Wilkinson Vintage Trem clicking problem

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by lv, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. lv

    lv Supporting Member

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    I have a Wilkinson Vintage trem on my K-line, basically a stamped steel Fender style trem, with the major difference being a push in arm instead of screw in. It also has a set screw.

    The problem is the arm makes an audible click when depressed past a certain point. I've tried pulling the arm out further and I can get it to stop, but by then the arm is only half an inch in the hole and is unusable.

    Anyone have any suggestions? I had the same problem with this trem on my last Suhr.
     
  2. KLB

    KLB Member

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    What you hear could be the bridge plate pivot edge popping against one of the screws. Just a thought.
     
  3. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I bought one of those trems and think it's junk, shoulda' known that for $30 it is what it is. Those same ones came on Suhrs?! I'd replace it with something better. But make sure to have the vintage hole spacing with the narrow string spacing. I'm not sure which trem would fit that.
     
  4. js54

    js54 Member

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    +1 on KLB's thoughts.

    +1 on buddastrat's as well - I have this trem and put it on 2 different guitars and it really killed the low mids on both and sounds a little too sizzly.

    Also, I have to cut my pickguards to fit this bridge...??? There is nothing wrong with the guards or the alignment...my Callahams fit perfectly.

    I guess the point is...maybe these bridges arent all "that" and if your problem persists....consider purchasing a better bridge.

    I wonder about the Suhr's as well..?????
     
  5. atquinn

    atquinn Supporting Member

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    As far as I know, Suhr never used Wilkison vintage trem (VS100) on any of their guitars. They did use the to 2 point, bent-saddle trem for a while as did/does Tyler (part# VS300). Any references to a $30 vintage trem must be to the units that Guitarfetish sells, which are unlike the VS100 or VS300, which both cost upwards of $100. Talking about Wilkinson trems can be like talking about Floyd Rose trems; there are so many different types (from cheap pieces of crap to quality units) that it can be difficult to tell exactly what's being discussed. To the original poster, do you have a pic of the trem you're talking about?

    -Austin
     
  6. Aardvark

    Aardvark Silver Supporting Member

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    Wilkinson does make a vintage style bridge with steel block, 6 screw mounting, and modern (narrower) string spacing. Saddles are Fender-type bent steel. I bought a Suhr with this bridge, sounded good. I have also installed it in a Grosh, again sounds good. Costs $62-70 on the web.
     
  7. lv

    lv Supporting Member

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  8. lv

    lv Supporting Member

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    Ken,

    How would I fix this?

    Thanks
     
  9. KLB

    KLB Member

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    I would try two things:

    1.) First, try some teflon lube like Tri-Flow chain oil (get it at bike shops). One small drop under each screw head. Also, lube each contact point where the springs in back connect to the trem claw and block.

    If that doesn't fix it...

    2.) reduce the string tension and one by one, raise each pivot post screw up and inspect for burr or notches. The pivot screws should not be too tight against the bridge plate, else you get into some binding against the top.

    By the way, the pivot post holes in the bridge plate for the two Wilky bridges that I have are slightly larger than stock Fender, but I used the stock Fender screws anyway. Actually, they are hardened steel Callaham screws. The bridge plate will move around slightly with no string tension or springs. but once tension is applied, the plate presses tightly against the screws.

    Are you aware of the new Callaham bridge with 2-7/32" vintage 6-post spacing, but with 2-1/16 (Les Paul) string spacing? It's on the What's New page. I'm thinking of trying one on a guitar that would benefit from the extra 1/16" difference in spacing between the 2-1/8" Wilky and the 2-1/16" Callaham. I don't worry about whether the strings are exactly over the magnet pole pieces because if this mattered, you would hear a drop off in volume when you bend notes... and you don't!

    Cheers.
     
  10. lv

    lv Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the tips Ken and everyone else.

    Turn's out the plastic collar inside of the block was defective - Chris at K-Line sent me out another one (great customer service, thanks so much Chris) and it works perfectly now.

    For anyone who wants a vintage style trem, but with a rock solid, no play trem arm, this bridge is worth checking out.
     
  11. jazzandmetal?

    jazzandmetal? Supporting Member

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    Where was the plastic collar? Do you mean inside the trem arm hole?
     
  12. thenine

    thenine Member

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    I havent found a vintage trem that stays in tune! I know it is possible, Ive seen Doug Aldrich do massive dive bombs and have no problem. On my Tyler, my low E goes sharp, what are your guys secrets? Pencil lead in the nut slots?

