How to install Wlikinson tremolo ? (height setup ?)


Junior Member
Do you have information on installing a wliinson tremolo (strat body). Insert have been installed by Warmoth, just wondering what supid things I could do if I just try to figure out myself how to setup this thing alone...

Is there any rule to setup the height ?

Should I try to put some foam to protect the guitar body on the back of the trem ?

I have only done this once, but it worked.
First, the neck relief and nut height should be set up first.
I screwed in both posts all the way. Don't force them in tightly. This is a good rule for all parts of the guitar if I might add.
Install the bridge with the 2 E string saddles flush to the bridge. The other saddles should be up a bit higher. You will adjust them later.
You need to carefully place the bridge in and hold it in place while you place one spring on the other side. I always have a pillow to rest the guitar on so I don't do any damage.
You can then place the other spring(s) on. I have 3 springs on mine, but if you can probably get away with 2 especially if you use .009 strings.
I will block the bridge before I put the strings on (If you are setting up the bridge for dive only, then you can skip this part). You can do this from the back or the front. I use 5 empty Ernie Ball string packs folded in half twice longways under the bridge on the top of the guitar. It covers the bridge from hitting the guitar and is a good thickness to level the bridge. I use the bar to move the bridge. Move it slowly when there are no strings on it because it can move off of the posts
String the guitar and tune. You may find the bridge moves higher than the paper is holding it. You need to tighten the spring claw screws. If it drops when you take the paper out, you need to loosen the spring claw screws. Again, if you are "dive only", you can skip the loosen part. The bridge should be level when in tune. Note that every time you change the spring claw screws, you must re-tune.

Once the strings are tuned and you have the bridge floating where you want it, you can set the height using the saddles and post screws.
First set then saddles to match the neck. Raise and lower both posts so that the E strings are just touching the frets. Then adjust the A-B string saddles using the allen key so that they are just touching the frets.
Make sure that you loosen the lock down screw BEFORE you adjust the height. Take care when turning these screws because you can strip them. You are also supposed to remove string tension before adjusting the saddles. I do this by diving the bar. I don't know if this is OK. Do it at your own risk.
Once the "radius" is set, you can set the actual string height (action). This is of course a player's choice. I use a 2 mm pick at the 12th fret. I believe the best thing is to measure with a ruler (in 64ths), but I don't have one.
I place the pick on the 12th fret under the low E string, and raise the post until I have the correct height. Then do the same for the other side.
Some people like the high E side a little lower. Again, player's choice. I would say that 1.5 mm is very low and 3mm is high.

Now you can do your intonation. I hope this helps and I'm sure I forgot something as I wrote it off the top of my head.
I am curious to hear other's opinions so that I may learn.
Good Luck! :icon_thumright:
My method, and it's basically Dan Erlewine's method:  I've made a triangular shaped wedge that can be placed between the tremolo block and the rear of the trem cavity (towards the butt of the guitar). 
Like the previous post, adjust the two 'E' string saddles to be flush with the plate.  Install the posts & the claw, and mount the trem.  You can install the springs now or later, but if you decide to put them on, leave them loose.  I choose to leave them off.
Install the two 'E' strings, and tune them up to have a bit of tension so the trem is not resting on the body.  Place the wedge between the block & the rear of the cavity, and move it back & forth until the trem plate is parallel with the body top.  There needs to be enough string tension to keep the wedge in place.
While I'm here, I'll check the alignment of the strings to the sides of the neck.
Because the wedge is there, the bridge won't move as long as there is enough tension to keep the wedge in place.
Install the rest of the strings, and tune them to pitch.  Make your typical neck, action, nut, and intonation adjustments.
Making sure the trem claw is loose, install the springs if you haven't already.  Start tightening the claw.  The wedge will eventually fall out, and stop at that point.
I re-tune by loosening the claw, and once it's back in tune, you're back to where it was adjusted properly when the wedge was in place.

This method isn't much different than the previous one, but it does save a lot of trem claw adjustment and re-tuning.
Sorry for the late reply, business has been priority for a while.
Thanks a LOT for this, I have tried this and I have to say it is not that easy.
I am now at the stat of trying again from scratch.
Anyway thks for your help.
Sorry for necro posting (not really :p )

It's great to see the ideas here, especially the from scratch way of matching the neck radius,
but I (personally) have never been comfortable playing a setup that follows the neck radius,
so I always do my setup by feel and by sound.

The only point I'd like to make here, is that rules are good starting points if we're not sure where to start,
but hopefully we trust our instincts and feelings about our instruments first,
and if need be, bend them to our needs, based on those sensations, in the moment, while playing,
even if it totally breaks the rules.

My natural inclination is an odd wave shape that might be able to be seen in the attached photo,
but to describe it ...

I first go for getting a firm sensation on each string, alone ... good pull off,
good hammer on, chromatically over 4 fingers only picking the first note and then after that,
make sure that transitioning from one string to an other is moderately comfortable with out sacrificing too much feel or tone. I like a high action because of the tone and dynamic range.
I'm always willing to sacrifice speed for tone and dynamics.

Generally, most always it comes out like a ramp up from the low E to the D, then the G is slightly lower than the D, and the B is always higher than the G and then the Hi E is slightly lower than the B.

Yea, I know all of this is my own subjective thing, but I'd not be able to articulately express myself
if I didn't set up my guitars the way I do.

So ... long story short ...
never fear doing your own thing and making your instrument talk for you,
the best way you know how, ... even if it breaks rules.


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