Double Eagle Clones
“Double Eagle” tremolos were the earliest known copies of official Floyd Roses starting in late 1982 and made in some unknown Japanese factory. They were generally low-quality, had pot metal saddles, and were found in early Music Emporium catalogs starting in winter 1983.
The made an FRT-4, FRT-5, and possibly an FRT-3 clone. The Double Eagle FRT-4 clone is actually the first ever Floyd Rose copy with fine tuners.
Double Eagle "Model 15" FRT-4 Copy (Late '82/early 1983)
The Double Eagle “Model 15” FRT-4 copy was created before licensing agreements and may have been the very first Floyd Rose copy with fine tuners. These are lower-quality copies of the official FRT-4 that have been seen on early ESP, Aria, and (ironically) Fernandes guitars. Because the metal used on these is rather weak, some saddles are often times replaced. Interestingly enough, these do have T-block inserts, which is unique on all the mystery pre-Schaller copies.
The Double Eagle Model 15 was made in Japan and could actually be found in early Veneman Music Emporium catalogs from 1983. The picture above is from the 1983 Fall/Winter catalog. The Double Eagle is 1/3rd the price of a real Floyd Rose during this time.
The above picture are from the 1984-1985 Fall/Winter Music Emporium catalog, which is the last time you see the Model 15 in any catalogs. I have heard from readers of this website that you could also buy these from certain music stores in the USA.
Real FRT-4 vs Double Eagle Model 15 copy
Many people mistake the Double Eagle Model 15 as a real Floyd Rose FRT-4 prototype, which is certainly is not. Below are some ways to tell the difference.
Clearly, the official production FRT-4 of 1982/’83 (LEFT) has many differing characteristics of the Double Eagle copy (right). The saddles and T-blocks on the Double Eagle seem to be varying sizes, which is strange. The embossed Floyd Rose logo is also a dead giveaway. However, there are real FRT-4 prototype versions without the logo, hence why you need to know the differences I explain here.
A real 1982/1983 FRT-4’s base plate (left) is all one-piece connecting the fine tuners. The Double Eagle copy (right) has three bolts connecting the base plate and fine tuners.
Here you can see the Double Eagle Model 15’s fine tuners as a separate piece from the base plate and required bolts from the bottom.
The sustain block is made of brass and is slanted near the end, a characteristic that it’s possibly of Gotoh/Double Eagle origin. That being said, this Model 15 style has also been seen with a cheaper die-cast sustain block.
This FRT-4 copy seems to have been somewhat poorly made, but people sometimes mistake these for an actual ’83 FRT-4 or FRT-4 prototype, which it definitely is not.
Above is another Double Eagle Model 15 ad from a Japanese magazine in early 1983.
Double Eagle FRT-5 Clone
The Double Eagle FRT-5 copy came out sometime in 1985 and features similar characteristics of the Model 15 FRT-4 clone, except the base plate is now the standard “original” style.
Above is a Double Eagle FRT-5 clone made in around 1985. Notice the same saddles and T-blocks as the DE model 15. It still has the slanted brass block as the FRT-4 Model 15 copy, and it’s unknown what factory in Japan made these tremolos.
Like the Double Eagle Model 15 FRT-4 copy, these have the thinner (when compared to the mystery FRT3), slanted brass sustain block and have been seen on Aria, ESP, and Fernandes guitars. And typical of these early copies, a saddle has been replaced, either from breaking a T-block or cracking the cast saddles.
Above is an ad from a Japanese magazine showing the Double Eagle FRT-5 copy.
FRT-3 Variant (Possible Double Eagle)
There have been high quality FRT-3 style variants which feature Double Eagle style T-blocks and slanted brass sustain block, although it’s thicker than the FRT-4 and 5 DE versions. It’s possible this model is a Floyd Rose product that used Double Eagle parts at times. Hence, why this is called the “Mystery FRT-3.” This FRT-3 clone is made of very high quality and milled (not cast). Quality is much better than other DE models discussed earlier.
FRT-3s are the most difficult to understand because they have the most “prototypes” and variations of any Pre-Schaller Floyd Rose model. If you’ve read the FRT-3 article, you are perhaps familiar with this FRT3 prototype I’m about to discuss.
What makes this FRT-3 prototype different than the others is the slight half-circle recess on the saddles and solid brass sustain block that’s angled at the end. Pre-Schaller FRT-3s with no logo and slanted sustain blocks are associated with very early prototypes and possibly even made by Floyd Rose in the USA (depending on other factors). This
I have been told this is an official Floyd Rose product which is believable because it’s nearly identical in every way to a standard Pre-Schaller FRT-3 besides the saddle difference and brass sustain block.
Above you see the slanted brass block that’s painted black, a characteristic seen on Double Eagle models. However, this block is thicker than the FRT-4 and FRT-5 Double Eagle clones.
An older photo (above) from Abalone Vintage shows the same bridge, in better condition, claiming it to be an original 1979 Floyd Rose. However, the year is incorrect because FRT-3 style saddles weren’t even developed until sometime in early 1982. Again, it was rather confusing to know these details back then, especially the FRT1/3 details. Most people even today still call all Pre-Schaller Floyds prototypes, which hopefully from reading this website, you know is far from true.
As seen in the FRT-3 article, this mystery FRT-3 looks to have been made from the same mold as the prototype in the middle.
The mystery FRT3 on left has the slanted sustain block like the prototype in the middle. HOWEVER, the Mystery FRT3’s sustain block is made of brass and not steel like the Pre-Schaller FRT3s at the time.
Why does this matter? The Double Eagle FRT-4 and 5 copies shown next sport the same slanted brass block (but thinner).
It’s interesting because unlike the mystery FRT3 above (that has good built quality), the Double Eagle FRT-4 and 5 copies have little resemblance to their official Floyd counterparts and seem to be lower-cost versions with inferior saddles.
Above is the mystery FRT-3 (left) and Double Eagle FRT-5 (right). Notice they both have a slanted brass block, although the FRT-3’s version is thicker.
Although the mystery FRT-3 maintains very high quality equaling the production FRT3’s, the FRT-4 and FRT-5 copy do not seem to match the quality of their official Floyd counterpart during the time.
So who made them? We will never know, but as mentioned earlier, the Double Eagle FRT-4 and 5 copies are rumored to have been made by Gotoh or Double Eagle, but nothing is for sure. The Mystery FRT3 seems to be an official Floyd prototype but deviates with the other prototypes with its sustain block and saddles.
If you have any information on these Pre-Schaller mystery tremolos, please contact me.