When he took up the guitar in 1963, Floyd Rose was a big fan of the Beach Boys and the Ventures. That music, together with receiving his 1964 Fender Jazzmaster, ignited his love for the whammy bar. In the 1970s, he followed in the footsteps of Jimi Hendrix and Ritchie Blackmore to continue developing his mastery of the tremolo. As Rose built on his skills, he began to find that the tremolo hardware on the market just couldn't keep up with his standards—so he started to modify his guitar.
A visionary could be described as someone who runs into a limitation and, instead of staying confined by it, finds a way to continue moving forward. That's what happened to Floyd Rose when he noticed that using the tremolo would cause the strings to move, throwing the guitar out of tune. His solution was to develop a system of clamps that would become the tremolo locking system that still bears his name today.
The Floyd Rose brand carries a variety of products, from complete tremolo kits to individual parts that you can buy to build your own kit from scratch or as replacement parts for your existing Floyd Rose tremolo bridge. All of the present-day series are descended from the original Floyd Rose design, and variations are available for seven-string guitars as well as left-handed players.
You can use a Floyd Rose tremolo bridge with any guitar strings, and it can be easily adjusted to the right level of tension if you re-string to a different gauge. Since heavier strings put more tension on the tremolo, you'll need to compensate by tightening its springs. Or, if you're going smaller, add a little slack.
Floyd Rose tremolo bridges are the standard to which other tremolo locking systems are compared, and for a good reason. These tremolos are great investments in your guitar that can keep it reliably in tune even when you're pulling off dive bombs, cat purrs or any other tremolo moves.