Kahler InstallationMangos George Mangos George Mangos George Mangos George Mangos George Mangos George Mangos George Mangos

So you want to Install a Kahler...

How to install a Kahler

I acquired an Ibanez Destroyer DT555 a few years ago and wanted to make it as authentic as my guitar hero, Phil Collen. This guide is to help you install a Kahler on your Ibanez, Les Paul or other guitar. This guide shows you our Kahler 7200 installation on an Epi Les Paul Custom.

Check out www.Wammiworld.com for parts and great deals on Kahler bridges.  I also found the guidelines from John at Wammiworld extremely helpful, http://www.wammiworld.com/Installation.html.

The Kahler installation is fairly straightforward.  Some folks say it is easier to install a Kahler over a Floyd.  I don't necessarily agree with that because usually a Floyd drops right in.  Now, if you are looking for a trem on a guitar that does not  currently have some flavor of another trem, than sure, the Kahler is a better way to go. 

Recently, a customer (my son) wanted a Les Paul with a whammy bar.  He wanted a Floyd.  As you read above, this was a lot of work, so we opted for the more practical installation of a Kahler.  After all, Kahlers are ideally suited for guitars that do not have a trem in the first place because a Kahler only needs a small cavity routed, whereas a Floyd (or most any other trem, needs to have a hole all the way through the guitar and a "pool", or spring cavity, routed in the back of the guitar.

First thing we did was to remove the current bridge hardware which consisted of the stop tail, or tail piece, and the bridge itself, as well as related  studs.

I removed the bridge components as well as the two top knobs and pickups.  I also enlarged the current anchor holes just a little bit to fit wooden dowel.  The holes looked like they would line up, but as you can see from the pic below (with the routing already complete, but let's not get ahead of ourselves), the previous anchor holes were pretty far off to accommodate our installation:

Let's talk about the picture above:  I taped off the working area of the guitar with blue paint tape.  I then used the template that came with the bridge and measured.  Measure from the nut to the 12th fret.  Take that measurement and measure from the nut to the 12th fret, then take that distance and go from the 12th fret to where the front of the bridge is going to be and subtract 1/16th of an inch.  Make sure you center the template so your strings aren't hanging over the edge!  Put the front of your template at this mark.  I carefully cut the template out using a straightedge and ruler.  You WANT to cut through the guitar paint on this exercise.  The white rectangles in the pic above are double-sided tape I am about to use.  You also see two holes in the template area: Those are drill holes a little larger than my router bit so I can put my router in to get started.

Router bit with bearing.  You can get these from www.Stewmac.com

I was fortunate in that my template for routing Floyd Rose bridge cavities was almost the same size as what I needed for the Kahler.  You can get the router template and router bit at www.stewmac.com

I put my router with router bit in the hole and started routing just deep enough that the router bit bearing was lined up with the template.  I did have to reposition my template to get one side, but this was easy enough to do.

Once the cavity was routed, 1 inch deep for the large section, and 1/2 inch deep for the smaller front section, I was ready for my moment of truth:

I put two old strings on the outer saddles of the bridge and dropped it in the hole to see if everything lined up.

I had a tear in my eye because my strings were lined up on the first try.  That's how it should be, but alas, rarely ever happens!

The rest is pretty easy:  You line up the bridge, mark where the two back anchors are going to go, then drill.  We wrapped a bit of tape around the screw driver so we would not mar the gold plating on the anchor bolts.  Also, the Kahler 7200 has a small allan screw in the back of each anchor hook for the anchor studs, so as long as you are not too far off, you can adjust the bridge to go back or forward a very small amount to get the intonation right.

After we had the bridge cavity routed and anchor studs drilled, we marked where to place the thumb wheels for the front of the bridge and drilled small holes to install.

As above, the finished holes are much different than the original as shown below:

The plugged holes can be seen above.  I bought 1/2 inch wooden dowel from the hardware store for about a dollar, then used a 1/2 inch drill bit.  The dowel fit snugly, reinforced with a dab of wood glue than dressed carefully flush with the guitar.  Once we finished all the woodwork, we used black touchup paint to cover the wooden dowel.

Next up, attach the locking nut behind the nut already there.  This was easy enough to do.  You will need to cut off part of the truss rod cover so the nut will sit flat on the headstock.

Line up the nut, predrill some small pilot holes using the nut as the template, then screw down the nut with the attached screws.

Voila!  Here is our finished product of our Kahler installation!

You can't even tell where we plugged the previous holes, strings are lined up, and this bad boy howels with amazing dive bombs and squealing pull ups!

Eye Candy

Ibanez DT555


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