Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by dovosk, Jan 7, 2012.
I've been loving mine as well - it's working well and looks great!
That's what I was thinking ... however, my 'custom made' (i.e. hacked together by me) head cab got vaporised glue all over my Epi Valve Senior circuit board so I've wound up buying a new head ... Bigsby expenditure now on hold.
Sorry if i'm reviving a thread after it's been to long or whatever, I just joined and I'm really looking to do this to my Standard.
Which Vibramate system and Bigsby do I need to buy? The B7 and the Carved Top model? How does that work since the Bigsby's made to fit the carved top of the Les Paul?
I probably missed the answer somewhere on here, but any help would be appreciated.
Also, does it have to be the B7, would the Bigsby without the tension bar work?
Welcome Plagueskill! The Bigsby B5 is made to fit solid body guitars, like the SG.
Bigsby B5 : BIGSBY® GUITARS & VIBRATOS – OFFICIAL WEBSITE
However, if you wish, you can do as some of us have done and put on a B7, which is meant for an arch top guitar, like a Les Paul style guitar. If you read through this thread, you will see some of our discussions on fitment, etc. Why? Some of us think the B7 looks way cooler.
The Bigsby B7 on yours looks amazing btw!
I'm definitely gonna put one on mine. Would the Bigsby without the tension bar be more practical perhaps?
And to clarify this is everything I'd need right?
BIGSBY B7 AND VIBRAMATE V7 COMBO! CHEAP! FREE SHIPPING! GREAT DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! | eBay
(Sorry if something was already answered)
Killjoy on the Bigsby Love Train
Hey SG lovers. I really expected to see more people step up to voice their concerns, frustrations & cautionary tales about Bigsby tailpieces. Instead I watch the parade of love struck Bigsby admirers falling head over heals over some shiney pictures then running out to get their own & throw it on a perfectly fine & playable Gibson.
I do not mean to insult or demean anyone when I suggest that a serious vibrato user that wishes to remain in tune while being able to use a vibrato as their soul desires while playing should consider a more reliable tremolo set up instead of being blinded by the bling & beauty of the Bigsby.
I will be the first to admit that a Bigsbys on a Gibson is a breathtaking looking marvel. Sadly, they just are an atiquaited design that asks too much of the string by expecting it to return to posistion & pitch everytime you use it without fail. You can fix all the points of contention mentioned but the unfixable problem lays here... Ever notice how the strings are sometimes straight & paralell with equal distance between each string as it travels from the strings eyelet around the first roller, under the second roller & up onto the bridge?? Then, use the Vibrato & a string or two sounds out for some reason?? Ever notice those strings that once were straight & paralell now are no longer that way?? Ones a littlte moved this way another that etc etc. It is just a poor design that no roller bridge, locking tuner or graphite on the nut will cure. The design had an uncurable flaw from inception & besides, using a good vibrato just doesnt need to be this complicated or unreliable.
You could spend all your time, effort & money chasing the dragon & still end up never being satisfied with a Bigsby beyond the awesome looks & it keeping your SG from doing headstock dives. If staying in pitch is an important & essential thing to you as a player you need & deserve something better. To sell the Bigsby dream to others that will gladly follow because they have become love struck & bedazzled by those big beautiful beasts only to find out after they drill foreign screw holes into their Gibsons' body & finish (terrible idea by the way) & spent hours of time (a reliable Stetsbar installs so fast you'll think you skipped something) & a couple hundred bucks (never mind loss of value by screwing those treads into their original finish) only to find they did all the tricks of the trade & still cant reliably stay in tune playing a set of Rock n Roll in front of an audience unless they never touch that Bigsby & then it is still a gamble. Yea they look good but do they honestly work perfectly...honestly no.
I'm sure everyone in love with their Bigsby will hate reading this & have lots of stories about how they use theirs & what they did to make it work so good &, that theirs works for them just fine. The truth is they had to do so many things to get their Bigsby to play at that level but would be hard pressed to let a vibrato user like myself run their Bigsby setup through 1 set on a hundred dollar bet it stays in tune for the duration. And I'm only talking vibrato, nothin crazy! Nothing crazy because a Bigsby cant even begin to play anything aggressive, edgy or crazy man. Thats another vibrato you're thinking of.
Ok, so I'll admit I may come across like I have an attitude about Bigsbys. I will also admit I almost didnt write this as the many posts sure to follow will testify as to why I in fact hesitated killing the Bigsby Love Fest. My reasons are all I went through trying to get my 71 SG Standard with a B5 Gibson embossed Bigsby to reliably stay in tune as well as a Schecter Ultra III & truly wish to save others that heartache. Yeah I got them close when I put on roller bridges, Graphitall on the nuts & ensured everything was properly slicked but had to eventually relent that there was a better way. THERE IS JUST A BETTER WAY!
