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Best Strat Bridge

ccrouch14

Member
Messages
36
I'm in the middle of my first strat build. I'm trying to make decisions about the hardware and need a little direction. I'm trying to decide between a Callaham & and Gotoh Wilkinson Bridge. There is a pretty big price difference here, but how much difference will it really make to spend the extra money here? How important is a great bridge to tone, playability, tuning, etc?
 

MightyGuru

Member
Messages
6,999
Full sized steel block is important. I would also opt for the 2 point bridge rather than the 6 screw. The 2 pointer is so smooth. Callaham is nice stuff but pricey. If the Wilky has a steel full-sized block it will probably sound fine.
 

K-Line

Vendor
Messages
8,438
I have used both. The Callaham is nice as long as it is the narrower spaced one. The vintage space leaves very little fret to play with. I use the Wilkinson Vintage trem with the push in arm and love it. I prefer it to the Callaham for many reasons. I like the way it operates, looks great, sounds awesome, what more can you ask for. They are worth more than what they cost IMHHO. Let the debate continue....
 

speedtaco

Member
Messages
865
I put a Callaham in my strat, it was worth every penny. You could hear/feel a hugh difference in the resonance from the first strum. Nice people there too. Highly recommended!
 

Full Monty

Member
Messages
312
I have used both. The Callaham is nice as long as it is the narrower spaced one. The vintage space leaves very little fret to play with. I use the Wilkinson Vintage trem with the push in arm and love it. I prefer it to the Callaham for many reasons. I like the way it operates, looks great, sounds awesome, what more can you ask for. They are worth more than what they cost IMHHO. Let the debate continue....
:agree

I've got three of them on Strats and I really can't fault them, especially in the value for money stakes. By all accounts the Callaham does give you a slightly crisper tone (probably through using better quality steel) but unless your putting it on a high end Strat and/or you're going to be playing pretty clean you're not going to notice the difference.
 

K-Line

Vendor
Messages
8,438
:agree

I've got three of them on Strats and I really can't fault them, especially in the value for money stakes. By all accounts the Callaham does give you a slightly crisper tone (probably through using better quality steel) but unless your putting it on a high end Strat and/or you're going to be playing pretty clean you're not going to notice the difference.
I as well did hear a brighter tone from the Callaham, which is why I prefer the Wilk. Seems to be hard if you have a hunk of brighter wood to get it under control. The Wilk is a bit "warmer", maybe that is a better way to describe it.
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,689
I as well did hear a brighter tone from the Callaham, which is why I prefer the Wilk. Seems to be hard if you have a hunk of brighter wood to get it under control. The Wilk is a bit "warmer", maybe that is a better way to describe it.

Chris, do they make different models? the wilk I had was from Guitarfetish and the block was significantly smaller and lighter than a Fender RI steel block. Also the little set screw on mine was stripped (a known problem then) and the trem arm tip molding was real cheap and looked like it was off a guitar from Walmart. I did not care for the guitarfetish one.
 

snooze

Member
Messages
510
And what about the Vintage Repro block enhancement? I have a MIM Classic '50s and I'm interested in this enhancement.
 

Full Monty

Member
Messages
312
Chris, do they make different models? the wilk I had was from Guitarfetish and the block was significantly smaller and lighter than a Fender RI steel block. Also the little set screw on mine was stripped (a known problem then) and the trem arm tip molding was real cheap and looked like it was off a guitar from Walmart. I did not care for the guitarfetish one.
Mine all work fine and the weight/size of the blocks was on a par with my Fenders, even the one on my EC Strat. I get most stuff like that from a net retailer in the UK (axesrus) and all the Wilkinson stuff I've bought has been top quality.
 

Full Monty

Member
Messages
312
And what about the Vintage Repro block enhancement? I have a MIM Classic '50s and I'm interested in this enhancement.
If you have the money and if it will fit then go for it as long as the rest of the guitar gives you what you want.
 

pitseleh

Member
Messages
806
Not to hijack your thread, but my brother is in the middle of a very similar situation and is also struggling over the bridge choice. I'm more into PARTS and FORUMS so I've been doing some research (also because I interested in this myself).

