Wilkinson Hardware has launched their very first website – wilkinsondirect.com – offering customers the ability to purchase directly online.
Featured on the new website are Wilkinson's Pro Series, Anniversary Series, R Series and Platinum Series products, comprising a huge range of guitar parts including vibratos, wrapovers, hardtails, specialist bridges, saddles and pickups.
Earlier today, we spoke with Wilkinson’s Rick Lowe about the company’s new customer-facing approach.
“The idea of the website is to let people know about what we do,” he explains. "We felt that it was really important to have something out there that allowed people to find out.
“Previously, Wilkinson didn't have a web presence, primarily because a lot of the products went through distribution.
“However, since Trevor Wilkinson's daughter, Kate Wilkinson, was appointed CEO, the firm has been taken in a different direction and we’re looking forward to the future.
“Trevor is still very much on board, but his role is more in design and inventing – in other words, where he’s most comfortable.”
Trevor Wilkinson’s storied career in guitar design, construction and manufacturing goes back decades.
Back in the mid-‘80s, the inventor collaborated with Fender on the Roller Nut. Incorporated into the Strat Plus design, this engineering marvel earned him kudos aplenty throughout the industry (indeed, Jeff Beck still uses the original Wilkinson design).
Soon after, the groundbreaking VS100N vibrato was launched.
Nowadays, this unit – along with the other Pro Series VSVG and VG300 vibratos – are made by Gotoh.
"The number of companies Trevor has been involved with is remarkable,” continues Lowe. “He's still working with Harmony Musical Instruments over in India, and they’re producing guitars for a variety of brands.
“As well as helping other companies, Trevor is still heavily involved in designing new products. There are a lot of things happening for us in terms of new products and artists.
“Pete Thorn has just done a film about the new WVS130-2P locking saddle vibrato, which is probably our most popular vibrato at the moment. That's been really successful because it solves a lot of the problems people have with tuning stability.
“The Year One Series vibrato, the WVS54, is a bang-on authentic reproduction of the original [1954 Fender Stratocaster] bridge, including the methods involved in its manufacture. And that rings true with our R Series pickups as well."
Aiming to compete with high-end pickup builders, Wilkinson's new website introduces a range of vintage-themed products, including Stratocaster- and Telecaster-style single coils, as well as P-90 and PAF-inspired units.
"We wanted to introduce a range of pickups that we felt was in line with our high-end [hardware] Pro Series," points out Lowe.
“The [R Series] pickups are designed around certain eras with specific players in mind. So, there are different styles from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s available.
“The Caliber 5761 humbucker, for example, is an authentic reproduction of the classic late 1950s Seth Lover-designed PAF humbucker. It's typical of what Trevor is looking at and what he wants to put out there.
“This pickup is manufactured in a very particular way, and features lacquer-dipped coils like the originals.”
While maintaining their solid reputation for quality guitar parts, Wilkinson have managed to keep their costs realistic.
“It's well priced gear, which is something Wilkinson cares a lot about," underscores Lowe. "We've been able to create products that are affordable as well as totally functional.
“A good example of that is the Vintage range of electric guitars by JHS that was created by Trevor.”
Although Trevor Wilkinson is well known throughout the industry, he seems to be far more comfortable working behind the scenes, doing what he does best.
“Trevor isn't one of those guys who wants to be on the front page of a magazine," says Lowe. "He's very proud of what he has done, but he doesn't feel the need to shout it from the rooftops.
“Hopefully the new website will help with that!”