I will also admit the looks of a Bigsby just does something to me. Like stiring up lusty want & desire, but much like a beautiful woman, we can be blinded by beauty & remain in denial of their shortcomings while under their spell.
I personally benefit nothing by saying that once I tried the Stetsbar Pro II on my Gibsons I was sold & never looked back. No extra holes to take away value, no fear of flying when I'm in front of an audience because I can play what my soul feels like playing without the fear of my guitar going out of tune. Man there's is nothing worse than killing the flow of an evening by having to stop & tune or the sad oppressive feeling that comes from holding back playing that vibrato bar like you want because 'it might go out of tune, again'.
Thats all folks. Bigsby has that look but Stetbar beats the Bigsby hands down in function & reliability as well as ease of use & installation, oh & dont forget the completely reversable value saving aspect too. Just keep those reality based facts in mind before allowing yourself to fall under that shiney metal induced Bigsby spell & you end up running off the cliff with your prized Gibson in hand while following the hypnotized leming in front of you clutching their Gibson with the big shiney perfect looking Bigsby that's meticulously installed & maintained. I think the lemings might have killed themselves because of persistent tuning issues..
Rock N Roll Brothers. Heres to less time tuning & more time playing what your soul wants to hear your guitar sound like.
I'm glad you posted this. That's what keeps us all thinking. Guitar players get very attached to things and don't like to change much. I will admit, although my roller bridge, locking tuners, and Delrin nut really, really helped my Bigsby's performance, I still have to be careful how I use it. Just some soulful shimmering. It used to have issues with just that. But if I do too much I still need to tune between songs.
Thanks for the post. No haters here, man.
Smitty, you are an honest man & a big person to be able to talk truthfully about what playing with a Bigsby is really all about. We can never feel secure & certain about them staying in tune. We can never use them as we please or however often we may feel because there is always that thought about tuning stability that will eventually creep into your subconscious thought & stop you from playing what the music inside you is calling you to bring forth from your guitar. It will make you play differently.
My hopes was that others will think about this mostly before putting one on a Gibson that doesnt already have one, killing a little resale value, irreversably damaging their finish & finding themselves not only frustrated & disappointed tuning stability wise but totally missing the fact that there are better working aftermarket trem systems that work perfectly & have none of the mentioned pitfalls of a Bigsby.
All looks aside it should be about what lets me play & sound my best. That my soul have no bounds when I am connected to my guitar, that I may play what I hear & feel inside me with no gear issues interferring with me, no holding me back. Freedom, Power & Glorious Music FILL THE AIR!!! Now let us Rock.
Relic, thanks for the kind words! Don't get the wrong idea. I do like my Bigsby. I like the gentle, haunting vibrato it produces. And, as I've mentioned on this forum and others, I have been able to improve it's stability by the mods I've made. However, whenever I say that, I also point out that it still has its limits.
Have you ever looked into this? I'm curious...
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Zg0fvoV-p4"]Stay in tune while dive bombing ( Sta-tuned ) - YouTube[/ame]
Yup, that is all you need. And with the vibramate, no permanent mods or holes in your guitar. Heed the warning though, it's more than likely you will have some tuning issues. Before you know it, you will be shopping for a roller bridge, nut sauce, etc. As for practicality, I don't see one better than the other, other than the B5 is specifically made for solid bodies. Without actually trying the B7 out, you might have a fitment issue.
Hope that answers your questions.
I wonder if a capo would work.
I've never used one so I can't test it.
Yah, I checked out the vid. I couldn't help but chuckle to myself when he describes his use of his Bigsby as a 'dive-bomb' lol. I'm still kind of giggling to myself. Sweet old guy with a decent idea but 'dive bomb'? Was that even a step & a half?
I can see that device helping with the nut but dont you think nut pinching & hangups (on guitar thank you) can easily be solved with a proper nut & some lube like the GHS GRAPHITALL ? (which I have used with much success) I feel the harder part to solve is the other end on the Bigsby in itself & design.. As I mentioned, I notice variations in string travel in this area with no real way to ensure the strings stay consistently returning to the exact posistion they were in before using the Bigsby.
