Early FRT-5 Variants

The FRT-5 name designation is an extremely loose term used in what is essentially the modern “whale tail” “Original” Floyd Rose design you see today.  The FRT-5 design was suggested by Eddie Van Halen to fix the FRT4’s issue of having its vertical fine tuners interfere with his playing style.

The original Floyd Rose FRT-5 design, although remaining virtually unchanged for 40 years, went through an incredible amount of specific detail changes from 1983-1985 while versions were being made from three different companies.  This is because, for some unknown reason, Floyd Rose contracted out factory production from Fernandes Japan to Schaller Germany right around 1983 when Floyd Rose partnered with Kramer Guitars to make the most powerful guitar empire of the 1980s.

Yet, Fernandes Japan was also still under contract until 1985ish and actually made the very first prototype FRT-5s, along with their own production version of the FRT5 (called the FRT-7) to compete with the Schaller FRT-5.  Furthermore, Floyd briefly contracted a USA company in 1983 to rush orders demanded for early Kramer Pacers until Schaller Germany could start production at their factory.

You see, this is already starting to get rather confusing.  This becomes far easier to understand once you compare photos between the different companies making early versions of the FRT-5.


Variant Overview

Prototype #1

Prototype #1:  Unknown origin, possibly designed in collaboration with Japan/Fernandes.  First seen on Ed’s Rasta guitar, then Kramer ad guitar.  Fall 1982.  Unplated base plate, similar to prototype FRT-4 but tailpiece bent back more.

Prototype #2
Prototype #2:  Unknown origin, possibly designed in collaboration with Japan/Fernandes, has version 2 proto FRT-4 style saddles, chrome base plate, chrome fine tuners.  Seen briefly on Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstrat in December 1982.
Hansen Metalworks USA Short Production
Hansen Metalworks USA short production:  What most people loosely call the “whale tail.”  USA-made short production by Hansen Metalworks for Kramer Guitars while Schaller was tooling up for production.  800 made.  Production possibly started by January/February 1983.  Famously used by Eddie Van Halen on a variety of guitars during the Kramer era (Frankenstrat, 5150) and probably the most well known “vintage” Floyd Rose.
Fernandes Embossed FRT-5 Short Production

Fernandes embossed logo FRT-5:  First known Fernandes/Japan FRT-5 production variant, possibly produced while Hansen Metalworks USA version was in production. Domestic Japan market only, very rare.  Very similar to production FRT-4 except for tail piece being further back.  

Schaller/Germany FRT-5 Production

Schaller Floyd Rose:  The most well-known design and still used today.  First seen on  later B-plate Kramers circa August 1983 (version above) and used on virtually most fine-tuning Kramers through the 1980s.  Small changes happened to this version over the years, but most units throughout the 80s and early 90s look virtually identical.


FRT-7:  Released only in Japan for one year (likely started in mid-1984).  Official Fernandes/Japan Floyd rose made to compete directly with the Schaller FRT-5.  This is the last Japan/Fernandes product made officially with Floyd Rose.  Fernandes would rebrand this tremolo as the “Head Crasher” starting in late 1985.

Other Notable Variants and Clones

ESP Magician:  The first FRT-5 clone ever made.  First seen in May 1983 catalogs.  Unknown Origins or what factory was involved in creating them.

Double Eagle FRT-5 Clone:  One of the earliest known FRT-5 clones and dates to approximately late 1983.  Made in Japan.  Unknown factory.  Available to purchase from early Veneman Music catalogs.  

First Known FRT-5 Prototypes (September/October 1982)

There are two no-logo Floyd Rose FRT-5 prototypes seen during this time on Eddie Van Halen’s guitars:  one on the Rasta (Unchained) guitar, which is taken off and put on the “Kramer ad” guitar shortly afterward.  The second one is on the Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstrat.  This is all circa September – December 1982.


To better understand all of Eddie Van Halen’s guitars, please visit Van Halen Gear (currently under construction).

FRT-5  prototype #1

On Rasta (Unchained) guitar in September 1982.  Black fine tuners.

FRT-5 prototype #1

Removed from Rasta (Unchained) guitar and installed on “Kramer ad” guitar during Kramer factory visit early October 1982.  

