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Bigsby Saddle Break Angle

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Art VanDelay, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Holic

    569
    May 20, 2018
    Arcata
    So my newly installed Bigsby is having some minor tuning issues. I plan on having my nut cleaned up a little so that should help, but what is the rule of thumb (if one exists) or your opinion on behind-the-saddle break angle?

    Should it match the break angle at the nut? I look at the angle of a string-through-body and its STEEP at about 45 degrees.

    I'm curious what people think? I currently have EB Regular Slinkys (10-46) and am going to give their Skinny Top Heavy Bottom's a try (going for a 'verbed out Surf twang).
     
  2. Ira7

    Ira7 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    61
    Jan 8, 2008
    Coral Springs, FL
    I thought you got a B5.
     
  3. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Holic

    569
    May 20, 2018
    Arcata
    I did
     
  4. Ira7

    Ira7 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    61
    Jan 8, 2008
    Coral Springs, FL
    Your string-through reference threw me off. And as for behind the bridge break angle, what choice do you got anyway? It's fixed.

    Are you running your strings through the top-loader holes of a top/dual loading bridge?

    I'm confused.
     
  5. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Jan 18, 2010
    on my bike
    The break angle isn't "fixed" until he mounts it if I'm understanding him correctly.
     
  6. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Holic

    569
    May 20, 2018
    Arcata
    I can always shim the neck so that the heel of the neck is raised. I'd have to raise the saddles to reset the string height thereby increasing the break angle behind the saddles.
     
  7. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Holic

    569
    May 20, 2018
    Arcata
    I was referring to the traditional Tele set up of 6 holes for the strings. When set up that way the break angle over the saddles is near 45 degrees (significantly sharper than with any top loader)
     
  8. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Holic

    569
    May 20, 2018
    Arcata
    Here's my non-scientific, not even Googled once theory on break angles:Think of the string being the rope in a tug-of-war match with 2 opposing forces that are equal. Whichever side has a greater break angle is using leverage (probably not the right physics term) with its downward pressure over either the nut or saddle to make the opposing forces unequal.

    So to my original question: does anyone with Bigsby experience have a preference to the amount of angle? Any insights or opinions? I don't know if such a thing exists or its just a "whatever works" sort of deal.
     
  9. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 2, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    IME, I’d never break the strings behind the bridge more than 10 degrees. I have a bunch of numbers for you but it’s not that exact of a number. Seven degrees on my Duo Jet, perfect. G5420T, about 6, most smooth and stable of the bunch. I had an Electromatic Jet at 1.5 degrees, not the best but ok with heavy strings. An older Gretsch Pro Jet had a terrible break angle, closer to 30 degrees maybe. There were all kinds of tuning issues.

    You can’t tweak a Tele w/ B5 that much, only by shimming the Bigsby (don’t), neck (yes), or moving the B5 as far back as possible during install. Really not that much of a deal, all things considered. I did install a card stock shim to lower the saddles on my Tele with Mastery. I have zero stability problems, and very smooth response.

    You might be overthinking it :) I know I have.

    E9EAFECA-8AE5-4D8B-8765-F5D7AF2A0DB6.jpeg
     
    Art VanDelay likes this.
  10. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Holic

    569
    May 20, 2018
    Arcata
    Strongly suspected
     
    BorderRadio likes this.
  11. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Holic

    569
    May 20, 2018
    Arcata
    I'm going to get the nut filed out a little and start there. The nut (Tusq) came pre-cut and appears to be close enough (just going on sight alone). I've tried a few tricks to file it myself (like the 600 grit folded over a feeler gauge) and I feel an actual nut file is the way to go. I just can't justify a $100+ set for one job and maybe 2 future uses.
     
  12. dcos

    dcos TDPRI Member

    Age:
    64
    68
    Jan 26, 2018
    Sand Lake, Michigan
    Have you had any success with your B5 on your Tele? I have a B5 on an Epiphone ES339 and can't use it because of tuning problems. I've installed a roller bridge and filed out the nut and used graphite without success. The break angle is pretty steep and I'm pretty sure that's the problem. I tried a product called the Brick's BiggsFix that solves that problem but it wouldn't work on my particular guitar. I'm going to take the B5 off the Epi next time I restring and am thinking about putting it on my Tele so I'd be interested to know if you solve your tuning problems before I drill holes in it.
     
  13. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Holic

    569
    May 20, 2018
    Arcata
    Yes, but I'm positive that "success" is a case-by-case basis. For me it took EB Regular Slinky (I usually play Super Slinky), a thicker tension arm spring, and a Keith Richard's 5-string open-G set up.
     
  14. dcos

    dcos TDPRI Member

    Age:
    64
    68
    Jan 26, 2018
    Sand Lake, Michigan
    Wow, a lot of screwing around. Too much for me I'm afraid, I think I'll just ditch the Bigsby all together. Thanks for the reply.
     
  15. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Holic

    It's been mentioned many times that if you have a Bigsby on your Tele you need to shim the neck.
     
  16. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Holic

    569
    May 20, 2018
    Arcata
    I disagree and would say that its "likely but not required". I tried mine with 0.25, 0.5, and 1 degree shims and I feel it worked best without any shim. Its really a case-by-case basis if it needs one or not.
     
  17. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Holic

    569
    May 20, 2018
    Arcata
    I disagree and would say that its "likely but not required". I tried mine with 0.25, 0.5, and 1 degree shims and I feel it worked best without any shim. Its really a case-by-case basis if it needs one or not.
     
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