Duesenberg Les Trem II or Bigsby?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Mart the Hat, Dec 13, 2016.

  1. Mart the Hat

    Mart the Hat Tele-Holic

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    I have a 335 style guitar that I want to add a vibrato tailpiece to. I've been looking at either the Duesenberg Les Trem II or a Bigsby B7 style (probably an unbranded Bigsby copy, as the ones I've seen have all been OK). The guitar is a Samick-made Hondo, so I'm not too worried about keeping it original. Since it's a cheap guitar, other solutions like the Stetsbar, Vibramate mounted Bigsby etc. would seem excessive.
    Has anyone tried the Duesenberg? I've seen good reports about it generally, but my one worry is that I like to play palm muted lines on the high strings and it looks like it sits very close behind the bridge. Has anyone found this to be a problem? The Bigsby style would give me a little more space behind the bridge, but is more of a hassle to restring and adds some weight. Which way would you go on this guitar?
     
  2. Papa Joe

    Papa Joe Friend of Leo's

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    Here's what I would recommend..I put one on a jazz box and was very happy with it..There's at least 3 people on the squier-talk forum that have them and they all agree that they are very good..
    The one I used functioned every bit as well as the Bigsbys that I have on other guitars..And the sweet thing is the ease of stringing up..Of course the price is a nice feature as well..
    Take a peek..
    http://www.guitarfetish.com/Xtrem-Vintage-Vibrato-System_c_373.html
     
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  3. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I'd go Les Trem. No drilling, doddle to fit, makes nice wobbly sounds and doesn't get in the way anywhere near as much as it looks like it does. I've got one somewhere that I fitted to my SG. Rather good solution. I seem to fit it at string change, then remove it next string change when I'm bored of being a rubbish string wobbler.
    Other than string wobbling, restringing is as easy as with a stop-bar, fitting is easy, removing is easy and once tuned, tuning stability is OK too.

    Edit. Ps. Get a roller bridge at the same time.
     
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  4. Mart the Hat

    Mart the Hat Tele-Holic

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    They're an option I'd consider if I was in the US, but by the time it's been shipped to the UK and had VAT, import duty and the courier's processing fee added the price isn't as good as it is over there. None of which is GFS' fault, but it's a factor nonetheless.
    It's cool that they've come up with something that's not a generic Bigsby copy though. I had an old Teisco vibrato that worked with a similar pivoting T-section, and this looks like a better made version of that concept.

    I've been looking at a front-on picture of the the Les Trem installed on a guitar, and then looking at where I put my hand when muting, and I think I could just about make it work. I guess the nice thing is that if it doesn't work out, I haven't drilled any holes in the guitar.
    A roller bridge might be a challenge, as I have the notorious Samick bridge with the narrow post spacing that no standard Tune-o-matic will fit. I think my plan will be to try it with the stock bridge first, and then look at a saddle swap if I need to.
     
  5. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Afflicted

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    The stock springs that come in Chinese unbranded Bigsby types are pretty inconsistent - if you go that route and have tuning problems try swapping out the spring.

    Getting the nut and saddle slots correct is important on Bigsby installations as well.
     
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  6. Mart the Hat

    Mart the Hat Tele-Holic

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    I have ordered the Les Trem. Wish me luck!
     
  7. Mart the Hat

    Mart the Hat Tele-Holic

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    Have you ever noticed any rattling with your Les Trem? I've had mine fitted for a couple of weeks, and there has been an annoying low frequency vibration coming from the guitar body which I even notice plugged in. It's worse with some notes than others. I've been trying to track this down, and have ruled out the wiring, pickup springs, saddles and other hardware. Today I swapped out the Les Trem for the stop tailpiece and the rattle is gone. It's not the arm rattling in its mount - I think it might be coming either from the spring or the point where the string block pivots. The trem is otherwise good enough to hang on to, so I'd like to find a way around the rattle if I can. Maybe I should talk to Duesenberg and see if they have any suggestions...
     
  8. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    No, no rattling or extraneous noises, but yours is fitted to a hollowbody, mine gets fitted to a flat-topped solid. Perhaps yours is resonating with the body at just the right ( annoying ) frequencies whereas the solid body damps it out. Mine's off at the moment as I went off on Keef kick and my SG makes a wonderful 5-string, but from memory, no, no rattles. Talk to Duesenberg about it. It reads like its a sympathetic vibration through the spring. Does it change/disappear if you apply a tiny amount of pressure to the arm?
     
