1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

New Bigsby owners...

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by StevesBoogie, Jan 22, 2021.

  1. StevesBoogie

    StevesBoogie Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    827
    Joined:
    May 11, 2020
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Good morning TDPRI - I am shouting out to see if there are any folks that recently purchased their first guitar with the Bigsby vibrato system, and what their thoughts are. Do you like it? Regret it? Tuning issues?

    And I don't want to leave out existing Bigsby owners! Is it a myth that these systems lead to tuning instability, or is that myth more of a function of the guitar's quality/components?

    Thanks for any info that can be provided. I am looking at a used Gretsch 2420 and I originally was not going to get this model with the Bigsby, but there appears to be an opportunity to get a great one at a great price but it has the Bigsby. Personally, it's not a must-have for me, although, I wouldn't mind having it if it doesn't cause any headaches.

    Thanks all.
     
  2. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    6,317
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Location:
    Athens-GREECE
    Yes it is.
    If you know how to string a guitar properly and have a nicely cut nut of course.
     
  3. Ghostdriver

    Ghostdriver Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Age:
    57
    Posts:
    392
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2020
    Location:
    England
    Agreed, it is a total myth. I recently built a Tele with a bigsby style tremolo, not even a real one, a cheap copy, I thought I would have all sorts of issues, but after reading an article about this specifically I re cut my nut, it was a revelation, the guitar hardly ever strayed out of tune.
     
    Boreas and StevesBoogie like this.
  4. notroHnhoJ

    notroHnhoJ Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    330
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2015
    Location:
    St. Louis Mo.
    The trick to using a Bigsby and some tuning stability is to shake it, especially I have found, if you start the shake by pulling up first.
     
    StevesBoogie likes this.
  5. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    10,941
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2014
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    It's a myth. I use many of the varieties, B3, B5, B6, B7, B11, B16--it's all about the install, bridge and nut. Locking tuners are useless, unless one wants to simplify. Also a myth is the idea that changing strings is a PITA. Well, if you don't know what you're doing yeah, there's gonna be a few fumbles. No special tools are needed, and no tears need to flow :)
     
  6. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,398
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    The way to think about it is that Bigsbys don't for the most part cause tuning problems, but if your guitar has an issue that has the potential to cause tuning problems a Bigsby will find it. The nut is the most obvious point where issues occur but saddles need attention too. Nut slots should be not too deep and they should be U shaped and the correct size for your string gauge, saddle slots should also be U shaped on the bottom. If either nut or saddle slot is V shaped or too tight for the string, hello tuning issues.

    Lots of people prefer roller bridges and locking tuners. Roller bridges help if you have a modern style bridge that's rigidly mounted onto thick posts, if it's an ABR with the posts screwed directly into the body they rock a bit on the posts so you don't need a roller. Locking tuners arguably do help a little bit as you can minimise the number of wraps you have around the posts, but it's a very small benefit - you're certainly not pulling the string through the hole in the tuner using the Bigsby, unless you're really bad at changing strings. I do use nut sauce on my Bigsby guitars as a belt and braces approach.

    There are specific issues you can have with the Bigsby itself, but they're less common. Most of them function fine.

    I have a soft spot for the things...

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. StevesBoogie

    StevesBoogie Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    827
    Joined:
    May 11, 2020
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Holy smokes those are beautiful guitars! Great advice, thank you very much.
     
    jayyj likes this.
  8. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    7,613
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Location:
    central ky

    gorgeous guitars! would you mind telling us each model designation?
     
    jayyj likes this.
  9. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    12,082
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Location:
    near Arnold's
    Any "tremolo" (vibrato) system on a guitar is to some degree (however miniscule) less stable than hard tail, IME.

    Any such system, properly set up on a properly set up guitar, is more than sufficiently tuning stable for any live or studio work, IME.

    A little "wiggle" is a wonderful thing.

    I have 4 electrics (too many):

    1. Hardtail Tele
    2. Bigsby Tele
    3. Les Paul
    4. SG with Vibrola

    I love them all equally. And use them about equally.
     
    StevesBoogie and BorderRadio like this.
  10. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    2,403
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    For as much as SOME people complain about them, you wouldn't think they would even still be in business, let alone probably the most universal tremolo system around the world. I don't know that for a fact, but you don't need to look far to find a guitar with a Bigsby. Either all of those people don't mind tuning instability, or they have found out how to properly set up a guitar with a Bigsby. Once you understand potential issues at the nut and saddle, they are pretty easily sorted out. And they are greatly improved with a Reverend "squishy spring"! I don't know why they don't come standard.
     
    StevesBoogie likes this.
  11. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    12,082
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Location:
    near Arnold's
    The feel of a Bigsby on an arched or carved top guitar is so subtle and squishy with a standard spring I never tried the Reverend on one of those.

