Trev Wilkinson might not consider himself a guitar guru, but the rest of the world feels that way. His work in creating a comprehensive set of replacement instrument parts cemented his reputation in the music industry.
His goal is to create designs that focus on durability and simplicity while solving problems that musicians face.
Although his approach to design is often called ingenious, Wilkinson looked at how components could be practical and functional.
Several groundbreaking ideas came from this process, ranging from the Roller Nut to updating vintage vibrato systems.
One of the best choices for today’s player is the Wilkinson Stainless Saddle Two Point Trem.
Advice on Wilkinson Stainless Saddle Two Point Trem
Wilkinson trems provide a straightforward upgrade for anyone playing an imported Stratocaster or working on a build guitar. Although technically a vibrato, it requires balance and security to maximize results for the instrument. Adjustable posts allow for nearly universal spacing.
The trem bridge is popularly called the “Whammy Bar.” It’s the lever that is attached at the bottom of many electric guitars.
New Fender Stratocasters and other models, including imports, use two metal posts to connect and secure the bridge to the instrument. Older designs use six small screws for the same purpose.
When you have a Wilkinson Stainless Saddle two point trem to install as an upgrade, you’ll have an effective way to produce the sounds you want while staying comfortable in your playing style.
You can install a new trem in minutes if you have some screws, a Philips-head screwdriver, and the replacement component available.
Review of the Wilkinson Stainless Saddle Two Point Trem
The Wilkinson Stainless Saddle Two Point Trem is an excellent upgrade consideration for Japanese Strats and other import Stratocasters.
Its design incorporates two smart stud posts that offer musicians improvements to fulcrum action, especially when compared to the traditional six-screw design.
String spacing is 10.8 mm with the design, while the mounting posts can be anywhere from 53 mm to 62 mm. That universal fitting ensures compatibility for most Strats, but individual guitars still need to be measured to ensure compliance.
Wilkinson parts are made in Korea and distributed through authorized dealers. You’ll notice the strength and solidness of the steel block, which feels thick and heavy whenever the musician pushes into the trem bar.
A staggered string hold allows for natural intonation lines without disrupting a preferred attack angle over the saddle.
Instead of dealing with hang-ups and lag, you’ll enjoy tuning stability with this full assembly set that comes with the mounting accessories.
Three different finishes are available: chrome, black, or gold.
I picked the chrome to work with my Strat. Once received, it was nice to have the bridge surrounding the saddles.
Although the tension adjustment is tucked underneath the unit, making adjustments is relatively straightforward.
Try to resist the urge to overtighten the screws with the Wilkinson Stainless Saddle Two Point Trems. If you put enough pressure on them, there is a small risk that they could strip away.
Even with heavy use, the stability and precision remain. It plays comfortably, delivers a fantastic tone, and can even help you play through cheap humbuckers or P-90s.
How to Install a Wilkinson Stainless Saddle Two Point Trem
Although a Wilkinson Stainless Saddle two point trem works on custom builds and other guitars, this guide represents how to install this component on a Fender.
The best upgrade options are for Strat imports, but it is possible to upgrade other models, including older ones, with this design.
If you’re ready to explore how your guitar can sound with one, here are the steps to follow.
Step 1: Remove the Strings
Start by loosening the strings on the guitar by rotating the winder along the neck’s side. Next, take string clippers to cut all six in the center of the instrument.
Twist the upper portion to have them removed completely, then flip the guitar over to push the other part through the current trem’s bottom.
The cut strings can be discarded. You must have them entirely removed from the instrument before installing the Wilkinson Stainless Saddle two point trem.
Step 2: Pull Out the Old Trem
You can remove the existing tremolo in your Fender guitar by unhooking the springs from the instrument’s back. Set them aside.
Next, unscrew the metal screws or posts that attach at the bridge’s top. Lift and remove the part from the guitar.
Take a Philips-head screwdriver to remove the screws from the trem claw. Pull the ground wire from the side opening, and then the claw will come out entirely.
Step 3: Purchase the New Trem
If you haven’t bought the Wilkinson Stainless Saddle two point trem yet, you’ll need to have it available to complete the upgrade.
Strats made before 1986 might require additional modification, so it helps to know what the instrument requires to have a successful installation experience.