FRT-5 Prototype #2

FRT-5 no-logo Prototype #2, seen on Frankenstrat in December 1982, supposedly placed on Frankenstrat shortly after the same Kramer factory visit.  Chrome fine tuners, as opposed to black on the Rasta/Kramer Ad version.

The Floyd Rose FRT-5 is the “final” design of the fine tuning Floyd Rose.  There are two known prototype versions Eddie played before he sported the Hansen Metalworks FRT-5 whale tail (discussed later) in 1983.  The first showing of the tremolo is circa September 1982 during the “Hide Your Sheep” tour and was sported on the Rasta (Unchained) guitar before being put on the “Kramer ad” guitar in approximately November 1982.

The Frankenstrat, however, featured a second FRT-5 prototype version in November/December 1982.  Floyd Rose was contracted out with Fernandes Japan during this time and supposedly had a factory in Kyoto, Japan fabricate many of his Floyd parts.  Therefore, based on the Japanese-style FRT-4 prototype saddles and chrome fine tuners, it’s speculated that these ultra-early versions of the FRT-5 may be Japanese parts but assembled by Mr. Rose.

The Rasta (Unchained) guitar above guitar is technically the first guitar ever seen with an FRT-5 design in September 1982.  

This same tremolo on the Rasta with black fine tuners (Frankenstrat version had chrome fine tuners) would go on the “Kramer ad” guitar in circa October 1982.

It seems Eddie would take off the no-logo FRT-5 from the Rasta guitar and put it on the “Kramer ad” (Not the Frankenstrat) guitar while he visited the Kramer Factory in October 1982.  He would take this guitar to Van Halen’s South American tour.

Kramer Factory Visit (October 1982.
The Kramer factory visit during the fall of 1982 was highly important in Floyd Rose history, as Eddie/Kramer assembled the “Kramer Ad” guitar for the South American leg of the Van Halen tour. Eddie would put the other FRT-5 no-logo prototype from the Rasta (Unchained) guitar and place it on the Kramer Ad guitar during this visit.

Ed holding a Floyd and smoking.

Eddie analyzing the no logo FRT-5 prototype.

Ed talking and smoking by Dennis Berardi.

Kramer Ad guitar assembly with earliest known FRT-5 Prototype (October 1982)

Above is Dennis Berardi (left), Andy Papiccio (center, current Floyd Rose President), and Eddie (right).

Kramer Ad guitar assembled prior to painting the body and sporting the no logo FRT-5 prototype.

Back of Kramer Ad guitar headstock

Kramer Ad guitar body painted and almost assembled.

Above is the Kramer Ad guitar fully assembled with the FRT-5 prototype on.  The Frankenstrat is closer to Ed and still has the gold FRT-4 on it……but will soon be replaced with a different FRT-5 sometime in November.

One of the first ads for Kramer Guitars with Eddie Van Halen, hence why this guitar is called the “Kramer ad” guitar.

Above you see a house key blocking the no-logo Floyd Rose, much like how Eddie drills a 1971 American quarter on the Frankenstrat body.

Above is the Kramer Ad guitar fully assembled with the FRT-5 prototype on.  The Frankenstrat is closer to Ed and still has the gold FRT-4 on it……but will soon be replaced with a different FRT-5 sometime in November.

Frankenstrat FRT-4 to FRT-5 prototype conversion in November 1982.

It seems Eddie would replaced the FRT-4 with a separate no logo FRT-5 prototype approximately one month after the Kramer factory visit.  

Frankenstrat with gold FRT-4.

Ed, Andy Papiccio (current Floyd Rose president), and Dennis Beradi (former Kramer President) helping Ed work on his Frankenstrat.

This may be the gold FRT-4s sustain block, possibly made of brass and mysteriously rounded at the edges.

FRT-5 prototype now seen in November/December 1982 tour.  

December 1982:  Eddie’s guitar tech, Rudy Leiren, holding the Kramer Ad guitar.  Eddie (center) holding the Frankenstrat with new no logo FRT-5 prototype, Vitas Gerulaitis (right).  

Eddie would have the “no-logo” FRT-5 prototype on the Frankenstrat until approximately March 1983, where he would then replace it with the USA FRT-5 whale tail (discussed later).

