Wudtone Tremolos, History, Design detail

06 Apr Wudtone Tremolos, History, Design detail

In 2013 Wudtone produced their unique CP ( Constant Pivot) tremolo design. Since release it has been chosen by and delighted hundreds of guitar players all over the world. The Wudtone tremolo is regarded as the best tremolo system available for maximised dynamic, sustain, vintage tone character and total tuning stability.

This webpage aims to:

  • explain why many guitarists experience tuning issues using Leo Fender’s original design
  • show you more detail about how the Wudtone CP (Constant Pivot ) bridges are designed to maximise dynamic sustain, vintage tone character and total tuning stability.

Thank you in advance for reading on.

Leo Fender’s original design 

A 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 wider envelope of trem action along with a lovely vintage tone?

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 dynamic efficiency, sustain and tone through 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

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 act as a whacker plate 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. 

Killer Tone

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 and delivers a big clean guitar boost. 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. The CP Holy Grail has extra mass and shaping with a separate bar on the back edge of the plate.  This also helps to make the bridge feel comfortable under the palm of your hand when playing.

The Wudtone CP Vintage  totally nails a pre-CBS tone and looks . It is made from 2.6mm vintage correct material.
cpvt2

  
 
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%. A Wilkinson with elongated countersinks only 21%. More bridge/body contact = more efficient dynamics , sustain and tone. 

 

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