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Need advice on bridge for tele w/ Bigsby

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by smokebreak, Dec 30, 2019.

  1. smokebreak

    smokebreak Tele-Meister

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    I've got the neck shimmed properly on this MIM tele, with a chopped B15. Right now I've got an aluminum bigsby style base, and some random TOM bridge on there, that I had lying around. Everything works/feels/plays very well, but I keep popping the low E out of it's slot, so I'd like to get a proper bridge, that I'll get slotted by someone who knows what they are doing.
    I'm looking for suggestions on what bridge to get, to do this right. My post spacing for the base I have is 2 13/16
     
  2. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    How about a picture so we can see what you're working with?
     
  3. smokebreak

    smokebreak Tele-Meister

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    Sure, here's a couple. This one is a tonepros, the thumbwheels are a bit large too, so the TOM doesn't sit properly. I also have the bigsby style aluminum bridge that I'll get slotted, but I have a feeling I'm going to be trying out different bridges for this guitar IMG_1217.JPG IMG_1218.JPG IMG_1219.JPG
     
  4. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    If you're going to keep using those strings and they intonate well as is, I imagine a bar bridge might work. Those saddles are almost in a straight line.

    Tru-Arc makes a Gretsch-style bar bridge in a variety of materials, and they are very well-loved over on the Gretsch Discussion Pages.
     
  5. smokebreak

    smokebreak Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, that's def an option, the Compton or Tru-arc, I think it'd be a custom job as Gretsch post spacing is a bit wider I think. I'm definitely into having a couple of options for this guitar, as I'll have flats on it sometimes, and wound/unwound G . Honestly, that's what drew me to TOM.
     
  6. VladimirG

    VladimirG TDPRI Member

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    My favourite tele Bigsby bridges are

    https://www.deluxeguitars.com.au/products/mastery-bridge-m1-usa-offset?_pos=3&_sid=a74719f0f&_ss=r

    With that https://www.deluxeguitars.com.au/pr...rative-tele-plate?_pos=7&_sid=a74719f0f&_ss=r

    https://www.callahamguitars.com/bigsby_bridge_vintageteleflatmount_catalog.htm

    https://www.callahamguitars.com/bigsby_bridge_vintagehardtailflatmount_catalog.htm

    If you like a tuno-matic

    https://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_an...e-o-matic_Bridges/Schaller_Roller_Bridge.html

    https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Tune-O-...822984?hash=item2f3b910648:g:v6AAAOSw3q5aYA9x

    https://tonepros.com/tpfr-tonepros-metric-tuneomatic-large-posts-roller-saddles/
     
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  7. Fluddman

    Fluddman Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I recently played a 60s Vintera tele with a stock Fender bigsby and rocking bridge. That style of bridge doesn't get a lot of love but the Bigsby worked well and I was tempted to take it home.

    Decided to keep trying to make the one I put on a parts caster work better. I used the vibro-mate bridge and a normal vintage three saddle set up - the bigsby works but it is just not responsive enough. That is, it requires a lot of effort just to get a mild warble.

    Good luck with yours.
     
  8. VladimirG

    VladimirG TDPRI Member

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    I tried the TruArc and the Rocking bridge. I like the sound you get from them. However you really need to match the neck radius to the bridge. I had a 12" radius on mine which worked but felt "different :) " Also there was some intonation inconsistency with the Rocking bridge. They somehow seem to to work better on a gretsch (perhaps due to shorter scale ?)

    This seemed to work very well (the one with the single p90 has been since the pic replaced with the Mastery jazzmaster one). I have a thinline with a b16 and a gretsch blade bridge - also works
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 30, 2019
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  9. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    Vladimir G, most of your bridge recommendations and your examples are specific to guitars with the B5 (or perhaps B50) bridge. A B16, chopped or not, has a totally different geometry and needs a bridge about 1/2" taller than a B5. Only the Tune-O-Matic recommendations are of any practical use to the OP.