Japan Fernandes Prototype FRT-5 (late 1982/early 1983)

This is possibly the very first production FRT-5 design ever created may predate all other known FRT-5 “production” designs (more research is needed).  It was designed in Fernandes Japan by Floyd Rose and Fernandes sometime in late 1982 or early 1983.  It’s essentially a Fernandes Japan official production FRT-4 unit that has the fine tuner placement bent backwards in what we call the “whale tail” look.  Longer clamping bolts are needed because of this.  I have only seen five of these in existence, and they are not seen in any Fernandes catalogs.

  • Produced by Fernandes Japan

  • Possibly the First Production Floyd Rose Tremolos with the Whale Tail Design

  • Factory Stainless steel saddle blocks/inserts ( T shaped blocks )

  • Famous Steel sustain block

  • Fine tuners are steel not brass like in versions to follow

  • Unique Floyd Rose Embossed Logo on Baseplate

  • “Prototype Style “ Tremolo bar mount

  • Baseplate structure indicates original cast or casting process

  • This Fernandes produced version includes a spring/tensioner under the rear saddle bolts and under the sustain block to control saddles.

  • The same thick baseplates such as in first prototypes

  • This tremolo represents the improvement of the “whale tail” that would lead to Floyd’s completed design

  • The bridge, the saddles, the baseplate, the sustain block, etc, carry forward aspects of the original Floyd Rose prototypes.

  • This incarnation is said to also incorporate a suggestion made by Eddie Van Halen. EVH’s suggestion was to move the fine tuners back farther out of the reach of a guitarists hand during play the “whale tail” as its called.

  • Floyd Rose has confirmed in interviews that he himself worked on the molds for prototype baseplates

  • Notice that saddle mounting and intonation screw holes on this baseplate are just two rows. An aspect that was different than in Mr. Floyd Rose’s following designs. There were three tapped rows of holes for saddles in previous prototypes also.

  • Floyd Rose was personally involved with these early transitional designs funded by and with the help of Fernandes Japan. This is evident in the way the logo appears on this unit. This an indicator that the casting process and the mold held internal engravings. Molds in the casting process can contain engravings inside that produces textures and/or markings that will be displayed on the product after the molten metal is poured into a mold at a foundry.

The Fernandes Japan FRT-5 prototype may be one of the most rare Floyd Rose units.  Above is a chrome version, but gold is the most rare.  A black version has not yet been seen.  This version was quickly discontinued due to Floyd Rose changing production to Schaller-Germany.  Fernandes, still maintaining a contract with Floyd Rose, redesigned their whale tail to the Japanese-only market Floyd Rose FRT-7 (discussed later in article).

Note the two screw holes for locking the saddles, which was a feature on most early Fernandes Japan official Floyd Rose products.  It also has the famous gigantic steel block found on the FRT-3 and FRT-4.  It has the usual humpback locking nuts and traditional nut/washer tremolo bar.



Note the spring tensioners on chrome version above. Gold version does not have them (more below).

Standard early nut/washer Fernandes used on all their prior models.

AXN Guitars has seen this version of the whale tail with and without spring tensioners holding the insert block bolts to the fine tuners.  And because of this, AXN believes production/existence of the spring tensioners may have been invented collaboratively with this particular model.  Spring tensioners can be seen on all modern Floyd Rose models post 1983.

Note how the saddles are marked with numbers indicating the correct order.  

Japanese-made official Floyd Rose products generally had wider sustain block screw spacing than the German-made variants.  These Fernandes Japan FRT-5 units are extremely difficult to find and were never available to the American market.  

USA-made Kramer Guitars Short Production (1983), Hansen Metalworks *loosely called "Whale Tail" or "FRT-5"

NOTE:  This version has incorrectly been called the “APM” (American Precision Metalworks) whale tail in the past.  Research has found that APM had nothing to do with this tremolo.

The 1983 USA-made FRT5 was a rush production made by Hansen metalworks to fulfill orders for Kramer Guitars before Schaller Germany could start production.  This is supposedly the second Whale Tail/FRT-5 design ever made (the first being the Japan variants as pictured earlier in the article).  These were mainly put on early 1983 Kramer Pacers with a beak headstock and are considered the “Holy Grail” to some Floyd enthusiasts due to the rarity, high quality, and fact that Eddie Van Halen used it on a multitude of his guitars.

The rough range of Kramer serials with these: B4100-B4400.

