ABOVE: The Wilkinson ADT Self-Tuning Bridge uses signals from the vibrating strings to control onboard electric motors and automated tuning gears. Located between the bridge pickup and ADT unit, the string sensor also provides a pitch readout for the player.
LEFT: This Fret-King Country Squire Semitone Deluxe features a translucent red finish and optional “vintique gold”
pickguard. The model is loaded with two Fret-King Alnico 5 vintage-voiced single-coils and a Fret-King humbucker, and sports a
Wilkinson VSV vintage-style trem.
You’ve always been concerned with making the guitarist’s job easier. Can you tell us about some design prob- lems you’ve aimed to fix? For instance, the major prob- lem with all vibrato-equipped guitars is keeping them in tune, hence the original invention of the Floyd Rose system. My systems have always been the alterna- tive to a Floyd Rose. I’ve never asked a guitar player to clamp anything, and I’ve never asked a player to use a wrench to change strings. But I’ve always endeavored to keep him as perfectly in tune dur- ing his performance onstage as he possibly can without all the other paraphernalia round it, and I think that is key to the success of the guitar. This applies
to a semi-pro or a professional player and even
company can wind anywhere in the world, and
I can do it at a much lower price point because
I’m not worried about people thinking that the
pickups in expensive guitars aren’t as good.
Fret-King doesn’t have an old
brand that we can damage by
trying something new. We have a
new brand that certainly pays its
respects to past icons. But we can
make changes and improvements
to those guitars because there’s no
preconceived ideas about what
a Fret-King should look like.
the beginner. We shouldn’t leave
the novice out of the equation
because why should beginners
have to play something sub-standard? We try to give all players
equal footing to be able to play
onstage in front of any audience,
no matter what level.
From your experience, what
does it take for a guitar innovation to catch on in this industry?
I think our industry is steeped
in nostalgia—it has never really
moved forward. There have
been some fantastic innovations
in the guitar industry, but very,
very few of them have actually
been successful because they
always seem to just go one step
too far. I think guitar players are
very conservative, even though
they might be outlandish in
the way they look and dress.