Wilkinson Locking Roller Bridge Review

Discussion in 'Modifications' started by frankencat, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. frankencat

    frankencat New Member

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    Wilkinson Locking Roller Bridge Review

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

    First Impression:
    I recently bought one of these from Guitar Fetish recently for my new 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.

    Installation:
    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.

    Setup:
    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.

    Playing:
    Right away I noticed a bigger sound with more sustain that 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!

    Conclusion:
    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. diffra

    diffra New Member

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    Nice review. I also had to sand down the interior a bit to get it to fit on the posts. No problems with the bushings though.

    This is definitely a great bridge if your bushings were drilled in the wrong place due to the sheer amount of adjustability. I don't really notice a huge tone difference, but I haven't broken a string since I bought it, and it certainly seems better-built then the stock sung-il bridge. Also recommended.
     
  3. tvvoodoo

    tvvoodoo Well-Known Member Dealer

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    +1^

    save yourself a few bucks if you are interested. It's where I found mine.
    http://cgi.ebay.ca/CHROME-WILKINSON-ROLLER-BRIDGE-FOR-ELECTRIC-GUITAR_W0QQitemZ220544238211QQcmdZViewItemQQptZGuitar_Accessories?hash=item3359760283
     
  4. Coyote

    Coyote New Member

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    Thanks for the review. I'm looking into bridges right now and this one is top on my list
     
  5. eldos1

    eldos1 Well-Known Member

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    own 5 now :D
     
  6. ixoye777

    ixoye777 Active Member

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    It is a quality bridge and well worth the $25. I have one on my AL and another on my Harm.
     
  7. Sifuben

    Sifuben New Member

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    I fitted one to my AL 3100 and didn't experience any of the problems you did. My only bugbear is it's so difficult to adjust with the strings on.
     
  8. gmzanatta

    gmzanatta New Member

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    I just got one too, but from bezdez, and paid $18.00 for it. I was very impressed, and I'm thinking of getting more for all my guitars (except the AL3kM, which has TonePros).
     
  9. Geoffrey Charles

    Geoffrey Charles New Member

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    Yep the bridge rocks as does Bezdez. :bigthumb:
     
  10. jcwillow777

    jcwillow777 New Member

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    +1. I've got 3 of 'em and I really like them.
     
  11. ElRay

    ElRay New Member

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    Thanks all. I'm looking at one of these to steal the saddles from for a multi-scale build.
    This means that the saddle bottoms are flat, correct?

    Also, how thick is the base of the saddle? Does it look like it's thick enough to drill and tap for a small set-screw, so I could adjust the saddles a little more precisely than by just "physically moving the saddles with your finger or a small screw driver"?

    Ray
     
  12. Bungle

    Bungle New Member

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    :bigthumb: I just bought one off evilBay this morning. Shouldn't take too long to go from Canada to Australia... I hope...
     
  13. Blooz1

    Blooz1 New Member

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    I just picked one up from Bezdez - nice price!

    I like the fact that once you've set the intonation, it's locked.

    The stock bridge on the AL's has always looked cheesy to me for some reason!
     
  14. movedbeatle

    movedbeatle New Member

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    I would get one if i had an AL :(
     
  15. jakkim

    jakkim New Member

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    Have you guys experienced any set up or playability issues as the radii are different on the bridge and fretboard?
     
  16. Bungle

    Bungle New Member

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    I installed mine on the weekend and had no problems at all! The radius seems to match just fine and there's a huge amount of room for intonation, which was the main reason I bought this bridge (aside from tuning stability).

    I was able to achieve a nice low action without any notes fretting out while bending on any of the strings. Haven't really noticed a difference in tone or sustain, but it was all very good to begin with.

    The one thing that I thought was odd, and this may not be the bridges fault, is that after I intonated, the E string saddle (the thickest E string) is actually closer to the neck than the A string saddle... Weird. I checked and double checked and it's intonating perfectly, it just seems odd that the saddle wants to sit in that spot. For the record I'm using Ernie Ball "Not even slinky" (12 16 24p 32 44 56) in D standard (DGCFAD).

    Usually the saddles are positioned like this (or thereabouts):

    E
    .B
    ..G
    .D
    ..A
    ...E

    But now that guitar's saddles are more like:

    E
    .B
    ..G
    .D
    ..A
    .E

    It's probably something I've done, as although I've been playing guitar for about 8 years, I haven't played around with intonation much I'm afraid.


    EDIT: I forgot to mention that the roller bridge is a different colour to the rest of the hardware. Rondo says the AL-3100 has nickel plate hardware, so I can only assume the roller bridge is chrome as it has a brighter finish.

    [Edited on 8-3-2010 by Bungle]

    [Edited on 8-3-2010 by Bungle]
     
  17. diffra

    diffra New Member

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    Honestly, Yes. It's the one downside I find with this bridge. I do notice that my D and G strings are slightly higher with these than I'd like. It's not so bad because most of my bending is done on the G string, so it's nice having that slightly higher. If i had the tools I might file the shelf those two strings are on down. It doesn't bother me enough to make me consider switching though, the perks of this bridge far, far outweigh the radius issue.
     

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