Trevor Wilkinson, certified genius (Strat vibrato content)

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Joel Terry, Nov 27, 2005.

  1. Joel Terry

    Joel Terry Poster Extraordinaire

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    Now, THIS is what I've been waiting for for about the past twenty-five years: The Wilkinson Vintage Strat Vibrato with pop-in arm. (With a steel block, no less!)

    I love vintage-style Strat trems, but I get tired of the arms becoming wobbly. I've tried the old plumber's tape trick, the small-spring-in-the-hole trick, and many other tricks, but they're all short-term fixes. Now, you can insert the arm into a Delrin® collar (complete with adjustable arm tension) to get rid of temperamental vibrato arms.

    I've order three of these vibratos, and I'm looking forward to installing them in two of my Strats and my "0le FUZZY" custom Tele, and heartily using them, a la Jeff Beck, Jimi, Hank Marvin, etc.

    Nothing more to say, really, other than Trev Wilkinson--God bless him--always creates a better mousetrap. ;)
     
  2. danbomb

    danbomb NEW MEMBER!

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    I have one of these in my '83 SQ strat and my '01 super strat. They kick major ass! I was gonna buy steel blocks but they cost almost as much as the whole bridge. They also stay in tune as well as a 2-point without the change in tone. Both guitars "woke up " with this bridge.
     
  3. Sarge

    Sarge Friend of Leo's

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    I installed a Wilkinson Trem on my MIJ 62 re-issue years back and it has the nylon "bushing or insert" that sits in the trem arm hole. Nice snug fit with zero wobble, the trem arm slides in and out really smooth. My Brian Moore C90P came stock with the Wilkinson Trem and insert.....really sweet.
     
  4. AndreasF

    AndreasF TDPRI Member

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    Re: Trevor Wilkinson, certified genius (Strat vibrato conten

    Do you think there's any chance it'll fit in a MIM Standard?

    First post, by the way :)
     
  5. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Re: Trevor Wilkinson, certified genius (Strat vibrato conten

    Joel

    He's a real nice guy. I've met him several times at various guitar shows and is approachable, down-to-earth and loves to talk guitars.

    :D Peter
     
  6. mellecaster

    mellecaster Former Member

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    Wow !

    HAL-A-LOU-YA

    That IS Great News......Thanks
     
  7. Sarge

    Sarge Friend of Leo's

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    Hey ugly!

    If you are asking me about the MIM standard fit....I don't know. On my MIJ I had to route the trem cavity a bit wider for it to fit. Since the guitar was painted in black majic marker, I didn't care if I screwed it up or not cause it was getting a refin anyhow! But it turned out great and I wish I had a Wilkinson on every guitar I own.
     
  8. Scotland

    Scotland Poster Extraordinaire

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    That wheel really has been reinvented then !

    Joel, thanks for that. I will never understand the reasoning behind Fender's decision not to do this as standard.
    Do they do them in gold as well ?
     
  9. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Re: That wheel really has been reinvented then !

    Here you go John:

    http://store.guitarfetish.com/gowivitrpoar.html

    It will probably be as cheap buying from Guitar Fetish. I've had quite a few parts from them and their shipping and service is brilliant.

    Just for reference, here's Trev's UK site:

    http://www.fretkingbitz.com/index.html

    How's the snow? We've avoided it so far!

    :D Peter
     
  10. Scotland

    Scotland Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thanks Peter

    Not a lot of snow here but very cold with a high wind chill...or should that be low wind chill :?
    The snow seems to have been north and south of you my friend, must be that warm heart keeping it away.
    I see Gloucester got hit badly last night, I bet most were asking what that white stuff on the ground was. :lol:
     
  11. Doug 54

    Doug 54 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Joel:

    Do you have time to measure the 'center of low E to high E' string spacing???

    (I am 'sorta' seeing on other sites that it is 2 1/8" --which is great, I don't want the trad 2 7/32's".
    I Don't like the high E REAL close to the edge)

    Thanks!!!
     
  12. Joel Terry

    Joel Terry Poster Extraordinaire

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    Re: That wheel really has been reinvented then !