This tremolo has famously been called the “Whale Tail FRT-5,” “Whale Tail,” or even simply the “FRT-5”, all of which are not really specific enough to describe this version.  The term FRT-5 is essential a “whale tail” and most modern Floyd designs since 1983 are technically FRT5 styles and whale tails.

A more effective name for this tremolo is to simply call it the USA Whale Tail.  Regardless, most people simply call this the “whale tail.”

Above is a close-up shot of Eddie’s 5150 with the USA FRT-5 version.  A tell-tale sign is the offset “Floyd Rose” logo, saddles, and “squareness” of the base plate.

Here is Eddie Van Halen with a USA FRT-5 on his 5150 guitar.  Keep in mind that the “Frankenstrat” and “5150” guitar are two completely different guitars.

Above is a picture Eddie’s Frankenstrat guitar (not the 5150).  The Frankenstrat guitar also sported the USA-made whale tail from 1983-1996.

Details regarding the USA FRT-5 Short Run

  • Manufactured by Hansen Metalworks in the USA.

  • First Run of “Whale Tail” Floyd Rose Tremolos manufactured distributed in the USA ( to Kramer Guitars New Jersey ). Yet this was not the first “Whale Tail Floyd Rose” as we will showed in the previous listing.

  • The term FRT-5 for this USA made tremolo is arguably incorrect as the designation “FRT-blank” is a Fernandes bridge model term. For whatever reasons Fernandes had a mix-up or confusion. There were numerous and various incarnations of the Floyd Rose tremolos branded with Floyd logos between late 1983 to early 1985 with some made in the USA, some Germany and some made in Japan during these months.

  • Saddles are also shorter than modern Floyd saddles.

  • The baseplate is a “stamped” metal baseplate ( bent steel ). Not a casting or cast metal baseplate like the later German Versions.

  • Early Prototype stainless steel saddle inserts/blocks ( T shaped blocks ) that stay attached to the saddle by little wings/tabs that fit into a ridge at the bottom of each saddle (see pic).

  • Fat steel sustain block which is 100% cold rolled steel.

  • This was a short very rushed run of Floyd Rose Tremolos. Very short run…

  • Virtually all these made it to Kramer production line guitars to support the relationship between Mr. Floyd Rose and Kramer guitars and also to support the advertising for 1983 Kramer line and the EVH relationship. Mainly ended up on early 1983 Kramer Pacers.

  • “Floyd Rose” first style type/text baseplate logo.

  • Take note of correct tremolo bar which was the same as earlier prototype models.

  • This version lacks a “spring” or flat thin metal 6 finger tensioner under the baseplate that holds up the rear saddle bolts. The actual guitar strings provided pull-up or pull forward applied to the saddle to apply pressure towards the small fine tuners.

  • Short term design. Floyd again outsourced to a manufacturer that was quickly changed. Months later the next design was founded (final and long lasting design) which would be the W. Germany Sticker Floyd Rose manufactured by Schaller Germany we mentioned in this thread.

A tell-tale sign of the the USA FRT5 is the off-set “Floyd Rose” logo which is closer to  the edge of the base plate.  Most FRT5s after this had the logo centered.  The official Japanese Floyd FRT5/7 in 1984/’85 (discussed later in this article) also shared the off-set Floyd logo, but that is the only major similarity between the two.

The USA FRT5 actually shared many similarities with the prototype FRT4 in regards to the saddles.  The USA FRT5 featured the recessed “oval” style saddles paired with the thinner rectangular style T-block inserts (as seen on FRT4 prototypes).

Unlike the Fernandes Japan FRT5 prototype, this USA short run version has three screw holes to lock the saddles, a theme you will see in all future Floyd Rose designs.  Also notice the large steel sustain block.  The irony is that with all the Floyd Rose upgrades and versions of sustain blocks you see today, the Floyd Rose designs of 1983 and prior all had huge sustain blocks come as stock.

Something unique and only seen on the USA FRT5 is the lack of spring tensioners to push up against the screws that clamp the insert blocks.  

The photo above shows heavy tooling marks.  Plates and saddles for this roughly 350 run were made by hand by the Pre-Kahler American Precision Metalworks.  They contain many tooling marks and the handmade aspect keeping the string block area from being truly square.

The photo above shows these lines from a fairly crude crimping machine.

Above are CNC-style drawings of how the saddles are designed.

This is what it would have looked like before the bending for the whale tail.  Hence the term, “bent steel.”  Most production Schaller versions were made from casting.  

