1991 American Fender Strat Plus

Wilkinson Roller nut to LSR Roller Nut conversion


I am going to be doing a little venting here so if you just want to see the pics and info about installing an LSR Nut then skip past this first paragraph! I bought this Strat Plus used at a bargain price, everything was great but for some reason I couldn't keep the damn thing in tune. I checked everything over real good and it boiled down to problems with the Wilkinson Roller Nut. After spending some time trying to tune it up it became obvious the problem was in the nut because I would turn the tuning machines but the note wouldn't change and then it would all of the sudden jump way up or way down in pitch, VERY frustrating! So I set out to just replace the nut, right? Wrong dream! I can't find a Wilkinson Roller nut to buy to save my life! One tech had suggested that I remove the Wilkinson nut and give it a bath in WD40 over night and then scrub it with a tooth brush, did that, some strings tune better now but others still refuse to tune properly. I searched the web forums and online music supply stores, called All Parts and spent an hour on the phone with a tech there, visited various music stores including Ed Roman's "Worlds largest guitar store", the tech there called Fender for me. Fender said, "The part is not available (Wilkinson) and we have no replacement for it, perhaps you should buy a new neck?" I had asked all of these sources if I could put an LSR roller nut in place of the Wilkinson and they all said it would be a big job, send me the neck etc... So I end up back on the internet, find this forum and a thread about how easy it is to put an LSR Roller Nut in place of the Wilkinson with the "supplied adaptor", now this really got me, really! The thread was a few years old but after reading about this adaptor that supposedly comes with the LSR Roller Nut I decided to search the web again. Lo and behold I find SamAsh.com selling the LSR and it says "comes with Wilkinson adaptor for older Strat Plus models", BINGO! Not so fast! The next day I get the dreaded "Out of Stock" email. So I call SamAsh up to see when it will be in stock and if the new stock will still include the Wilkinson adaptor. They say, "Hmm, I don't know, it's a Fender part, let me call them and find out for you". So they call Fender and then call me back and say, "Sorry, it doesn't come with the Wilkinson adaptor and we are not sure when it will be back in stock" Foiled again! Haunted by the happy postings of those who have installed the LSR with the infamous Wilkinson adaptor I decided to call Fender myself. I ask about the Wilkinson adaptor, Fender guy says "We don't have any such product, never did, if there is one its not a Fender Product". I ask him what I should replace the Wilkinson nut with and he couldn't come up with anything. So I asked him how hard it would be to install the LSR on a Wilkinson equipped guitar, he asked the other Fender rep whom he referred to as his "cell mate" and the other guy said, "It's a nightmare, not for the faint at heart, I did it twice, first time I ruined the neck and the second one worked out pretty good." I once again told him I already have a Wilkinson roller nut just in case he though I had a regular nut slot on my guitar (after listening to him say how tough it would be and that he ruined a neck I assumed he was talking about putting an LSR on a guitar with a standard nut slot) and he still insisted it was gonna be a big deal and that there was no adaptor. So I tell him again about all the messages in the forum stating how easy it is to install an LSR with the Wilkinson adaptor and proceed to start telling him off,  "So what the hell do I do with my Strat Plus neck now, pull it off and play Cricket with it?!!!!" Meanwhile I hear his cell mate yelling out "I got it, right here, a Wilkinson adaptor, I am holding one!" So the guy eats his words and says here is the FENDER part with the adaptor. So I asked him first, "What the hell is the part #" and second, "Can you send that damn thing to me?".  He gave me the part number and then told me he couldn't send the one he had to me, and then said he wasn't sure if the new stock of that part will include the Wilkinson adaptor or not! Talk about frustrating, that was about the extent of help from Fender, I finally got the part number and confirmation that the Wilkinson adaptor is in the package. So back on the phone to Sam Ash, got a guitar tech on the phone, he was real cool and searched the database of all SamAsh stores and found one in New York that had two of them and gave me their number. I called them up, bought them both and had them in a few days including the adaptor, FINALLY!

The Fender LSR Roller Nut is Part # 099-0812-000 and should come with the plastic Wilkinson adaptor.

Above is a picture of the original Wilkinson nut, in place with the screws removed.


Above is a picture of the Wilkinson nut, the LSR nut and the plastic Wilkinson adaptor. Also pictured are the #51 drill bit and #0 Phillips screwdriver required for the installation. I got both the drill bit and Screwdriver at a True Value Hardware, the guys are Sears Hardware didn't have a clue what I as looking for. The #51 drill bits are generally in the tap and die section of the hardware store. It is very important to use the proper drill bit and screw driver because the LSR screws are very tiny, so the hole can't be too tight and the screwdriver head must grab that tiny head just right to ensure you get the screw seated firmly without a problem.
Notice the flat nut shelf left on the neck after the Wilkinson nut is removed, quite different from a Strat neck with a standard nut slot. Because the wood is already removed from the fret board at the nut, installing an LSR nut is a piece of cake. On a guitar with a regular slotted nut I wouldn't attempt to install an LSR roller nut myself because you will have to widen the nut slot a bit toward the first fret, doing that sort of work is tricky business and so I would recommend that anyone who wants to install an LSR roller nut in place of a regular Strat nut leave the job to a qualified luthier.


The original screw holes for the Wilkinson nut were just behind the location of the new holes for the LSR nut so you have to fill in the original holes to be sure the new screw holes don't open up into the old ones. This was really no big deal, just take some tooth picks and round down the tip a bit and shove them in the holes. I carefully screwed the toothpicks into the hole as if they were screws and they tightened up in the holes kind of cutting threads in the tooth pick. I then removed the tooth picks, coated them with super glue and screwed them back into the holes and let them dry.


After the glue dried I used a hack saw blade (not on the saw) to carefully cut off the toothpicks as close to the fret board as possible. They were sticking up just a little bit and the surface was uneven so I used a bastard file to CAREFULLY file the toothpicks down until the surface was completely level again.


I then placed the Wilkinson adaptor in place and marked the location of the new holes for the LSR nut. I drilled my holes on a drill press but if you are very careful you should be able to drill them with a hand drill, just be careful to keep the drill completely vertical and mark the depth on the drill bit with some tape so you don't drill through the back of the neck! This picture came out a bit blurry, but if you look careful you can see how the new holes are right on the edge of the old hole, which made filling the old holes a necessity. I put a dab of stain on the toothpicks to make them blend in with the fret board so they may be a bit difficult to see.


The last step was the easiest part, just put the adaptor in place, put the LSR nut on top and carefully screw in the two tiny screws that come with the LSR nut.


Here's another angle of the newly installed LSR Roller Nut.

Bottom line? It was a really easy job to do and completely solved my tuning problems! I now have a floating bridge and the guitar stays in tune really great even when I abuse it! Most importantly I can now install the .11's that I had intended to run on this guitar, unlike the Wilkinson nut the LSR will take just about any gauge strings you want to put on it. One thing I did notice is that I was hearing ghost notes that came from the vibration of the strings between the nut and the locking tuners after installing the LSR nut mostly on the high E string.   I am sure a string tree would eliminate that but since my Strat Plus never had a string tree I didn't want to install one. What I did was take an elastic hair band and wrap it around the head stock so it lays across the strings and that was enough to damper all of the odd harmonics, now I am always in tune and sounding great!