At first he was going to go hardtail because he never uses the trem on a Strat and in fact historically has thrown away his trem rod, but at some point he said it was mostly due to the Strat trem itself, and expressed an interest in a tremolo that was more akin to a Bigsby. This, apparently, is not easy, so I'm back to Strat bridges!

His problem is similar to mine (and why I don't tend to use Strat trems either). They feel very... unnatural. You take a Bigsby or a Jag trem and it FEELS like it should be used. Smooth, springy, responsive, and stable. My experience with Strat trems has been that they feel kind of clunky and like you're doing something you shouldn't be doing. You can almost feel the strings going out of tune. It's just a hassle.

So on a similar note to the OP, anyone have any suggestions for a bridge/trem system that's just more usable than what I've dealt with before? Maybe I've used cheap ones, I don't know. I'm principally looking for superior usability here. Good tuning stability, smooth sweep, and a generally playable "feel" to it. I don't want to be met with a lot of physical resistance that tells me I'm doing something I shouldn't and am going to be sorry in about five seconds. There are a lot of options and it's just a bit overwhelming, but so far the Trem-King seems like a solid one.
 

RvChevron

Member
Messages
2,464
For best vintage (whatever that means) tone, Gotoh 510T series, two or six points, solid or bent steel saddles, you won't find better quality trem than those.

Callaham if you want dead nut vintage spec.

Personally I'd go with Gotoh 510T two-posts trem.
 

ccrouch14

Member
Messages
36
The strat I'm putting the new bridge on is already drilled for a six point bridge. Can I still put a 2 point bridge on it? Will it cover the holes?
 

Full Monty

Member
Messages
312
The strat I'm putting the new bridge on is already drilled for a six point bridge. Can I still put a 2 point bridge on it? Will it cover the holes?
You can, but check the string spacing very carefully. Some two point bridges are designed specifically to fit vintage strats but some so-called 'vintage trems' are not made to the exact spacing. The Wilkinsons I use have a slightly ovoid hole at one end to allow for this but they are six point bridges and I don't know whether their two point versions have a similar tolerance.:)
 

jaycee

Member
Messages
8,316
Mine all work fine and the weight/size of the blocks was on a par with my Fenders, even the one on my EC Strat. I get most stuff like that from a net retailer in the UK (axesrus) and all the Wilkinson stuff I've bought has been top quality.
BUT....is this the same trem as the guitar fetish one? I was considering the gf bridge for my build but now i'm not too sure....anyone?
 

Full Monty

Member
Messages
312
BUT....is this the same trem as the guitar fetish one? I was considering the gf bridge for my build but now i'm not too sure....anyone?
I've just looked on the guitarfetish site and I have to say that I'm not impressed. They use the same picture of a modern style 2 point Wilkinson trem for 3 or 4 differently described units. But this looks like the one I've fitted to my old Blue Flower Strat

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

Stk1520

Member
Messages
302
I've used the Wilkinson tremolos in three different guitars and they've all been perfect. Two were from Guitar Fetish and one was from another source on eBay (even cheaper at $29.95) --- they were all the same thing:

From the Wilkinson website

The steel block dimensions (mm) are shown in the link above. The push-in bar is the main reason I like them; also, the fulcrum area is a bit different from a Fender, and I find the Wilky to be smoother overall (plus no slop with the push-in arm). One thing to note --- if you ever want to replace or shorten the saddle height screws, they're metric (M3) set screws, so standard Fender screws won't work.
 

aman74

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,183
Just wanted to chime in and say to make sure you get the right thing. Wilkinson trems are made by many different manufacturers.

Gotoh usually makes really nice stuff, but they also make many models in many price ranges so make sure to get the right one. I wish I could find it, but in another thread yesterday someone mentioned that a forum member here sells the right unit at a good price. Maybe someone here will chime in for you.
 






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