Wilkinson Locking Roller Bridge Review

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by frankencat, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. frankencat

    frankencat Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2004
    Tampa Bay
    Wilkinson Locking Roller Bridge Review


    First Impression:
    I recently bought one of these from Guitar Fetish recently to replace the stock TOM style bridge on an Agile AL2000. Out of the box it looks pretty nice and they include the conversion studs and bushings to convert from metric (large) to USA (small) posts. The bridge itself is made for USA (small) posts. Although I am not sure why they don't offer this for metric studs since it appears to be an imported piece. The chrome plating is nicely done and it would also be nice if they offered one in nickel. The bridge has a substantial feel to it and appears to be solid brass.

    Right away I noticed that the posts fit very loose in the bushings. I opted to wrap the studs with some teflon tape to take up some of the slack and eliminate any moving or rattling and it worked out pretty well although I would have liked a better fit. It was really pretty sloppy. At the opposite end, the posts fit very snugly into the bridge due to some slag in the bridge opening from the plating process and just generally not being very well finished. I could not get the bridge onto the studs without forcing it down onto the studs so I cleaned up the openings in the bridge with a dremel tool and a small file and got them to fit like they should without being sloppy. Again, the fit could be a bit better here. The bridge itself locks onto the posts with allen headed grub screws similar to a TonePros. The difference is that the hole in the bridge is elongated so you can move the bridge forward or backwards on the posts. Not sure why they need to do this since the saddles are fully adjustable but it's there if you need it.

    After installing some new strings (GHS Boomer 10's) I setup the bridge. On my installation I ended up with bridge all the way forward against the post. what I found was that the grub screw on the one side was no long enough to tighten up against the stud at the other end so I had to tighten the other side up a little to bring it closer. After I got it snug I set the intonation. This is done by loosening the allen screws that hold the saddles and physically moving the saddles with your finger or a small screw driver. After getting the saddle set you lock it down with the screw and move on. when they are all locked down you are all set. One thing I liked was that each saddle fits into a groove that keeps it from moving side to side. The radius is cast into the saddle grooves. After that I loosened the grub screws being careful not to change the intonation settings and set the overall height of the bridge. Then I locked down the grub screws and everything was locked into place. It's a little more time consuming that you may be used to with a standard TOM style bridge but once you are done your setup is locked in and it won't change between string changes, etc. Very nice.

    Right away I noticed a bigger sound with more sustain than the stock imported Nashville style bridge. The rollers do not rattle and they seem to make string bending a little easier as well. The shape of the rollers should help to prevent premature string breakage and if I ever want to add a Bigsby I am all set!

    All in all, it's a cool bridge if you want to save a few bucks over the TonePros and you don't mind doing a little finish work. If you want a precision fit go with the TonePros. If you want a cool locking bridge that sounds good and doesn't rattle but might take a little extra to get installed then the Wilkinson is probably for you. If you are going with a Bigsby then this is your guy. One other side benefit that other's have mentioned as well is that the bridge does not have any sharp edges or corners on it and no sharp saddles poking out if it. This makes it feel very smooth against your hand when muting or resting on the bridge which is kind of nice. For $30 it's a winner.
  2. Bigsbyman

    Bigsbyman Member

    Oct 6, 2010
    Great post, thank you for making time to share so many details. I also use 10's (Nickel Rockers) and have one of these bridges on my RI Ampeg Dan Armstrong guitar. I've broken several strings at the bridge and am concerned the bridge isn't gig worthy anymore. Did you E, A, and D strings fit inside the roller slots? Mine don't. Just broke a D string, that doesn't happen often. Do you have any problems breaking strings with this bridge??

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