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Does the core sound of the Telecaster change if you add a Bigsby?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by TPMCD, Jan 31, 2021.

  1. bo

    bo Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Things stay twangy. Yes, get a spoiler.
     
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  2. Fenderdad1950

    Fenderdad1950 Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes, just pay close attention to the sound difference and adjust your guitar & amp accordingly:D
     
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  3. TPMCD

    TPMCD TDPRI Member

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    That's the big fear...you've got this guitar that you love, but man, it's missing just this one thing, and if you can add that it will be perfect - but what if it's not? What if you screw your guitar up, even though the change was "reversible" and it's never the same again? Yeah, that's my fear. Going to sit on this...maybe it makes more sense to just save my sheckles and get another Tele.
     
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  4. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    I have four Bigsby Teles, but only one started out without the Bigsby. It sounds exactly the same with it as without. I really liked it the way it was and was hesitant; now I love it.

    A good Bigsby Tele is my favorite guitar. Bigsbys are my favorite vibrato units, with the Jazzmaster/Jaguar a close second, possibly tied with the Mosrite VibraMute. A Gibson Maestro Vibrola is the only other one I like at all.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2021
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  5. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    I absolutely love that pink B16 Esquire, btw! It looks as though it would be the same color all the way through if you cut into it. It's perfect.

    A nice option for a B16 is the Narrow Vintage handle. It has a very retro-futuristic look and is really comfortable to hold. They seem sturdier than the wider version, which is at least sometimes made of pot metal. The Duane Eddy handle is really nice, too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2021
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  6. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Fans of Bigsby equipped Teles seem to claim what they like sounds like what they like about the Tele.

    Others who tried them and didn't like them seem to have a different expectation of the Tele sound?

    On youtube the "sound" will probably be the same.
    From the players perspective it maybe be a little different.
    The Tele sound is many sounds, Keef is not the same Tele player as Frisell.

    I need from my Esquires first and foremost, a strong break angle and hard sharp attack.
    Playing a Bigsby Tele I feel a more, IDK, maybe delicate guitar.

    Not a tone change like twisting knobs.
    A physical change, and attack change, possibly a clean acoustic sustain on the plain strings change.
    Modding a Tele and reversing the mod isn't that terrible, but if you're not living high in the Himalayas or disabled in subsidized housing, I'd say buy a second Tele and live with both a while.
     
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  7. electroman

    electroman TDPRI Member

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    I have a tele that I love the sound and feel of. I just spent a whole day installing a B5 using the Vibramate adapter. The sound and feel changed in ways that I didn't like. The guitar is now back to a non Bigsby one, and I'm soooo glad that I tried the Bigsby with the Vibramate instead of just drilling and installing; it would have been a huge regret for me. I do want a tele with a Bigsby, but I'll get another one for that purpose.
     
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  8. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Afflicted

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    I added a "Spoiler" to my Bigsby Tele. it sure makes string changes easier & faster, esp. if you're playing at a gig!
     
  9. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I'd apply your statement to the B16 - delicate but a B5 equipped Tele is like a normal Tele with a waggle stick.

    For example, my B16 wouldn't be my first choice for a pumping, driving tune such as 'Promised Land' but is perfect for say, 'Love Hurts' or 'To Love Somebody' and the ability to add a little shimmering waggle.

    @TPMCD thanks for kicking off a great thread. Tele Bigsby threads are usually dominated by those insisting that Bigsby Teles don't play in tune, don't play in tune and are ugly. Bizarrely, those who make these claims have never owned or player a Bigsby Tele.
     
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  10. TPMCD

    TPMCD TDPRI Member

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    This is a great response, much appreciate you taking the time. Yeah, I can imagine this has been asked a million times, and I tried to stay away from "should I do this?", and instead "Does the guitar sound different if I do?"; Of course, I'm asking the second question to get an answer for the first!

    After reading everything, I'm leaning towards not doing it, and instead just picked up a used Tele with a Bigsby and get a feel for it. Anyway, thanks again, this was helpful.
     
