Thursday, 26 November 2009

Wilkinson WVCSB

I got a Wilkinson WVCSB to replace the original tremolo of my Grassroots G-SE-48SC. The problem with Grassroots was that they installed a wrong kind of tremolo in the factory and they even tried to compensate that with a nut that had very narrow string spacing. I replaced that with a "standard" nut that has 35mm string spacing (in 42mm nut). After that both E-strings went easily off the fretboard because of wide 56mm string spacing that was too wide for the narrow neck of Grassroots.

There are narrow tremolos, but most of them have same width for mounting screw holes than the string spacing, so you can't install it in 56mm spaced tremolo without filling the holes and drilling new ones. But there are special models and WVCSB is one of them. It has 56mm mounting holes but 54mm string spacing.

WVCSB has odd alignment for string holes. They are not in straight line, but "intonation corrected" or something like that.

This is the only problem I had with installing. The pickguard was too tight for WVCSB, even the outside dimension was only about 1mm wider than the original 73mm. The picture also shows that the front side was too tight (noticed that after cutting off the sides).

I used a red marker to show where to cut off. I didn't remove the pickguard completely, so I had to work with wires attached. It went quite fine, I didn't scratch anything or cut off any wires.

I used a sharp knife to cut off the pickguard, but it's a method I don't encourage to use. The knife easily slips and it will do that so you need to be careful where it will go after that. Here is the result after filing and sanding.

It's obvious that 54mm is the proper string spacing for this guitar. The pole piece alignment is now exact and the outer strings have exactly the same distance from the edge of fretboard as in the nut.

I'm using only two tremolo springs with 10-46 strings, so the tremolo has quite an angle. This will improve the tuning stability of vintage style tremolos.

It took about hour or two (including breaks) to install the tremolo because the pickguard issue, but it was worth it. WVCSB has a nice quality at decent cost and it even has a pop-in tremolo arm with adjustable stiffness. It's surely an improvement to old school screw-in tremolo arm.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Dean ML Bubinga

Exotic wood ML model. It has small dents under the painting in headstock, but it's Korean made so it's a minor flaw. Frets are ok, no buzz or anything. I actually own another ML similar to this (Blueburst), but ML really fits for me so I had to get this. And it was cheap, only 400€ new.

I think the nut is not perfect, because the way strings bend as they go through the nut requires perfectly set up nut. This one seems to be cheap black plastic. Maybe it's that, but the sound is kind of muffled and muddy. Blueburst has better nut, so I probably have to do something about that.

I like the stock pickups, they look like PAFs or something. They have a nice sharp sound and I guess moderate amount of output. The only problem is that either pickups and/or cavity shielding is poor and the guitar makes a lot of noise in high gain, but then again, even the shape of this guitar is "heavy" it's in many ways a traditional guitar, more suitable for other than rock music. It's kind of hilarious, but why not?

The neck was a bit of surprise, because the top part is clearly V-shaped, then gradually changes to C-shape. It's also quite thick neck, about 22mm in first fret.

This model is also heavily neck weight and dives without leather strap, or something that stops the movement. I like the way you can anchor the bottom wing on your leg and stop the diving. Still, ML model isn't really an ergonomic shape. I just personally like the rising V shape that has minimum contact with wrist and you can play with wrist close to your body.