If you’re interested in learning more about the comparison between the Wilkinson tremolo vs Floyd Rose tremolo bridge for the guitar, you’ve come to the right post!
Choosing the Right Tremolo Bridge
The very name tremolo isn’t the most appropriate one for these bridges. A more suitable one would be a vibrato system. But although tremolo stands for something else, it just stuck.
These days, we have a few tremolo system types. We could roughly put them into these categories:
Synchronized tremolo, in the style of classic Fender Strat bridges
- Bigsby or Vibrola-style tremolos
- Vintage-style floating bridges, like the ones on Jazzmasters and Mustangs
- Modern-style floating bridges, like Floyd Rose or Kahler
Of course, you could make more detailed divisions. But I find this to be a practical way to look at things.
The classic Fender-style synchronized tremolo bridge is the most popular one. You’ll find it on plenty of guitars out there. It’s fairly simple and it can only go one way, down in pitch.
Meanwhile, Floyd Rose or similar bridges are more complex. And, most importantly, they allow you to go both up and down in pitch. This is enabled using a double-locking system, keeping strings locked both at the bridge and the nut.
Now that we have this out of the way, let’s explore the differences between Wilkinson and Floyd Rose tremolos.
Wilkinson bridges come from initial designs by Trev Wilkinson. Something to remember is that, for the most part, these are licensed patents that other companies will use. For instance, Framus also has Wilkinson bridges.
Some high-end Wilkinson bridges are made by Gotoh. And as far as tremolo bridges go, they have three options. These are VS100N, VG300, and VSVG.
Essentially, they’re pretty much like Fender-style bridges. However, they come with some additional features. For instance, they have a locking stud on the bridge. When you drop the arm, the bridge is locked. You can’t move it.
However, Trev Wilkinson still makes these bridges himself. They’re known as Wilkinson Direct. These are the most expensive ones. There are plenty of different Wilkinson tremolo bridges. But his tremolo bridges are usually in the style of Fender stuff. Some of them come with locking saddles like WVS54, which is a 6-point tremolo.
Don’t confuse less expensive, licensed stuff with Wilkinson Direct. These might be expensive, but they are the real deal.
Just like with Wilkinson, Floyd Rose has different stuff to offer. The main distinction is the original Floyd Rose and those that are labeled as licensed by Floyd Rose. The design was made by Floyd D. Rose way back in the 1970s.
Overall, most of their bridges are pretty similar in design. They all rely on the same principles.
If we’re talking about original stuff, they have plenty of different series these days. There are even versions without fine tuners.
The main feature of Floyd Rose tremolos is that the string is locked in two places. They also come with locking nuts. And, most importantly, they come with fine tuners on the bridge. This is one of the features that makes them the most popular.
They find their way on a lot of guitars these days. But you can also install them on any other guitar, with additional body modifications, of course.
Wilkinson Tremolo Vs Floyd Rose: Which is Better?
There’s one misconception about Wilkinson tremolos. Some people believe that they can’t go up in pitch. But the truth is that Wilkinson has a bunch of different stuff. We can find both 6-point and knife-edge tremolos. And some even have locking saddles and can go up in pitch.
If we’re talking about original stuff, you can’t go wrong with either. Wilkinson and Floyd Rose are both high-end guitar hardware. The main difference, however, is that Floyd Rose usually comes with fine tuners.
Now, there are different experiences with these two options. Some may argue that Floyd Rose is more challenging for restringing. And I’d agree with that.
Some have also said that they have to be very careful when palm-muting with a guitar that has a Floyd Rose bridge. Resting your hand on the bridge can make strings go sharp. So you’d have to adjust your playing technique.
This doesn’t happen that often with Wilkinson tremolo bridges. However, this doesn’t make them better. There is no better or worse here. Just what you prefer.
Aside from fine tuners, the advantage of Floyd Rose lies in their extended-range options. You can find 7-string and even 8-string options.
But at the end of the day, it’s kind of hard to compare them. Floyd Rose mostly focuses on the same knife-edge design. Meanwhile, Wilkinson has a bunch of different options. There’s even some completely vintage-style stuff.
My personal choice would be Wilkinson. However, I don’t think they’re objectively any better than Floyd Rose.
It simply depends on your preferences and style of playing.
Wilkinson Tremolo Vs Floyd Rose: Conclusion
I hope this article has helped you think through which tremolo bridge might be good for you!
And if you want to read more about tremolo bridges on this blog, check out:
Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have questions about this or another guitar-related subject!