The Drop-Shuttle is a de-tuner, or pitch shifter, from Red Bishop. You probably remember Red Bishop by the recent article on their most excellent Magik Arm. It is also a sister company to the universally-praised Luminlay glow-in-the-dark frets markers and side dots.
Players have been lowering the guitar’s tuning for generations now. Generally to help make the singer’s range a little more attainable. LOL! However, it’s only been a few decades now for guitarists to have access to a special option to drop just the single low string. Generally, that is to drop, or de-tune from E to D. Let’s talk about that for a second.
Which One Do I Need?
Excellent question! Red Bishop offers 2 (two!) models of the Drop-Shuttle.
The RBDT1 is for the more traditional tunings and string gauges. Let’s say your low string gauge is around 042-052. And you want to have a Drop D or a Drop C. This one is for you.
For those of you that are spelunking the depths of cavernous heavy tones, check out the RBDT2. It is for 052 and lower gauge strings. It’s design is more suitable for Drop A and lower. This would be the option for extended ranges like 7-string guitars, for example.
For this application, I’m obviously using a regular Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo system. Sorry, but the Drop-Shuttle isn’t currently available for the Ibanez Edge, Lo-Pro Edge, or the Gotoh 1996T. The guy behind this has a previous career with Ibanez, so I hope Red Bishop does release one for the Edge models. Let’s keep our fingers crossed! HaHa!
And since you know that I can push things to test some limits, I did try another tremolo system as well. I have a 30+ year old Washburn with the 600-S locking tremolo system on it. This system has been “blocked” for years from prior installation of a different de-tuner. The Drop-Shuttle fits the 600-S like it’s made for it and operates as-intended on this platform.
It installs as any other similar pitch shifter does. Remove the original screw and install the Drop-Shuttle with the included screw assembly.
And here comes the kicker! The adjustment point is right up on top! Super easy and fast access. You don’t have to come in from the side and risk dinging you guitar’s finish as you turn the wrench. It’s one of the ways that the Drop-Shuttle is just more thoughtfully engineered.
It works like a champ! Exactly what it is supposed to do in the way that you want it to do it! Let’s look at the stand-outs on this unit:
The tail, or fin, at the back end of the shuttle. It is hands-down all about function and making the transition super easy. How so? To drop the pitch, just push the fin back. You can do that on-the-fly with a natural ergonomic movement back toward the tail of the guitar. Pretty much the same to re-tune back up, in as much as a natural movement of the hand or finger(s). This is much more simple than having to reach down to find a slick, slippery nub that require an entire shift of the arm to pull back. When going back in to place, the fin also acts as a physical stop that you can feel so that you know it’s engaged.
And a real area of opportunity that I see a lot players discussing. The adjustment screw. Aside from being much more easily accessible on the Drop-Shuttle, it also stays put. There is no worry about the screw loosening or starting to ease out. That also means that your setup will stay in place on the Drop-Shuttle. Overall, the design is one for function and for putting the player first.
How About The Trem Recess
Some might ask if it will extend out past a tremolo recess cavity. Maybe it will or maybe it won’t. It depends on how your cavity is routed. What I can say is that while it obviously does stick out past the tail of the tremolo unit, the Drop-Shuttle is not as long as one of the other options out there.
The Red Bishop Drop-Shuttle is a thoughtful design and a professional execution. The stainless steel chassis construction is for perform and for longevity. The RBDT1 is available for your typical setup, while the RBDT2 is for your 7-string guitars and/or much lower tunings. The Drop-Shuttle can be purchased from options that include directly from Red Bishop and from Amazon.
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