Anybody have any experience with the Callaham string-through bigsby shaft?

Discussion in 'Tone Zone' started by Logan, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. Logan

    Logan Well-Known Member

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    Hey, I'm thinking about getting a couple of these. My main concern is that it will increase string breakage. I'm thinking about getting one for my Tele and my SG, but before I do that I would like to know if anybody has any experience with them and if they increase string breakage.
     
  2. WallaceWinston

    WallaceWinston Active Member

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    I don't know, but I would like to know.
     
  3. Dave Johnson

    Dave Johnson Well-Known Member

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    Save your money!
    Pull the pins & drill it out.
    [​IMG]
    It's easy to do and you'll save $40.
    I've set up over a dozen guitars this way.
    No string breakage and as easy to restring as a regular stop tailpiece.
    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Logan

    Logan Well-Known Member

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    How would you go about drilling it out?
     
  5. Dave Johnson

    Dave Johnson Well-Known Member

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    First, pull the pins.
    I use a side cutter to lever em out. Don't snip em off. A small vice grip pliers will also work.
    This gives you ready made pilot holes to guide your drill.
    I use a 3/32 bit for the plain strings & a 7/64 bit for the wound strings to drill thru the bar.
    Drill the bar thru then lightly chamfer both side with a 13/64 drill bit.
    You only want to go as deep as the bit is wide for the chamfer. Tread lightly here or you could go too deep if the bit grabs.
    And keep a pic of the Calliham bar handy for reference.

    Notice the handle stop nub on the Bigsby handle bracket is also missing.
    This is a handy mod that lets the handle rotate 360 degrees.
    Calliham sells them that way too, or do it your self & save $45.

    Don't get me wrong, I think Calliham sells fine products. And I think they do have a valid place in the market.
    But I'm a cheap do it yourself kind of guy with a bunch of fabrication experience and a lot of tools.
     
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  6. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    This is still on my back burner. There's nobody I'd trust more to do this than my Yoda, Dave.
     
  7. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    Dave, your work actually looks to have a better bevel angle where the string's break angle bends around the shaft than the Callaham does!
    upload_2017-3-2_18-24-28.png
    (Dave's above)

    (Callaham below)[​IMG]

    The Callaham string break angle looks prety sharp.

    Callaham's eyelet bevel looks pretty nicely done though (below)
    [​IMG]

    It just dawned on me that I'm looking at your eyelet retainer holes & thinking I'm looking at the string's exiting side with a beveled break angle!??

    Set me straight Dave. Which side of the string hole are we looking at in this pic below, the exit or entrance?

    upload_2017-3-2_18-30-43.png
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    If nothing else, I'll ask him Saturday, but based on this picture
    [​IMG]
    I'm saying that the bevels are on the string exit side of the bar.

    I've seen his drilled Bigsbys, but I haven't microanalyzed them. They work really nicely and I was impressed enough to want him to drill mine when the time comes. To that point, I'm not sure a recessed ball end socket is 100% necessary either. There's no mechanical interference with the wood, so I have no problems.
     
  9. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    I would agree. I only ask because I can't see both sides of Davey's 'Shaft' (damn, yuk) & I just can't tell from how things are worded.

    Although there are no string breakage complaints from the Callaham string through shaft design, there really is not much angle relief seen in their pictures where the string come out of the shaft. And we all know that if you bend a string on a 90 degree sharp angle & then un-bend & re-bend it with every use of the vibrato, the metal will inevitably fatigue & the string will break.

    So, a little smoothing of the surface & rounding off of that sharp 90 degree string break angle where the string emerges is certain to help things last a little bit longer.
     
  10. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Which, knowing Dave, I believe was the consideration when he countersunk the holes on (I'm 98.4% sure) the exit side.
     
  11. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    But the other 1.6% is filled with self doubt & uncertainty??
     
  12. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Naaaaa, Bourbon.
     
  13. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    Was Bourbon involved when Dave showed you his shaft?
     
  14. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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  15. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    :rofl:

    Your a good sport Raiyny. I like a guy that can take a joke & not get all defensive & obnoxious.

    Touche':cheers:

    Oh, and Biddlin says 'ello! (below)
    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Dave Johnson

    Dave Johnson Well-Known Member

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    OK, to set the record straight...
    I do the same chamfer on both sides. It makes for a nice ball cradle and a nice radiused exit..
    [​IMG]
    Anyway, yes same chamfer makes for easy drillin' cause you don't have to remember or mark which side gets chamfered.
    Less chance for error. :thumb:
     
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  17. Dave Johnson

    Dave Johnson Well-Known Member

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    Right in the pocket Relic. In use, the string really never flexes at the break point where it bends over the shaft. At least not like it's bending & straightening with each dump of the bar. I don't think it flexes at THAT point any more than a stoptail does.
    But a little bit of a radius on the bend of the string to smooth that sharp 90 degree exit can never hurt.
    Who knows, my mod may even be better than the Calliham version.
     
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  18. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Very practical.
     
  19. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    "Ah.. like you said 'Ball Cradle' "
    "Heh heh, heh yeah Ball Cradle. Cradle my balls. Heh heh"


    Nice Job Dave. Too bad the 3 extra Bigsby's I have are vintage Embossed Gibson models & I just can't bring myself to fvk with them per se due to rarity / collector value blah blah. But I am considering getting some new rollers & doing this mod as well the grooved front roller mod as well.

    If it makes that 71 Deluxe's Bigsby tremolo of mine reliable enough in the return to pitch department I could start using it on gigs without dreading the tuning nightmare that plagues that Bigsby everytime I go "Ooops! I touched that fvk'n Bigsby & I'm out of tune in front of an audience! FVK!!!" You know, that whole inexcusable experience.

    Yes, maybe it is time to get those fvk'n ballz cradled & start enjoying that 71 SG & all it's glorious sound on gigs. But that reminds of the other problem I see with that Bigsby... I use 9 gauge strings & they don't generate as much force against the Bigsby's spring for an accurate consistent return to zero balance! I swear man, these trems just personally are tough for me bro. What do you got for that 9 ga vs spring issue? (I've already tried a slightly firmer spring)

    PS. are you beginning to feel my pain & misery over this tremolo? I literally have 3 guitars with Bigsby's that don't hold tune with use & subsequently do get played at gigs. Is there really a fix! Tell me there is a real fix with 9 ga strings Dave! Make me a believer & heal my lost faith in my Bigsby trems brother! Hep me! Hep me!
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
  20. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm. Since you asked.....

    <Warning Blasphemy for Corksniffers>

    Locking tuners, roller bridge, well cut & lubricated nut (if it wasn't "vintage" I'd say Tusq)

    The bridge should be a simple reversible swap, and the nut should be obvious.

    Here's where I'm probably going to get flamed.

    When using locking tuners, a key advantage is not having the winds of string around the peg. When you use a trem system you're changing the tension of the strings (duh). When you drop the tension the coils of the wind relaxes and can shift position amongst themselves enough to screw with your tuning. Proper use of a locking tuner involves less than a full wrap of string. Mine end up less than 1/2 wrap or less just as an example.

    I, of course, use and advocate Hipshot lockers because of the Universal Mounting Plate. No drilling means an easily reversible swap.
    </end blasphemy>

    Once again, since someone angrily questioned me on this, I don't get any of that sweet sweet endorsement money. If I like something I tell people.

    If I think something is B.S. marketing, I say so - even when I've bought and otherwise like / recommend the product.

    Also, if I get something that outright sucks, you'll damn sure know about it.


    [​IMG]
     
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