ZR Tremolo Setup Guide (PicStory, TONS of pics) ZRTremolo - Jemsite
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post #1 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Charlotte, NC
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ZR Tremolo Setup Guide (PicStory, TONS of pics) ZRTremolo

Well I've not found one on Jemsite, or really anywhere else for that matter. Iíd like to offer mine. The difficulty here is the search function character limit that cuts out "ZR" from searches, thus I have included "ZRTremolo" in the title in hopes that those persistent enough will search for that, and find this.
Btw: ZRTremolo, Zero Resistance, Zero Point, ZRBridge. Lol did I get em all?

Anyhow heres the deal. My S470DXQM is my first Ibanez, and my first fully floating tremolo (backstops aside). Iíve used many, but this is the first Iíve owned and setup. Today I did a string change on it for the first time, and would like to share it for the benefit of others. True, this isn't a full setup as it does not include intonation and truss rod, etc. But hey, intonation adjustments are a given on the ZR, I mean literally, it comes w/ an intonation tool!
Anyhow, this setup focuses on the nuances of string changing on the ZR, and includes removing an old set of strings, a brief yet thorough cleanup, and well, restringing. It is geared towards floyd beginners (like myself), and well, anyone interested in the ZR, as well as anyone who likes guitar pics, I hope it's well received!

Alright, so today we're taking Mr.S470, and removing the old 9s...

...and putting on some toneful 10s!

Alright first step, finding something with which to block the trem. This can be mildly difficult with the ZR, as the space you have on the underside of the trem before the fine tuners come down is quite small. Also, the overall amount of space under the rear of the trem is smaller than that of Edge/LoPro, in other words, you can't very well fit a bottle cap under there. I picked around, tried a few things, and ended up with a AAA battery, which looked to be about right. Down the whammy bar and in it goes.

To test it, just do a whammy pull-up see where the trem stops. Once thatís sorted out, your ready to begin. Go ahead and unlock the locking nut, making sure to recite "righty tighty lefty lucy" before doing so as to avoid doing something stupid (guilty). Start winding down strings, and as the trem falls, your trem block will get the real test.

^ could that have worked out any better? I think not, AAAs ftw!
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post #2 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Charlotte, NC
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Re: ZR Tremolo Setup Guide (PicStory, TONS of pics) ZRTremolo

Now to get those strings unlocked. Here the ZR differs from other Ibz trems, as far as part location goes. The allen key holes sit at an angle on top of the saddles. This angle is probably the only frustrating part of the ZR setup, as the allen wrench just doesn't want to cooperate. Just make sure you use the long end of the wrench, so you only have to insert once per key hole (ignore the fact that I didnít, lmfao). Anyhow, give it a good 1/2 turn...

Öand watch out for projectile string lock blocks when pulling out strings! #4 almost took me out.

Anyhow, getting the strings off. After you have unlocked and removed them from the bridge, cut the strings near the nut, but not behind it. This way you wont have to pull the kinked string ends through the nut and risk scratching the first fret.

On a side note, if you liked the performance of the previous strings and want to replicate the way it was tied around the post (for whatever reason) be sure to take note of it when you undo and remove the strings.

^This one was done in usual ball-ends-at-peghead fashion, which imo is definitely the way to go.
Be careful not to scratch to the headstock as you pull strings through the nut and off the peghead (duh).
Now that you have them all off, cleanup time!

The fretboard on this one looks pretty good, and won't need much short of a good rag rubdown/buffering, and some toothbrush action in the fret corners. The frets could use a polish, but that's not for today, heh.
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post #3 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 408
Re: ZR Tremolo Setup Guide (PicStory, TONS of pics) ZRTremolo

If you wipe down your axes with a rag after playing, then your trem will inevitably build up a nice layer of *fuzzies* and other linty-type jazz. For this a Q-tip works wonders. Just put it in your desired crevice and spin it. It does a great job of picking everything up. Just don’t overuse the Q-tips, or you'll just replace rag fuzzies with Q-tip fuzzies!

