It should be a surface mounted design. I have one 80's Squier strat I've been thinking to upgrade.


I just bought one of these myself today! Can't wait to see if it performs as per all the rave reviews. Best features:
1. No springs, so stays in tune when you bend notes or break a string.
2. Proper setup allows bending all strings together in equal increments, so whammied chords will stay in tune up or down! Amazing...
3. Can be set for either narrow or wide range bends. Supposedly, you can set it for a full step, or 2 steps down, etc. to accomplish pedal steel and slide guitar effects without a slide! How cool is that? No alternate tuning necessary since you can fret any chord you like and slide up or down. Major, minor, sevenths, sixth intervals, etc. (will also work with alternate turnings though I suspect an adjustment would have to made for those to stay in tune during trem action.)

Someone was kind enough to host a page on how to use and setup the Wonderbar 2001 Shift:


Post your results, please!
Last edited by Axe2grind911 at Sep 1, 2016,
Update and review: Washburn Wonderbar, the Answer, 2001

In1984. this was tauted as "The Answer" to Floyd Rose and Kahler. In 2016, is this truly a historic "Bridge of Sighs"?

My quest for the Holy Grail of trems began after seeing a post regarding the TransTrem system used beginning in the 80's on certain headless guitars, namely Steinberger, which allowed bending multiple notes, and even full bar chords in perfect harmony throughout the bend. Lacking funds and esthetic appreciation for such headless skeletons, I began a search for such a system that could be used on any stock guitar without proprietary or cumbersome anomalies. I stumbled on a post [THIS post] and then several others which set me off and running in search of a Wonderbar, that seemed to fit the bill. My main purpose was to be able to emulate slide and pedal steel sounds using a tremolo bar.

I recently found a NNOS Wonderbar - an anodized black model in pristine condition - on eBay and was highly stoked to replace my Wilkinson VS100 with it, since I was looking for better sustain, and being able to bend chords in relative tune. I would have to drill two holes in the face of my brand new arctic white mighty mite strat body to get her in, but based on all the reviews took the plunge with only a bit of trepidation.

First I had to remove the old posts and plug the holes - these showed after mounting between the Wonderbar and pickguard, but I figured I'd eventually replace w a custom guard without the cutout which would hide the old holes. I proceeded to mount this 18 oz. monster and set her up to play, and immediately noticed 2 things: sustain was AWESOME, more than any other bridge I've ever had on any electric guitar. I could feel the lower strings vibrating the neck like never before! Wait, but what's that buzz? There's something loose vibrating somewhere...

Turns out its the saddles on the high E and B strings! These puppies are designed like a loose jackknife with the "blade" end (see photos top of original post) being clamped tightly by a wing fasten by a hex screw and the other end of the jackknife being the actual saddle is free to pivot against the blade and has two set screws for height (intonation) adjustment. The problem is that the only thing holding down the saddles to the bridge is string tension. This seemed to work fine on the wound strings as evidenced by the huge sustain which could actually be felt in the LEFT hand. But the upper strings (at least on a set of .09's) don't have nearly enough tension to hold the saddles down without vibrating - huge design flaw! It had that sitarish sound and sucked all sustain out of the 2 upper strings. It might be possible to drill holes in the base plate and screw them down, but this would be quite a mod for something that otherwise appeared well engineered.

Ok, might be worth it for the sustain and - hey what about the chord bending? Let's set that up and give it a try, since this had been the primary reason for getting this beast in the first place. As anyone that has used whammies on a strat knows, the high E has the least amount of detuning when pressing the bar, so I set this up for maximum detune. On this strat using .09s that turned out to be 2 whole steps (4 frets). Ok, not exactly the dive bomb I was expecting, but more than the 1 whole step on my Wilkie and may still work for for my purposes which was to be able to simulate slide and pedal steel licks with the bar.

To have equal detuning on all strings, the unit needs to have them all set to bend the same relative amount of pitch from top to bottom of a bend. My target has been set by my high E string at 2 full steps. Next comes the B string. Should be easy to get this to match. After setting it to the minimum amount of bend, I find it to be 2.5 whole steps (5 frets). So turns out the chord bending is not doable! 4 steps maximum on E and 5 steps minimum on B will not get me there! And the fact that the the low E (default set to minimum detune) is going totally slack is not too promising either. Major bummer. This is not all that different from my VS100 which worked much more smoothly and quietly. (Oh, forgot to mention the spring popping and uneven feel of the actual bar movement on the "Wonderbar".)

So now I've got a buzzy, hunk of heavy metal sitting on my pristine strat body and instead of getting some smooth bending amazing "TransTrem-like" buttery multi-note slides, I've got problems to solve and 2 gaping holes in the top of my strat, should I choose to revert. What to do? This was a no-brainer. Off it went, and back to the eBay dungeon from whence this evil creature emerged from its 3 decade slumber, only to taunt with promises of amazing feats of note-bending and in the end only torture me with a laudable sustain marred by incessant buzzing.

It's really too bad. This trem was almost there: high quality Brass rollers with ball bearings and excellent glide. Heavy 18 oz. block that sits directly on the body for maximum contact and maximum sustain. Anodized metal and finish which has weathered perfectly for nearly 30 years. But it was just a couple of design flaws short of being perfect. In the end, at least for me and my custom strat build, this is no "wonder" bar. The only wonder is why this thing has become a modern legend, sought by the few gear hounds brave enough to quest for the perfect trem and proud enough to leave the battle scars of defeat on their axes. Only I'm not that proud... Now what to do to hide these damn holes?!
Last edited by Axe2grind911 at Sep 6, 2016,