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Thread: Wilkinson Big Block Strat Trem

  1. #1
    Mentor fender3x's Avatar
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    Wilkinson Big Block Strat Trem

    I got a "Wilkinson 52.5mm (2-1/16 inch) Vintage Style Full Block ST Guitar Tremolo Bridge Pop-In Arm 6 Screws" from Amazon. It's nicer than the kit bridge/trem, with a much heavier block, but the kit trem and the Wilkinson are the only ones I have had so all I can really say about the overall quality is that it seems OK. Nothing really special, but just fine.

    With one exception: The six screw it came with TERRIBLE. Three of them broke off when I tried to drive them into the ash body of my daughter's build. With the first one, I thought the screw was defective, but there was enough of it left for me to get it out with pliers. When it happened with the 2nd one, I thought I might have drilled too small a hole too small, so I increased the size of the hole. Then when the third one...it's clearly the screws.

    I am generally a strong advocate of throwing away kit screws for pretty much all components and replacing them with stainless steel screws. I did not realize that I needed to put Wilkinson in the "kit screw" category.

    I have had really good luck with Sung-Il bridges. I knew that they build some bridges for Wilkinson and thought that Wilkinson would be similar quality. The strat bridge I received, however, was not made in Korea like the Sung-Ils. They were made in China. That's not bad in-and-of-itself...but this bridge is not the same quality as the Korean made bridges I have gotten from Sung-Il.
    Last edited by fender3x; 02-04-2022 at 12:10 AM.

  2. #2
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    I have what I believe to be the same bridge on my last non-PBG build (the 3TSB strat) and I had no issues with the included screws.
    That said, my body is Polpar...

    The only things I can think of are: depth of your pilot holes, and did you try waxing the screws before turning them in?
    I do this as a matter of course with Maple and Ash. I use bee's wax, but even candle wax or soap will work.

    What was the difference in size of the pilot hole and the screw thread?
    I don't mean to doubt your ability, you've been doing this stuff long enough. I'm just spit-balling!

    Hopefully extraction of the broken screws wasn't too horrible! They can be a real PITA if break below the surface!
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  3. #3
    Mentor fender3x's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McCreed View Post
    I have what I believe to be the same bridge on my last non-PBG build (the 3TSB strat) and I had no issues with the included screws.
    That said, my body is Polpar...

    The only things I can think of are: depth of your pilot holes, and did you try waxing the screws before turning them in?
    I do this as a matter of course with Maple and Ash. I use bee's wax, but even candle wax or soap will work.

    What was the difference in size of the pilot hole and the screw thread?
    I don't mean to doubt your ability, you've been doing this stuff long enough. I'm just spit-balling!

    Hopefully extraction of the broken screws wasn't too horrible! They can be a real PITA if break below the surface!
    I appreciate the confidence in my abilities. Usually it's more likely to be a judgement problem ;-). Don't think depth is the problem. I drilled through to the trem cavity.

    I think the hole size was 3/32 (SAE). I eyeballed it first, and measured the width of the threads with a drill bit size guage, and selected a bit that was just s little smaller. I did not use wax although I generally do with maple. Didn't think I needed to with ash, but live and learn. I will next time...when I put in the stainless screws.

    It is possible that the hole was big enough for the threaded part, but not big enough for the shank. But it did not take much torque to break. To avoid problems I use two fingers and thumb and hand tighten only. Maybe I should only use screws threaded all the way to the head as well...

    I am waiting for tool from Amazon to get the two screws out broke off below the surface. Fortunately it should not show.



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    Last edited by fender3x; 02-04-2022 at 09:01 AM.

  4. #4
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    I did not use wax although I generally do with maple. Didn't think I needed to with ash, but live and learn.
    Ash is not as hard as maple, but still is quite hard.
    For comparison, here's some Janka Hardness ratings to put it in perspective:
    Maple = 6,450 N
    Ash (White) = 5,870 N
    Pine (White) = 1,690 N

    I am waiting for tool from Amazon to get the two screws out broke off below the surface.
    Ouch!!!
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  5. #5
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    I didn't have any trouble when I fitted the Wilkinson trem to my Jap Strat a few years back, but then it was a replacement and the six holes were already well drilled and used. Plus it was a basswood body. But I might have re-used the existing screws, I can't remember.

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