Recessed TOM bridges and Bigsby vibratos

bigfatpaul

New member
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20
Hi all - I'm gearing up for a carved-top hollow body Tele build that will have a recessed TOM bridge with string ferrules and I'm wondering if any of that might preclude me adding a Bigsby at some point in the future? I'd guess no, but thought I'd check to see if anyone has done it. I'm thinking Bigsby B5? Hopefully the string ferrules would not get in the way of any required holes, etc.

Thanks for any input!
 

DuckBaloo

Senior member
Messages
282
No, I don't think you want a recessed TOM if you plan to use a Bigsby. It may be okay, but if the break angle becomes too shallow then it creates issues, like strings falling out of saddle slots. That's why Leo used a taller bridge and shimmed/angled neck pocket with the B5. G&L does use a recessed TOM with a Bigsby, but their solution was to recess the Bigsby as well. And, if you planned on using a Vibramate, that would make the situation even worse.
 

Fat Pete

Senior member
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1,641
A B5 isn't easily compatible with a carved-top Tele. This body style is flat where the pickups and bridge mount, but is carved (rounded) towards the edges and the Bigsby  requires a flat mounting area. Some makers (Hamer?) may have used them with some sort of spacer or shim.

I doubt that any of the Bigsbys that are intended for arch-tops are short enough for a Tele.
 

bigfatpaul

New member
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20
Thanks everyone. I guess that's my main question and will be the dispositive point; i.e. whether or not the carve is pronounced enough at the base of the body that using a B5 won't be possible. This will be my first Warmoth carved top tele, so I've no experience on that point.

Not a deal killer, but if possible I'd love the option to throw a Bigsby on it at some point.
 

TBurst Std

Senior member
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2,591
Ive been thinking on this for you  The Ws carves aren’t tremendous.  If you decide to go B5 direction, nothing stops you from making some shims to go between the carved top and the level line of the Bigsby. IE, fill the gaps.
 

stratamania

Senior member
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9,204
I think the lack of possible break angle with a recessed TOM may be more of an issue than whether or not the Bigsby needed shims.
 

TBurst Std

Senior member
Messages
2,591
I was thinking the same, but the height of this bridge is not dissimilar to a recessed Tom. 

https://www.callahamguitars.com/bigsby_bridge_vintageteleflatmount_catalog.htm

I think that a potential issue is a flat mount Bigsby on a W ‘carve’ top.  I was noting if the carves are extreme enough, you could use shims between the top and Bigsby to simulate a flat top

I will say if planning a Tele with a Tom for a Bigsby, the last 2 options you should choose are a carved top and a recessed TOM.  You could probably get away with 1 of those evils, but having both suggests some possible ‘crafting’ to get it to work, even if it does.
 

bigfatpaul

New member
Messages
20
Thanks, guys. I agree on all points. My main desire on the build is for the carved top and hollow construction; the Bigsby is just a "nice to have" option. I feel like I could deal with the recessed issue - I've found a number of other builders' examples using recessed bridges (G&L recess the Bigsby too, but many others don't) - but almost all will be flat tops. So my assumption is that the carve will be the dispositive issue. I'm not going to order any Bigsby unless/until I get the body and see what sort of room I have to play with.

Thanks for the input, y'all. Now I play the waiting game - ordered a figured koa top that I'll post when it arrives....
 
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