A lot used the earlier FRT-4 Prototype and USA FRT-1 posts. They perhaps used them until they ran out.

Some of this batch had washers on the underside with the lock nut. Most had the same nylon thick washer on top and bottom.

It’s rumored this is the actual machine the saddles and slots were made after it’s bent.

Sometime in the 1990s, Eddie had to replace two saddles on his 5150 whale tail tremolo as above.

As you can see, the high b and e string have replaced saddles to German style versions.

USA FRT-5 / Japanese FRT-7 Mix

Above are right are very rare and strange variants which feature a Japanese FRT-7 (discussed later in article) baseplate with USA FRT-5 saddles.  Version on the right seems to have cast saddles, although very similar to machined saddles on the left version.  The “Floyd Rose” logo on the FRT-7 base plate is further back, while the USA whale tail FRT-5 logo is closer to the pivot post.  Also, the FRT-7 base plate is more rounded.  The version on the right came from Japan.

FRT-5 Variant with no Fine Tuners

A mysterious FRT-5 variant without fine tuners can be seen on Eddie Van Halen’s 918V.  There are other instances where Eddie has this style FRT-5.  


Ironically, this tremolo seems to have holes for fine tuner knobs but does not feature them.  If you have more information of this FRT-5 variant, please contact me.


Black FRT-5 / FRT-7 Variant

Although it’s difficult to see, this appears to be another “Kramer ad” Franky with some kind of rare Black FRT-5/7 unit.  

Above is possibly the first official “illegal” Frankenstrat copy by ESP’s sister company, “Navigator.”  It seems to feature an original USA-made FRT-5 whale tail.  This is from a May 1983 Japanese catalog.  ESP, knowing they make parts for Kramer Guitar Company during the early 1980s, and hence, a powerful relationship with Floyd Rose and Eddie Van Halen, tried to produce this Frankenstrat clone before Eddie Van Halen’s lawyers said NO.



“Navigator Floyd Rose USA Involuntarily exciting looks “VH-230” But it’s not just looks. Naturally seasoned materials and hard parts with matching balance in mind. For pickups Is a newly developed LH-250 that realizes warm sustain and high power. And, on the tremolo unit, Freud Rose USA’with a fine tuner with fine adjustment made by Mr. Freud Rose is mounted. The handcrafted ESP = navigator’s unique sound and playable touch nuances will surely excite you. NAVIGATOR VH-230 (¥ 230,000)”

If you bought Floyd Rose FRT-5 systems early on, you would have received the silver lettering, which usually had a USA whale tail or first production German Run.  The gold lettering, now with a patent number, started in circa 1984.

First Schaller Germany Production Run (1983)

This is the first ever Schaller Germany production run, and most modern Floyd Rose FRT5 designs from here on out resemble this unit.  Schaller Germany still makes the “original” FRT-5 Floyd Rose to this day….40 years later. This version had stainless steel insert blocks and a “Made in W. Germany” sticker on the sustain block, which is the easiest way to identify.  There is also no “Made in Germany” stamp on the bottom of the base plate.  Also notice the “collared” tremolo bar housing which different than the prior nut/washer styles seen on Japanese/USA counterparts. This was a high production run but short lived.  It’s unknown how many were made, but they were put on Kramer guitars until late 1983 or possibly early 1984 until a few changes were made on this tremolo the following year. Details regarding the first ever German FRT-5 Run
  • Manufactured by Schaller Germany

  • First Hi-Production Run of Floyd Rose Tremolos in Germany

  • Factory Stainless steel saddle blocks/inserts

  • Unique high gloss chrome plating on these sustain blocks which are 100% quality brass inside

  • No imprint for “made in Germany”

  • Made in W. Germany Floyd Rose sticker pre-dates embossed Made In Germany

  • “Original”standard Sustain Block without an embossed US Patent Number

  • “Floyd Rose” first style type/text baseplate logo

  • Early Collared style Tremolo bar mount

  • baseplate structure indicates original cast or casting process

  • One of the thickest baseplate of all Floyds except prototypes

  • brass fine tuner buttons

  • Stainless steel (non-magnetic) tremolo bar.
  • Appeared mainly on 1983 Kramer guitars advertised with the Eddie Van Halen Tremolo

  • This tremolo represents what can be considered Floyd’s completed design (not a prototype) in that the bridge, the saddles, the baseplate, the sustain block, etc, kept this basic configuration and general specifications for decades to follow. This incarnation is the most familiar design of the Floyd Rose tremolo.

