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Eddie Van Halen Accuses Floyd Rose of Ripoff

Eddie Van Halen accused Floyd D. Rose, the man who invented the Floyd Rose, of taking a crucial contribution he gave to the locking vibrato arm and patenting it in his own name. Eddie told Total Guitar:

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“In ’79 [when we played a show in Seattle], somebody goes ‘Hey, there’s a guy here named Floyd Rose and he wants to show you something.’

“He comes in and goes [with cupped hands], ‘You wanna try this?’ and I say, ‘Sure, what the fuck, why not!?’ So I gave him one of my guitars and asked him to put it in because I didn’t know how to do it. It was different to the Fender tailpiece and it wasn’t a direct swap.

“So I tried it, once it was ready to go and… it was a pain in the ass!

“For one, the Allen screws on the neck were very small, and in order to torque it down you’d either strip the Allen key or the screw would strip. But more importantly, when you’re playing the guitar, things bend and they move and the neck shifts a little bit.

“Depending on the temperature of the gig from the beginning to the end, the temperature fluctuates. So between every, fucking, song I had to unclamp and tune! And then Dave and the rest of the guys would be going, ‘Is he ready yet?!’ It was just a pain in the ass. So first I told him, ‘Beef the thing up!’ because I kept snapping shit.”

Reaching the part with his contribution, Van Halen said:

“So he comes back the next year with a beefed-up model. But there was still the problem of having to tune between every song, so I told him, ‘Put some fine-tuners on it. I played a little cello and violin when I was in elementary school and those instruments have finger adjustable fine-tuners. Okay?’

“Then the third year he comes along and goes [cupped hands] ‘I did it!’ and I go ‘No! You fucking numbnut!’ Because now you needed a wrench to fine-tune it! So now instead of three, you’ve got nine, you know?

“I’m going ‘No, you idiot, I meant fucking finger tuners! You’ve seen ’em before!’ Then he patents the fucking thing behind my back. Pissed me off… whatever!”

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