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Putting a Bigsby on an LP std.

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I've got an ebony LP standard and it plays and sounds great. However, I think it would look so killer with a nickle plated Bigsby slapped on it. I just don't want to screw up the tone and/or playability of the guitar. I know holes will have to be drilled, which makes me cringe, but I really would like to install one. Has anyone ever done this? Any advice would be appreciated.

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I've done one in my lp studio.. I can show you pics of most of the process if you want. and tell you what it was all like, etc.


Once you commit, you realize, I'm adding a great thing to a great guitar.. the holes are supposed to be there!

and you feel great.


You can pm if you want or we can email on the whole thing or in here.


I used the bigsby B70 and a roller bridge.

I recommend a roller brdge or graph tech saddles.. and prefer the roller, myself.


It's fairly straightforward, withjust a couple of times you have to have things right and well checked..

And it's great once they're on!



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Twang has more pics than I do, he covered the tailpiece holes and he can fill you in on how he did that. I put a B-70 on an Agile AL-3100, an LP clone. It had a trapeze tailpiece so I didn't have to hassle with the holes. The tailpiece holes will not totally be covered by the Bigsby. I also put a Wilkinson roller bridge on mine. The reason I chose this one was so the strings would not hit the back of the bridge and therefore cause the guitar to go out of tune when using the Bigsby. The angle from the top of the bridge to the bottom of the front roller is pretty steep.


I measured to make sure the end pin hole was centered, and it was. Sometimes they are not. If they aren't, just plug the hole and drill another. Measure twice and drill once so the end pin on the Bigsby is centered. This will make the rest of the job a snap. I put masking tape down where I was gonna drill so the finish on the guitar won't chip.


After attaching the B-70 in with the end pin, I lined up the other holes. This was the third one I did and I tried something a little different this time. First I put masking tape down on the body where the holes were going to be. Then I put on both "E" strings and just got a little tension on each one. This lined the B-70 up and then I drilled the holes (2 on top and 3 on the end). I loosened the strings, took off the masking tape and put the screws in.


Putting strings on a Bigsby can be challenging the first time. I learned a few tricks from other members on the forum here. Thanks guys!


This is what I do. I take a pair of pliers and bend the string about 1/2" from the ball at about a 90 degree angle. Then I put the string under and over the follers and attach the end ball to the pin on the Bigsby. I use a piece of foam, that the Bigsby was shipped in, and plce it under the end roller between the end ball and the body. This will keep the end of the string in place so attaching the string and the tuner isn't to tough.


If you take all of the strings off at once when you restring I have learned to do something to make it easier, at least for me. I usually take all the strings off at once and clean the fretboard when I restring. Anyway, I put the outside "E" strings on first. I didn't the first couple of times and I had a hard time getting the ball on the pin when all of the other strings were already on. I have fat fingers. I dunno, maybe it was just me, but this is what I do.


Beginning the lining up process:




Done with roller bridge:




I use mine all the time and I really don't have any major problems keeping it in tune. No more so than bending strings. I put a B-70 on my Dot and Sheraton also. I will say the effect of the B-70 on the Dot and Sherry are much better. Probably becasue there is more distance from the top of the bridge to the bottom of the front roller. None the less, I still love having a Bisgy on my AL-3100. I played it last night for a youth service for a couple of hours and I used the Bigsby a lot.

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  • 2 months later...
Guest icantbuyafender

with that vibramate, you dont have to drill ANY holes. It screws into your tailpiece's bushings and the bigsby screws into the vibramate

(which has felt pads to prevent scratches to your finish) using the included mounting screws that the bigsby comes with.


The result is a easily removeable bigsby assembly that can be swapped to any stop tail equipped guitar. Im going to get myself one.

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ok here's some pics. the vibramate aint cheap!

note: you don't have to swap the bridge like I did. I did find a bridge that fit.


going backwards..


aluminum 'chip' I used to cover tailpiece bushing hole on low e side



reason I made the aluminum chip.



high e side where I used a bit of guard material since it was so small and beneath the bigs arm.. also because aluminum aint fun when it's that small.



tape where bigs was fit.. so it wouldn't scratch the top. also shows the bushings removed, and dowel.. you can get round hardwood at Ace hardware,

set in.



shows I did all four.. as I used a schaller roller bridge which had smaller bushings.. I removed original bushing, doweled, drilled for new bridge bushing.

<a href="http://s239.photobucket.com/albums/ff83/TWANGthang/?action=view&current=epilpstudiobridgeinstall005.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/ff83/TWANGthang/epilpstudiobridgeinstall005.jpg" border="0" alt="elpst bi 1"></a>


bigsby in place held by masking tape.. placed on top of masking tape.. kit string for strings to get the bridge pup neck alignment correct.









better bridge to install. no changing out the bushings or dowelling the holes.




