FLOYD ROSE TREMOLOS FOR LEFT HANDED GUITARS

There are a number of tremolo models by Floyd Rose, with the higher end ones made in Germany (Original Floyd Rose models) and the budget ones made in Korea (1000 series and Special series.) The only genuine Floyd Rose left handed tremolo available is the German-made OFR model. There are other licensed makers of Floyd Rose tremolos (Japanese and Korean) and there are some illegal Chinese knock-offs. Price is an accurate representation of authenticity.

 

I am a big fan of Floyd Rose tremolos and I am very familiar with the OFR, Schaller and Gotoh versions.

If you are keen on having a floating tremolo for your build then here are your choices:

 

Original Floyd Rose FRT 100L

 

This is the left handed version of the original OFR tremolo and is available in chrome, satin chrome, black, gold, black nickel, vintage copper and satin pearl. The 100 series is made in Germany and is the flagship model. It comes standard with a 42mm block which is quite deep. The base is stamped "Floyd Rose" on the opposite side of the tremolo arm hole. These are much harder to find than the Schaller branded versions. The only other Floyd Rose original that is available left handed is the 1000 series EVH model which is made in Korea and is available only as an OEM option. No Gaskell guitars are optioned with the EVH model.

Schaller Floyd Rose

 

Made in Germany, the Schaller Floyd Rose tremolo is identical to the Original Floyd Rose tremolo, reason being that Schaller makes both OFR and Schaller brand models. Left handed Schaller Floyd Rose tremolos are available in nickel, chrome, satin chrome, ruthenium, satin pearl, and vintage copper finishes. All parts between the Schaller and the OFR tremolo are interchangeable. These have "Schaller" stamped on one side of the base and "Made in Germany by Schaller" on the other side of the base. Schaller Floyd Rose units sell for around $450-500.

Although initially unavailable in left hand, the Schaller LockMeister® Tremolo is now available in left hand, in chrome. The LockMeister is an improved version of the original and retails for around $450.

Gotoh GE1996T

 

Gotoh tremolos are made in Japan and are said to be the best of the licensed Floyd Rose tremolos. Some people say they like them better than the OFR/Schaller originals. Gotoh have been making them since 1986. Being Japanese, all sizes and measurements are Metric. Gotoh also makes the Ibanez EDGE III and EDGE Pro tremolos which are Ibanez OEM models. The unit comes in three block sizes (depth) 33mm, 36mm and 40mm. 40mm is the standard depth of the block. Gotoh offers a different type of colour for their black tremolos, including the GE1996T, called Cosmo Black (CK) which is actually finished in a light black chrome colour rather that standard black. Gotoh introduced this finish due to the environmentally friendly ROHS legislation, which prevents the use of certain metallic processes including those used in producing dark black plating. Gotoh tremolos are stamped with "High Stability Tremolo System" on the claw and "Gotoh Japan" on the base on the other side of the hole for the tremolo arm. 

 

Personally, I really like the Gotoh Floyd Rose. To me, they set up a bit easier than the OFR/Schallers. There are some small cosmetic differences between the OFR/Schaller originals and the Gotoh but they are essentially still the same.

Ibanez Edge, Lo-Pro, Edge Pro, Edge Pro II, Edge III, Edge Zero, Edge Zero II

 

Ibanez have had a number of different Floyd Rose licensed tremolos for decades. The original model, the Ibanez Edge, was made by Gotoh as an OEM supplier to Ibanez in 1986. It was not the same as Gotoh's own licensed Floyd Rose. A lower-profile version called the Lo-Pro was also released in 1991. By 1992, the Lo-Pro became the standard tremolo for all high-end Ibanez guitars. Starting in 1997 select high-end RG models reverted back to the original Edge including lefty models RGR580L (2001-2002) and RG570L (2002–2004.) 

 

From 2003 the Edge and Lo-Pro were replaced by the Edge Pro, also made by Gotoh. The Edge Pro was made until 2009 and was fitted to Ibanez's Japanese-made Prestige line (RG2570EXL, RG1550M, RG1570) and most Ibanez Signature models. The Edge Pro was a different design, but still based on the Floyd Rose. Left handed model numbers were 2ELJ11LK (Cosmo black), 2EL1J11LG (gold), and 2EL1J11LPC (powder Cosmo) and were used on the RG1570L (2003-2008.) The left handed JS variant was available in chrome only. The Edge Pro proved to be unpopular with some players eliciting many complaints about tuning stability. Eventually Ibanez reintroduced the original Edge and Lo-Pro Edge in 2010.

While the high-end guitars were being made with the Edge Pro, Ibanez's mid-level Ibanez guitars (not made in Japan) were fitted with the Edge Pro II tremolo, also by Gotoh, but manufactured in Korea. Lefty Ibanez models fitted with the Edge Pro II were the 2003-2004 Korean-made RG320FML and 2004-2005 Korean-made RG370DXL. The Edge Pro II looks like the Edge Pro but is constructed of a different metal alloy. The Edge III, introduced in 2005, eventually replaced the Edge Pro II and was also used on Ibanez's mid-level guitars including the USA-only RG5EX1L, and the ongoing RG370DXL series which continued to be made in Indonesia from 2005-2010.

