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Any issues with a permanent Bigsby install? (apart from the drill holes!)

GT73

New member
Joined
Jun 9, 2023
Messages
5
I installed a Vibramate/ Bigsby B7 on my R6 with a view to seeing how I like it before doing a permanent install. One 'side effect' of using the vibramate I've found useful ,is that because it raises the unit off the body the break angle over the bridge is relatively shallow giving a nice slinky feel (I'm using 10-46 strings). Obviously with a permanent install, the break angle would become deeper.

Has anyone got any experience / suggestions etc when it comes to doing a permanent install - ie is it part of the deal that you need to live with a stiffer playing guitar due to the deeper break angle? Thanks!
 

metropolis

Active member
Joined
Sep 14, 2018
Messages
447
Yes that is a difference but I think you can compensate with string gauge if it's really bad. To be honest I think other factors influence the feel beyond just the break angle alone but that's just me! If anything I found it easier to get it playing right on a guitar without a vibramate - it's more like the guitar was with the stoptail.

Yes, the two screw holes on the front (and a few more by the strap button) are the real downsides. I bought two guitars with the Bigsby 'snakebite' and it doesn't bother me, it just means if I want to fit a Bigsby myself I'm not doing anything that damages it :)
 

S. Weiger

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 25, 2002
Messages
1,874
I would recommend installing an extra set of thumb wheels, screwed tight to the guitar's top to prevent the bridge posts from getting loose (it will happen over time, depending of how much you use the Bigsby).
 

GT73

New member
Joined
Jun 9, 2023
Messages
5
I would recommend installing an extra set of thumb wheels, screwed tight to the guitar's top to prevent the bridge posts from getting loose (it will happen over time, depending of how much you use the Bigsby).
Yes - I've come across that recommendation a couple of times now so will definitely look at that - thanks. Presume just placing a small piece of felt or something on the underside of the thumbwheels will prevent marking the finish? (said the guy considering drilling holes in the body to install a Bigsby!)

On the subject of bridges - also thinking that might benefit from an upgrade in terms of overall tone as well as limiting friction over the saddles. Any thoughts on Tone Pros with G formula saddles? Cheers
 

S. Weiger

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Joined
Nov 25, 2002
Messages
1,874
Yes - I've come across that recommendation a couple of times now so will definitely look at that - thanks. Presume just placing a small piece of felt or something on the underside of the thumbwheels will prevent marking the finish? (said the guy considering drilling holes in the body to install a Bigsby!)

On the subject of bridges - also thinking that might benefit from an upgrade in terms of overall tone as well as limiting friction over the saddles. Any thoughts on Tone Pros with G formula saddles? Cheers

That should work, did that with mine:


It's hard to see the felt, but it's there.
 

darkwave

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2001
Messages
365
I'm not a Bigsby expert at all, but I can share what I did while installing a B7 on my LP a few months ago.

I used a Vibramate solely for the improved break angle - I would have been fine with drilling. The softened break angle works great on my particular guitar, which has a bridge on the high side of the spectrum. I'm still thinking of hard-mounting, but keeping the Vibramate as a shim...

I have double-wheels on almost all of my TOMs for added support. I don't use any felt below since the area below is barely visible if I were to remove the wheels anyway (which I don't do).

I use GraphTech ResoMax TOMs on a few guitars. I like the slippery saddles (the traditional GraphTech black) and there's a slight "buttery" aspect to the tone that works great with my band. I play Americana/rock in the range from clean to occasional crunch and these saddles with pure nickel .011 strings just works great for me in that scenario. My other "rock" guitars have metal saddles with NPS strings.

With a little graphite in the nut slots and locking tuners this experiment has been a blast!

- Douglas C.
 

Hiwatts-n-Gibsons

Active member
Joined
May 10, 2024
Messages
176
I have had 4 guitars with stock Bigsbys (3 B7's and 1 B5), and 3 I myself modded with Vibramates and Bigsbys (2 B5's and 1 B7). Imo the difference in feel is negligible. All performed well and feel great to play.

My advice is to do yourself a favor and stick with the Vibramate incase you ever feel the urge to convert it back to the stop tail. My other advice is to invest in a quality roller bridge. It is the biggest non invasive help in improving tuning stability coming from someone who has tried them with roller bridges, tunamatic bridges, Nashville bridges, and roller nuts.
 

GT73

New member
Joined
Jun 9, 2023
Messages
5
I have had 4 guitars with stock Bigsbys (3 B7's and 1 B5), and 3 I myself modded with Vibramates and Bigsbys (2 B5's and 1 B7). Imo the difference in feel is negligible. All performed well and feel great to play.

My advice is to do yourself a favor and stick with the Vibramate incase you ever feel the urge to convert it back to the stop tail. My other advice is to invest in a quality roller bridge. It is the biggest non invasive help in improving tuning stability coming from someone who has tried them with roller bridges, tunamatic bridges, Nashville bridges, and roller nuts.
Thanks for that. Good to know. A roller bridge is definitely a consideration (cue the inevitable minefield of opinions on this). I'm seeing huge movement of the 'vintage correct' ABR-1 bridge when using the Bigsby which doesn't seem healthy to me. Think an ABM roller bridge would be a good option (they're apparently made for Nashville posts although I've been told they should still work with the locking screws). There's also the option of Graphtech saddles - still undecided on that...
 

Hiwatts-n-Gibsons

Active member
Joined
May 10, 2024
Messages
176
Thanks for that. Good to know. A roller bridge is definitely a consideration (cue the inevitable minefield of opinions on this). I'm seeing huge movement of the 'vintage correct' ABR-1 bridge when using the Bigsby which doesn't seem healthy to me. Think an ABM roller bridge would be a good option (they're apparently made for Nashville posts although I've been told they should still work with the locking screws). There's also the option of Graphtech saddles - still undecided on that...
Personally I've used Schaller roller bridges on mine I modded, but not sure what you should use on yours. I know there is one company that states their's is the only roller bridge made to work on Nashvile bridge setups, but cannot remember who. It's probably the company you mentioned. The Schallers just to me look and feel the best, and I prefer the more solid design versus having six individual mounts to adjust for each saddle. That design requires loosening string tension to adjust each time. The Schaller can be adjusted under tension when adjusting intonation. I have had no issues with intonation with the design.
 

Hiwatts-n-Gibsons

Active member
Joined
May 10, 2024
Messages
176
Personally I've used Schaller roller bridges on mine I modded, but not sure what you should use on yours. I know there is one company that states their's is the only roller bridge made to work on Nashvile bridge setups, but cannot remember who. It's probably the company you mentioned. The Schallers just to me look and feel the best, and I prefer the more solid design versus having six individual removable mounts you have to decouple from the bridge via a top mounted screw to adjust for each saddle. That design requires loosening string tension to adjust each time. The Schaller can be adjusted under tension when adjusting intonation, and is adjusted via a screw set up just like the saddles of a traditional Tunamatic bridge. I have had no issues with intonation with the design.
 

GT73

New member
Joined
Jun 9, 2023
Messages
5
Yeh - the Schallers look good but I believe they're intended as a Nashville bridge replacement. My LP is a Custom Shop R6 which has the ABR-1 with the thinner posts drilled straight into the body. Roller Bridges as direct replacements for ABR-1 bridges seem to be thin on the ground,
 
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