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Bigsby string spacing vs. bridge spacing

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Tesla_HV, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. Tesla_HV

    Tesla_HV Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 5, 2014
    New England USA
    I am getting ready to put a Bigsby B5 on my MIM Telecaster and I have a question regarding string spacing. I wanted to measure stuff first before I drilled holes or cut metal so I would have fewer surprises. I have attached a screen capture from a CAD drawing. Sorry if this isn't clear but I didn't want to spend a lot of time putting in detail or rendering just for a quick question. The vertical line on the left represents the string attachment points on the Bigsby and the little green dashes are the actual attachment points as measured by a pair of calipers. The larger box in the middle represents a top view of a vintage-style Tele bridge plate. The vertical line with the short red dashes is the approximate position of the bridge saddle slots so these is the positions where the strings would rest on the saddles. The yellow lines represent the strings so as you can see the string spacing is quite different at the saddles than at the Bigsby attachment points. Anyone who has installed a Bigsby on a Tele care to comment?

    Finally, the narrow rectangle on the right represents a end-on view of the bridge plate showing the three holes for the saddle adjustment screws and the six smaller holes where I presume one can use to for strings if you did not use the thru-holes in the Tele body. The magenta 'slots' are where I believe I will need to cut into the bridge to allow the strings clearance to pass on their way to the Bigsby (because the bottom of the Bigsby roller is lower than the top of the bridge plate.

    So my questions are:
    1. Can I expect any problems with a string-spacing spread as great as this? I can imagine that during string bends the strings might want to pop out of the saddles.

    2. Do the string clearance slots (magenta lines) on the bridge end look right to you?

    Thanks in advance.... :)
     

    Attached Files:


  2. Tesla_HV

    Tesla_HV Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 5, 2014
    New England USA
    I guess maybe that I presented too much information. It boils down to this; the string spacing at the Bigsby is 1.85" while the string spacing at the saddles is about 2.1". This distance between these two points is only about 3". This concerned me a little. That is all.... :)
     

  3. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 14, 2012
    London, UK
    I'm no expert, first.

    Your diagram looks a little like what's going on with my one Bigsby-equipped guitar - and with a lot of guitars that have vintage tailpieces, let alone Bigsbys.

    I wouldn't anticipate any problems.
     

  4. GigsbyBoyUK

    GigsbyBoyUK Friend of Leo's

    Apr 30, 2008
    Peterborough, UK
    You do always (in my experience) have a 'fanning out' of the strings like that on a Bigsby. It's nothing to worry about. It can make you feel that something is wrong but somehow it seems to work fine.

    A string popping out of a saddle won't be because of the fanning: it will be because the break angle of the string is too shallow. That shouldn't be a problem with a B5 however as it has the extra retainer bar that, for example, isn't there on a B6. If strings do pop out you can cut slightly deeper slots in the saddles.

    As an aside, I am sure your CAD is good but deciding where to fix the Bigsby might also require some sighting. The classic method is to use a piece of string (ie normal string, not guitar string) tied round the 1st and 6th tuners and passing through the nut slots and over the bridge, then fixed to the Bigsby. You then move the Bigsby around until it looks like everything is lined up nicely. Personally, I then screw the Bigsby down with one small screw as a temporary fix, then string up the guitar to check that it still all looks OK, and then go ahead and do the proper fixing.
     
    richiek65 likes this.

  5. Tesla_HV

    Tesla_HV Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 5, 2014
    New England USA

    I was simply going to align the Bigsby on the guitar center line and place it as far back as possible before reaching the body radius. Might there be a difference in placement between the two methods?

    Thanks for the great responses!
     

  6. GigsbyBoyUK

    GigsbyBoyUK Friend of Leo's

    Apr 30, 2008
    Peterborough, UK
    I guess all I'm saying is use your eyes as well as your tape measure. The 'centre' of the body sounds fine, as long as the bridge is positioned dead-on accurate. Somethimes the bridge isn't perfectly centre, so the Bigsby position needs to reflect that.

    It's a bit like when I put shelves up in my old house. I can use tape measures and spirit levels but if the nearest window is a bit off vertical the shelf will look wrong, even though it's right.
     

  7. Tesla_HV

    Tesla_HV Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 5, 2014
    New England USA
    Got it .... thanks!
     

  8. Tatercaster

    Tatercaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 28, 2013
    Rock Hill, SC
    I will be using a Bigsby copy on my latest project, and wondering about the placement as well. About what should the distance between the string hold down bar on the tremolo and the roller bridge be? I'm concerned that there won't be enough room on the body for the tremolo.
     

  9. GigsbyBoyUK

    GigsbyBoyUK Friend of Leo's

    Apr 30, 2008
    Peterborough, UK
    Generall rule of thumb with a B5 is to place it as far back on the body as it will go, without any of it overhanging the body.
     

  10. Tatercaster

    Tatercaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 28, 2013
    Rock Hill, SC

    You think I'll have enough room?
    ImageUploadedByTDPRI1455123997.241126.jpg
     

  11. GigsbyBoyUK

    GigsbyBoyUK Friend of Leo's

    Apr 30, 2008
    Peterborough, UK
    On mine the distance between the centre of the retainer bar and the centre of the bridge is about 45mm. I think that you could get away with a shorter distance with the type of roller bridge you have.

    Try a quick rough fit, ie string up one string on the Bigsby and pass it over the bridge. If the string goes straight from under the retainer bar and up onto the saddle without catching on any other part of the bridge first, then you might be OK.
     

  12. attilamarton

    attilamarton TDPRI Member

    Age:
    30
    40
    Mar 28, 2018
    HUNGARY
    Same thing here!
    So you simply string up your guitar and hope that the mismatching string spacing does not cause trouble?
    2804746E-9110-4D72-ACDF-E6A5EC9C11FF.jpeg
     

    Attached Files:


  13. Darrell Fuller

    Darrell Fuller TDPRI Member

    63
    Jan 28, 2013
    Massillon Ohio USA
    Make sure you have a Bigsby made for a Fender then the string spacing will not be an issue.
     

  14. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    I'd go with Attilla's suggestion of using strings to align the tailpiece before marking out the holes for drilling. Always preferable to mark rather than measure. Particularly when trying to translate from CAD diagrams to wood.
     

  15. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Holic

    If you can afford it buy a Vibramate system and it will take out all the guesswork. Plus if you decide that the Bigsby isn't your thing there won't be any holes from drilling the body if you decide to remove it.
     

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