    I'd love to meet him just to have the opportunity to shake his hand and tell him what a genius he is. It's nice to know he's an affable and approachable fellow. ;)

    Thanks for adding Trev's Fret-King website address, Peter. I was starting to wonder if he had a website. (By the way, I'm now salivating over that Fret-King 50s Corona. Trev states that the neck has a 1958 profile, which is just my cuppa tea...I'd love to get my hands on one of those!)

    I ordered my vibratos from Guitar Fetish; so, their shipping is pretty reliable, P? I know they have fantastic prices, and the service has been excellent thus far!

    Doug, the string spacing is 2-1/8". I'm like you--I don't like the high E close to the edge. ;)

    John, I, too, fail to understand Fender's decisions (or lack thereof) about a lot of things. 8)

    ---

    Off-topic: So you guys have a bit of snow in the region already? Wow--it's hard for me to relate! It's about 50° F/10° C here in Nashville, which is normal for this time of year, really. Is snow unseasonable for the northern-to-mid regions of the UK this time of year, or is it relatively common?

    Take care (and stay warm),
    Joel ;)
     
  13. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Re: That wheel really has been reinvented then !

    You wouldn't be disappointed. They play and sound fantastic.

    :D Peter
     
  14. Doug 54

    Doug 54 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Joel:

    Thanks!!
     
  15. Deacon Blue

    Deacon Blue Tele-Meister

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    Hey, Joel....

    If you will, since you seem to like the Callaham trem an awful lot, can you give us an A-B comparison between it and the Wilkinson ? "Preciate it.

    Jeff
     
  16. Jimi_is_God

    Jimi_is_God TDPRI Member

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    5 + 1 version?

    I am also looking to try one of these vintage style Wilkinson’s. There is another version of this bridge, the 5 + 1 hole Tremolo.

    http://www.wdmusic.com/wilkinson_5_1_hole_tremolo_24851_prd1.htm

    WD has both versions of the bridges listed on their site but little info about the differences and much higher prices than Guitarfetish.

    There is a British site that has Wilkinson bridge's here:

    http://www.jhs.co.uk/wilkinson.html
    They explain more about the Wilkinson 5+1 Hole Tremolo - WV6
    Providing a bridge which offered the unsurpassed "tone transfer" of a
    6-screw pivot system but with the smooth fulcrum action of a 2 pivot set-up was a challenge we could not resist. By utilising the unique Wilkinson "5+1" knife-edges it is now possible. One hole to locate the vibrato laterally whilst the remaining 5 elongated slots eliminate the chance of screws binding in the holes, resulting in a "return to original position" second to none! Push-in vibrato arm, vintage spec bent steel saddles, and "stagger drilled" block are also included on this model.

    On the fretkingbitz.com site they say similar things about the VSVG model: Getting the bridge to return to the same position after use was another matter. The major problem with the original design was that the 6 holes and 6 screws can bind, creating poor tuning stability. By making 5 of the front holes into slots it is impossible for the bridge to bind, ensuring a smooth 'return to zero' like the VS100. The 6th hole is retained so that lateral position on the guitar is preserved.

    The Fretkingbitz site does not list any of the vintage models for some reason. Guitarfetish has great prices but I can’t find the 5 + 1 model there, only the normal 6 hole version.
     
  17. Joel Terry

    Joel Terry Poster Extraordinaire

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    Re: Hey, Joel....

    All apologies for such a sssllllllowwwwww respose, Jeff, but I figure it's better late than never! :p

    The Callaham Vintage S Model vibrato is a fine, well-crafted unit. The increased volume and sustain of the Callaham UNS 1018 cold-rolled steel "inertia" block is absolutely noticeable over a stock Fender block--which is currently made of zinc (except for the Eric Johnson Signature Strat). The arm fits snugly, but, eventually, you get the same ol' "wobble" that you get with a stock Fender arm. My only real complaint is the 2-7/32" string spacing (the distance from the low E-string to high E-string at the bridge.) That's just too wide, in my opinion, even on a fully original vintage Strat. The high-E (that is, the treble E-string) tends to run close to the edge of the neck with 2-7/32" string spacing, and I don't care for that at all.

    The Callaham has finely machined pivot screws and countersunk pivot-screw holes, so you get really good return-to-pitch action.

    Yes, I praised the Callaham quite a bit here for the past year or so--

    BUT...