The guitar cleaning applications of Q-tips are infinite. Perfect for the spots between the neck pup and the neck.

As long as your at it, take a dive into the saddles, you’ll be surprised with what you find in there.

Also, be sure to clear the inserts, on which the string sits, clear of any grout, rust, dirt, etc. A free moving string is a happy one!

Another side note, having the strings off is a great time for some glamour shots! (very metal \00/)

It’s also a good time to even out your fine tuners, with plenty of back-out/screw-in room.

Last edited by SonataGuitarist; 06-26-2006 at 12:28 AM.
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post #4 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Charlotte, NC
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Re: ZR Tremolo Setup Guide (PicStory, TONS of pics) ZRTremolo

Now were cleaned up, and ready to put on some 10s. Break em out and line up your peg holes with the neck. Make sure to load your strings through facing away from the bridge, like so:

This is done to form a tight kink when pulling the strings back around, and enables trouble free winding. Kink like so:

Once their all kinked, feed them under the string tree (1st & 6th outside the screws, the rest inside) and through the nut, pull them taut and clip the ends about an inch past the saddles, just before the fine tuners.

To lock them down, insert them down the middle of the insert, in front of the string lock block, until they stop. Lock the string in place with no more than a ¾ turn, slightly more than finger tight. You can either lock them one by one as you cut them or do them all at once. Either way, double check your string paths or you just might make an a$$ of yourself (again, guilty).

Anyhow, when you’ve got em all, you should have something like this:

\/ Rich’s UVMC version of this pic is for some reason my favorite of all time…

Now begin winding the slack out of the strings. Make sure you leave enough slack such that you can clean under the strings on the headstock/anywhere else. I always manage to smudge up the headstock when loading strings, so I always go back over, well, under…

Last edited by SonataGuitarist; 06-26-2006 at 12:25 AM.
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post #5 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 408
Re: ZR Tremolo Setup Guide (PicStory, TONS of pics) ZRTremolo

Alright, strings locked at the bridge? Strings appropriately positioned/loaded? Slack removed? Great! Your ready to tune. Or are you?

Doh! Forgot about that gauge change. Since Iím switching to a tighter string gauge (9s to 10s), the springs will need adjustment (tightening). Thankfully, this is uber easy on the ZR. Simply flip it around and make ľ turns in the spring adjustment screw (clockwise = tighter), retuning the strings each time, checking the trem angle till parallel with the body.

The truss rod may also need tweaking, mine needed no adjustments. Plenty of reference available though.

Okay now your REALLY ready for tuning, so get going. I wonít go into tuning specifics, as they are more or less the same on the ZR as on any floater, and there is more than a plethora of info about it both here and on RichĎs site. I am happy to say that force tuning is something that came very natural to me, and tuning my ZR bridge has yet to take me more than 10 minutes. This is no brag, and if anything it is a testament to the ease and practicality of the ZR trem, which is far and away the best floater Iíve ever played. The tuning stability is stunning and the action so smooth, I could never say enough about it. Anyhow, enjoy tuning up, and be ready to stretch!

For the same reasons as stated above, I wonít cover stretching, Iíll simply note its extreme importance to tuning stability: Itís extremely important to tuning stability!!! A total PITA yes, but absolutely necessary (Speedloaders aside). It usually takes about 10-15 minutes of vigorous stretches to get them where they need to be. And I stretch the f*ck outta my strings, Iíll elaborate if asked, lol. Today I actually managed to break the low E at the saddle (easy fix) and the high E at the headstock (:X) which I replaced with a spare .011.

Overall my first floyd-type string change went very well, and didnít take too long. When I began I had just put on the 1997 G3 DVD (favorite). Eric Johnson was finishing Red House just as I clamped down the nut, and the G3 guys left the stage as I cleaned up my supplies. After that it was just stretching, retuning, and a wipedown. A few Bodom licks later, I walked away satisfied, and began writing this novel you see here, lmao I think this took longer than the string change! I hope you enjoy!

