About The PRS Tremolo
Back in 1984, Paul Reed Smith was granted a patent on his tremolo system. The design elements are simple and resemble the traditional fulcrum tremolo but with some important differences.
- In the front of a PRS tremolo bridge, the six mounting screw holes are counter-sunk from underneath, providing six brass knife-edge fulcrums. These rest against the six notched brass body mounting screws. This knife-edge set-up ensures that the bridge will return to pitch during use.
- The pocket in the PRS tremolo bridge keeps the six individually adjustable saddles from moving sideways, thereby eliminating another traditional cause of tuning instability.
- The tremolo block is drilled out so the ball ends rest right up under the bridge base plate. This leaves less string behind the bridge saddle so there is less chance of detuning.
- The PRS tremolo bridge is designed so that there are no rough edges, for maximum comfort while playing.
- The bridge is made of brass, a metal that rings beautifully. The block, intonation screws, height-adjustment screws, and the string slots on the saddles are all left un-plated for increased sustain and fidelity of tone.
- The unthreaded tremolo arm fits into a hard plastic sleeve staying where you put it, via a small set screw on the back side of the bridge that faces the tail end of the guitar (where the intonation adjustment screws are located) therefore it will not wobble or break off in the block.
The PRS Gen III Tremolo functions in all the same ways as PRS’s patented tremolo always has, and includes three notable design updates. The first two of these updates maximize the transfer of the strings’ vibration through the bridge and into the body of the guitar, supporting the fidelity of the guitar’s tone and maximizing sustain. The third is aesthetic.
- The screw has larger thread and a custom head design, creating more mass and more contact from the bridge to the screw, and the screw to the guitar’s body.
- Grooves have been added to the bridge plate. The grooves are radiused to match the radius of the height adjustment screws, again so there is more contact and a better fit.
- The PRS Gen III tremolo bridge's perimeter has a new look and feel.
- A. The mounting screw holes are countersunk from underneath, creating a knife-edge set-up that ensures the bridge will return to pitch during use.
- B. The bridge’s sidewalls create a pocket that keeps the six individually adjustable saddles from moving sideways, thereby eliminating another traditional cause of tuning instability.
- C. The saddles feature a compound radius so that the string breaks across the saddle at the optimum angle for contact and vibration transfer through the bridge. The PRS Private Stock Gen III Tremolo also features locking saddles. These saddles hold the ball ends in place preventing any movement in the block and further ensuring the guitar returns to pitch during use.
- D. The tremolo arm is unthreaded and features a small set screw that allows the player to customize the feel of the arm and find a comfortable playing position.
The Gen III tremolo also has a few notable updates that further support the fidelity of the guitar’s tone and maximize sustain.(see notes E & F below)
- E. The mounting screws have been redesigned with larger thread and a larger custom head. This added mass creates more contact from the bridge to the screw, and the screw to the guitar’s body, resulting in greater sustain.
- F. Grooves have been added to the bridge plate. The grooves are radiused to match the radius of the height adjustment screws, again so there is more contact and a better fit.
I. John Mann bridge (Gen I)
Approximate years in production: 1985 – 1995.
II. PRS Patented Tremolo (Gen II)
Approximate years in production: 1993 – current.
III. PRS Gen III Patented Tremolo
Offered in Core production via the "58/15" limited run in 2015.
IV. PRS Gen III Patented Tremolo with locking saddles
Offered through the Private Stock program beginning in 2011.