NGD: FCS ‘70s Custom CuNiFe Journeyman Telecaster w/Bigsby

Boreas

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I believe these "F" Logo tuners are 14:1 ratio and the Fender Vintage standards which I have on all my other ones are 15:1 (?), so not a huge difference. I've read mixed reviews about these "F" Logo ones in the past, but they seem perfectly fine to me. They get where you need to go fairly quickly and hold tune well. They do their job.

I'm still stretching out the strings and getting acclimated to it. Exploring the feel of the Bigsby and testing the overall tuning stability when using it. Seeing what I can get away with without it going completely out of whack.

The Tech did a marvelous set up before it shipped though. Really impressive. Pretty much as I like it action wise. I just had to raise the high E a hair and was off and running. No annoying "Pings" from the nut (I hate that. It's the first thing I check for with any new guitar). One funny detail: I noticed that the neck backplate was on upside down and thought, "That's weird, never saw that before!" So I contacted the shop and it turns out that when he did a slight truss rod adjustment, he accidentally screwed it back on upside down. I figured that's probably what happened anyway 😂

I've been checking out some Tele/Bigsby related YouTube videos for set up tips and this one here by Jay Leonard J is really good. If you care to share any Bigsby wisdom, please feel free!


My only suggestion on the Bigsby installed on your guitar is to always minimize the break angle at the bridge. Friction is your enemy, and the B5 tends to introduce much more break angle than is needed. ALSO make sure your bridge is high enough that it can rock through your FULL range of vibrato. It currently looks fairly low, but if set up correctly, you should be fine. If it can't rock enough, then the strings are forced to slide over the saddles causing friction and possible return-to-tune issues. My only other suggestion is to try a Reverend "squishy spring" that significantly changes the feel of the vibrato - much more sensitive to use. Most people prefer them. With these springs, you kinda go from using your arm to using your wrist.

Don't just "put up" with any tuning issues. They are NOT inherent in Bigsbys, but are common due to poor setups. If you notice single strings not returning to pitch, it is likely an overly-tight nut slot on the offending strings. A simple polish is enough to cure it. NO, YOU DON'T NEED LOCKING TUNERS OR NUT LUBE! If you notice all of the strings going sharp or flat and not returning to pitch, your bridge is likely not rocking enough and the strings are slipping over the saddles. Make sure the bridge stays centered when the arm is at neutral. Sometimes with excessive break angle, the strings can actually push the bridge gradually forward so that it stops rocking. There are fixes for that as well that I won't go into here.

I am sure your instrument was set up well. You may want to take measurements now so that you know what the best setup settings are. Enjoy that beautiful guitar!!
 
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Minivan Megafun

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Wow that is cool!

Interesting choice they made on the pot values. I built a Tele Custom with the Cunife WR pickup and I went with the 1 Meg pots for the neck pickup controls. You don’t find it a bit dark?
 

Double Stop

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My only suggestion on the Bigsby installed on your guitar is to always minimize the break angle at the bridge. Friction is your enemy, and the B5 tends to introduce much more break angle than is needed. ALSO make sure your bridge is high enough that it can rock through your FULL range of vibrato. It currently looks fairly low, but if set up correctly, you should be fine. If it can't rock enough, then the strings are forced to slide over the saddles causing friction and possible return-to-tune issues. My only other suggestion is to try a Reverend "squishy spring" that significantly changes the feel of the vibrato - much more sensitive to use. Most people prefer them. With these springs, you kinda go from using your arm to using your wrist.

Don't just "put up" with any tuning issues. They are NOT inherent in Bigsbys, but are common due to poor setups. If you notice single strings not returning to pitch, it is likely an overly-tight nut slot on the offending strings. A simple polish is enough to cure it. NO, YOU DON'T NEED LOCKING TUNERS OR NUT LUBE! If you notice all of the strings going sharp or flat and not returning to pitch, your bridge is likely not rocking enough and the strings are slipping over the saddles. Make sure the bridge stays centered when the arm is at neutral. Sometimes with excessive break angle, the strings can actually push the bridge gradually forward so that it stops rocking. There are fixes for that as well that I won't go into here.

I am sure your instrument was set up well. You may want to take measurements now so that you know what the best setup settings are. Enjoy that beautiful guitar!!

@Boreas, thank you so much for taking the time with offering this helpful advice. Very much appreciated! As with all things having moving parts and multiple points of contact with the string, there's lots to consider. Yeah, I'm not about to completely overhaul this with a bunch of mods or anything. If any issues reveal themselves down the line, I'll definitely refer to these points you've advised. Good stuff, indeed. Thanks again!
 

Boreas

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@Boreas, thank you so much for taking the time with offering this helpful advice. Very much appreciated! As with all things having moving parts and multiple points of contact with the string, there's lots to consider. Yeah, I'm not about to completely overhaul this with a bunch of mods or anything. If any issues reveal themselves down the line, I'll definitely refer to these points you've advised. Good stuff, indeed. Thanks again!
PM me anytime if you have specific questions. Frankly, I believe this is the BEST way to apply a Bigsby to a Tele. I have tried roller saddles, but usually have come back to the Fender rocker method.