This is especially noticeable on a Bigsby B5 that has the two roller bars that the strings come in contact with. They seldom stay evenly spaced & tend to wander this way or that upon returning to rest. Maybe that Sta-tuned thang could work keeping string movement consistent down there, then properly lube a good nut & forgo the whole finetuner idea. I get my nuts to work perfectly (again gtr thank U) with that graphitall with no pitch issues so I dont feel the need to play around with 4 allen screw lockdowns as seen on the Sta-tuned idea.
Here are a couple of B5 pics. Look at the string spacing variations on & around the roller bars..
Plus, Dont we have better things to do like enjoy playing the guitar? This is why I dont enjoy the Floyd Rose lockdown idea anymore either like on what was once my #1 favorite Gibson MIII Deluxe. Yes it will work wonderfully with gtr acrobatics galore but it takes a lot of messin with to get it where it needs to be like proper string stretching before locking it down, proper string tension for proper bridge angle & bringing your fine tuners back to the top of their thread height when putting on new strings, install a trem setter, & dont forget messin with those lovely allen screws now where is that allen wrench?? Dammitall it was in this case the last time I played now where the...I got a Van Halen set to play.. That is another thread but the point is relevant here talking about what it really takes to make a Bigsby come close to working acceptably. We should be enjoying playing. More music, less tinkering. here here..Rock n' Roll
I get my nuts to work perfectly (again gtr thank U)
I thought the "dive-bomb" comment was a little humorous, too.
I noticeed he used a Bigsby without the second roller bar. So, I'm wondering if it would be less effective with that design. I share your concerns about the strings not consistently coming back to rest. The second roller adds another point of friction and potential instability.
I have a Guild Starfire III that is qquipped with a Bigsby
that has no second roller bar. It also has the Bigsby rocker
bridge that is designed to work with the Bigsby. I cannot
dive bomb with it but once it is acclimatized to the venue
I can use it all night for gentle shimmering effects - which
is what it was designed for in the first place - with no
tuning issues at all.
A Bigsby is not designed to dive bomb. You need a Floyd
or a Kahler or a Stets or a Trem King for that. Stop trying
to drive screws with a hammer people.
Smitty I believe you may be right. That second roller bar on a B5 comes between the string mount roller bar & the bridge. It also breaks up what would be a straight line of travel that would otherwise allow the strings tension to work at keeping the strings straight and returning to lay more semetrically spaced every time, thus offering a more stable design than the B5.
And like Tony says once his single bar Bigsby is
So, I actually feel that this thread may bring some understanding about the many Bigsby types & tricks used & needed, save some heartache & avoid alot of false hopes & disappointments by offering to show a Bigsby single bar design is probably better than a double bar type for tuning stability. Just look at the string spacing variation on that B5! That is why my Bigsbys would never sound in tune for more than a couple of wiggles. Yes wiggles. Even though the ol' man in the video calls them dive bombs, we aint dive bombing or even thinkin bout trying to dive bomb with a Bigsby, period. A 1 1/2 step drop in pitch is far from a dive bomb. So like Tony M says,
Not really sure what the driving screws with a hammer is referring to but no one would suggest mounting your Bigsby using a hammer. lol. Just kidding. I think he is possibly misinterpreting my description of a Bigsbys inability to dive bomb & mistaking that for me trying to get a Bigsby to dive bomb. Only the ol' man in the video thinks a Bigsby can dive bomb brother. I simply wish to raise the warning flag on the Bigsby Love Train (before another player pops & installs a Bigsby) about the many issues, concerns & considerations to understand before putting a Bigsby on an otherwise perfect Gibson SG. If it is about looks, fine but if you need function & tuning stability, then there are many things somebody really needs to understand before taking that hammer to their guitar & pounding them screws.
Sorry, I had to use that hammer one more time because this is where I think the analogy is relevant as in forcing a Bigsby onto your Gibson like it's the most wonderful thing going & 'it looks awesome!'. We just need to be aware & smart about things before making these changes to our valueable & much loved Gibsons. Dats all folks!
Thought for a minute he was going to 'pick a winner'.
It certainly snot a B5. And the winner is..Its the B ugger. yumm...lol
The screws with a hammer analogy refers to trying to dive
bomb with a Bigsby. The Bigsby is the wrong tool for dive
bombing. It is a "shimmerlever", not a "whammybar".
Vibramate makes a product called the string strainer. Hooks on to the roller with no tools, makes the dreaded string change a cinch and solves the moving string issue permanently. Check it.
This was my first electric, 1961 Kay Jazz 2.
In '67, I was very pleased to find that combined with my slide and fuzzbox,
I could easily emulate the dive-bomb at the end of Beefheart's "Electricity".
Obviously that model Bigsby could do it.
Which model is it?
Separate names with a comma.