Hello there, glad you made it!
Just to let you know, this is lengthy webpage. It aims to:
- explain why many guitarists experience tuning issues using Leo Fender’s original design
- show you how the Wudtone CP (Constant Pivot ) bridges are designed to maximise dynamic and tone with completely stable tuning.
- share some of our customers delight (that is at the bottom if you are short of time!)
Thank you in advance for reading on.
“does work as advertised..the trem action is very smooth.. return to pitch is good” Tim Shaw, Director of Research for guitars, Fender MIC
Leo Fender’s original designA tremolo bridge has always been a key component in the overall sound of an S-type guitar. Although there are lots of options along with the current 2 point trem system commonly used, experience and general consensus would suggest the original fender 6 screw vintage bridge, still offers the tone. We share the view of many, that contact with the body of the guitar is what matters for authentic vintage tone and increased sustain. Many guitarists still prefer to use a vintage style bridge because of this, however, they can experience issues with tuning, due to the pivot point, which has to slide up and down the screws as it is used.
Why do so many guitarists have tuning issues using Leo Fender’s original design?
When set up as intended, the original vintage plate operates with two pivot points, A and B shown on the diagram above. When tilted point B has to slide down the bearing screws and then back up again. Reliefs ( usually countersinks ) are cut underneath. The problem is the force created by string tension is being applied through this sliding pivot point B, which, due to friction, doesn’t always return to the same stable position and correct pitch.
Furthermore, the start of the bevel cut underneath can be a factor affecting feel and stability. If the start of the bevel is in front of point A, the plate will feel very stiff and its movement will be limited. Essentially the plate is trying to dig its way into the body because the length of the diagonal (shown as green arrow) is longer than the vertical space available ( shown as the red arrow). In these circumstances, set up requires the mounting screws to be slackened off a bit and so there becomes even more room for variation in the pivot point B and tuning issues that arise as a consequence. Here is a video showing the issues that arise with set up and operation of an original plate, along with operation of the Wudtone CP (constant pivot) Plate.
As long as you don’t expect to go too far ala Joe Satriani, a carefully set up vintage bridge has few problems for the gentle Shadows kind of trem action.
Having said that many guitarists are hesitant using their vintage trem or simply deck it to avoid set up/tuning problems. Innovative guitarists such as Jeff Beck and Scott Henderson have carved out their own sound, finding ways to express themselves with more trem action in their playing. Why can’t every guitarist have a reliable way to explore a wide envelope of trem action along with a lovely vintage tone?
Well now they can.
“It’s not often that a product comes along that reinvents the wheel and does it perfectly”Crispin Weir, Fender Custom Shop dealer, Regent Sounds, Denmark Street.
The Wudtone CP (Constant Pivot) Technology
At Wudtone we have manufactured a bridge plate that :
- is easy to set up and works consistently.
- always returns to pitch.
- improves vintage tone through even better connection with the body of the guitar.
- offers smooth feel, with increased sensitivity
- inspires confidence to explore a wider envelope of up pitch, down pitch, trem action and sounds
The CP (constant pivot ) trem invention.
1st gen plates,( as per the original Leo Fender patent) with a flat top surface only pivot by loosening the fixings (this allows the plate to slide up and down the fixings). This type of plate provides a desirable tone but causes tuning to be unstable. 2nd gen plates ( e.g. Fender 2 post, PRS grooved screw, and Ernie Ball Luke) use indentations in the fixings ( 2 or 6) so ‘float’ above the guitar body. Stable but the tone generated by guitars using these bridge plates is considered to be inferior to the vintage plates.
The Wudtone CP technology (Patent GB1314545.3) overcomes the problems of the two types of plate described above. It provides stable operation and a desirable tone through the use of: recesses formed around the fixings on the top side of the bridge plate; an arc on the underside of the bridge plate to ensure constant contact with the guitar body.
The Wudtone CP (constant pivot) design
Here’s the tuning fix (we gave the bearing screws some relief too!)
The design enables the bridge to pivot on the bearing screws at point A. This pivot point remains constant because recesses machined into the top surface of the plate provide relief so that the pivot point A does not need to slide up and down the bearing screws as the trem is used. Having a constant pivot point eliminates the cause of wear and tear, but more importantly completely fixes the tuning problems guitarists experience with the original plates.An accurate, extended, always on, body connection. The arc between the two green arrows on the underside of the plate (B) also creates a constant connection with the body of the guitar for maximum vintage tone and sustain. We make the bridge in a unique way to maximise contact with the body(see below). Each bridge comes with a stainless steel shim to spread the load on the body, further increase the contact area and provide a low friction metal to metal contact where the bridge slides over the shim at B. This increases sensitivity and improves feel, especially for the light chord shimmer type of use. We have also added some extra mass ( always good for tone) and shaping on the back edge of the plate. This makes the bridge feel much more comfortable under the palm of your hand when playing.