Lastly, I would to give some big-time thanks. I came into this endeavor (actual ownership of the guitar) completely knowledgeable about the parts and mechanisms that I was getting. I was totally prepared, and encountered no surprises and no unexpected problems whatsoever. I have no one other than Ibanez Rules and Jemsite to thank for this. So a big thanks to Rich of course, and a huge thanks to the regular posters here on Jemsite, who take time to provide answers and aid for every problem, situation , and scenario that userís present. The wealth of information here is invaluable at the least. So thanks to all.

Last-Lastly, I would like to say, this alone justifies the difficulty of floating trems:

So f*cking cool! Oh yes, and pinch harmonic whammy raises\00/, nothing is so godlikeÖ

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post #6 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 12:38 AM
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Re: ZR Tremolo Setup Guide (PicStory, TONS of pics) ZRTremolo

very nice..

I like the beauty shots
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post #7 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 01:07 AM
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Re: ZR Tremolo Setup Guide (PicStory, TONS of pics) ZRTremolo

Originally Posted by SonataGuitarist
So f*cking cool! Oh yes, and pinch harmonic whammy raises\00/, nothing is so godlikeÖ

I'd have to agree! And I must admit I didn't really read your walk through as I have no ZR's, I just liked looking at your axe, very nice BTW.
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post #8 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 10:38 AM
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Re: ZR Tremolo Setup Guide (PicStory, TONS of pics) ZRTremolo

Thanks for the guide. Great job and a beatiful guitar. Now all Ibanez needs to do now is make a lefty version of their S series . They did it before, so come on Ibanez .



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post #9 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 12:08 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Re: ZR Tremolo Setup Guide (PicStory, TONS of pics) ZRTremolo

good work man, that has in fact helped me

and givin me a great deal of GAS FOR AN S SERIES!!!!!
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post #10 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 02:09 PM
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Re: ZR Tremolo Setup Guide (PicStory, TONS of pics) ZRTremolo

Cool guide man! Thanks very much!

Ps, do i get any bonus points for guessing the video in the back is G3 live in Denver??

Edit: Oops my mistake.. just read the whole post... just ignore it
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post #11 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 08:56 PM
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Re: ZR Tremolo Setup Guide (PicStory, TONS of pics) ZRTremolo

That baby looks smooth with them emgs in it! Awesome guide too!
Kontalonis is offline  
post #12 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-27-2006, 12:00 AM
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Re: ZR Tremolo Setup Guide (PicStory, TONS of pics) ZRTremolo

Looks great! Awesome pics!
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post #13 of 70 (permalink) Old 06-27-2006, 11:30 AM
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Re: ZR Tremolo Setup Guide (PicStory, TONS of pics) ZRTremolo

I vote to Sticky it ( so that we don't get anymore, how do I set up a ZR Trem!! Threads)

Even though I don't have a S series, it was still helpful......well not really but interesting! lol
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post #14 of 70 (permalink) Old 08-17-2006, 09:46 PM
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Re: ZR Tremolo Setup Guide (PicStory, TONS of pics) ZRTremolo

Thats one sexy looking guitar man. Good job, very informative.
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post #15 of 70 (permalink) Old 09-19-2006, 12:28 PM
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Re: ZR Tremolo Setup Guide (PicStory, TONS of pics) ZRTremolo

I have the 520EX myself and there are some things that I hate about the ZR.
1.) The armholder breaks. It's made of crappy metal that won't last.
2.) The sideholders are loose in their nuts, without strings and springs the whole thing rattles in its place. It's made cheaply and yet it still costs more than Lo-Pro! And just to annoy normal people, the screwholes in the body are off standards so that no-one can just replace the crappy ZR to a lo-pro without modifications!
Osis is offline  

allen wrench , eric johnson , floating tremolo , floating trems , intonation tool , locking nut , neck pup , string lock , string tree , trem block , trem claw , truss rod

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