Tuning issues - Tele with Bigsby B5

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Rick-kcmo, Sep 11, 2019 at 11:44 PM.

  1. Rick-kcmo

    Rick-kcmo TDPRI Member

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    This is one I finished and assembled. Graphite nut, staggered Gotoh vintage style tuners (no string tree) USA Bigsby, Callahm 3 saddle vintage style bridge (half size to accommodate humbuckers), Callaham roller bar.

    I know Bigsby's can be a tuning challenge and I love them on archtops that don't require a roller bar but have used this one on other guitars without this issue. Every time I use it, i go flat on several strings, G being the worst. I don't do dive bombs, I'm subtle with it, mostly for chords, and I don't understand why it goes flat, sometimes a half step. If I really hit it hard, just to see, all the strings go. I can do it ten times in a row and have to tune back up each time. I can lift up slightly on the handle and it comes back close. This is my first time with a Tele and I'm wondering about the saddles but the constantly going flat is like I'm actually losing string tension. Probably something stupid on my part but thoughts? Thanks
     
  2. CalebAaron666

    CalebAaron666 Tele-Meister

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    The NUT!
    Almost always the nut, especially if it’s going flat. For starters you can try lubing the nut with some nut-sauce or pencil graphite.
    You can also carefully file the slots open a bit more.

    What gauge strings do you use?
    With a bigsby you never wanna go smaller than 10’s.
    Good luck!
     
  3. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Meister

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    I would say look at the nut first too.
    I see you have a graphite nut, so no need to over lube it I think, but the slots may be too narrow and pinching the strings.
    You can try bending the strings behind the nut (to take the bigsby out of the equation): if it goes sharp, then you have the culprit, the nut is holding the strings.
     
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  4. dogmeat

    dogmeat Tele-Afflicted

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    and some StewMac guitar grease
     
  5. Rick-kcmo

    Rick-kcmo TDPRI Member

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    I use 10's. Either regular D'Addarios or GHS burnished. I think the slight polish on the GHS may help as well. I know some say a vintage Tele saddle is not great for a Bigsby. I'll tackle the nut first. I've also been pretending it's a Floyd Rose with some stupidly deep shifts thinking it might help things settle in a bit (it's all new) and I think it actually helped a bit. Was hearing a small pop some times and don't hear it now. Coming from the bridge or Bigsby, not the nut. Could be a little of several things, of course. Thanks for the responses so far.
     
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  6. CalebAaron666

    CalebAaron666 Tele-Meister

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    That “pop” may be the spring working itself out. Sometimes you have to spin them around to a sweet spot.

    Yeah, even the best bigsby set ups will get you out of tune if you treat it like a floyd rose.

    I have 5 electrics and all of them have bigsby’s. I have a tele with a B5 and a tele with a B16. Both stay in tune really well, but the B16 is the most stable of all my bigsby’s. It’s amazing how well that thing works! Easiest bigsby install I’ve ever done too. I can bring the handle down to the body and it’s still stays in tune. That’s unheard of! Not that I do that very often.

    If you’re going flat I’d bet it’s the nut, not the bridge.

    You’ll get it set up. Sometimes it takes a long time to get all of the kinks worked out.
    Break that puppy in!
     
  7. RottenTheCat

    RottenTheCat Tele-Meister

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    Make sure you have the bare minimal wrap on the string posts
     
  8. RottenTheCat

    RottenTheCat Tele-Meister

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    A drop of oil where each string goes over the saddles helps too
     
  9. Rick-kcmo

    Rick-kcmo TDPRI Member

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    Thanks. My Floyd Rose comment was just trying to loosen things up in case the spring or whatever was hanging up a little as someone mentioned. I have 3 with Bigsby's and they're fine although I have always preferred the responsive feel out of an archtop that doesn't require the tension bar/roller. I one use them for subtle vibrato on chords.
     
  10. Rick-kcmo

    Rick-kcmo TDPRI Member

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    Sorry, I mentioned vintage Gotoh's but forgot to mention they are the locking ones so no string wrap at all.
     
  11. Wayne Alexander

    Wayne Alexander Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    If it's not the nut, it may be the bridge. I have a tele with a Bigsby and was unable to get it to work properly (after trying several types of traditional tele bridge saddles) until I put in a Mastery tele bigsby bridge. No problems at all after that.
     
  12. CalebAaron666

    CalebAaron666 Tele-Meister

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    Yeah, it could possibly be the bridge.
    However, if you’re going sharp, that’s doubtful. Usually if it’s the bridge giving you trouble you go flat.

    If you like a bigsby without the tension bar, there’s always the B16 option for a tele.
    They look wild, and work fantastic!
    It will change the feel of a tele, and change the tone a tad.
    You also have to put a big ol’ shim in the neck pocket.

    Show us a picture of your guitar! I love looking at bigsby’d telecasters!

    Here are my two partscasters.
    4826AC02-7D8B-45D7-B8B0-EBCED2BD900A.jpeg
    248D0715-1CEC-49E1-8E8A-AB7053CC13CA.jpeg
    9E88F4C0-D9DF-4934-9820-AD63DA8732C8.jpeg
     
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