Double Eagle (and other) Clones (1982-1984)
Double Eagle were a parts company based in Japan that sold the first ever Floyd Rose clones between 1982-1985. It’s unknown what Japanese factories they used, but there is evidence that some of their parts were sourced from the same factories on the official Floyds. However, they were generally made of inferior quality (e.g. brass instead of steel). A common characteristic is that most of the clones have a sustain block that’s painted glossy black and often times made of brass. Official Floyds did not have this (they had mill scale, hot rolled steel).
Double Eagle FRT-3 clone. Chrome-plated brass saddles and base plate. Gloss black painted brass sustain block. Made in Japan and base plates likely made at same factory that made the official Floyds. Saddles unknown. Usually had long, plain steel tremolo bars that are chrome plated. One of the earliest known Floyd Rose Clones. Circa late 1982.
Double Eagle “Model 15” FRT-4 Clone. Possibly the first ever clone of a fine-tuning Floyd Rose. Tail piece is bolted on, pot metal saddles (and often broke), brass sustain block that’s painted gloss black. Most do not have the “Double Eagle” logo on base plate. Made in Japan at an unknown factory and sold under the “Double Eagle” name to American stores. Double Eagle were a Japanese parts company. Late 1982/1983.
Double Eagle FRT-5 Clone: These have the same saddles as the DE FRT-4 clone but now with the newer “whale tail” style base plate. Along with the ESP Magician, this is believed to be one of the first FRT-5 clones ever made. Often seen on Japanese guitars from late 1983-1985. Also available in Veneman music catalogs in the United States.
Brian Guitars FRT-3 Clone: Similar and possibly a variant to Double Eagle FRT-3 clone but with different saddles. Made of chrome-plated brass. Sustain block is gloss-black painted brass (like DE FRT-3). Also generally has longer, plain steel trem bar. Often found on “Brian” guitars, a Japanese store model brand. Unknown factory. One of the first Floyd Rose clones ever made. Circa late 1982.
Bracchus FRT-3 clone: steel base plate, saddles, and sustain block. Sustain block has gloss black paint like the Double Eagle. Knife edges further back and tail piece is milled and not bent into place. Unknown factory. One of the first Floyd Rose clones ever made. Circa late 1982.
ESP FRT-3: Similar and more refined version of the “Bracchus” FRT-3. Often find on custom ESP Navigator models from late 1982 and early 1983. Unknown factory.
Above you see the Brian Guitar clone, priced 1/3 of a real Floyd Rose.
Double Eagle "Model 15" FRT-4 Copy (Late '82/early 1983)
The Double Eagle “Model 15” FRT-4 copy was created before licensing agreements and may have been the very first Floyd Rose copy with fine tuners. These are lower-quality copies of the official FRT-4 that have been seen on early ESP, Aria, and (ironically) Fernandes guitars. Because the metal used on these is rather weak, some saddles are often times replaced. Interestingly enough, these do have T-block inserts.
The Double Eagle Model 15 was made in Japan and could actually be found in early Veneman Music Emporium catalogs from 1983. The picture above is from the 1983 Fall/Winter catalog.
The above picture are from the 1984-1985 Fall/Winter Music Emporium catalog, which is the last time you see the Model 15 in any catalogs. I have heard from readers of this website that you could also buy these from certain music stores in the USA.
Clearly, the official production FRT-4 of 1982/’83 (LEFT) has many differing characteristics of the Double Eagle copy (right). The saddles and T-blocks on the copy seem to be varying sizes, which is strange.
A real 1982/1983 FRT-4’s base plate (left) is all one-piece connecting the fine tuners. The Double Eagle copy (right) has three bolts connecting the base plate and fine tuners.
Here you can see the Double Eagle Model 15’s fine tuners as a separate piece from the base plate and required bolts from the bottom.
The sustain block is made of brass and is slanted near the end, a characteristic that it’s possibly of Gotoh/Double Eagle origin. That being said, this Model 15 style has also been seen with a cheaper die-cast sustain block.
This FRT-4 copy seems to have been somewhat poorly made, but people sometimes mistake these for an actual ’83 FRT-4 or FRT-4 prototype, which it definitely is not.
Double Eagle FRT-5 Clone
The Double Eagle FRT-5 clone is an evolved version of the Double Eagle “Model 15” FRT-4 clone and was available to purchase via Veneman’s music catalog sometime in 1984. This tremolo was also seen on a variety of Japanese store model guitars during the era. The base plate is made of steel and saddles of pot metal.
Furthermore, it features the infamous glossy block sustain block (made of brass), a common sign of Japanese clone.
Above you see a Double Eagle mis-labled as an FRT-6 in a Japanese catalog – priced approximately 1/2 to 1/3 the price of a real Floyd Rose.