    I did try on on a Tele, because on a flat top guitar with the Bigsby so close to the bridge, the feel is stiffer/less expressive. I thought the Reverend spring did a great job making the Tele Bigsby feel more subtle and expressive like on an arched/carved top. But, the spring didn't seem to have enough tension on my Tele for the strings to reliably come back to pitch. I use 11s if that is relevant. I wasn't bothered enough by the feel with a standard spring to explore solutions and just went back to that.
     
    Boreas and StevesBoogie like this.
  12. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    2,403
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    I don't think I ever tried the squishy spring with 11s. Of course Bigsby springs come in different lengths to compensate for setup problems, but as far as I know, the Reverend springs are one-size-fits-all. BUT, not returning to zero can be due to friction at the bridge, excessive break angle, and excessive friction in the hold-down bar on a B5/50. All of these are solvable, because I have managed it several times.

    Basically, the typical hold-down bar on a B5/50 is too big, causing excessive break angle, which increases friction at the bridge. My mods involve reducing that angle. Soon as you do, things return to zero reliably and it is a beautiful, sensitive, shimmery trem system. I even replaced my problematic MIJ Mustang trem with a Bigs. MUCH better.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
  13. Electric Warrior

    Electric Warrior Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    583
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2018
    Location:
    Midwest
    Had a B3 on a Heritage. No issues and I would have expected a nightmare based on the internet. Only problem I had was that I wanted to use it after every strum!

    I think I had an inexpensive Ibanez with one, and recall no issues there either. And a Gretsch pro line for a minute, again no issues.
     
    StevesBoogie likes this.
  14. Whoa Tele

    Whoa Tele Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,397
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Location:
    Smyrna Ga.
    Plus 1 on the Reverend soft spring
     
  15. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    91,201
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    My Chet with Bigsby, and Duesenberg with proprietary Bigsby-type tremolo both stay in tune beautifully.
    I do have better luck with heavier than normal strings, and higher than normal action.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
    StevesBoogie likes this.
  16. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    12,082
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Location:
    near Arnold's
    I used to request “medium” action on setups. But what used to be “medium” is now “high” it seems.

    Stores new to me are always surprised when they mutter “as low as possible action with minimal buzz” and I ask for action higher than that.
     
    brookdalebill likes this.
  17. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,085
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    One of my Bigsby'd guitars* is a 1989 Korean plywood Squier Tele, and the Bigsby isn't even stock. It's also installed slightly off-center and (thankfully, in this case, given the slight wonk) has the rocking-style Jazzmaster bridge with threaded saddles so many JM-players bemoan.

    It stays in tune just fine. A little shim in the neck and fiddling with the strings on the saddle threads to make sure everything runs straight and no worries.

    * My other Bigsby'd guitar is a Reverend Tricky Gomez, which is also great. I'd like a full hollow body one day, preferably with a Bigsby, as well.

    My Tele (now an Esquire) has the stiffer spring. I tried a squishy one but preferred the stiffer action. Odd, since I love the squishy one on my Reverend. I did get a taller spring for the Tele to help the bar clear the controls a little better.
     
    StevesBoogie and Boreas like this.
  18. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,454
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Location:
    CoolsVille
    I say buy it if it's a good price. I routinely buy guitars I'm curious about (if at a decent price) & if it turns out they're not for me just sell & get my money back.

    I like Bigsbys more than any other style trem/vibrato units I've tried. Guitars come and go but I have a half dozen Bigsbys I keep for the next new to me guitar. Like anything else, if you won't take the time to learn how to use it right, you won't get the most from it.
     
    StevesBoogie and Boreas like this.
  19. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,459
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2020
    Location:
    Delaware
    I put a Bigsby on my Tele about a year ago. Does that count as new? I have no issues. I saw a video before I installed it. The guy on the video said the number one reason Bigsbys go out of tune is improper installation. They need to line up properly and screws need to be snog but never cranked down. When they are overtightened, the trem will get skewed out of alignment and cause problems. I also had to file some relatively deep saddle slots. Of course, Bigsbys are much more subtle compared with strat terms. They don't dive bomb, and if you try you may have tuning issues due to that.
     
    StevesBoogie likes this.
  20. DeepDangler

    DeepDangler Tele-Meister

    Age:
    30
    Posts:
    347
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2020
    Location:
    Mequon, WI
    Bigsbys are alright. If you have a good nut and bridge they stay in tube well. I don’t recommend them on flat guitars. You need a carved or arched too so you’re using the end of the arm. On a tele, it’s bunched up over the controls and gets in the way.
     
    StevesBoogie likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.