Hey there; this is my first post on this site, I'm afraid it’s kind of an essay. So bare with me please.
First of all; I'd like to state, this is targeted at those have a lot of experience with tremolo fitted guitars.
Anyway; 2 years ago I brought myself a ESP LTD KH-203, I had spent just over a year saving up for it and its probably my favourite guitar in my whole collection. It makes a great sound and has really helped me improve my technique; however, there is one major flaw, which has been present since day 1…the tremolo.
Of course; this being my first tremolo equipped guitar, I didn’t know much about them and how they worked. But after 2 years of having it; I’ve gotten to grips with how it works, however…the tuning stability on it is shameful and it’s a lot more stiff compared to the other tremolos I’ve tried out plus it doesn’t flutter at all. It’s a licensed Floyd Rose and after doing a huge amount of research; I discovered its probably best to replace it. So I took it into my local guitar shop in an attempt to get it replaced or at least sort the trem faults; the staff member there claimed that I had put the strings on very slightly wrong, which to be fair…I had in ignorance. He then showed me how to do it correctly; but I went on to point out that the tremolo did not flutter and was incredibly stiff, he responded to this saying “That’s probably because of tension; I’ll take out one of the springs to give it the same feel as other trems.” However; when I got it home, I felt very little change in the tension despite the missing spring…I didn’t have to put as much force on it as I used to but it still felt rather stiff and it still didn’t flutter. Plus the tuning stability was still quite shabby.
Its been suggested to me many times that I should get it replaced with an Original Floyd Rose; however, after looking it up…I’m not quite sure whether it would fit my KH-203. Plus when I mentioned it to the staff member at my local music shop; he was reluctant to do it due to the cost and said I might as well just buy a new guitar altogether. I appreciate that its expensive and I’m glad they were trying to save me money; but like I previously mentioned, overall it’s a brilliant guitar and its defiantly my favourite…it just has one flaw which happens to be quite an issue for me. So I’d rather just sort out that flaw; regardless of the cost. I’m just not sure if an OFR would fit it.
So what would you people advise? Is there another tremolo out there, which will fix the flaw and fit my guitar? To help here is the qualities I want to see in a tremolo:
*Brilliant tuning stability, which can withstand all kinds of techniques. (The reason why I’m so picky about this is because I do a lot of home studio recording digitally; so the tuning needs to be almost perfect.)
*Easy to move without a lot of force.
*Has the capability of fluttering.
P.S. Sorry again for such a long post; but I thought it was best you knew all the facts before answering.
I'd like to call bullshit on your guitar dealer guy.
Replacing a trem is an easy procedure. Undo the springs in the back cavity (After taking strings off the front, of course), lift out old tremolo, replace the studs, replace the trem, replace the springs, string it back up, and you're good to go.
As far as an OFR fitting the guitar, that depends on how it was routed. You can measure your guitar and compare online with the measurements for an OFR. You can probably order one online for relatively cheap.
Is it worth it for your guitar? Thats really up to you. Do you LOVE that guitar, and plan on keeping it for a long time? If so, why not invest money into it? You put a better bridge in it, and maybe down the line, find some pickups that are really your voice, and it'll be a guitar worth hanging on to. If you're gonna sell it or for some other reason have a falling out with it, just sell it on ebay or something.