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PING vs USA Tremolo Units

Updated: Mar 1


Greetings.

I have at hand two Fender tremolo units. The more expensive Made in USA Genuine Fender tremolo that retails for about $130 The other one is the cheap counterpart PING Wells. Made in Taiwan. These retails for about $25-30 on Ebay..

Fun fact: Much of the parts of the US made tremolo´s are made with the very same machines and tooling inserts that Leo Fender used in the 1950´s. They are still preserved and operated by Fender. I dont really know what parts on the US bridge is made at the Corona factory. Maybe someone has better insight on this than me. But they claim it to be all USA made. I do believe they drill the Tremolo block at the factory, but not 100% certain. Anyway, ill leave it at that.. Moving on...

The US Tremolo is a Pure Vintage Tremolo bridge with Pat.Pending stamped saddles. These are the Vintage Spacing 2/7-32. The other is the Mexican Narrow 2-1/16 Spacing. (If you need to know. The difference between Pure Vintage Tremolo and Std Vintage Tremolo units are the Pat.Pending Saddles. Pure Vintage is used by Custom Shop on their guitars.)

Now, The expensive USA tremolo is only found on MIA Strats, While the PING are found on Mexican standard models. Up until 2017, the Mexican bridges were all Narrow mount spaced, but has since abandoned this measurement for the wider- The last guitar to feature Narrow/Narrow was the Hendrix Monterrey Strat.. Meaning both MIM and MIA Strats are more interchangeable these days. You can put on a better machined MIA on a Mexican Strat with ease today. Same goes for their 2-point Tremolos. Narrow Narrow are only used on Squiers in the Fender line today. So what gives the $100 difference? Here it is, explained with pictures.


By brief looks they are very similar. They weigh roughy the same. There are both minor and major giveaways on these if you inspect them closer. The saddles are nickel plated on US Trem while the PING has chrome dipped saddles.


The block is the one that sticks out the most by the first visual inspection. The Genuine fender is a steel block, powder coated and smooth. The Ping is just untreated steel raw looking thing. The spring inserts are also countersunk. And that is probably the biggest give away. The Taiwanese love to countersink their holes.

MEASUREMENTS TREMOLO BLOCK

BLOCK

Thickness

Height

Width

DRILL HOLES

USA BLOCK

12.77mm

42mm

75mm

6.5mm Deep

PING WELLS BLOCK

14.94mm

41.85mm

73.3mm

16.7mm Deep


Drilling for the strings ball-ends are deeper into the Ping block than the USA one. USA: 6.5mm Deep PING: 16.7mm Deep

Thickness of the tremolo plate is the same but variation due to plating.

USA Tremolo: 2.7mm thick

PING Tremolo: 2.4mm thick (Chrome plating adds slight thickness)


The other thing that sticks out is the taper and bevel on the units. The USA is more smoothed out. Most likely finished all the way before plated.. The taper is more narrow as well: About 7.5mm, where the Ping has a 8.5mm taper. The PING has tooling lines on the bevel., holes are countersunk underneath. So both are machined differently giving two different results.


It´s weakest point on the PING out of the box is the machining for the screw-in tremolo arm in the block. The arm is more snug on the USA one, while the PING is very wiggly and poorly fit. This causes many to use plumbers tape to make it more firm. Many opts for a block with Nylon insert (like Callaham) to remedy this problem on their tremolos. Dead giveaway is also the low shoulder behind the arm. The punched hole on the plate on the USA unit is also more narrow of 5.2mm vs the Ping with 6.5mm. But this does not affects anything. SADDLES: The saddles is also of much difference.

As mentioned, USA saddles are Nickel vs PING that are Chrome dipped.

Underneath we see that USA Saddles are more rounded off and polished on the edges. The PINGs are not. I dont believe the PING saddles gets much post treatment after chroming. But this is because Nickel plating lays on thinner than Chrome which is thicker plating.

Most importantly and most evidently. The shape is different. USA are more smoother U-shaped where the PING saddles are more V-shaped. The Ping has a slight higher profile. as well. The U-shape will improve longevity of the threading by a small degree. USA Saddles comes with compensated height screws. PING have same size on all adjustment screws that will protrude on the lowest adjusted saddles and needs to be shortened or replaced if required.

Thickness on material is the same, but the PING measures slightly thicker but that is because the Chrome plating adds a little to them.

Even the springs are different quality. I guess you can tell which is which.

Intonation screws are also different. Ping has them slotted for Flathead screwdrivers as well. Great for emergency if a star screwdriver ain't at hand. Genuine Fender does not have this. Fender also seemed to have the screws more center, lined Vs PING is slightly drilled higher. Probably to compensate for the higher string-trough over the saddle. This concludes this weeks cork sniffing.


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