Bigsby "Hezzy Hall" Build thread

Repoman

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Hello,
Haven't really posted much on here but see this is a better spot to show and discuss builds than TGP.
Here is a Paul Bigsby guitar I have been working on, modeled on the "Hezzy Hall" guitar.

I've been learning CAD/CAM/CNC for a couple months, which very helpful with coming up with unique construction methods. This is a program called Fusion 360, which is
powerful for the subscription price, although it is quirky and can be incredibly irritating.
I decided to try making this guitar somewhat faithful to the neck through, semi hollow of the originals, but to also try making the rear join in a Y junction. I also made the side wings a little different in an attempt to save on the amount of waste the original build method causes in constructing of the neck. I believe the originals would require 8/4 maple which would result in a huge amount of cut off waste (in expensive birdseye), this way only needs 4/4. I don't know how the neck heel area will work out though.

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I belong to a somewhat local makerspace (usually inexpensive co-op type workspaces that have a lot of nice equipement to use) that has a pretty nice laser cutter/engraver/printer which can cut up to 1/4 MDF, I laser cut the templates on that.

2.jpg


Here is the neck, back and the sides rough cut.

3.jpg


Back routed, I 3D printed some pickup covers and spacers to get an idea of what they would look like. I'm constructing a CNC mill but probably won't have it up and running for a bit, may just have some company CNC them instead of doing that myself. I was also thinking about doing lost PLA casting in aluminum for them. You print the parts in PLA, cover them in plaster, burn the PLA out in a furnace then pour the aluminum into the cavity...it's a pretty inexpensive way of casting aluminum. Pickguards are lasercut acryllic but I think they look cheesy so won't be using them. Searching for a Bakelite alternative, I bought some paper micarta, which hopefully arrives soon and works out well.

4.jpg


Walnut headstock veneer and inlay.

5.jpg


Some knobs modeled after the ones on Paul Bigsby Guitars. Ill 3D print these for masters then make molds for resin casting.
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6.jpg
 

Repoman

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Started work on the neck binding, inlay gluing/sanding.
9.jpg


8.jpg


10.jpg


The figure in the birdseye top and back is pretty poor, but it was cheap and I didn't know if this thing would even work so iiwii. Routing the mahogany sides was brutal and I wasted about 70 dollars in wood. Holes were initially put in for relieving weight but I think they will actually be better for joining the body as points to clamp/compress things. Right now the thing is pretty light, maybe 5 lbs. The mahogany I used was super dense and heavy, I'm hoping to find a better wood for future builds, Walnut (stupid expensive though), maybe cherry?

I'm new to woodworking, has Walnut always been $20 bf? Seems strange to me that its 2x as expensive as birdseye.
 
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JohnnyThul

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Such a cool built! I always had a soft spot for the Bigsby guitars. I still think Paul Bigsby is often overlooked in the guitar world and only seen as the innovator of the Tremolo bearing his name.
But he was such a great craftsman with lots of talents and I think there was nothing, he could not have built.
Very cool to see a replica of one of his guitars, the construction looks very interesting, neck through with hollow body is not something you see every day.

Are you planning to replicate the Bigsby pickups as well?

Good luck with the built and have fun!
 

Repoman

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Such a cool built! I always had a soft spot for the Bigsby guitars. I still think Paul Bigsby is often overlooked in the guitar world and only seen as the innovator of the Tremolo bearing his name.
But he was such a great craftsman with lots of talents and I think there was nothing, he could not have built.
Very cool to see a replica of one of his guitars, the construction looks very interesting, neck through with hollow body is not something you see every day.

Are you planning to replicate the Bigsby pickups as well?

Good luck with the built and have fun!
Yeah, ill mill them on my CNC if I get it up and running or get a shop to make some in aluminum. I'm currently searching on pictures of the guts of the screw pole piece ones, I did find a gentleman who was really into Bigsby pedal steels and he sent me some pictures of the blade types and their guts. Something that is really unique about those pickups is the blade is actually part of the baseplate, it's one piece of cast iron! The magnet (magnets?) were put in the sides of the cover, but I'm unsure of the orientation.

I'd really like to make a custom tremolo for it too, but I'm sort of brainblocked on how it should look. Ill machine that or cast it in aluminum. Maybe just use an offshelf B3 Bigsby for this guitar.

I got the Bigsby book recently which is pretty cool. His guitars are just awesome and very unique in construction. Interesting stuff in there about Leo Fender, Semie Moseley, Ted McCarty.
 

guitarbuilder

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Cool build. I've been mulling over a bigsby style for a while too. I got as far as finding some good photos and downloading them. Walnut has always been a premium hardwood in the US. I can recall a time when it was 2 dollars a board foot compared to maple which was half the price. My local hardwood dealer has 8/4 Black Walnut for 14 to 15 dollars a bf, depending on width, while maple is $8.50. 8/4 Cherry is $8.95.
 

old wrench

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Such a cool built! I always had a soft spot for the Bigsby guitars. I still think Paul Bigsby is often overlooked in the guitar world and only seen as the innovator of the Tremolo bearing his name.
But he was such a great craftsman with lots of talents and I think there was nothing, he could not have built.
Very cool to see a replica of one of his guitars, the construction looks very interesting, neck through with hollow body is not something you see every day.

Are you planning to replicate the Bigsby pickups as well?

Good luck with the built and have fun!


Paul Bigsby was one heck of a mechanic - mostly known for his guitar related innovations - but he was also a top-hand at Crocker, a motorcycle company that built some of the finest motorcycles of the time


Good choice on the Micarta for the pick-guard - it will look just right - it's a "period-correct" material

.
 

Repoman

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Some more work done on this.

Pucker factor high:
9.jpg



Got the paper micarta, routed and shaped it to profile like the TK Smith guitars, has a couple coats of lacquer. Got some Dakaware knobs instead of bothering to cast them.

7.jpg


Now it needs the heel shaped to match the joint at the body wings which will be tough, then binding, more pucker factor there. Routing the pickup cavity area a bit.
Then just finish prepping and painting. (And work making the hardware...alum nut, jack plate, tremolo, switch plate, pickups, etc)
 
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Repoman

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WOW. The two-piece micarta pickguard looks absolutely awesome, almost liquid.
Very cool build, looking forward to seeing it done :)
Yeah, I was surprised how nice the micarta material behaved. It scrapes, files, sands extremely well. Routing was a potential problem area as it's fairly brittle. I've worked with Richlite before and it is the same sort of material, although Richlite is a bit softer and routs easier. Both smell horrid though when machining.
I believe paper Micarta is much cheaper than Richlite as well...might be a potential fretboard material?
 

erix

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Love this build.
Love the movie even more!
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chaosman12

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The Fretboard Journal podcast recently interviewed two Bigsby Guitar historians

 




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