ZR Downshifter Installed - Jemsite
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-17-2011, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Central Coast California
Posts: 217
Reviews: 9
ZR Downshifter Installed

Just wanted to provide some information for people like me that had some question about the Downshifter.

First I have to say that Rich's service is stellar. He was a way for a while, but still answered all my emails in a reasonable time. The when he returned home he shipped it immediately and it arrived much faster then I expected. Thank you so much.

The Downshifter is easy to install. Remove the lower E fine tuner and remove the small washer (be careful not to lose it). Install the small washer on the bottom of the new Downshifter (may not be neccessary but it will keep it safe) screw and thread the Downshifter assembly into where you removed the fine tuner. Tune the guitar. Done. It is not tricky, it is that simple.

You can use the new barrel to tune the guitar (like a fine tuner) you do not need a screw drive to turn the screw the barrel holds the screw in place. Basically the barrel is notched so that the screw will either ride high or low in the barrel depending on the screws orientation (see photos). So turning the barrel turns the screw.

Operation? OK. The barrel make it easy to tune the string, IMO easier then the normal fine tuner. Changing to Drop D does require tuning adjustments. With the ZPS the other strings will stay pretty close or maybe perfectly in tune. The low E, now D will need to be tuned. This also means you will need to tune when you go out of drop d. It does not have a set screw like the D-tuna to fine tune the drop tuning. This a great feature of the D-tuna, when setup right it drops perfectly, everytime. To change from E to D or D to E you either press down on the barrel or the saddle and turn 1/4 turn to allow the Dowshifter screw to be locate in the higher or lower spot of the barrel. It is a very, very basic device.

It work goods given its design and I do not really notice it is there when playing. IT looks Ok, but not nearly as sleek as the normal tuner. I think that Rich's clunky comment is more about its how you change to drop.

Now, I installed this on a 2011 model ZR. I have noticed two things; my E fine tuner removes easily compared to the others and it appears to have a much longer thread. I can go from E to D using the fine tuner and I have plenty of adjustment left (not a ton, but enough).

I would recommend the Downshifter if you can not get to drop D or you just need more tuning room. It functions fine, but it is not a D-tuna.

Downshifter Barrel and screw. Notice the groove inside the barrel, this is where the screw slides in to drop the tuning.

Downshifter screw, note the tabs that slide in the barrel


Normal fine tuner and assembled Downshifter.


Last edited by fly_with_v; 03-17-2011 at 05:29 PM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-17-2011, 09:16 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 25,566
Re: ZR Downshifter Installed

By clunky I meant, for $20 it could have been a much better machined part that had a higher quality feel to it. As it is, it works [as far as dropping the pitch within fine tune range], but just doesn't feel as good or precise as it could while doing it.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 03:18 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2
Re: ZR Downshifter Installed

Im going to try and make one of these. (wish me luck )

Ive heard that Rich hasn't got anymore of these in stock atm.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 07:46 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Fairfax, VA - USA
Posts: 4,612
Reviews: 18
Re: ZR Downshifter Installed

At a glance, it would look to me like that barrel should go the other way.... Unfortunately, it isn't so.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-06-2011, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Central Coast California
Posts: 217
Reviews: 9
Re: ZR Downshifter Installed

If you are going to try a make one I would suggest finding a way to have a set screw to adjust the amopunt of drop. I have used the D-tuna and it is by far superior. The D-tuna has a set screww that allows you to adjust the amount of drop, and it is very accurate when setup properly. When dropping with the Downshifter the drop is not very accurate and require a little adjustment. I am not sure how this could work with the current design.

All that being said, even with the ZPS installed you have to tune all your string anyway. The D-tuna on the EVH with its completely decked bridge requires little to no retuning when dropped.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-11-2011, 06:35 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2
Re: ZR Downshifter Installed

Ive heard that you can use the actual fine-tuning screw to drop the low E string. This involves tightening the screw all the way down when you are setting the bridge up. Then, when you want to drop-tune you just loosen the fine-tuning screw.

Thats probably a little slow when on stage but its an option I suppose. Id still like to invent something like the D-Tuna for the ZR lol.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-21-2013, 02:38 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: france
Posts: 2
Re: ZR Downshifter Installed

I give a "little" up to the subject. I've just bought the ZR downshifter (thanks to Rich) and I put it on my guitar.
In my opinion there's some things that's haven't been told about this little piece.
-First, the question of staying in tune while changing position from standard to drop:
If you have configured the zr with the zero point system (instead of configure it in a floating way) the other strings stay in tune.

It works so well that when I installed the Downshifter, the others strings have totally stayed in tune.
-Maybe that's because I'm not an english speaker but I find that the configuration is not so clear about having both a good E tuning an a good D tuning.
First with the downshifter in the standard position, you can use the barrel to perfectly tune the string.

Then change to the drop position. Now to tune the string, you need to maintain the barrel (to let the fine-tuning in the right position ) and with a screwdriver you'll have to screw or unscrew to obtain the right tune in this position.
With that you have a perfect tune both in standard position and in drop position.

-If you have the opportunity I think it could be a good thing to use a rubber washer a little more thick. It's to help the system to keep in the vertical position

-I chosed to screw the barrel as much as I can with giving just the space necessary to drop (and tune with the mecanic). I also chosed to always screw from right to left when using the downshifter.
Because first you have to pusch the barrel and then screw it to change the tune. If you do it too fast, you may move the fine tuning position.

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d-tuna , zr downshifter

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