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Looking for written Detailed App. info for Bigsby

E Mont

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Hi folks ~


I'm new here but have been Googling for hours for some written info on the application of various Bigsby models. Didn't find much help on the Bigsby or the Gretsch site. Specifically I am interested in which models work on a 335-style guitar (Samick 650) and the 'what' and 'why' of the variations of the models. Questions like:


- what's the effect of the additional 'pressure bar'? (B3 vs. B7)

- what's the specific difference between a B7, a B70, and a B700, other than finish, or for the non-purist, what's the real difference between a USA Bigsby and the overseas 'licensed model'?

- the difference between a B3 and B11, other than looks?

- the 'sound' difference/value of a rocker bridge vs. a roller bridge?

- for the Samick, would it necessarily want a short or a long Bigsby?

- the predicted effect of removing the felt pads on the underside of the Bigsby? (more sustain? too much feedback?)

- recommended mods to accompany a whammy (e.g. graphite nut, roller bridge, etc.)

- what is the purpose/effect of a Vibramate???


And you can save your breath if you think I shouldn't 'whammy' the Samick. I have been playing since the 60's and have had some form of whammy on every 335, LP, LP Jr., Tele, and Strat I've ever had. Not being a very accomplished player, I use every crutch (whammys plus pedals) I can buy and feel naked w/o them.


It is kind of funny to think I would have these questions after all these years. I am not even sure, but I think, all of my Bigsbys had the additional pressure bar... and I don't know why I chose them. And probably just because I was weaned on the Bigsby, I still prefer it over the Kahler that is on my hand-built electric.


Well, any lead/link toward these answers would be appreciated. Thanks for having such a great info-filled site!


From the Tundra ~ John

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The extra bar puts more tension on the strings breaking over the bridge so you can use the Bigsby with a TOM. I had a '63 Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gent with the rocking bridge that had the model without that bar, but there was no way to intonate the strings.


The extra zeroes denote "made in Asia" (don't know which countries).


I don't know of anyone who has compared a rocker bridge to a roller bridge, but I'd shy away with any bridge -- such as the roller model -- that has too many parts that move around.


Removing the felt will negate its purpose, which is to avoid damage to the guitar's finish. I seriously doubt that felt a few fractions of an inch thick, under a lot of pressure, has any sonic effect, but you'll always find obsessives who disagree.


A Vibramate attaches to the guitar with no mods to the guitar, and the Bigsby mounts to the VIbramate. That was you can reverse installation without leaving holes in the guitar.


I don't know anything about your other questions.


As to modifying a Samick, I nearly installed a Bigsby on my Sheraton II before I traded it off. I now have an SG that will sooner or later get a Bigsby.

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FWIW - T.V. Jones goes into details regarding the Bigsby design philosophy and implementation on the Gretsch Brian Setzer signature G6120 using a Gibson ABR-1 Tune-o-matic Bridge in this book by Dan Erlewine


How to Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great!: The Electric Guitar Owner's Manual by Dan Erlewine




I own a Brian Setzer G6120 and its the first Bigsby guitar I ever owned that stays in tune


Secret is:


* Sperzel Locking tuners

* Delrin Nut ( for lubrication)

* Allow the Tune-o-matic bridge to pivot a bit



The stock 1960s era ES-355s' and SG Standards with factory Maestro Vibrola used a special ABR-1 bridge


"Originally, in the early 1960's Gibson designed an ABR-1 just to be used with trems back in the 60's. Just about all Vibrola SG's were equipped with them as well as a lot of other models (ES's) that received factory Vibrolas. The thumbwheels were also domed so the bridge could rock back and forth with the trem movement. Unfortunately, gibson has failed to reissue these bridges for their new guitars. Check it out:"








Standard ABR-1 Thumbscrew:






"Dome" shaped ABR-1 Thumbscrew:




In the 1960's Gibson used two special "domed" shape height adjustment thumbscrews under the ABR-1 Tune-o-matic bridge - with rounded tops - specifically so the bridge would rock and pivot with the strings during trem arm bends.


Further discussion is here:




More about all Bigsby models here:




IMHO - If you use a Tonepros type bridge with a Bigsby - you are asking for trouble.

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