Here you see the “Made in W. Germany” sticker, which is the quickest way to identify this tremolo.  The sticker may have come off over time.  If that’s the case, look for the stainless steel insert blocks (and not black like versions following it).  The base plate is thicker than modern Floyds, and the sustain block is uniquely brass covered in chrome plating.

Above is another variation of the “Made in W. Germany” sticker with the “W” solely in the middle.

The Floyd Rose logo is centered, which is something that’s typical and never changes on Schaller-made Floyds.  The saddles have the standard recessed “straight” design first seen on prior Japanese official FRT-4 production Floyds.  The insert blocks are also the standard “square” kind you see today, and the prior T-block version are never seen again.

All Floyds today have spring tensioners going up against the screws that clamp the insert blocks.  To the right you can see the three holes to lock the saddle at certain intonations, which is current on all modern Floyds (Fernandes Floyds usually had two holes, sometimes three).

A rather important detail is that all Schaller-Germany Floyds had different locking nuts when compared to the Fernandes Japan “humpback” locking nuts.  Above is a picture of the standard Schaller-style locking nut still used to this day on all Floyds.  Fernandes still continued to use their humpback design until the late 80s.

Interestingly enough, the early 80s Schaller units even came with their own 11mm wrench.  Above you see a relatively rare “W-Germany” official Floyd Rose wrench.  Later ones just said “Germany.”

2nd Schaller Germany Production Run (1984)

This is a 1984 Foyd Rose Made in Germany Tremolo. It can be distinguished by the sustain block that is missing any stamped USA Patent Number. It Pre-dates Mr. Floyd Rose’s US patent on his product. Floyd completed the US Patent in 1985 and the US Patent number was embossed on all new bridges after 1985. This tremolo represents what can be considered Floyd’s completed design (not a prototype) in that the bridge, the saddles, the baseplate, the sustain block, etc, kept this basic configuration and general specifications for decades to follow. This incarnation is the most familiar design of the Floyd Rose tremolo.


This was offered on USA Kramer guitars semi-exclusively in 1984. Also were offered to the retail market and music outlets as Floyd Rose kits.

  • “Black” steel inserts blocks and not stainless like first Schaller poduction
  • Early Collared style Tremolo bar mount
  • Floyd Rose “Original” Sustain Block without an embossed US Patent Number

  • manufactured by Schaller Germany

  • “Floyd Rose” first style type/text embossed baseplate Logo

  • baseplate structure indicates original cast or casting process

  • Made in Germany marking on baseplate is the first style

  • One of the thickest baseplate of all Floyds except prototypes

  • Plain steel tremolo bar (magnetic)
  • Final tremolo design that did not change in any way for years to follow.

No patent stamp on the sustain block on the 1984 German FRT-5  Floyds.  This didn’t happen on the German FRT-5s until 1985, which was the year the patent was granted. 

All Floyds from here on out feature the “Made in Germany” stamp on the baseplate.

A very important detail to identify 1984 Schaller FRT-5s is looking at the sustain block.  There should be no patent number anywhere.  If there is a patent number, that means it was made 1985+.  The base plate is also thicker than later Floyds.

All future Schaller German FRT5s are similar to this with a slight variation here and there.  I discuss this in post 1985 FRT-5s.

What about the Fernandes contract?? (FRT-7)

As I mentioned earlier, Fernandes Japan actually was still contracted to make official Floyd Rose products while Schaller Germany started their production in 1983.  Therefore, there are actually two different official Floyd Roses high production whale tail designs that came out in 1984!  One was made by Schaller Germany, the other by Fernandes Japan.  However, Fernandes calls their official version of the FRT-5….. the FRT-7!  This is because they already made their own cast version of the FRT-5 (embossed FRT-5 discussed earlier in article), but it was too expensive to make.  The FRT-7 was design to undercut the price of the Schaller FRT-5.  Confusing, I know.  Let me explain and get back to what Floyd Rose stuff was going on in Japan during the crazy Kramer/Floyd Rose boom in the USA.

