Intonating problem with a Bigsby......

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Ghostdriver, Jul 27, 2020.

  1. vhilts1

    vhilts1 Tele-Meister

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    and yet ive seen many do just that.....

    you mentioned you have secret techniques you are unwilling to share......good for you...i didnt question that.....

    maybe your experience isnt the only valid one ??
     
  2. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Dude, chill. Nothing secret, just limited time at the moment. I’m constantly posting about Bigsby tips here and Gretsch-talk/Gretschpages/OSG whatever. Is it the only way to skin a cat? No, but I also hear people saying Bigsby have severe limitations. Well that’s old school. The Bigsby can do more than ‘subtle shimmer’. Not many people know that, so yeah, there’s something worth sharing besides the user error and ‘they look ugly’ anecdotes.

    OP asked about a specific problem. I know there will always be that guy who says “guitar problem? Sell your guitar”. Answer was pretty straightforward IMHO.
     
  3. Ghostdriver

    Ghostdriver TDPRI Member

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    Wow, thanks for all the input guys, sure is a mixed bag of opinions about old Bigsby, seemed to have stirred up a hornets nest by asking a simple question about dual access screws ha ha
    Calm down everybody and have a great evening.
     
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  4. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Can I just add to the chorus that my experience is quiet different from @vhilts1?

    You must be taking your guitars to a bad tech or not know how to do it yourself.

    If a Bigsby can't be made as tuning-stable as a Strat then something is wrong. In my experience when set up right (nothing exotic and no special bridges required) their stability is negligibly less than hard tail.

    And no. Sorry. You can't do all Bigsby techniques/sounds with your hands. Give me a break. And if you could - guess what, that would introduce the same negligible additional tuning instability as a Bigsby. Probably more actually.
     
  5. vhilts1

    vhilts1 Tele-Meister

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    :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::cool:
     
  6. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Lol it’s a nut house, but somebody gotta help the Bigsby fam around here :D
     
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  7. RomanS

    RomanS Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yup, agreed, matches my experience 100%, in all points.

    Now, back to the OP's question, before his thread got kidnapped:
    Never seen those aftermarket scews that can adjust from the front, didn't even know they existed. I never had a problem adjusting the intonation screws on my 3-saddle ashtray bridge / B5-equipped Tele - just used a small jeweler's screwdriver, if you slacken the strings before adjusting (which you should always do, anyway, Bigsby or no Bigsby), the screws will turn easily, even if you use the screwdriver at an angle.
    And also: How often do you need to adjust intonation, anyway? If you settle on a favorite brand and gauge of strings - ONCE!
     
  8. Ghostdriver

    Ghostdriver TDPRI Member

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    cheers, this sounds like a winner !
     
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  9. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Those F-logo Bigsby tension bars are very close to the screws, but yeah, with the strings slack it's doable. It saves a little frustration to have the slotted version, even though it takes nearly the same amount of time to adjust.

    https://www.callahamguitars.com/bigsby_bridge_saddles_catalog.htm
    http://www.vibramate.com/vibramate-brass-saddles.php

    Sucks the Vibramate saddles are non-compensated, but have grooves. On the other hand, Callaham has no grooves, so it's almost mandatory to get their tension bar.

    Edit: looks like they are grooved. I'd get the steel saddles.

    bigsbysaddles(3).jpg
     
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  10. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    <raising hand>

    Another player who has no problems with Bigsbys and intonation / tuning. Don't have one on a Tele, though, so no comment on the adjustment question.

    Mainly I'm here to say that it's pretty lame to continually and repeatedly dump on a thread where you don't like the topic, and have F-all to contribute.
     
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  11. CalebAaron666

    CalebAaron666 Tele-Holic

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    Bigsbys rule!
    Right now I have 6 electric guitars and all have them.

    not helpful to the OP’s question, but just thought I should speak up!
     
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  12. Modman68

    Modman68 Tele-Holic

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    Re: the tension bar. Reducing that tension definitely makes a difference. I swapped my tension bar with a Biggs fix that eases the string tension even more than stripping the bar.

    https://bricksbiggsfix.com/

    that, a soft spring and a roller bridge and I’m very happy with stability.
     
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  13. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Meister

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    Glad it worked for you. It didn't work for my setup. Depends which bridge you want to use and if you want to shim the neck. That's why I switched to the ball bearings. Removing the roller from the axle lessens the break angle and reduces friction. $2 fix. More than one way to skin a cat.

    Soft springs in all of my Bigsbys!!

    EDIT:

    I will also add this note on my experience with tuning instability using Bigsby B5/50/Chigsby units. I feel the majority of issues with the UNITS THEMSELVES staying flat after a dive and sharp after an up-bend are related to the plastic bushings in the roller. They simply have a tendency to grab BEFORE returning to the zero point. I do not find this when using ball bearings.

    The bearings I use have a flange to neaten the appearance and to keep them properly positioned to avoid any binding. HOWEVER, installation does require a minor amount of reaming the casting to accept the slightly larger diameter of the bearing. A few turns of a reaming tool does the trick, then the bearings are press-fit with my thumb. Polish and re-insert the axle and you are done.

    Obviously, nut design/lubrication and proper bridge choice will also have an impact on tuning stability as well and may need to be addressed.

    The bearings are about $10 for10 bearings. Frankly, I don't know why Bigsby doesn't use them instead of the nylon bushings. MY COST is only $2 per unit! To date, this is the only mod I have found that eliminates the binding keeping the unit from returning to zero. Your results may vary.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020 at 10:04 AM
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  14. Modman68

    Modman68 Tele-Holic

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    I might have to check those out!
     
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  15. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Meister

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    They look cool and when set up properly, play in tune. The biggest mistake people make is to overtighten the mounting screws. Ask have to slot the saddles pretty well. And, yes, I think the Vibramate saddle screws are worth it.
     
  16. bluekeys

    bluekeys TDPRI Member

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    On my MIM w/Bigsby I found adding a Tusq nut, roller trees and a new spring made it much more stable. No issues at all now.
     
  17. Alcohen

    Alcohen Tele-Meister

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    Do you find that reducing the string tension has any effect on how stiff the strings feel? I'm finding that strings are harder to bend and feel stiffer with the Bigsby, perhaps because of the greater string length and/or tension behind the bridge.
     
  18. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Meister

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    I am not really sure. My theory is every string, depending on the gauge and scale length, requires a set string tension in order to tune to pitch. It doesn't matter what bridge you use. However, bending the strings significantly requires slightly more travel with any trem unit - likely more so with a soft-spring Bigsby - because any increase in spring tension will deflect the whammy downward. The spring in any whammy must balance the string tension, or it will not be in tune. So, a lighter spring may very well lead to a noticeable change in feel, but it can't reduce tension per se at zero. But I am unsure about how the extra string length BEYOND the nut and ball would effect the feel. Good point.
     
  19. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    You know what they say about the tools and how you use them...:)
     
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  20. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Tele-Afflicted

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    I shortened and slotted the intonation screws on a Bigsby Tele with an ashtray bridge while the guitar was fully assembled. I used a Dremel cut-off wheel to start the slot and finished it with a gauged nut file.
    It was difficult. I should have taken the Bigsby off and pulled the screws first. The Callaham screws may be lovely, but the price is about five times what it should be.

    I have many guitars with Bigsbys, both Teles and Gretsches. They all work very well and stay in tune, often for hours at a time.

    The assertion that you can do everything a Bigsby does using just your hands is so blatantly, preposterously false that it amounts to trolling, IMO. I considered reporting the comments here to the admins.
     
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