I think that's about all the pics.. but you can see the process pretty clearly.

remove tailpiece. remove bridge if replacing it.. put in new bridge * no need to replace bridge bushings *

tape top of guitar.. place bigsby on tape it down.. run single kite string from low e tuner to high e tuner via the bigsby..

not shown but you can run it from the low e peg on the bigs to the high e peg then back to the tuner.

tighten as much as you can without lifting the bigs up.

align bigs.

mark holes on tape.


to pull bushings.. go to Ace hardware.. get a bolt that's longer than the bushing is deep..

it's hollow.. you screw in the bolt. it hits bottom.. then as you tighten further it pushes the bushing up and out.

kinda scary!

I tried a couple of ways but that was the easiest.


cut dowel to correct size.. no need to glue if you do it nice.. it'll be plenty tight.

one thing.. make a smaller one.. that way it will come out.. you want it to come out at first so you can get the depth correct..

IOW if you cut a tight fitting one. how you gonna get it out if it's too tall or too short?

a smaller piece not fitting tightly falls out.. you check height that way.

if you need to file a bit off the top of the piece you put it.. since it's hard to guess at the exact shape of the bottom of the hole..

mask around it and file or sand carefully..it works.


holes are marked on the masking tape.

not shown.. masking tape covers the bottom of the guitar.. as the strap peg hole does not line up with the bigsby center hole.

it also takes three screws, not one.


be real patient about that.. be real sure you have it lined up well..

in fact, you can get a little bit of wiggle room by doing this:

center the big as well as you can.. mark the center hole... remove the bigs..

using your hands for a drill drill a small hole where the center hole is.. and then use a small screw to hold the bigs..

this helps you get it lined up just right and if you're wrong.. big deal! the hole is too small to matter or interfere!

just move it again.. put a couple of toothpicks in there with some white glue let dry and repeat until it's right.


only took me once, but that extra little attention can mean a lot of effort saved!


your first real hole is still done by hand. through the masking tape always. that way it wont chip the finish around the hole.

sure it's covered, but why be sloppy?

once the center hole is in.. masking tape still on everywhere..

tighten in the strap button.. I forget you may have to mess with that.. ask if you do! I'll remember when you tell me what's goofy.

gotta have the right size screw and get the button on top of the bigs I think it was.


then redo the kit string bit. this time getting it tight as you want.. without breaking the string.. kite string takes a lot of tension so it's very accurate.



low e and high e are different thicknesses. it doesn't hurt to notice this as the kit string will line up fine but then the thicker and thinner strings

are not so good.

so if you want to.. use the kite string in this step from A to B.. with a real low and high E string mounted..

they don't have to be real tight but you'll see that it makes a small difference..

KEEP that in mind as you do the other steps. you want those strings right over the pup poles and lined up the neck well, eh?


remark your holes.. they'll probably be off a bit from what you first marked. so have two different colored pens or whatever.

stage one color, stage two color. *S*


while the bigs is on.. start your holes.. again by hand.. no drill... again through the masking tape..

always leave the masking tape on until you have to remove it for final install.


You've gotta have those bigs string pegs compromised to the bridge saddle spacing.. eh? they aren't the same..

so expect that it will not be a perfect straight line on the strings. it'll be fine!


finish your holes.. again, I did it by hand. put some masking tape on your fingers or some kind of glove or you'll get a blister.

the drill bit edges are sharp so.. don't wear your skin out.


fit your screws in all the holes.. tape on!.. and not all the way.. just get the feel and a good 'thread' going in the wood.


take all that tape off and install your bigsby.


I think that's all.. have to have one in front of me to be sure.. but feel free to ask again if you hit any kind of snag.


on the bigs.. where it touches the guitar there's no harm at all in applying some thing felt.. you can get thin felt in a couple of places..

sewing shops.... your uncles pool table..

cut smaller than the area they are fit beneath and you don't need to glue.. helps keep the finish from getting scratched.

doesn't show but hey. why be sloppy?


that's optional by the way. your anal be the judge.



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Do you have any pics of a guitar with the vibramate already on, icantbuyafender? I saw those for sale online and was wondering about them. It doesn't seem like it would look as good as the other ones. If I put one on my guitar, I probably won't ever want to take it off anyway, but I'd like to see how a LP looks with the non-permanent one.

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Guest icantbuyafender

a vibramate is the exact shape of the base of a B5 so that it drills into the vibramate.


look for a pic of a b5 on a les paul and that'll be what the vibramate looks like, only detachable.

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