  9. Mart the Hat

    Mart the Hat Tele-Holic

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    It sometimes changes when applying pressure to the arm, but also when holding the guitar at a different angle. I've messaged Duesenberg to see if they have any advice. I suspect there's nothing wrong with the trem but there's just some aspect of the setup that I haven't got sorted yet. It occurs to me that the effect of removing the trem could be a red herring too - the break angle at the bridge is different with the trem installed and that might change any bridge/saddle related rattles.
     
  10. keeffan

    keeffan Tele-Holic

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    Good luck. I had one for a bit and got very little help from their email Dept. It worked well, but the arm had too much free wiggle where it was attached. Drove me as crazy as the wiggle in a strat arm. Went back to Bigsby with a Reverend Soft Spring.
     
  11. Mart the Hat

    Mart the Hat Tele-Holic

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    I had that issue when I first installed it, and then I realised that I could anchor the arm solidly by tightening up one of the arm mounting screws first (with the other one loosened all the way), and then turning the second screw just until it comes tight. That seems to hold the arm tight against one side of the hole it fits in. If I tighten both screws equally, the arm ends up being held in the centre of the hole with some play in it, as you describe. They really should put that in the instruction sheet.

    But I've just picked up the guitar again and realised that my current rattle isn't from the Les Trem at all, as it has just come back with the stop tail installed. Something about tuning down and then up again when I changed the tailpiece over made the rattle stop for a while. Hmm, this could be a tricky one to track down...
     
  12. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I have a Les Trem, and I have a Bigsby.
    The Bigsby is far groovier!
     
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  13. Mart the Hat

    Mart the Hat Tele-Holic

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    Much to their credit, Duesenberg replied to my email with some helpful pointers about setting up the tremolo, although it turns out my rattle wasn't from the Les Trem at all.
    I'm wondering if it might be hard on the strings though, as I've had two high E strings which have come unwound at the ball end. They don't break, but the twisted section gradually slides towards the ball end when I bend the string or use the tremolo, making the string go flat repeatedly. It could be my strings, as both have been from sets of the same brand bought at the same time. I'm hoping that I might have better luck with another brand of strings.
     
  14. Anode100

    Anode100 Friend of Leo's

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    Have you tried soldering the ball-end winding of your strings?

    This really helps reinforce the join, and is recommended for some other vibrato systems (Kahler, for example).
     
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  15. Mart the Hat

    Mart the Hat Tele-Holic

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    I haven't tried that yet. Having to reinforce the ends with a soldering iron at each string change would kind of wipe out the convenience factor that attracted me to this over a Bigsby though!
     
  16. Anode100

    Anode100 Friend of Leo's

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    True - although some manufacturers offer them pre-soldered, or even 'reinforced' should do the job.
     
  17. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    What kind of bridge are you using?

    I have a Les Trem. It worked very well, but I sold that guitar. Kept the Les Trem though. As I remember the spring felt very stiff, but that's all.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I also have a couple aftermarket faux Chigsbys that I'm about to mount on a SG with a Vibramate for no other reason than aesthetics. I'm new to the whole wang-bar thing.

    Others have recommended Fender Bullet strings on any vibrato equipped guitar.
     
  18. rainbowbear998

    rainbowbear998 Tele-Meister

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    I've not tried either, but I've read very good things about those duesenberg trems...
     
  19. Mart the Hat

    Mart the Hat Tele-Holic

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    Fender Bullets could be an option, as they come in my favoured 10-52 gauge. The Ernie Ball and D'Addario reinforced strings don't come in a 10-52 set, though the Ernie Ball RPS strings can be bought in a pack of six .010s so I could stick with the D'Addario sets I'm using now and just swap the high E over. Searching around online, it seems like D'Addario E strings unwinding at the ball end is a known issue with certain types of trem. This is annoying as I like them best of the brands I've tried.
    I'm using the stock Samick tune-o-matic which I've fitted roller saddles to, so I don't think my bridge is causing any problems. I've tracked down the rattle I was commenting on earlier, and it wasn't from the trem at all.
     
  20. dezb1

    dezb1 Tele-Holic

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    I just got a Les Trem II for my SG yesterday, however it's a birthday present from my wife so not fitting it till March...
     
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