Should I put a Bigsby on my Tele?

cromulent

Senior member
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265
Pros: I get to do more work on my guitar, the extra weight will counteract the neck dive on this super-lite body, oh yes and I'd have vibrato

Cons: I'd have to buy the Bigsby, I'd have to buy a new bridge, guitar would probably go out of tune more, I'd (most likely) have to drill into this beautiful body

I think I'm more open to the idea since the Gristlemaster sports a Bigsby

WDYT?
 

bagman67

Senior member
Messages
8,359
If your Tele already works, don't break it.

Instead, build another one that will have the Bigsby, and know that it's already broken from inception. I mean, you're already gonna spend money on the Bigsby. Might as well spring for a body, neck, pups, mylar capacitor, strap buttons, etc.
 

bagman67

Senior member
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8,359
Oh, and also, for counterbalancing neck dive, a short length of tow chain hanging from the rear strap button is a lot cheaper and faster to install than a Bigsby, and won't screw with your tuning. This is the solution Mike Gordon of Phish used when I saw him with Leo Kottke. He had a resonator-style acoustic bass guitar and about a foot of heavy-gauge chain hanging off butt end. And I tell you what, the headstock stayed UP.
 

bagman67

Senior member
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8,359
For real?
I think the B5 Bigsby is a drop-in replacement for Tele that doesn't (necessarily) require shimming. But you may want to (a) look into replacing your nut with Graphtech or something else that's nice and slippery; and the Bigsby saddles are threaded rods, so you might also look into whether some roller saddles can be sourced for better return-to-pitch behavior. All I'm saying is there's PLENTY of rabbit-hole to dive down if you want to.
 

cromulent

Senior member
Messages
265
Why would you need to shim? I had no idea that was a consideration.

I was looking at the Vibramate, which allows you to install without drilling. And I looked at some roller saddles too. Maybe not worth it.

And yes, I started looking at this mostly as a way to solve neck dive. Tow chain seems pretty extreme though.
 
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bagman67

Senior member
Messages
8,359
I think the B5 Bigsby is a drop-in replacement for Tele that doesn't (necessarily) require shimming. But you may want to (a) look into replacing your nut with Graphtech or something else that's nice and slippery; and the Bigsby saddles are threaded rods, so you might also look into whether some roller saddles can be sourced for better return-to-pitch behavior. All I'm saying is there's PLENTY of rabbit-hole to dive down if you want to.
Some bigsby-like solutions have a much higher saddle height than your standard Tele configuration. So you would need to shim the neck at the end closest to the bridge to force the neck angle to accommodate that increased bridge height.
 

cromulent

Senior member
Messages
265
Some bigsby-like solutions have a much higher saddle height than your standard Tele configuration. So you would need to shim the neck at the end closest to the bridge to force the neck angle to accommodate that increased bridge height.
oh that's annoying. i definitely don't want to go down that rabbit hole if this is required.
 

mayfly

Senior member
Messages
8,309
Hold up there gents! I put a Bigsby on a telecaster and it turned out GREAT! You should do it! Do It!

Some notes:

1 - It does NOT go out of tune - even with extreme wankage on the bar. But, my Bigsby was modified to have roller bearings from Callaham. Highly recommended.
2 - I used a regular telecaster bridge, with compensated three barrels. Works well. Note that to access the intonation, you need to cut slots in the screw ends (no access from the back with the Bigsby in place).
3 - I also got the Callaham Main Spring shaft, which makes changing strings much easier. Changing strings is the Achilles heel of the original units.
4 - Yes, you need to drill holes in your guitar. Four of them actually. But, if you never intend to take it off, who cares?
5 - I did NOT need to shim the neck at all.
6 - I used the "Bigsby B5 Fender". Looks like this.

537.JPG


But a regular B5 would work just the same.

Here's a video of me playing the finished guitar:

 
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TBurst Std

Senior member
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2,664
Trevor, Thank you for the voice of reason.

I have a Tele with a B5 as well. No special shenanigans are needed it you don’t use a TOM bridge. If you do , then yes an angled pocket or shims might be the call of the day.
 

Spud

Senior member
Messages
1,320
It was my understanding a shim was needed for any bigsby, I stand corrected.
 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,481
Just to add to what @mayfly said, Callaham also offer saddles already with the slots at the front or a complete bridge. (note to self, I dont need a Bigsby project or a B Bender :) )

Link to Callaham's Bigsby type parts.

 

Spud

Senior member
Messages
1,320
I still want everyone with a Bigsby to install a shim if only for fun. Just do it!
 

bagman67

Senior member
Messages
8,359
This, my friends, is what happens when a crabby grumble (i.e., mine) is ambushed by real-life experience. Thanks, Trevor, for introducing some wisdom here.

Hold up there gents! I put a Bigsby on a telecaster and it turned out GREAT! You should do it! Do It!

Some notes:

1 - It does NOT go out of tune - even with extreme wankage on the bar. But, my Bigsby was modified to have roller bearings from Callahan. Highly recommended.
2 - I used a regular telecaster bridge, with compensated three barrels. Works well. Note that to access the intonation, you need to cut slots in the screw ends (no access from the back with the Bigsby in place).
3 - I also got the Callahan Main Spring shaft, which makes changing strings much easier. Changing strings is the Achilles heel of the original units.
4 - Yes, you need to drill holes in your guitar. Four of them actually. But, if you never intend to take it off, who cares?
5 - I did NOT need to shim the neck at all.
6 - I used the "Bigsby B5 Fender". Looks like this.

537.JPG


But a regular B5 would work just the same.

Here's a video of me playing the finished guitar:

 

bagman67

Senior member
Messages
8,359
But everyone needs a B Bender...
I have a really nice 1.75hp Milwaukee router now, Trevor. Now I just need to source the part and select which Tele to inflict install it on. I'm thinking the green one with the P90s. Thoughts?
 

mayfly

Senior member
Messages
8,309
I have a really nice 1.75hp Milwaukee router now, Trevor. Now I just need to source the part and select which Tele to inflict install it on. I'm thinking the green one with the P90s. Thoughts?
Any will be great, but just don't select one with a tummy cut. Lemmy know when you're about to go and I can give you some pointers.
 
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