High quality materials + maximum contact = killer tone!We have produced two material variations of the CP trems. (click here to read reviews and tone differences) The Wudtone CP Holy Grail plate is made from 3mm, c75, hardened and tempered spring steel. The Wudtone CP VT is made from 2.6mm vintage correct material. The Holy Grail material is considerably harder (1470 nmm2) than other bridge plates, indeed it is so hard it cannot be bent to form the rear edge as is the case with all other plates we are aware of. We machine this super hard material so no forging or heat hardening is required. These processes usually result in a bridge that is slightly convex underneath. The Wudtone CP Holy Grail is perfectly flat underneath to maximise contact. In addition the Wudtone CP bridges don’t have any countersinks underneath. It would be easier and cheaper to countersink but we want as much contact with the body as possible, so instead we machine away the absolute minimum of metal ( see pic left). This means that the Wudtone CP bridges have 67% of the available footprint in contact with the body. In comparison a stock Fender/Callaham with countersinks manages around 45%. The other bridge you see in the picture (a Wilkinson with elongated countersinks) only 21%. More bridge/body contact = more vintage tone and sustain.
Max vintage tone, completely stable tuning, confidence, comfort, enjoy!
The Wudtone CP bridges are designed and made in the UK. They are supplied to boutique guitar makers and available as a complete tremolo system or after part upgrades for Fender MIM Standard, Fender American Standard , Classic Player, other hybrid (eg Fender Highway 1) type guitars and also PRS. The full range of options are in our online shop here .
Combine with the Wudtone 1018 Cold Steel Tone Block to maximise clarity, sustain, resonance!
2nd gen tremolo conversions and upgrades
American Standard conversions
If you have an American Standard / Deluxe Stratocaster and want some real dynamic and vintage tone, we now have an easy fit conversion just for you. More info on the American Standard Conversion here.
If you want your PRS guitar to have a fuller tone, with more dynamic response, detail, clarity, the Wudtone PRS LR (less reduction) upgrade is for you.
Hear some classic 50’s tones with the Wudtone CP Holy Grail in action on some of our custom guitars on the video below ( jump to aggressive bridge demoing skip to 11:18)TESTIMONIALS “does work as advertised..the trem action is very smooth.. return to pitch is good” Tim Shaw, Director of Research for guitars, Fender MIC
“stable tuning and an incredibly smooth action… lot more presence to the sound with a clear top end…improved the feel of the guitar immeasurably” David Riggs“a ground breaking package of tone, feel, tuning stability…win,win,win evolution” Tom Cundall ” I have to say that this is the best tremolo i’ve ever had! Great tone and stability!” Marco, Finland “This bridge plate is clearly a significant positive development in the long history of the Strat trem and I’ll be strongly recommending it to any customer who is interested in improving both the tuning stability and tone on their Strats.” Andy Tatlock – A6 Guitars “Got the bridge plate yesterday and all I can say is WOW! The fit and finish are spectacular, my Callaham trem block fit perfectly as did my Raw Vintage saddles. Best of all, the tone is stellar and it really does work as advertised I’ve had absolutely no tuning instability regardless of how hard it is used; it returns to pitch every time. Thanks for a great product and customer service.” Scott USA “the tuning stability is truly impressive and the guitar rings rings like a bell.” Nico Sabatini, London “it remained as in tune as I”d expect a Floyd Rose to” Tim Morgan “I have received the custom pivot bridge plate and the trem block. Well What can i say…I’am Speechless! Tone quality and stability is extraordinary. I don’t want to write a bible about this bridge … this is the best!” Anura Milan Italy. “this bridge is a masterpiece ” ebay buyer miri55 “I’ve never been able to part with big bucks for a Fender cos I’ve always felt their trem is basically flawed, and I never fancied a two-point trem on a Strat, myself. The Wudtone CP trem really is a nice solution. ” Chris Bird, Bath UK, “I want to express my gratitude for such a wonderful job and say that I am very happy with the result! Sound – above all praise! Sustain and correct tuning. Thank you very much once again. Best regards from Russia!” Albina, Russia