Another day, another vibrato unit

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Another day, another vibrato unit

Postby UnexplodedCow » Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:23 am

Being the endless tinkerer, I found another design that intrigued me.

The Gotoh EV510T is a nearly drop-in style of unit, and very similarly shaped to the Contour (one could barely tell them apart).

The major differences:
Gotoh uses normal anchor sizing, so they press in snugly to a wilkinson-equipped Carvin/Kiesel. The height posts have locking screws, so they can be set and forget.

The pivots are knife edges instead of a rounded edge and dual cones that the Hipshot uses.

The top plate is well-polished, hardened steel (believe me, it's hard), with steel block saddles. The top plate has shoulders to keep the saddles from moving laterally.

The block is a major departure in that it is a full sized zinc affair that is beveled on the rear, and has high-mounted string holes. The exit holes on the block are also angled to avoid string contact with the block, so all downforce is directly on the saddles (there is a diagram of this, but I confirmed it).

It drops in if all one wants is to decrease tuning, with a tiny amount of pull up. To go beyond that requires rounding the back of the top plate, the same as the Contour requires. If even more range is wanted, then the Wilkinson route needs to be modified in the front corners.

I've spent 3 years with the Contour, and have other guitars with the Wilkinson. The Contour smashes it in tone, as far as my opinion is concerned. The heavy steel block of the Contour helps with sustain and flutters better than any other non-locker I've tried. Bass response is great, treble is about the same as the Wilkinson, so it's a full sound.

The Gotoh, however, takes the sound a step beyond. It has the same bass response, but better treble response, and notably better harmonic content. Sustain is also improved. It does not flutter as well (about the same as a Wilki) due to the lower mass block. It never gave me an issue with returning to pitch, even with loose strings. Range is excellent with the minor mods. The arm is better in that it's slightly larger, and also screws in at the bottom, which is typical Gotoh (something I like).

String spacing - The Contour is 52.8mm total spacing, and the Gotoh is 54mm (same as their Wilkinson and Floyd units). The neck on my DC 135 is 56mm at the 24th fret (2.204") and the strings are reasonably far from the fret edges. I only slipped off once, at the beginning. I kind of like the slightly wider string spacing, though it's very, very subtle.

I'm going to run this for a while and see how I like it. The sustain and response remind me more of a fixed bridge, string through design (not tuneomatic). When machining the back end of the top plate, it was clearly very hard, so I'm not expecting much knife edge wear; again, typical Gotoh, as I've considered their 1996T Floyd bridge to be better than an OFR (just can't get a tungsten block for them).

I really think the different block design helps out; now if it could be made out of a heavier material (steel or tungsten), then we'd have that extra bit. This is not to say the Contour is bad - some of its sound difference may be due to slightly smaller anchors that I had to shim in, or non-locking posts that I used teflon tape to keep in place. As for wear, after 3 years, the Hipshot is holding up well, with only minor polishing on the rounded edge side, and with some very slight wear on the two locating cones. Given the amount of use it's seen, I'm quite pleased. We'll see how the Gotoh holds up.

That's all, carry on.
We are entitled to our own, wrong, opinions.

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Re: Another day, another vibrato unit

Postby sean.e » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:07 am

Thanks for the post.

Looks like one of the 510 variants is being used in the forthcoming Charvel DK24 2PT models: ... army-drab/ ... imer-gray/

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