tone Vise Keyless Locks Black
Getting it right

Another concern is that the Keyless Locks system impairs string changes.  Er… nope.  The system comes with a spring-loaded nut clamp block that lifts up when the lock is loosened.  Strings slide right under for changing purposes.  Or you can use the stock nut clamp block that comes with your locking trem system – as shown in the demo video.  It’s not like you’re going to let a loosened clamp block kick your ass and stop you from slipping a string beneath it.  Right?  LOL!

Tone Vise points out that little-to-no fine tuning is needed with the Keyless Locks.  Tone Vise also qualifies that is if your tremolo system is set up properly.  And -that is the part where a lot of people can’t haul the water.  I’m not here today to give a lesson in Floyd Rose setup, but having the proper height on the string tree is a big deal to how the strings react when the clamps lock.  Another side of that is how the Keyless Locks don’t twist the clamp blocks in the same way that regular allen wrench can.  Twisting clamp blocks is another cause of going out of tune when locking down the nut.

If we’ve gotten all that cleared up, let’s ease on down the road!

How well does it work?  Dude, it locks down the clamp blocks and thing stay in tune during trem usage.  Pretty simple.  And yes, there hardly a need to fine tune once it is clamped down.  You’re dealing with a locking nut.  Except now it’s simpler to get to the business end of things.


Wanna see what I just said in action?  Of course you do!  Check out this install demo video (video updated from Tone Vise Nov 2018):

Setup & Demo

So simple that even a guitar player can do it!  LOL!

Who Uses It?

Steve Vai, for one. You’ve heard of him, right? Check it out, starting at 1:20…

Thomas Nordegg explains Steve Vai Setup

Vai has Tone Vise Keyless Locks on multiple guitars, including the legendary “EVO” Ibanez Jem. You are also put in to play by Vic Johnson (Sammy Hagar) and Bill Leverty (Firehouse). Specifically, Bill Leverty is looking for opportunities to streamline technical needs before and during a show.

Tone Vise Keyless Locks Leverty
Bill Leverty (Firehouse)

The Keyless Locks are available directly from Tone Vise as well as on Allparts.  Check out the Tone Vise links for some of their other groovy items.

Would you be interested in a Pitch Shifter (de-tuner) that fits in a recessed cavity?  Or an intonation tool that lets you leave the balls on the string?  If you’re looking for handy and thought-out accessories for your Floyd style tremolo, check out Tone Vise.

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