    On my B16-equipped partscaster (fully hollow, Don Mare 0038 and T-Armond p/us), I used the (non-Sorkin) bridge base that came with the Bigsby, but with a series of different bridges. The stock aluminum one was first; then there was a super-lightweight aluminum bar that I made from scrap. Next I tried a Gretsch bar and the hole spacing was wrong (although radius was OK; neck is a Warmoth 10"-16"). I made a non-rocking brass bar bridge that's hollowed out underneath, almost to the point of being "tuned" like a bell. It's very satisfactory with Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Swing .013s. The intonation points on the brass bridge are easily moved if you're handy with files and sandpaper.

    The other guitars: Black B5 partscaster has stock bridge plate with Rutters straight comp saddles; Dakota Red (refin) '66/'68 Tele has the standard rocking bridge; Sonic Blue partscaster has a Mastery.

    Each one of these bridge choices was based on what best suits that particular guitar, with plenty of trial and error along the way. That said, the simplicity of the bar bridge is nice: no moving parts.

    20191231_105621.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2019
  10. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    Also, for B5 users: a Vibramate-mounted B5 or B50 DECREASES the break angle over the bridge. This is considered desirable, but only because the B5/B50-style has a tension bar. The break angle on Bigsbys without tension bars is already very slight.

    B16s inevitably use neck shims unless they're inset into the body or ground down. One that's "chopped" can use a much smaller shim, since that big hunk of metal that holds the bridge pickup is out of the way, but there still needs to be a good angle on the back end.

    In fact, increasing the break angle might be all that the OP needs to do to keep the strings in their slots. An additional shim on the bridge side of the neck pocket could solve the problem very quickly.

    I think part the "feel" that B16-lovers rave about comes from the raised bridge. It changes the player's hand position and makes the guitar's geometry feel more like an archtop. The lack of a tension bar is obviously the other major factor, at least when you compare it to a B5.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2019
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  11. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have been really curious about Mosrite type bridges. They have a 9.5" radius and the string spacing is wider than tune-o-matics, which are not so good on Fenders. Plus in my opinion the rollers help keep better in tune.
     
  12. dickey

    dickey Friend of Leo's

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    My Mosrite Ventures & my Hallmark Custom 60 (basically a Mosrite clone) have rollers that keep it perfect, but the Mosrite bridge is part of the Vibramute tailpiece & can't be used separately.
     
  13. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    I always loved the Vibramute, including the rollers. I never heard anyone complain about rattling or instability with that design, and it looks cool.

    The current Hallmark version of that bridge is apparently pretty popular, although not universally adored. 2" string spacing, not sure about the posts. http://www.hallmarkguitars.com/parts/parts.shtml
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2019
  14. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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  15. Clifton C

    Clifton C Tele-Afflicted

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  16. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    You can order a Tru-Arc in any configuration, including one for the Bigsby spacing. I highly recommend them for a B16. I have the G-compensated Serpentune, worth every penny, and no tuning issues. No string popping either, I use the full metal shim, as designed, to get the right height and break angle.

    68A212C3-EA05-4406-822A-CD589DE3A5AF.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2019
  17. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I bought an import version, seemed very promising.

    It’s very tall, however, and not applicable for most guitars.
     
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  18. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

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    Yes.
    This is an excellent product, not cheap, but well designed and beautifully produced.
    I have them on the Custom and CAR Teles in my avatar, and they cure a lot of problems--stable, and they sound good.
    Highly recommended.
     
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  19. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I use the 4.1 on a B5 Tele of mine, such a great bridge. Not necessary for most folks, but I can dive bomb it and still come a few cents back in tune. I even got the string retainer, seems to help.

    Using a Mastery with a B16 takes some modding, but it’s doable. More like “chop your $200 Bigsby frame for the feels” kinda thing. Worth it to me :)
     
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  20. ferdtuff

    ferdtuff TDPRI Member

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    Guitars are just the coolest looking instrument. Those things look like hotrods.
     
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