How hard to install a bigsby on a tele?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by appar111, Mar 7, 2019.

  1. appar111

    appar111 Friend of Leo's

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    Just wondering how hard it is to install a bigsby on a tele? I have a stock tele with a vintage style bridge on it and I've really been wanting to add a bigsby to it.

    My concern is neck angle-- I have no problem getting a vintage style bridge that has the slots in the back that allow the strings to go from the bigsby over the saddles, but I'd really rather not have to install a tune-o-matic style bridge assembly.

    Can a bigsby+vintage style bridge assembly work with just a possible shim for the neck? Or would I even need a shim to get the right break angle for that type of setup?
     
  2. kLyon

    kLyon Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    It's dead easy, a lot more more so than one would think in terms of the actual install.
    On my last one I used a Callaham stainless steel bridge/bigsby machined combination; it sounds different than using a tele Bigsby style (floating bridge) but works great.
    I didn't need to shim the neck.
    If there are tuning problems, they'll almost certainly be at the nut, not the bridge.
    (Members who are a lot better at this than me will, no doubt, call me on this, but I have had more luck keeping a Bigsby-ed tele in tune with a Zero Glide nut then even a well-cut - meaning "not by me" - bone nut.)
     
  3. Suproman

    Suproman Tele-Meister

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    It also depends on what model of Bigsby you want to install. With a B5 you don't need a shim, but you will need one if you want to install a B16.
     
  4. Garruchal

    Garruchal Tele-Meister

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    No neck adjustments were needed for my B-5, with brass barrel saddles. I used a pencil to get some graphite on the nut and it stays in tune pretty well.
    I used a vibramate, just so I could more easily put it on another guitar if I ever sell this one.
     
  5. grifcart

    grifcart TDPRI Member

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    Went down this road four years ago.
    Cleaned up, streamlined, and polished the Bigsby casting. Made a black walnut neck shim (matches the black walnut body cap). Reshaped the bridge opening for a Schaller roller bridge. Built an adjustable roller bearing (RC car wheel bearings) mount for a Jazzmaster buzz stop bar. Carved a bone nut. Adapted a wire handle (ebay find, said to be from a Bigsby mounted on a Gibson).
    Finished up with .032 brass pickguard of my own design, stacked SD humbuckers, stacked twin pots (wired as spin-a-splits), 5 way super switch (wired to kick the pickups in & out of phase), 3 way mini switch for switching multiple caps and a Vibraplate to hook the strings on.
     

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  6. grifcart

    grifcart TDPRI Member

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    A couple more pics
     

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