|So you want to Install a
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
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
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
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
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
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
Line up the nut, predrill some small pilot holes
using the nut as the template, then screw down the nut with the attached
Voila! Here is our finished product of our
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!