Step 4: Attach the Claw
Flip the Strat over to find the large opening in the back. Before placing the guitar down to work, it helps to have a blanket or a soft item underneath to prevent scratches from forming in the finish.
The opening you see often looks a bit like a top hat. You’ll finish the bridge through the preverbal brim to complete the installation of the Wilkinson Stainless Saddle two point trem.
Place the trem claw against the edge closest to the guitar neck. It’s the metal rectangle that holds the bridge in place.
Step 5: Apply Wax to the Screws
One of the biggest problems that musicians face when upgrading the trem involves the screws that hold the claw and other components to the guitar.
It helps to have some screw wax available to prevent the threads from stripping. A cube of clear soap will also do the trick.
Attach the screws as indicated by the Wilkinson Stainless Saddle two point trem. If you screw them in tightly at this step, the rest of the bridge could fail to install.
Slide the ground wire into the hole you can see in the opening. Look along the edge to start the feeding process. Once it is in place, you can finish setting up the trem claw.
Step 6: Attach and Tighten the Bridge
Turn the guitar back to its playing side. You’re looking for a long opening at the bottom of the Strat, along with two holes with even spacing. This opening is where you’ll install the physical bridge for the guitar.
Clean out the screw openings, whether you have two or six to manage. Some dust tends to get stuck inside.
Attach the metal posts to the openings at the Strat’s bottom. Use one of the metal posts from the new trem and thread it into the guitar’s base. You can start by using your fingers to twist it, but then tighten it with the screwdriver.
Repeat with the second post. Older imports would focus on the six attachment holds instead.
At this step, you’re ready to insert the bridge into the guitar opening. Line up the Wilkinson Stainless Saddle two point trem to have it slide into place.
Once it is secure, gently tighten the screws to ensure everything stays balanced instead of trying to warp.
When you’re finished, flip the guitar back over again.
Step 7: Return the Springs
After tightening the bridge, it’s time to hook the springs between the bottom of the bridge and the claw.
Continue to hold the bridge in place while looping the ends of the metal spring into the rounded grooves.
You can use a screwdriver to pull and loop the other side into the small opening. Repeat this process until all the springs are taut.
Three springs provide a clearer sound. Even if it takes some time because you’re struggling to hook them into the small openings, it’s worth the effort. After they’re in place, you can let go of the bridge.
Step 8: String the Guitar
After you’ve finished installing the Wilkinson Stainless Saddle two point trem, you can press the notches of the bridge into the posts.
Push the bridge forward, and then string the instrument as you normally would at this stage.
If you have an older Fender import, you can skip this final step.
What Can I Do If My Trem Stops Working?
A tremolo often stops working because the string’s path becomes a complication. Less friction creates better sounds. By revising the string trees and nuts to ensure fewer bends occur, the sustain and sound improve dramatically. Eliminate any hard corners found during the inspection process.
With the Wilkinson Stainless Saddle two point trem, the tuning is remarkably stable. If you don’t receive a similar experience, it might be time to replace the tremolo.
Before you take that step, I’ve found some simple fixes that could help restore how your Strat sounds when playing.
For starters, I highly recommend reviewing how hard you play the guitar. Some musicians are heavy-handed, while others seem to flinch whenever they lightly tap a string.
If you press too hard, the strings often pull to sharp. You don’t need to change your style, but it might help you find an answer to your trem problems.
It also helps to keep the hardware on the instrument clean. Even the best trems get gunked up occasionally, so clean off the surfaces a few times per year.
You might discover that your strings can last longer and be less troublesome to play. Those nut slots and saddles need to be free of debris.
The one issue I’ve discovered with import Strats is the tendency for the stock trem to have the knife edges start deforming as they age.
It’s relatively easy to see with the two point design, but it is a little harder to spot on older instruments. Look for wear and tear on the post. If you spot anything, a fine file can clean things up.
If everything is good so far, but your tuning still suffers, look at the locking nights. The base itself should be secure, and it shifts if it is not that way.
If you don’t have any other restoration options, the Wilkinson Stainless Saddle two point trem offers a direct replacement worth considering.
Your Stratocaster will sound incredible, the update won’t take long to complete, and you’ll be ready for your next gig or practice.