    The relatively new Wilkinson Vintage Strat Bridge (with "pop-in" tremolo arm) is just a bit better thought out. (Just to make sure I'm clear, this isn't the Wilkinson/Gotoh joint-venture bridge or the Wilkinson 5+1; this is an honest-to-goodness, cosmetically correct vintage Strat vibrato replacement.) God bless Trevor Wilkinson for finally giving Strat lovers the ideal vintage six-point Strat vibrato bridge.

    How do I love the Wilkinson? Let me count the ways:

    1. The Wilkinson probably has the finest machined pivot screws and countersunk pivot-screw holes--they match about as perfectly as possible; this makes for less friction, which means better return to pitch.

    I can literally wham all day a la Jimi and Jeff Beck on my Wilkinson-loaded Strats and never--yes, that's right--never go out of tune. It's the most ridiculously fantastic thing I've ever witnessed. And I don't even have to lube/graphite the nut. (However, the nut must be cut neatly and professionally; otherwise, you're likely to get string hangups, which can cause whammy-related tuning problems.) And I "float" my Strat vibratos so the G-string can drop an octave plus and raise at least a whole step up. After installing and playing the Wilkinson vintage vibrato unit, I'm of the opinion that Floyd Rose was just wasting his time with those locking nuts and all of those fine tuners and whatnot. All of that stuff just isn't necessary to stay in tune. ;) )

    2. The action of the Wilkinson is butter smooth. There just isn't any stiffness in the action, and I love that. The Callaham tends to be a bit stiffer than the Wilkinson.

    A lot of people attribute this stiffness of action to the number of springs, the tightness of the spring claw, string gauge, etc. While all of that certainly plays a role, a lot of a vibrato's smooth action has to do with the fulcrum point and how finely and smoothly it's machined. In that aspect, Wilkinson wins the contest.

    3. The Wilkinson uses the same style of cold-rolled steel inertia block as Callaham, so you get a bold increase in sustain and volume, just as you get with the Callaham.

    4. The "pop-in" tremolo arm is one of the very best features of the Wilkinson. The arm is not threaded, nor is the inertia block into which it fits; instead, the hole into which the arm fits is lined with a Delrin® collar. (Delrin® is a plastic patented by DuPont™ and specially developed for various applications which require a plastic with strength, stiffness, hardness, dimensional stability, toughness, fatigue resistance, solvent and fuel resistance, abrasion resistance, low wear and low friction.) The great thing about this is that the Delrin doesn't give or stress, not even like steel; hence, it's the perfect solution against "tremolo arm wobble." No more teflon tape or small springs necessary.

    And, as an added feature, the Wilkinson's Delrin collar tightness can be adjusted by a hex/Allen screw--so, you can have the benefit of a free-swinging arm with a loose adjustment of the screw, or you can tighten the screw to position the arm in one place a la Hank Marvin.

    4. The string spacing on the Wilkinson is a more neck-friendly 2-1/8". No high E-strings barely hanging on; all the strings are nice and even and centered.

    5. The Wilkinson has staggered string-through holes, which minimalize string breakage and allow for each string to have identical saddle-to-ball end lengths for improved intonation, believe it or not.

    6. The Wilkinson looks like a vintage Strat bridge. There are no surprises, cosmetically speaking.

    John, that makes two of us, mate. Forgive me for saying it, but the Wilkinson vintage vibrato is the vibrato Fender should have had many years ago. (But, I suppose that's bound to happen when you get lackadaisical and lazy by resting on your laurels. :?)

    One day, I hope to meet Trev, shake his hand, and buy him a pint. ;)

    Yes, I am a Wilkinson convert, through and through. :D

    Joel
     
  18. Deacon Blue

    Deacon Blue Tele-Meister

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    Hey, Joel, again...

    What a great response; well worth the wait. I've the beginnings of a Strat project rattling around in my head, and since the trem is the heart of a good Strat and I don't have the resources to check out all the options myself I really appreciate the opinions of folks like yourself. Thank you very much.

    Jeff
     
  19. jammy

    jammy Tele-Meister

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    I too have met him a few times - went to his workshop recently for a look round a cup of tea. Wait till you see the self-tuning bridge he's working on ;)
     
  20. WickedGTR

    WickedGTR Friend of Leo's

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    I ordered mine yesterday- going on my new sparklecaster...
     
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