Security of String Hold/Fastening and String Breakage
For some unknown reason, Kahler systems have string hooks that fasten the ball end of the string where you have to leave the ball on the string. I don’t necessarily mind this, but as a result, certain strings tend to break more, so if you don’t want to get into soldering, it is advised to either buy GHS or SLT strings which are wound stronger around the area of the ball end. On any other string brand, such as d’addario, it is highly recommended to apply solder near the ball end of the string, and a tiny bit in and around the ball. And all strings must be bent about 35 degrees (not 45) near the ball end for it to nicely curve onto the curved cam.
On the floyd and most floyd licensed systems (with some exceptions), the ball end is snipped off and the mechanism locks the string in place. This does not require the need for soldering. But there is also a disadvantage to this… if you whale away on the whammy bar all the time, I have seen strings break right at the bend point coming out of the fastener spot I have described. Snipping the string is also annoying but not quite as effort-requiring as the soldering (but you get very fast at the soldering with practice).
For this, I decide it is fair to judge this category to be a tie, with both the Kahler and the Floyd scoring an 8.5
String Breakage Part 2
If you break a string on a kahler, during a live performance it is not nearly as catastrophic as breaking a string on an FR. On a kahler the strings go out of tune by about 10 cents if you break a thinner string, and about 20-40 cents for the breakage of thicker strings, which can be temporarily compensated for by way of the wonderfully sensitive fine tuners where you open your palm and swipe all the fine tuners up to bring all the other strings back to within a closer temperament and allowing you to continue playing the other strings used in the song. This takes a bit of practice but you get used to it and if you are in a touring act you should practice with a clipper on each individual string… one string at a time to see how much to rub your palm up on the fine tuners.
On an FR, 1) the breaking of any string is catastrophic and you cannot play the rest of the song because it go very far out of tune, even up to over a half step out for the breakage of the thicker top strings… (70-120 cents off) and what makes it worse the fine tuners have much less torque and less accuracy than the kahler fine tuners… simply not enough torque to be able to swipe your palm upwards in one quick movement to bring it back to any acceptable tuning.. and regardless all the strings go whey out of tune in various degrees relative to the proper tuning anyways so it is not salvageable.
Dive Bomb or Pull tuning stability.
The kahler is perfect and does not go out of tune after heavy whammy action and even releasing massive flutters. Whammy abuse and mayhem will lead to variation of a couple cents. You can whale away all day on it and be very pleased.
Most Floyd roses go out of tune after moderate Whammy activity...
Only the most expensive high end Floyd Roses stay in relatively tune well… but not nearly as stable as a kahler after long whaling away of wild whammy activity... either for dive bombs or wild pulls and vibratos because there is too long of a chain of elements all the way to the back of the body that go out of whack on an FR after a few minutes of massive whaling away. As for the rest of the floyd roses and floyd rose licensed bridges I have played.. they go horribly out of tune after a couple dive bombs. and all the other low end licenced floyds and Ibanez floating systems are dreadful and go right out of tune after any whammy activity.
Even the cheaper quality Kahler x-trems that come with the Entry level Kerry King B.C. Rich guitar (which is the model used in the erroneous video) still stay in tune much better than any floating system if set up properly. The difference is like the sun and the moon.
High end FR only: 8
Low end FR: 4
Since there is no large routing needed for the Kahler except for a tiny cavity to allow for lowering of the bottom of the cam, a lot of the tonal quality of the guitar’s wood is kept. In addition, the saddles with the rollers are part of the bridge mounted solidly to the wood. This is why much of the tone is also kept. It is allowing for more of the wood resonance to cut through the tone. And the brass and stainless steel rollers have very rich harmonics – giving you the long trailing harmonics. (Can be taken advantage of augmented with a heavy compression before distortion). This is why slayer outros sound amazing. (They both use Kahlers by the way).
On a FR, much of the guitar’s tone is dried up due to a huge routing through the whole body, and strings not getting much of the wood’s sounds… but as for harminics some FRs of high quality have more harmonics than others, depending on hardware metal.
Kahlers with brass rollers have ok sustain and Kahlers with stainless steel rollers have great sustain lasting longer than the brass rollers.
Floyd Roses also depend on the metal the hardware is made of for sustain amount, but they have a bit more sustain than Kahlers due to the resonance of the big springs chained to the big mechanism. But this slightly longer sustain time is negligible, and regardless, the resonance causing any extra sustain is in every other situation a huge noise disadvantage and will need heavy dampening anyways as we will see in the next point.
Floyd Rose Sustain: 9.5
Kahler 7/10 with brass rollers, and 9/10 with stainless steel rollers.
Kahlers are dead quiet.
The activity inside the deep chasm in the big routing of a floyd rose-equipped electric guitar can often sound like a spring reverb unit., and other systems have less apparent noise, but still unacceptable and are heard live and in recordings. . This noise problem resonating throughout the entire bridge leads to the need to dampen the springs at the back by fitting in a piece neoprene or any similar closed cell foam compound, which can lead to slight tuning variations after spring movement with the arm.
There is a myth going around about when you bend a string on a kahler, the string goes noticeably flat. This is blatantly false.No tuning alteration exists whatsoever with each saddle adjusted to the right height. Zero problems here unless you do not learn the right setup procedure of Kahlers.
(remember, they are 6 way saddles). Any alteration means the unstretched strings are still stretching as would apply on any guitar in the world).
In the Kahler vs, Floyd part 2 youtube video where the guy has out of tune flat strings resulting from bending on a kahler, his rollers are adjusted too high (especially on the G string) causing high friction in the rollers (which at that height can still be improved by applying 3-in on oil in the tiny roller mechanism if you want it that high), but those rollers are not supposed to be past ten o’clock for optimal operation, and therefore there is never noticeable bending issues on properly set up kahlers.. and there is never supposed to be an issue. Strings stay in tune even after bending within 2 cents. That issue is non-existent on a proper setup and that is the most misleading part about that video.
The flat problem was exagerated into a myth making people avoid kahlers.
On a floyd, there is also no bending problem.
Tremolo Arm Range
With a kahler there is over 50% more torque due to the design of the cam system, allowing for deeper dives and higher pulls. Just try it. It is also more effortless.
On most floyd roses there is much less range due to the less torque coming from a long and superfluous chain of pieces thugh the large route in the body. But some FRs have a little more torque than others.
A kahler with a light spring set feels very soft and smooth. But I have all mine upgraded to heavy springs so I can get longer lasting flutter as discussed next. But the feel of the Kahler regardless of any spring set you decide on is much smoother and much more accurate.
Only the highest end FRs are almost as smooth as a Kahler, but not quite, but the noise in most is ugly.
To be concluded in Part C...