Tele Bigsby...thoughts

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Slowtwitch, Sep 24, 2019.

  1. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    This is my first encounter with Bigsby.
    I come from the world of floating Strat trem (D Gilmour style playing)

    I've been wanting to install a Bigsby B5 (chigsby in this case) to my Tele using the 3 saddle trad bridge for light tremolo use (no dive bombs etc), so no shimming of the neck needed but without changing the looks of the ashtry, so just drilling holes on the back of the Wilkinson compensated saddle bridge.

    The chigsby's spring lets the arm sit real high, will need some work there - I cut it to just under 1" for now, might lower it to 7/8" later, but seems much better now
    IMG_20190921_132046.jpeg IMG_20190921_132054.jpeg
    IMG_20190924_095854.jpeg


    double measure CL, measure again, drill. as close to the bridge as possible for a good break-over angle from the saddles
    IMG_20190922_132040.jpeg

    drilling back face of the bridge to keep the ashtray look intact

    IMG_20190922_151043.jpeg IMG_20190922_175346.jpeg


    I knew adding a Bigsby complicates a guitar setup a great deal and many people advise against adding a Bigsby, so I knew this going in!!

    My experience so far....Don't be fooled. re-stringing the guitar is painful, but doable and it does complicate things.

    Quick intonation setting of the saddles, forget it. Unless you make a special phillips head tool, you ain't getting any type of screwdriver head to those screws. I thought those little multi-tool tips would fit....it doesn't, so I had to set the saddles by hand - it's a pain!

    Make sure the new holes allows free movement of the strings
    IMG_20190924_143818.jpeg IMG_20190924_143856.jpeg


    I'm pretty happy with the result though. I've got new strings on so they're still stretching, but it seems that I get relatively good tuning stability. greasing all the touch points of the strings.

    One issue though - the saddles move slightly under tremolo use, it seems like the e/B saddle "jumps" slightly causing a slight "pinging" sound some times. I filed the break-over edges of the saddle slightly for the 2 strings which helped a bit - with these saddles there is a sharp edge as oppose to a round barrel

    Any further thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2019
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  2. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    It might sound like I regret installing the Bigsby, but I don't.

    There's just many things to take into account and make sure you're okay with all the complications before committing to it :)
    IMG_20190924_143958.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2019
  3. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Nice work!

    You should buy a set of grooved saddles. I like those from Philly Luthier, they are compensated. I'd get steel instead of brass, you'll be slowing sawing away at those saddles depending how aggressive a Bigsby user you are. The Bigsby pins are set much narrower than just about any guitar bridge out there, meaning the strings will want to migrate inward without the grooves.

    Get used to the saddles moving with use: they all do that to varying degrees. I own an expensive Mastery 4.1 and it does it too. Nature of the beast.

    -edit-

    It makes me nervous to see those holes on the backlip. I'd of just opened it up completely, since one hangup from a string touching the lip will screw up your tuning stability, IME.
     
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  4. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Looks good. Like borderradio said, I'd have gone bigger with the string thru holes. Looks like some are making contact. That'll play hell with the wound strings.

    Anyone know where to acquire softer Bigsby springs?
     
  5. dogmeat

    dogmeat Tele-Afflicted

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  6. jackal

    jackal Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    A set of Rutters saddles would work great with that set-up.
     
  7. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Double post.
     
  8. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Reverend sells them on their website. "Soft touch" springs, or something like that.
     
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  9. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    It just looks like it. I made sure they're not touching ;)
     
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  10. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Doctor of Teleocity

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  11. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thanks.
    Wow, $10? Surely that tension of spring is available in the real world?

    That string spoiler really necessary? Maybe for the gigging players that need a fast string change. Putting a hook on the ball end of the string works too.
     
  12. POS Guitars

    POS Guitars Tele-Meister

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  13. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    I take your point, but for a one-time modification that'll make your guitar work the way you want, I don't think $10 is too objectionable.

    If I were retrofitting 5 Bigsby's, or something, then yeah, I'd hunt for something else.
     
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  14. nnieman

    nnieman Tele-Meister

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    I Don’t like the viberamate - it’s ugly.
    I pull the pins and drill the holes to make the bigsby a string through.

    Don’t use cheap drill bits for this - they will break and ruin a perfectly good bigsby.

    Nathan
     
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  15. Gipper

    Gipper Tele-Meister

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    Any thoughts on the GFS Bigsby bridges?
     
  16. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    One thing about the Chinese bigsby's is that they are slightly wider with wider string spacing than the original. which is more aligned with the bridge saddles
     
  17. El Marin

    El Marin Tele-Afflicted

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    Softer springs? not for me. Is a Bigsby, not a Strat tremolo or a Floyd. It must be stiff. YOU must get used to it

    Another No for the spoiler. Never had a problem changing strings. Again, you must get used to

    And a last tip... rise your string gauge one step
     
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  18. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    I use 11-48's for this setup now where I normally use 10's, so agree with thicker strings ;)

    Also agree with stiffer feel of the tremolo, I like the stiffer feel - it's not a strat trem.

    If you want to do more than a gentle tremolo sound, then there's much better systems out there for that. The Bigsby system was designed for the gentle tremolo sound.
     
  19. CalebAaron666

    CalebAaron666 Tele-Meister

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    If you use a soft spring in a bigsby with a tension bar, it’s still a subtle effect. It’s just much easier to use. You’re not going to get a strat or floyd rose effect. It’s still all bigsby.
    I’d recommend trying both.

    On a B6 I can go either way, soft spring or regular.
     
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  20. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    IDK about this Strat comparison thing. Those trems are super stiff with 4/5 springs. Even with 2/3 it’s a different feel, and then there is the whole floating thing to make it somewhat like a Bigsby.

    There is a second spring in nearly all Bigsbys guys, and you don’t need the one in the handle mount. I replaced mine with bronze bushings when needed. A soft main spring and a very tight handle make for a very pitch sensitive and easy to manipulate vibrato. Even with the floppiest of springs, it will never be a Strat contraption.
     
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