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Kahler Setup and Adjustments

Whether its a bass or guitar, fixed bridge or tremolo, most adjustments are common on all Kahler models. Most adjustments are actually on the saddles. Guitar and bass tremolos and the guitar fixed bridges use the same type of saddles, only different sizes but they all have same adjustments. Fixed bass saddles are the exception. ALL saddles of all types have 6 way adjustability. in, out, left, right, up and down. Bass tremolos do not have locking features....

Learn what a versatile tremolo is all about. Do you know what these adjusters do?

From top to bottom...

1) Lock for fixed bridge. Turn this to Allen lock the Kahler from a free floating tremolo to fixed bridge.

2) Fine tuners for fine tuning adjustments after your strings are locked down at the neck.

3) Top loading string hooks with a .60 slot for strings up to size .46 (.90 slots for strings .48 - .60 are available)

4) The CAM . This is where the main sustain and tone come from! The arm screws into it and you push down or pull up on the arm to actuate the CAM movement.

5) Arm clutch is used to control the arm swing. The arm stays where you leave it when its engaged. It's fully adjustable from "stay where you left it" to "let 'er swing till sundown".

6) String spacing lock downs lock your saddle where you want it for desired string spacing.

7) Intonation adjustment. This unloosens the fork so you can slide it in and out for proper intonation.

8) Saddle height adjustment. Raises and lowers the saddle for radiusing and action.

9) Saddle fork. Pull it out...push it in. Intonate.

10) String roller for stationary intonation during pull backs and dive bombs. You can actually do lead solos while dive bombing and stay intonated the whole time!

11) The complete single saddle has 8 parts to it. Working from the bottom, up...  The eye clamp (you cant see it in the picture) is slid onto the saddle rod. The fork is placed on top of the eye clamp and then another clamp plate sits on top of it all. A screw holds all 3 pieces together. A small allen sits over the rod at the end of each saddle. It locks the saddle to the rod once you determine how you want your string spacing. On the front side, The fork has a brass or steel roller on the end of it with a pin going through its axis. Just behind the roller, on the fork, there is a small allen adjuster which is used to raise or lower the saddle to achieve your desired radius and action. The fork slides in and out of the fork for intonation. once intonated the phillips is used to clamp the plates while sandwiching the fork and holding it all in place.

12) Spring tension adjuster. The most misunderstood yet versatile adjustment on any tremolo. Technically known as a "load level adjuster", it's many uses include:

#1 Use it to loosen or stiffen the feel of the arm for versatility.
#2 Use it to raise and lower the arm for playing comfort.
#3 Use it to compensate for heavier strings gauges and various drop tunings.
#4 Use it to level the CAM out for optimum palm muting.
#5 Use it to adjust the CAM locking pin alignment so you can lock and unlock fast, during the set.
#6 Use it to globally uptune or detune the strings to compensate for warm or cold weather.

String choice...

1C) String choice is a highly personal matter.  GHS Boomers 9-42's or 10-46's have always been the recommended choice for a Kahler CAM system. If you use heavier strings, you will need the heavy tension springs #8413, to compensate.

The string hook opening is only .60 on all 6 string models, for the 7th and 8th strings on 7 and 8 string models, wider slots are included. The wider slotted string hooks Part# 9408 are available for your trem if your into those bass sized strings.They are good for up to .090 windings. You must also take into consideration, the doubled over size of the winding at the ball end. Its always almost  an extra 1/2 of what the string diameter is. You always want a little play in the hook. One thing that you MUST DO is put a soft bend in the windings of the ball end (see picture above). This prevents the ball from spinning in the hook and reseating wrong. Did you know that when you wind your string with the tuners, it also twists the string at the same time? It will want to uncoil whenever it can. String hooks can break if all the rules are not followed...Bend the string as shown and do not used oversized windings.

Proper Intonation...

There is a certain science to kahler saddles that is IMPERATIVE you understand for mounting and intonation purposes.

The fact that the Kahler saddle pivots up and down and is held in place from only one end of the saddle means that there is an arc in the travel of the roller. See the picture above? The saddles are 2/3rds high in the picture above, right? What happens when you drop the saddles flat? The roller comes down with the saddle BUT if you notice, the roller is also traveling in a forward arc, as you bring the saddle down....and visa versa. When you raise the saddle, the roller goes up and back in an arc. If you were radiusing or adjusting your action at this point you would have to pull or push the fork in or out a little to keep the roller over the intonation point. This must be kept in mind as you figure out where your saddles will end up after you intonate them. The reason you start out with the forks and risers 2/3rds out ....# 1 you determine if the bridge needs recessing to mount or is fine sitting on top. #2 and just as important is, from this position you can keep the roller height the same level throughout intonation. Let me explain this...

Imagine the fork is sliding back and forth in in a dramatization, do this while keeping the roller at the same height. It's Impossible. The saddle will pivot in an arc even higher, because of the non moving "stilt" (saddle riser) underneath. In order for this to happen correctly and keep the same saddle height, you need the saddle riser to compensate by screwing back inside the saddle as the fork is going in. The farther back the fork gets pushed , the saddle riser needs to be screwed in farther and visa versa...get it? Both work in concert together. To recap: Determine the mounting situation and your desired action first, then with the trem mounted in this pre-configuration mode, you'll have plenty of room to intonate and radius the strings later on. REMEMBER: Reversed saddled bass trem's are simply the opposite.

Proper intonation will assure that your guitar plays perfectly up and down the fret board and plays in perfect tune at each fret, at least as perfect as possible since perfect intonation is physically impossible. Setting the intonation on your bridge is easy, especially if you have a Kahler CAM system. All you have to do is know a few rules of the road. The simplest test for correct intonation is to strike the harmonic at the 12th fret and then play the 12th fret. By comparing the notes, you can determine if your intonation is out of whack or if it’s right on the money. But the human ear is not perfect. You really need a visual reference.... you need an electronic tuner or to get even a more precise intonation experience, you need a strobe tuner. But strobes are expensive and shelling out several hundred bucks to intonate a few guitars is not necessary unless you’re getting into the biz. A good quality electronic tuner with a needle will do just fine. So to start….

1D) Switch to the neck pickup and max out the volume.

2D) Tune your guitar to standard 440 tuning using an electronic guitar tuner.

3D) Once tuned up, lightly touch your finger on the small E string right over the 12th fret and strike it for a harmonic sound. The tuner should read dead on zero because you just tuned it right?

4D) Next, actually play the 12th fret. Don’t push hard. You don’t want to stretch the string over the fret giving you a false reading. Watch the tuning line. If the needle goes to the right of zero, the string is sharp…you need it longer. Left of zero means its flat…you want to shorten the string. Note: If the needle is erratic, lower the neck pickup volume and or the neck pickup a bit. You’re now ready to move on to the next step...

FYI: On all Kahler CAM systems, each saddle has a fork with a roller, the fork slides back and forth through the clamp plates. Barely loosen the Phillips just enough while keeping some clamp plate tension/grip so it won’t be necessary to re-tighten between re-tunings and re-tests.

5D) If the string is sharp, or to the right of the mark, it needs to be made longer. Barely loosen the Phillips in the saddle clamp plate and push the saddle back a tiny little bit, effectively lengthening the string. If the needle shows to the left of the zero mark, the string is flat and the string length needs to be shortened. Move the saddle fork a little toward the pickups.The idea here is to get the both open and fretted notes to be exactly the same on all 6 strings. They should match exactly at zero.

6D) Once all the strings are intonated, tighten the Phillips and double check each string for intonation. Redo them if necessary.