BTW, the "squishy spring" can be inserted or removed without tools. Try one!
 

horseman308

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PM me anytime if you have specific questions. Frankly, I believe this is the BEST way to apply a Bigsby to a Tele. I have tried roller saddles, but usually have come back to the Fender rocker method.

BTW, the "squishy spring" can be inserted or removed without tools. Try one!
Plus one for the Reverend spring. I use them on both my Bigsbies. FWIW, I found that I needed thr slightest shim under the "horseshoe" on my B5 to make it work correctly, so a thin washer under each screw was the best fix for that. Now, that was with using standard barrel saddles and a modified ash tray bridge plate, rather than the rocking bridge. So you may not need that. I mentioned it just in case....

Beautiful guitar! I absolutely love these 72 Customs.
 

Boreas

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Plus one for the Reverend spring. I use them on both my Bigsbies. FWIW, I found that I needed thr slightest shim under the "horseshoe" on my B5 to make it work correctly, so a thin washer under each screw was the best fix for that. Now, that was with using standard barrel saddles and a modified ash tray bridge plate, rather than the rocking bridge. So you may not need that. I mentioned it just in case....

Beautiful guitar! I absolutely love these 72 Customs.
I have a couple units that arrived with slightly bent frames. They will flex some - until they snap...:(
 

Double Stop

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PM me anytime if you have specific questions. Frankly, I believe this is the BEST way to apply a Bigsby to a Tele. I have tried roller saddles, but usually have come back to the Fender rocker method.

BTW, the "squishy spring" can be inserted or removed without tools. Try one!

I've bookmarked the "Squishy" spring for future reference if I decide to "spring" for one in the future.

Is this the one you're referring to by Reverend here (but actually called the "Soft Touch Spring")?: https://store.reverendguitars.com/shop-2/parts/soft-touch-spring/

Or is it this, which is actually called the "Squishy Spring", but made by the brand "Brigg's BiggsFix": https://bricksbiggsfix.com/products/sss

Thanks again.
 

Boreas

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I've bookmarked the "Squishy" spring for future reference if I decide to "spring" for one in the future.

Is this the one you're referring to by Reverend here (but actually called the "Soft Touch Spring")?: https://store.reverendguitars.com/shop-2/parts/soft-touch-spring/

Or is it this, which is actually called the "Squishy Spring", but made by the brand "Brigg's BiggsFix": https://bricksbiggsfix.com/products/sss

Thanks again.
I have used both. They seem about the same. Most people just call them "squishy springs". As far as I know, they only come in one length.
 

Double Stop

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Wow that is cool!

Interesting choice they made on the pot values. I built a Tele Custom with the Cunife WR pickup and I went with the 1 Meg pots for the neck pickup controls. You don’t find it a bit dark?

500K is pretty standard for Humbuckers, no? I think 1 Meg is a more common factory spec for Jazzmasters, but even then I see just as many Jazzmasters with 500K (sometimes even 250K). I think Fender did make the 70's Customs with 1 Meg pots when they first came out, but I'm not sure how consistent they were with that, or when (if?) they switched back to 500K for the WRHB.

I've always been curious about a WRHB with a 1 meg pot, though.

I'm not really one for doing A/B tests with my guitars. I've never actually sat down to do any "formal" testing between by guitars. I've got too many guitars for that and would rather not get sucked down into that rabbit hole.

That being said though, I actually did do an A/B comparing this WHRB CuNiFe vs my FCS '53 Journeyman which is my only other Tele that's got a humbucker neck pickup, a '59 Seymour Duncan. I was hoping to be "blown away" by the CuNiFe WHRB comparing it to my '59 Duncan which can be quite murky or "dark", but it wasn't anything revelatory. Not a Night/Day difference.

Between these two, I did notice better individual string clarity and a bit more high end with the Low E, A, and D strings on the WHRB when compared to the '59 Duncan, but it's only a subtle difference. The plain strings sound pretty much the same to me on both pickups, though. If you were to really listen intensely, the WHRB may have just a tiny bit more trebly chime to the plain strings, but it's negligible at best.



image0.jpeg
image1.jpeg
 
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charlie chitlin

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Killer.
I feel that my WRHB was vastly improved by a treble bleed mod.
It sounded epic on 10, but not so much with the volume rolled off.
Now it's 100% killer.
 

VillainSean

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I’ve been itching for a Tele with a Bigsby. I’ve been hankering for a Tele with a CuNiFe Wide Range Humbucker. I’ve been yearning for a black Tele. I’ve been jonesin’ for a Tele with a rosewood fingerboard (because all of my other Teles have maple!).

Q: So, what’s a fella to do?
A: Go all in and bring home an FCS ‘70s Journeyman Custom of course!


