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Installing a Bigsby B5 with a Vibramate


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I bought this Special Faded last year with the idea of installing a Bigsby. Before I had my pennies saved up, Vibramate introduced their mounting plate. Here are a few photos of this morning's project:


First up is the SG with the standard stop tail piece.



I took off the strings, and unscrewed the tail piece mounting studs from their inserts.



Here is the Vibramate with its mounting screws:



Next up: installation!

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Nice! I love the first picture with the B5 installed.


Obviously it looks cool' date=' but how do you like it's feel, function, & maybe tone?


Is the tone noticably altered at all?[/quote']


I have been chasing around all day, maybe tomorrow I'll plug it in. I owned a Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gent for some 25 years, so I'm pretty familiar with the Bigsby. In fact, that was the only thing I missed about ol' Chester, which is why I embarked on this project. I love the Bigsby feel, and could never get used to other whammies. As for function, playing it unplugged, it works as advertised. There's always an adjustment period of constant tuning until you get it right (every time you tune one of the strings sharp, it makes the others slightly flat, so you have to feel your way along by tuning each string a tiny bit sharp until it's all in tune -- I learned that from the Gretsch, and it's one of the reasons people think Bigsbys are hard to keep in tune). The action is undisturbed: the tension bar is right where the stop tail piece was, so there's no change in tension.


I don't believe Bigsbys change the tone: they are tightly machined, with no play in anything, and as far as I can tell, there's no difference in the coupling between the strings and the guitar body. I'll report back after I've had a chance to crank it up.


I was really just showing how easy installation is, with the Vibramate. I'm impressed.

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Pardon my cynicism, but what keeps the whole thing from lifting up away from the body?

Only the studs, right?


That's the way I understood those to be installed, this is the first time I actually saw it.


Let me know how it works for ya, between the strings routing up over the bar (trying to lift it) and pressing down on the lever which will try to lift it, I'm curious if it will stay frirmly planted against the body.


What the hell, if you don't like it you can always pull it off - no harm there, eh?


Very cool.

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Well, the same anchors keep it from pulling out of the face are the same ones that keep the stop tail piece from pulling out. The whole thing is pretty robust. My County Gent had a Bigsby that was held on by wood screws into the top -- not nearly as strong as this setup. The Bigsby has been around for what, 60 years? I've never heard of anyone with a problem like that.


Anyhow, I especially appreciate the fact that the Vibramate is almost invisible when the Bigsby's attached. I think, if I put one on another guitar, I'd get the "short leg" version like this one just because the end of the plate doesn't show.

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I plugged it in earlier, and I don't detect any change in tone (I would have been quite surprised had there been). It's a little stiffer than my well-used Country Gent, but experience tells me that the stiffness will disappear when I'm gigging, in the same way that I seem to bend strings further at a gig than I can sitting in the living room.


I'm glad I did it...and, if I get bored and want a Bigsby-free existence, there's still the LP and the 335.

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