Titanium parts for double locking tremolos seems to have a bit of an interesting reputation. Some of that has to do with when some aftermarket (i.e., not “official”) parts hit the market back around 2008. Those aftermarket parts were at costs that pretty much priced many players out of consideration of the upgrade. Thankfully, there is a response with an official Floyd Rose line of titanium parts that includes a full titanium rig.
Come on, why pay all that hard-earned dough on just a set of saddles when you can get a total titanium double locking tremolo rig for about the same range? Let me guess… you’re wondering if there’s a difference in craftsmanship or is it ‘another’ imported item? Last things first, it’s made right here in the USA by the nice people at TiSonix. You’ve seen my reviews of TiSonix products that include the Titanium ABR Bridge & Tailpiece. Let me say that in over 30 years or using and abusing Floyds, the specs on the parts from TiSonix have become so trusted as being beyond reproach.
As an example, when I upgraded from a regular Floyd to a titanium Floyd, I noticed some of the specs were off on the guitar. Simply put, the actions was different. I hear ya, nobody likes to have to totally tweak a guitar after you’ve got it all dialed in. But… the cause was a reason for celebration. I pulled the parts and took out the micrometer. And yes, the specs were the slightest different. However… a little research revealed that the titanium parts were the ones that were properly made to spec. TiSonix machines the titanium billet. The traditional Floyd Rose tremolo parts from the other series are cast. Now, you get what you pay for and the nice German-made series (such as the “original” and the “1984”) are clearly excellent products. It’s just that the titanium items are made in a way to appease the most demanding criteria.
I mean, look at the difference in this photo of two Floyd nuts. The top one is a machined R3 Titanium Series nut from TiSonix. The bottom one is a cast R3 nut off a Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas, loaded with a 1000 Series. Go ahead and click, we’ll be here when you get back.
With that, you can bet it was a simple swapping of one unit to the other – no special routing or anything like that. Screws are included to allow the locking nut to be mounted from the front or the back. A cool feature is the little screw in the trem claw for the ground wire that saves the trouble of soldering. Looking at the top of the saddle insert block, those little nubs at the top of each insert is perfect for lining up the string lock screws. Speaking of, the screws (string lock, saddle mount, fine tuning, and nut clamp) are not titanium at this time… but… I’ve heard they are making some as we speak, so keep an eye out.
Well, gentle readers, this is where it seems that so much of the confusion comes in to play. I’ve commented several times before about how titanium (and brass) can have an impact on tone and sustain. Pretty early on, someone suggested that titanium brightened up their guitar. I think that became an easy rationale for many players to not give it a chance… so as to not sound too cheap to spend a metric ton of cash on cables and stomp boxes and modeling amps, but not drop some money on improving the tone at the source. LOL!
It sounds great! The transparent nature of the titanium allows things to present themselves much more clearly than when muffled and suppressed by other materials found in your trem. One guy pined away that he heard that it sounds metallic. The metal bridge sounds metallic? haha! As far as I know, all locking trems are made of metal. It’s just the quality of the metal that we’re working with. There is more vitality and character with the titanium Floyd Rose. Imagine that you have a guitar that you know like the back of your hand… it feels great, but it just come shy of being your ideal go-to axe. You’d like a little more sparkle and punch and vigor. Give titanium a try.
Players that I know from hobbyist to artist levels have been upgrading to these titanium rigs. One artist I know has been using Floyds for over 30 years and has gotten to the point of having the locking saddles and locking nut as the bare minimum.
Here’s the best part: you don’t even have to dish out the bucks at once. You can buy the titanium parts a la carte. Maybe start with something like a titanium sustain block or titanium mounting studs. If you can’t swing $18 for a titanium spring claw, you’ve got the wrong hobby! LOL!
Finally, speaking of the titanium mounting studs. If you are upgrading from an existing Floyd, you’ll probably be swapping out the studs. There are less than ideal ways to pull the mounting stud inserts that I won’t discuss here. It can be a little troublesome, given that the thread pitch of the machine studs are custom and not really found down at the hardware store. But, if you have a tool like the Schatten Puller, there is a company that is making a part to help remove Floyd inserts safely – I’ll be letting you know when they hit the market.
Darth Phineas is a long time music industry insider who provides his readers with unbiased reviews on musical instrument and guitar gear. You can read more of his reviews and check out industry news on his Facebook community Darth Phineas, Twitter or his website is darthphineas.com