Above top left is a photo of a Schaller German-made FRT5 in the Fernandes 1985 catalog.  You might find this strange, but in fact (from what I’ve heard), Fernandes was a dealer for Floyd Rose products and actually sold the Schaller German Floyds in multiple stores throughout Japan.  The photo top left of the FRT-5 is NOT a Japanese made version, but in fact a Schaller FRT5.  

That being said, once the contract expired, Fernandes used the “FRT-5” name designation on future licensed designs.  I discuss this in 1985+ Fernanded Licensed.

This photo is from the same 1985 Fernandes catalog and shows the “FRT-7” top left, which is the official Floyd Rose Japanese whale tail design made for only one year in the Japanese market.  You don’t see the FRT-7 Floyd Rose on any Kramer guitar.

Based on a former Fernandes employee’s blog, Fernandes purposely price cut the FRT-7 slightly under the Schaller FRT5 in order to create more sales, which supposedly worked.  The FRT-7 is rather different than the Schaller FRT-5 in many ways.

Fernandes Japan Official Production Floyd Rose Whale Tail: FRT-7 (1984 or 1985)​

Above is the Japanese-only market official Floyd Rose whale tail design made for only one year in 1984 (possibly early 1985).  Like the USA FRT5, it features a “Floyd Rose” logo that is off-center and is made of bent-steel.  The insert blocks are not T-blocks like former models, but strangely enough the saddles have an opening near the bottom which could possibly use T-blocks.

This tremolo was available with the Floyd Rose Logo stamped on the baseplate in Japan for one year.  It was made available within the same few months that the mass produced German-Schaller manufactured Floyd Rose FRT5 released in the USA in the year 1984.

  • Technically an official Floyd Rose product and not a “Licensed” Floyd Rose because Fernandes and Mr. Floyd Rose were working together and/or were under contract with each other.

  • Released prior to the official US Patent for the Floyd Rose Tremolo which came into effect in 1985.

  • ONLY released in Japan

  • The baseplate is a “stamped” metal baseplate (bent steel). Not a cast baseplate like the German Floyd

  • The saddles and design have a more rounded appearance at the edges.

  • Notice that saddle mounting and intonation screw holes on this baseplate are just two rows. An aspect that was different than in Mr. Floyd Rose’s final German made design.

  • Fernandes was a dealer and also sold German made Floyd Rose FRT5s in Japan.  They sold both Floyd Rose tremolos at the same time and called the German version an FRT-5 (Japanese version the FRT-7)
  • The price difference shown in the Fernandes catalog shows a price of about 30% less for this domestic Floyd Rose, FRT-7 ( or FRT-5 whichever you call it ), sold/distributed by Fernandes for 48,000 yen ( German version Floyd Rose sold for 64,000 Yen )

  • The tremolo bar bushing or collar that holds the bar to the baseplate has the same new design as the German Floyd Rose Original and shares the same specification for the tremolo bar.

  • The sustain block is a casting and not machined metal. Sustain block mounting screws are not the same as German Floyds and not interchangeable with such.

  • The saddle design is similar but the bottom of the saddles are slightly different that German version as shown in our last few photos.

  • An FRT-7C is Chrome. An FRT-7B is Black.

  • After 1985 this tremolo re-appears in Japan branded as a Fernandes Head Crasher

  • Last photos show the Head Crasher Tremolo ( same bridge as this FRT-7 ) that was later re-branded by Fernandes.

  • There were 4 variations of this design produced by Fernandes and branded with Fernandes names that were virtually identical yet slightly different.

  • The dis-assembled parts photos show the unique aspects of an FRT-7B.

The official FRT-7 Floyd Rose would live on as the “Head Crasher” FRT-5 and FRT-7, one of the best licensed Floyd Roses of all time. 


On the left is an example of a non-logo FRT-7 with an aftermarket tremolo arm collar (and a Japanese Floyd Rose FRT-7 on right).  The non-logo FRT-7 is perhaps a rare transitional version which took place while Fernandes was transitioning to the Head Crasher FRT-5/7.

The saddles are slightly different between the two.

Above is a video I made on youtube regarding the early FRT-5.  As time goes on, it may outdate, but I will update everything on this website. 






And so the beginning comes to an end…….but it really doesn’t.  Check out “1985+ Floyds” and “1985+ Fernandes Licensed” to see a plethora of information regarding the future of everything I’ve discussed in the “BEGINNING” series.