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  11. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Yes, @boris bubbanov is a legend around these parts and his input is highly desirable.

    And after all that, after 50 posts / contributions we've put you off messing with your original Tele! :lol: Result!

    But do try a Bigsby. They are a bit black and white. You love 'em or you hate 'em, but this has been a great thread as you've had some great response from both camps.

    Good luck, and tell us how the sory ends. :)
     
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  12. mcrofutt

    mcrofutt TDPRI Member

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    I've owned my 66 tele since it was brand new. About 6 years ago I put a bigsby on, with vibramate. I like the sound and feel better. You add all that metal and a spring into the string path and the tone certainly changes. But, it still sounds like my tele, but more fun.
     
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  13. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    This conversation about Bigsbys (minus the vibramate and spoiler stuff) has been going on for what - maybe 70 years now? :)

    I'm a new-comer to Bigsbys and have just recently started experimenting with them. So I don't have years of experience with Bigsbys to draw on, just recent observations.

    @PeterUK's posts about Bigsbys were the ones that first caught my eye; the B16 posts in particular.




    I started out with a trem equipped guitar, a brand new mid-sixties Teisco. It wasn't a very good guitar, but I learned a lot on it. The trem was definitely not it's best feature, and I quickly found out that the guitar stayed in tune much better if I kept my hands off the wang bar.

    My next guitar had a trem too. It was a used guitar, but a tremendous improvement over the Teisco. It stayed in tune much better even with a heavy hand on the wang bar. But it did not stay in perfect tune. It was a Strat bought new in 1963 according to the guy I bought it from (an ex-wedding band member) who had bought it new.

    But neither did Jimi Hendrix's guitar stay in perfect tune. In a live performance, he just played around the slightly sharp or flat notes, or broken strings until he could re-tune :).

    Then there was the Floyd Rose craziness where the price of admission included adding half a hardware store of attachments to your trem guitar. And the search for a trem system that stays in perfect tune still continues today.

    It would be nice to have a trem guitar that stayed in perfect tune all the time, no matter what you did to it. But guitars are a little bit fickle, they react to fairly imperceptible influences like temperature or the amount of moisture in the air.




    The Bigsby hasn't really changed in 70 years.

    It's engineering is basic and solid; a testimony to Paul Bigsby's brilliance. He was a guy that made stuff that worked. I'm sure I would have loved to spend a day working with him in the shop :).

    What I'm learning from my experiments is that there is nothing wrong with the Bigsby design. Any tuning problems I've encountered (so far, at least) are easily traced back to the bridge.

    What I'm learning from Bigsbys so far, and anybody can experiment the same way I do, - is that you just need to use a bridge that works ;).

    .
     
  14. Tele295

    Tele295 Poster Extraordinaire

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    When I put the Bigsby on my Thinline around 1993-95, I didn’t notice a huge change in tone, but I felt there was a little more sustain.

    CD57BBEB-4F7B-40E7-A0E2-B5C900976391.jpeg
     
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  15. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

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    It's not wrong to feel that way. But also, a strat style vibrato can not do what a bigsby does. It's just the bridge on a hinge. Relative pitch movement from string to string is pretty random and disproportionate. I think it's the crudest vibrato design there is.
     
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  16. Terrygh1949

    Terrygh1949 Tele-Meister

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    No Bigsby on a Tele.
     
  17. 100LL

    100LL Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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  18. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Afflicted

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    The feel of the guitar will change. You may or may not like it. It will, very likely, need a neck shim. Again, a slight change, ymmv.
    The Vibramate is a smart suggestion; gives you the potential to undo.
    I would also entertain the notion of another guitar, set up specifically for the purpose.
    Difference in sound will likely be subtle.
     
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  19. decibel

    decibel Tele-Meister

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    In theory, it should be a little brighter.
     
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  20. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    That's the one we've been raving about:

    https://www.bigsby.com/products/vibratos/b16/

    The gold version looks a little garish and must of us go for the polished aluminium (proper spelling :)).
     
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