Titanium saddles for the double-locking tremolo have been around for a few years now. Floyd Rose unveiled them at 2010 NAMM. They are made here in the US by TiSonix in California, a company that also makes a variety of titanium parts for guitars and it’s worth checking them out.
While tempting to go all-out and get a full titanium rig, I am more interested in the impact of each component to the equation. So all you’re seeing in the photo and what I am referring to here are the titanium saddles with titanium inserts. The guitar in the photo has since been upgraded with a full titanium rig.
Sonically speaking, my ears hear where titanium brings more clarity to the voicing of the guitar. Some people call it brightness, but I consider that when you clear things up they will sound brighter. So I take it back to the source, which in my opinion is the clarity that titanium brings. Depending on the type of bridge you are starting with, you might be swapping steel or zinc saddles for titanium. As such, you don’t have to be a physics major to conjure that you’ll get more sustain as well. There is just a more transparent metal at work, both sonically and physically.
Looking at the photo, you might see little nibs on the top of the saddle inserts. While I took it as a functional addition to allow better control of the insert for when aligning the screw hole, I came to learn it’s actually a remnant of the manufacturing process. So thank goodness for unintentional results, as I’d consider it a chore to have to line up that hole without it.
Installing the titanium saddles is no harder than taking the old one off and the new one on. I’d suggest being prepared to intonate, even if you match them up to the same spot. Never hurts to confirm intonation accuracy, right? Some of the measurements I took upon arrival indicated that there’s also the chance for a fraction of an MM variance in dimensions here and there. So if you’re super anal retentive about your action, you might want to be prepared for that adjustment as well.
From my experience with the saddles, I have to say any extra attention to detail during installation is worth it. Just consider a clearer tone and more sustain.
How does it sound? Come now, my opinions on titanium parts are pretty well documented. I have one full rig and 5 guitars with titanium saddles and titanium locking nuts. Several guitars have titanium spring claws and I believe I finally have them all fitted with titanium mounting machine studs. It’s a high-performance upgrade from the company that pioneered the locking tremolo as we know it. It’s like driving a Ferrari that makes the options drive like a Kia. I’m thrilled with the full titanium rig on my Charvel San Dimas, so it’s staying there. But I’m all ears if Floyd wants to send out a test unit for comparison on other guitars (wink/nudge).
As you check out the appearance, they really do blend right in with the chrome hardware. You can probably look around a bit and find photos online of titanium saddles on gold hardware. I have tried titanium saddles on black hardware as well and it looks cool. If you’re particular about the looks, it might be an issue, but it looks cool in any variation I’ve seen.
Take a look at them, detailed in this video:
When looking at titanium options for your locking trem needs, be certain to consider reputation. Floyd Rose is the original and has been providing locking tremolos to the pros (and hobbyist!) for over 35 years. TiSonix is considered the industry leader in the highest quality parts made from billet titanium. They have no issues sharing the quality and grade of titanium being used. Additionally, you’re getting that 100% authentic best quality at about $300 for the set.
The biggest push back that I hear about Floyd Rose titanium is that they are seldom in stock. Yeah, it’s a frustration. But it’s far more satisfying to get a superior product for over 60% less dough. Maybe that explains why they fly off the shelf so quickly.
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