I really dig how guitars by virtue of looks alone inspires us to play in a particular style. Telecasters in general can do it all but with my other Teles, I generally lean towards Country/Blues/R&B/Funk. This one however, screams “ROCK!” It’s a fighter, not a lover. It has an badass attitude. If Brando as Johnny in “The Wild One” morphed into a guitar, he would look like this. This thing is dangerous. A rebel.
  • Journeyman Relic Black Finish
  • 2-Piece Select Ash Body
  • Tinted 2A Flame Quartersawn Maple Neck with Round-Lam Rosewood Fingerboard
  • ‘60s Style Oval "C" Back-Shape
  • Neck Depth: 1st 850”- 12th 920”
  • 9.5" Radius
  • Jescar 47095 Frets (0.047” H, 0.095” W)
  • Wide-Range CuNiFe Humbucker (Neck) and Hand-Wound "OBG" Original Blackguard Tele (Bridge) Pickups
  • Dual 250k/500k Volume & Tone Controls
  • 3-Way Toggle Switch
  • 3-Ply Black Pickguard
  • B-5 Bigsby® Tailpiece and Bridge
  • Schaller "F" Tuning Machines
  • Bone Nut
  • Wing String Tree with Nylon Spacer
View attachment 990100 View attachment 990101 View attachment 990102 View attachment 990103 View attachment 990104 View attachment 990108 View attachment 990109 View attachment 990110 View attachment 990111 View attachment 990112

Sweetness, congrats!
 

Boreas

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My 74 Thinline came with 1M pots from the factory. I would start there. Yes, these are humbuckers, but are not typical HBs, which is why people like them.
 

Minivan Megafun

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500K is pretty standard for Humbuckers, no? I think 1 Meg is a more common factory spec for Jazzmasters, but even then I see just as many Jazzmasters with 500K (sometimes even 250K). I think Fender did make the 70's Customs with 1 Meg pots when they first came out, but I'm not sure how consistent they were with that, or when (if?) they switched back to 500K for the WRHB.

I've always been curious about a WRHB with a 1 meg pot, though.

I'm not really one for doing A/B tests with my guitars. I've never actually sat down to do any "formal" testing between by guitars. I've got too many guitars for that and would rather not get sucked down into that rabbit hole.

That being said though, I actually did do an A/B comparing this WHRB CuNiFe vs my FCS '53 Journeyman which is my only other Tele that's got a humbucker neck pickup, a '59 Seymour Duncan. I was hoping to be "blown away" by the CuNiFe WHRB comparing it to my '59 Duncan which can be quite murky or "dark", but it wasn't anything revelatory. Not a Night/Day difference.

Between these two, I did notice better individual string clarity and a bit more high end with the Low E, A, and D strings on the WHRB when compared to the '59 Duncan, but it's only a subtle difference. The plain strings sound pretty much the same to me on both pickups, though. If you were to really listen intensely, the WHRB may have just a tiny bit more trebly chime to the plain strings, but it's negligible at best.



View attachment 990949 View attachment 990950

The American Original 70’s Tele Custom comes with the cunife WRHB in the neck and it’s wired with 1meg pots for the vol and tone on the neck circuit and 250k pots on the bridge circuit. I built a Tele Custom with the cunife WR and I used the same wiring layout and it sounds awesome. But I did add a treble bleed on the neck volume because it’s my experience that they’re needed for 1meg pots.

Look up old posts about cunife WR pickups from @Telenator and he recommends 1meg pots with these pickups as well.

The Cunife WR is not a standard humbucker.
 

Double Stop

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The American Original 70’s Tele Custom comes with the cunife WRHB in the neck and it’s wired with 1meg pots for the vol and tone on the neck circuit and 250k pots on the bridge circuit. I built a Tele Custom with the cunife WR and I used the same wiring layout and it sounds awesome. But I did add a treble bleed on the neck volume because it’s my experience that they’re needed for 1meg pots.

Look up old posts about cunife WR pickups from @Telenator and he recommends 1meg pots with these pickups as well.

The Cunife WR is not a standard humbucker.
That's good to know. Thanks.

I was aware of the WRHB being a different beast than your typical humbucker but had no prior knowledge of the specific pots to be used in conjunction with it to realize it's full potential. Looks like I might be buying some new pots soon!
 

horseman308

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I run 1 Meg pots for my WRHB, along with a treble bleed. Works wonderfully, and it is a clearly different sound from a PAF style humbucker. @Telenator has a set of instructions somewhere here on the best way to dial in that neck WRHB, and it worked well for me.

FWIW, I'll also add that a lot of people find the WRHB to sound best for clean to lightly-driven tones. I won't disagree that they sound fantastic there. Many say that they get almost raspy and ill defined with high OD, but my own suspicion is that is as much a question of the amps they're using. I've always thought most Fender amps after the Tweed era sounded raspy when overdriven. However, run a WRHB through a Marshall voiced amp, especially in the Plexi or JCM line, and I think they sound great driven hard.
 

Fretting out

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Not me though...
Teles and Strats need maple!

Not gonna fight you though... more rosewood for you this way. ;)
On reissues and original 50’s models then yes, maple

From 59 onwards rosewood all day OH!

Except MAYBE a 64-66 maple cap….
 

msalama

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I prefer maple myself, but OPs axe's just bitchin' regardless. As he said, a real R'n'R machine - congrats!
 




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