Bigsby B5 - with normal Tele 3-Saddle bridge?

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by sl_underwound, May 24, 2020.

  1. sl_underwound

    sl_underwound TDPRI Member

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    Hi,
    I am just building my partscaster, and it could very well be that I will go with mounting a B5 Bigsby onto it - as I just stumbled over this one here and was immediately blown away


    Nevertheless, I would prefer to keep as much as possible the traditional look and feel of the standard 3-Saddle Tele Bridge. Questions:
    • can the usual Tele bridge be tweaked to work with a Bigsby? (clearing the space to let the strings through)?
    • does anyone have experiences with 3-saddle bridges & Bigsby?
    • if the trad bridge isnt a good idea, what would be your recommendations to stay as close as possible to the traditional look&feel? (I do not like flat bridges, a Mastery I feel overengineered, and the Jazzmaster-like thing that Fender seems to use with Bigsnys is just crap imho (saying this as a long time Jazzmaster player...)
    here is my starting point. A MJT 1pcs swamp ash body, the Neck is just being replaced by an Allparts FAT Maple neck.
    thanks!
     
  2. Squawker

    Squawker Tele-Meister

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    Gotoh have a nice vintage style 3-saddle bridge with most of the back wall removed for Bigsby use. Think it comes with the sweet compensated, grooved saddles which helps with the "fan out" from the B5. Nice quality piece of kit :)
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
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  3. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Afflicted

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    You could cut slots into the back lip of your original bridge plate.
    As for the saddles, I would definitely use threaded ones to guide the strings when using the vibrato.

    But as @Squawker said above, there are several aftermarket options if you don’t want to mess with your original bridge.
     
  4. richiek65

    richiek65 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Vibramate could be worth a look, no drilling required and the bridge comes all ready to go. I bought one but it didn't fit the Chigsby that i have, I'm still using the Vibramate bridge and will drill into the body, same as any regular Bigsby install
    images (1) (22).jpeg
     
  5. richiek65

    richiek65 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Better shot of the bridge
    images (1) (21).jpeg
     
  6. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Thanks for sharing that video. I really like that guy and totally share his views. You said you were:

    but the specs you've posted won't give you the tone and experience that the Tele in the video demonstrates.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide to do. :)
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  7. WingedWords

    WingedWords Tele-Afflicted

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    I used an Allparts bridge plate with Gotoh compensated saddles and it worked fine with the B5.

    20200310_133629.jpg

    I love this picture - a man happy with his B5. I think it's a Mastery bridge.

    8RG2WzNUZyhuERvj7WbUzU-1200-80.jpg
     
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  8. sl_underwound

    sl_underwound TDPRI Member

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    @PeterUK
    what do you mean whith that? All I said is that I want to mount a Bigsby B5 onto my Tele. I do not want to copy the one from the video, and the similar colour is just a coincidence.

    No, I never tried a mastery bridge. I lived and struggled with the standard Jazzmaster bridge at that time.
    I just do not want a Mastery, because I want to keep the original look and feel of the usual Tele bridge, as I wrote. A Tele is a piece of very simple but efficient craftsmanship, and it is only my personal feeling that a perfectly engineered and massive Mastery bridge does not fit into that feeling. A personal thing.

    @WingedWords thank you! I was anyway looking for more of the Gotoh Vintage Series parts, like the ControlPlate. So for the moment my idea is to either go with the Gotoh bridge, as it already has the threaded saddles, or, the more expensive alternative, a Vibramate Tele bridge, adding compensated & threaded saddles, like these from Crazyparts https://crazyparts.de/bridges--tail...et-compensated-5-16-tele-saddle-set-brass.php
    or - as the cheapest way, modify the standard bridge to clear for the strings, and go for the threaded saddles.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  9. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    No probs. I've edited my post accordingly :)
     
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  10. sl_underwound

    sl_underwound TDPRI Member

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    Last edited: May 25, 2020
  11. WingedWords

    WingedWords Tele-Afflicted

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  12. sl_underwound

    sl_underwound TDPRI Member

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  13. tubelectron

    tubelectron Tele-Afflicted

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    I am with you, @sl_underwound : I'd like my Tele to stay with that original look too - just like @WingedWords 's Tele. :cool:

    Being LH, and as the cleared bridge doesn't exists in LH, I have no choice to take a Std LH bridge and do the clearing job by myself. :(

    That said, I wonder if a questionable tuning stability and the risk of offset tuning on the bridge saddles wouldn't occur ? o_O

    I mean, when using the B5 :

    - binding / friction on the saddles.
    - unwanted displacement of the saddles not retrieving their original position.

    That would affect the tuning stability.

    What's your experience, @WingedWords ? Also, did you needed to shim the neck for you B5 installation ?

    -tbln
     
  14. WingedWords

    WingedWords Tele-Afflicted

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    No problems with any of the issues you mention and I didn't need to shim the neck.

    I've since removed it, but only because I didn't feel it fitted the simple ethos of the Esquire, not because of any mechanical or musical issues. I'll be looking for another Tele to fit it to.
     
  15. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Callaham and rutters also make tele bridges with cutout backs.

    Another option, which I use for my Hipshot bender (same issue that the strings need to extend beyond the bridge plate) is to thread the strings through the top-loader holes in a standard tele bridge (many but not all tele bridges are dual loading). Use little bits of bicycle brake cable and placed in the top-loader holes to avoid binding or breaking at that point. Seems silly but it does work very well. This would also eliminate the need for the big front bar on the Bigsby, as your strings would get the perfect amount of break angle already.

    Not very elegant, but if you already own a top loader bridge then it could save some money and give you a traditional look. I may someday convert one of my Hipshot bender teles to a Bigsby, and this what I would do so that I don't have to swap out the very nice bridge.

    People do report the Bender use will eventually do a number on brass saddles, so maybe keep that in mind as well?
     
  16. tubelectron

    tubelectron Tele-Afflicted

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    Fine - Thanks ! ;)

    -tbln
     
  17. sl_underwound

    sl_underwound TDPRI Member

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    afaik the neck needs to be shimmed when using this oddJazzmaster-like bridge, with the 2 posts sitting in 2 extra drilled holes, and the screw-like bridge saddles. because it builds that high.

    what I would want to know, is the distance between the body surface and the lower side first axle of the bigsby, where the strings go under. In order to find out the heigth difference between the bridge saddles and the bigsby, to see if the strings have enough tension
     
  18. Buttered Biskit

    Buttered Biskit Tele-Meister

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    Being a machinist, I could totally modify a bridge to be that.
     
  19. Buttered Biskit

    Buttered Biskit Tele-Meister

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    This is my bigsby:
     

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  20. richiek65

    richiek65 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Machinist here too except i haven't touched the tools since 1995 or so.
     
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