    9
     
  13. K-Line

    K-Line Gold Supporting Member

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    Yes, if you take the trem arm set screw out and the plate off, the insert falls out. The insert from Lou was defective, it had a mis-cut slot so it was overlapping itself. I filed it out and it was fine. These bridges have some advantages, like a steel block, a staggered hole pattern so the trem really feels nice and smooth when used, and a push in arm, not to mention a 2 1/8 spacing that mounts to a regular screw pattern. I love this because I can go crazy and roll the fret ends way back. The other trems only allow a slight rolling and the Callaham is 2 7/32 so you better not touch the fret ends or you have a pull off problem. Even at 2 3/16 like the Gotoh, you have to be careful. As some have said, there is a bit brighter(?) tone and the springy-ness is more than say a Callaham or Gotoh. Chocolate or vanilla? I have not found the perfect swirl as every bridge has a bit of a different sound.
     
  14. K-Line

    K-Line Gold Supporting Member

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    A dive, well not many can hold tune unless you use a tremsetter? The nut is crucial as well as the set up. The nut needs to be V shaped so there is no binding and a hard downward cut. I bit of graphite in the slots helps, or try some fast fret dabbed on the nut slots on occassion. Also on the trees as this is a big binding point.
     
  15. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    John? How the hell are ya? I'm the guy who got the Bogner 2x12 from you years ago. Still got it. I use a regular old Fender trem did about 20 dive bombs in a row and the guitar was in tune after doing them yesterday showing a buddy how they can be setup for that. I don't have any real tricks either. Just float it enough so that the bridge has adequate pull up. Lube the nut (pencil lead or chapstick is great) and work it in. Use very few winds on the post and tune up to pitch. It really stays in tune great and I can do all the Brad Gillis' Ferrari noises I want and then strum a chord and be exactly where I left off.

    If it's only your low E that goes sharp. Try to give it such few winds on the post or wind it upwards so that there's barely any angle to the string over the nut. The nut groove may be a bit narrow or pinching. Try a little bit smaller E string and lube that slot. I bet it will help.
     
  16. KLB

    KLB Member

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    First, get the nut slots cut correctly for the string gauges you use. Lube ALL string and spring contact points with the trem parts using tiny drops of Tri-Flow oil with teflon. Lube the nut with your favorite concoction. Make sure the (6-post) pivot screws aren't too tight and are smooth on all surfaces. Have the trem springs go in straight lines. Don't angle the outer springs to the center of the block. Three or 4 springs usually work best.

    Now, here is the clever floating tremolo setup technique that I learned from someone who worked at Fender:

    1.) Put a spacer of wood or other sturdy material under the back edge of the bridge plate that is the thickness of the height you want the trem off the body.

    2.) Tighten the trem claw screws until the bridge plate holds the spacer in place.

    3.) Tune the guitar with a very accurate strobe or other tuner. Make sure the strings are stretched and settled in because you want this tuning point for later reference.

    4.) Remove the spacer from under the bridge plate. The strings will go sharp.

    5.) Loosen the trem claw screws until BOTH "E" strings are in tune again. You may find the trem claw is slightly angled. This last step equalizes the tension from one side to the other, so when you use the trem it doesn't tend to pull to one side. The tension adjustment takes into account both the differing string and spring tensions against the movement of the bridge plate and block. If you find the trem claw is angled a lot, try moving one of the inner springs to the other side to balance it out a bit.

    Have Fun!!
     
  17. gerontius

    gerontius Member

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    i have that trem on one of mine guitars ( Vintage AV6H) - it's the steel block, 5+1 hole version (they also offer other, cheaper versions - more info on the JHS website)
    it really stays in tune - no matter how much i abuse it.

    the key is: locking, staggered tuners (to avoid need for a string tree) and a graphite nut.

    here's a picture of that guitar... it costs like a Squier, but sounds and plays much better than MIM Classic 70s strat i've had

    [​IMG]
     
  18. jazzandmetal?

    jazzandmetal? Supporting Member

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    How does one tell the difference between the good trem and the not so good one?
     
  19. HHB

    HHB Member

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    I dig my Wilkie trem, it's the one from Guitar fetish and sounds and works GREAT for me, I can dive bomb like EVH and stay in tune ( I do lube my nut and string tree )
     
  20. thenine

    thenine Member

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    Hey Jeff. How are you doin Bro? I still have your Splawn as well. That was a great sounding cab. I bought a Uber and a UberKab after that. Sounding really huge for me.

    The guitar I am speaking of is a Tyler and it has locking tuners so the string winds may not be the issue here for me. The nut should be cut well also considering the quality of Tyler - going to try to lube it and see how I get on.

    Jeff, have you played a Tyler yet? A buddy of mine brought over 2 Tylers and from that moment I was hooked. Hands down the best strat I have seen or played. I immediately sold 3 guitars to get the funds for one. Really big sounding, super easy to play, the necks are to die for and the finishes are soooo cool. If you havent yet, try your hardest to get ahold of one. For me the hype is really worth it. If I can sort out this trem business I will have hit the lottery.

    9
     

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