In 2008 Ibanez introduced the Edge Zero with ZPS3 Zero-point tuning stabilizer tremolo which is made in China. The Edge Zero brought back the locking studs from the original Edge tremolo and was fitted to the Japanese Prestige models. The lefty version, model 2TRX5AE005, was available only in Cosmo black and was fitted to the RG2550ZL (2009, 2013-2014), RG1570ZL (2010), RG1550MZL (2010-2011), and RG8570ZL (2015-2017, 2019.) One complaint with the Edge Zero is that it lacks the steel backing plate for the fine tuner screws which was a feature of the earlier designs; this change means that the fine tuners are threaded directly into the more brittle zinc alloy of the tremolo body which with even general use can cause this brittle metal to crack.

 

In 2011 Ibanez released the Edge Zero II which was available with or without the ZPS3Fe system, for mid-level guitars and to replace the Edge III. The Left-handed Edge Zero II with ZPS3Fe was available in black (2TRX5AF006) or Cosmo black (2TRX5AF008) and the left handed Edge Zero II with spring hook was available only in black (2TRX5AD032.) Lefty models included the 2013-2014 RG950QMZL. The Edge III which was phased out and finally discontinued in 2017, replaced by Ibanez's own Floyd Rose-based tremolo, the Standard DL tremolo which was introduced in 2013. As with the Edge III this tremolo is fitted to mid-level and budget guitars made in Indonesia or China such as the left handed RG450DXBL which has been made since 2015 and the entry-level left handed Steve Vai Signature JEMJRL which has been made since 2016.

After it's reintroduction in 2010 the original Edge tremolo was used on the following left handed Ibanez guitars: Steve Vai Signature JEM7VL from 2011-2013, J-Custom line RG8570ZL from 2015–2017, Prestige Series RG655L from 2016-2017, RG652AHML from 2016-2019, 30th Anniversary JEM777L in 2017, RG652MPBL in 2017, RGR652AHBL in 2018, and the Ibanez RG550L reissue from 2018-2020. 

The original left handed Lo-Pro tremolo is fitted to the 2020 Prestige line RG5320L.

 

None of the Edge tremolos have been available for public purchase as they are strictly an Ibanez OEM product, however sometimes they come up on eBay or Reverb Nation, either as new units that were swapped out for a Gotoh Floyd Rose which is a straight swap-in replacement; or for other, usually unstated, reasons. 

"Licensed Under Floyd Rose Patents."

All Legacy Gaskells that were fitted with a Floyd Rose tremolo (2008-2012) were fitted with a licensed  OEM unit made in Korea. The company that makes these units is a major OEM manufacturer of guitar hardware and electronics for a number of international guitar brands and the units fitted to the Gaskells were the highest quality. This tremolo is identified by the stamping on the claw: "Licensed Under Floyd Rose Patents." The design is a copy of the Gotoh version Floyd Rose. At that time the Chinese weren't making good hardware and for their higher quality guitars they were importing almost everything from Korea which was the world leader of OEM guitar parts for 30 years. In all the years of making guitars with these OEM tremolos I never received a single complaint about them and my personal experience with them is that these units are excellent, extremely well-made, and can take quite a lot of punishment. I have one on my personal Gaskell CONCORD. It's still going strong after 10 years and I have gigged hard with that guitar. I could have easily put a Gotoh or a Schaller in it, but my point is: I really didn't need to! The Legacy Gaskell tremolos came in chrome, gold, or black. Even the gold ones were very nice, unlike otherwise cheaply made gold-finish metal products where the gold comes off pretty quickly. These units exceeded expectations for the price point of the guitars.

 

The Chinese eventually produced their own copy of this tremolo and these are the ones that you can buy very easily today on eBay or AliExpress for around $40-50 each and are branded as "Litian Century." These are almost identical to the Legacy Gaskell tremolos. The Chinese units have a 34mm block, and are identified by the stamping on the claw: "Licensed Under Floyd Rose Pats." (the word "Patents" is abbreviated.) I am not sure about the longevity of these "eBay Floyd Roses" but they look pretty good. Only time will tell there. Gaskell guitars and basses are now fully hand-built, custom shop guitars and we use either Schaller or Gotoh units for our own builds. 

Original Floyd Rose FRT100L tremolo made in Germany by Schaller.jpg
Schaller left-handed Floyd Rose tremolo
Gotoh GE1996T Floyd Rose tremolo
Ibanez Edge tremolo made by Gotoh
Ibanez Lo Pro lefty tremolo.jpg
Ibanez Edge Zero tremolo
Gaskell OEM Floyd Rose 2008-2012.jpg
"eBay Floyd Rose" made in China "Licensed Under Floyd Rose Pats."