What is a Fulcrum tremolo? What is a CAM tremolo? Usually when asked this question most players freeze up. But really it’s a simple, yet eye opening answer...
So what is a Fulcrum?
Think back to those school daze when you learned simple physics in science class? Remember the see-saw? Remember levers and fulcrums? As you may have learned, a see-saw teeters up and down when played on by Jack and Jill. The triangular piece under the see-saw works as the center pivot for the board. This whole see-saw act is a simply fulcrum act… a pivoting act. A fulcrum pivots on the 2 posts sticking out of your guitar body. It's just like a see-saw except this see-saw is sideways. Think Floyd Rose (shown below). Now the two children on the top and bottom of your sideways see-saw are named String and Spring. A fulcrum tremolo uses string pull above and spring pull below, equalized across the pivot, to be level. A Kahler 2500 Traditional, 2710 Killer, 2720 Spyder and 2760 Steeler are fulcrums as well as all Floyd Rose and Fender tremolos.
Now that you know what a fulcrum is, it’s easy to understand what a CAM system is not. It looks nothing like a fulcrum system at all. There are no pivot points. There is no back plate to cover the springs with because there is no body through route needed. It's simply a frame with a CAM through the center. The CAM is the bar like portion with the 3 or 5 holes on top in the center of the system. When you dive the string reels out and when you pull back the string reels in. No tipping here. The stationary rollers on the saddles prevent the intonation from moving around while playing. This provides an absolutely stable system that stays intonated throughout dives and pullbacks. Something a fulcrum cannot do. CAM type systems come in two mounting styles: Stud mounting for retrofitting curved body styles and/or Tune-O-Matic bridges, and Flat mounting for flat body guitars (shown below).