From bauvi–(at)–ol.com Tue Jun 6 16:08:03 CDT 1995
Article: 53690 of rec.music.makers.guitar
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From: bauvi–(at)–ol.com (Bauvil)
Newsgroups: rec.music.makers.guitar
Subject: Re: Strat Plus’ Wilkinson nut
Date: 6 Jun 1995 12:32:37 -0400
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R2314–(at)–accvm.corp.mot.com (Edwin Hilkens) wrote:

>Hi y’all,

>I’m thinking ’bout buying a Strat Plus but am a bit worried
>’bout the Wilkinson nut. I heard a few people say it’s no
>good and sometimes makes the guitar sound like Ravi
>Shankar’s sitar.

Well, I’ve gone through two of them, but maybe out of my own inexperience,
rather than a problem with the nut.

First off, the only time I ever encountered the “Ravi” problem was when I
first purchased the guitar (a Strat Plus), which had a minor buzz on the
high E string when played open. Try to talk your dentist out of a few
lightning strips (I think this is what they’re called) to run through the
string paths of the nut. What this does is remove any burrs or rough
edges from the string path that may have occurred during manufacturing.
Great care should be taken not to score the rollers. If you’re not too
handy, take it to a decent tech. Also, try sticking one of the provided
extra metal shims under the nut, being careful not to over-tighten the
screws when you put it back on.

Better yet, if you’re buying it new, insist that the store fix this
problem BEFORE buying it, should you find this problem with the one you
like. This should be done anyway, but many stores simply unbox them, wipe
& tune them, and stick them on the rack. Don’t allow them to charge this
as “setting up” the guitar for you; it’s their responsibility to fix it to
begin with, otherwise it has no business being on the rack for sale —
regardless of whether Fender or Wilkinson is to blame.

Also, I believe earlier versions of the Wilkinson nut were different from
the one I got with my Strat. Someone who has tried one will have to tell
you, but I think those original nuts didn’t provide enough down-pressure
on the lower wound strings, possibly causing a buzz. Just guessing here.
I *can* say the new nuts DO provide plenty of down-pressure on ALL
strings, which is a major benefit of this nut. Sustaining open harmonics
is a breeze, even after you raise and/or lower the whammy bar. Many, if
not most, guitars I’ve played will choke at some point when you start
raising and lowering open harmonics, but the Wilkinson allows them to
sustain quite well.

Jeff Beck demonstrates this perfectly on “Where Were You” from “Guitar
Shop”. He even waited to get the guitar before he finished recording it.
He did use some compression and a Rat pedal to help, but he still couldn’t
pull it off without the Wilkinson nut.

HOWEVER … One major problem I have with the Strat Plus is staying in
tune, even after a slight dip of the whammy. This is noticeable only on
the B and G strings, the G being the most horrendous. I do not know what
to attribute this problem to: the nut, or the bridge — although I think
the bridge may be the guilty party here. It took me 2 Wilkinsons and 1
Fender LSR nut to find this out. Incidentally, when I tried the LSR nut,
the sustaining harmonics were gone, and much of the stringy tone of the
Strat that I liked so much was gone as well. This is directly a result of
ZERO down-pressure at the nut, as there are no string trees, nor the extra
set of rollers the Wilkinson has.

As far as I’m concerned, the LSR, while maybe near frictionless, is also
toneless, and I immediately removed it from the neck, refilled the holes,
and put the Wilkinson back on. Avoid the LSR like the plague if sustain
and tone are concerns. This may not bother some folks, but after being
spoiled by the Wilkinson’s definite pluses in this department, there IS a
difference.

Good luck,
Bauvi–(at)–ol.com

 

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