Bigsby B5 and V5 Vibramate

Discussion in 'Tone Zone' started by JohnnyGoo, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    Interesting to catch up on this thread. I was going to buy a B5 & Vibramate this month, but now I'm wondering if I'd prefer to attempt a B7… Whichever I choose, I'll be doing all I can to prevent tuning issues, but I'm wondering if the Bigsby will give the Min-Etune a good reason to be fixed to the headstock. And if the Bigsby will finally restore some balance to the SG, as I'm sure the Min-Etune isn't helping with the head-dives. Perhaps a Bigsby & Min-Etune make a perfect pair? :)
     
  2. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    I'd leave the Min-E-tune on, for now.

    As I said, my Bigsby is pretty stable now. I can do the nice shimmery stuff fine. But, I can still throw it out with too wild usage. When I talk about my Bigsby, it really sounds like I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth, but it really is a matter of balance. Before my aforementioned modifications, it was hard for me to get any practical usage out of it. Now, I can use it within its limitations without much worry. I still need to check tuning a bit, but only minor adjustments are usually necessary.

    Before you install any Bigsby, keep in mind that it will partially obstruct your access to the control knobs.

    Just another thing to consider.
     
  3. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    And true enough Smitty, this is where getting hooked on ideas & aesthetics in the literal sense raises the flag for me. I mean beyond the looks of the Bigsby, the payoff curve drops away & dissipates rather quickly almost as soon as the lines get drawn on the graph. And ... I found some genuine scientific proof to back this up!


    [​IMG]


    As you can see from this scientifically formulated graph, The Classic Bigsby & it's 'aesthetic good looks' never goes out of favor & always gets good eye candy response & reaction.

    The 'performance' however never really soars yet has it's moments of joy & re-inspired hope as new things are tried & applied such as roller bridges, graphite nut, string retainers & various nut lubes but ... that hope quickly drops away as the B5's reoccurring limitations play themselves out & once again become evident & frustrating & new & more promising options start to seem like a better way to go.

    The interesting line to follow however is the corresponding 'Individual Opinion' arrow. It seems it always starts off with much reward & happiness when the Bigsby first comes into the equation as it usually fulfills a long held lust & desire that's often been brewing for years. So there is an initially great & overwhelming sense of satisfaction & fulfilled desire once that lustful need to have a Bigsby is finally met through the acquiring one's very own long dreamed about Bigsby, but, as love struck infatuation wains & the guitarist grows, improves & develops less tolerance for finicky gadgets and as their demands for reliability, performance & tuning stability become of a more paramount importance, the sparkle, shine & charming allure of the classic Bigsby nearly drops off the chart.:ohno:

    Hopefully given time, a sense of nostalgia & appreciation for the Bigsby awakens a respect for those initial emotions the Bigsby was once able to instill & the Bigsby can once again be accepted, played & appreciated for what it is & not beaten up & condemned for what it isn't!

    Even though my choosing to use my B5 at this point for me is a bit like judging whether to fart.
    [​IMG]
    No You DIDN"T!!!

    My 71 Deluxe came married to one & that leaves little option but to make this one work if I want to maintain originality an ultimate overall satisfaction with this guitar. There is always that hope & wanting for a marriage to work out & succeed! While some chances for a happy marriage are better than others...
    [​IMG]

    :wow:
    as you demonstrated Smitty, Being able to do whatever you got to do to make it work certainly goes a long way.

    Here's to happy endings!

    :dude:
     
  4. JohnnyGoo

    JohnnyGoo Well-Known Member

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    Great post Relic61.well said.me im just tellin it like it is and im just a 56/year old novice at home player who likes workin on guitars and i permently mounted a B5 Bigsby on my SG Classic to use as a fancy tailpiece.i dont even use the darn thing but it looks good sittin there doin nothing.not like im hackin into a 57 Les Paul Black Beauty or somethin.but i like it and its straight and well lined up and makes a damn good lookin tailpiece.nothing more to it.now am i gonna put one on my 62 Junior even though it did have a little hounds tooth trem on it i took off.hell no.i like to look at all the mods people do to there guitars wether i like um or not.thats what is great about this place.
     
  5. JohnnyGoo

    JohnnyGoo Well-Known Member

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    Now if i had another SG layin around and there was a Bigsby B3 or B7 in the parts drawer it might find its way on there.love the way those look on a SG.
     
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  6. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, that graph doesn't seem to be loading for me. :(

    How big was the sample size in this study, and what was the 'treatment as usual' for the control group, changing pickups? :laugh2:

    If I do end up loving my Bigsby, it'll probably be down to cognitive dissonance (the time & money spent on it must've been worth it, else I'm an idiot!), but I still hope it'll give me a reason to love the Min-Etune. And also give my SG the inclination to keep it's head up…
     
  7. MKR

    MKR Well-Known Member

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    Damn i wish i noticed this thread earlier.. i have a bigsby and a vibramate on my SG and for my usage it's absolutely fine. The bigsby itself doesn't have the biggest range as it is and it suits my tremolo usage. Tuning has been stable for the most part. I would say more stable than what i was expecting having read a lot of people's takes on bigsby's + Sg's together.

    Tone wise, i can't really remember what it did when i put it on. all i know is that the guitar sounds damn awesome and i wouldn't ever want change the tone from what it is now.

    [​IMG]

    The only thing about my bigsby which is starting to get annoying is the clicking/friction sounds that i get from the arm *sometimes* when i use the trem. It doesn't affect the sound from the amp, it's literally the arm's physical mechanism. Now if someone has a solultion for that via a washer or lubricant or something, i am all ears.
     
  8. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    MKR,

    Your SG looks pretty sweet! I would suggest that one reason you have met with decent results and have not had to resort to measures like I had to is that the Vibramate sets the Bigsby up by nearly an 1/8th of an inch. This makes for a shallower break angle across the bridge. It is one reason why I am considering adding a spacer to mine. I would like to improve my Bigsby's stability even more.

    As for the noise, I lube the arm with teflon oil and it operates pretty smoothly and noise free.
     
  9. MKR

    MKR Well-Known Member

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    thanks smitty. will pick some up shortly.

    EDIT: And ya now that you mention it, i do remeber reading how the vibramate actually helps playability and function with the bigsby. Plus i like how it makes the trem arm sit a bit higher.
     
  10. R.A.F.

    R.A.F. Active Member

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    Some nice posts here guys... it got me thinking...
    I do have a B3 on my epi. Sure looks darn good, but tuning stability isn't really there (not sure it was so stable before). But I think it would be foolish to actually expect much stability from this setup... the whole thing was never designed to be so precise. The basic guitar setup (tuners + nut + bridge) was invented long ago, made to be "retunable", not rock solid. Add some motorcycle parts and many bends to the string, and there you have it. A total mess.

    The main difference between a floyd guitar and a bigsby guitar is: on a floyd, the string is not allowed to slide over the nut or the bridge saddles. It is completely locked, and can only be stretched. On a bigsby, the string has to be stretched, and slide over many surfaces as well. The string length is divided in many sections. The tuner peg-nut section, the nut-bridge saddle section, the bridge saddle-bigsby roller section, etc, but the only important section is the one between the nut and the bridge (where your music comes from!). All these lengths of string store different values of tension, and as you tune the guitar or use the trem, this tension is redistributed between the different sections, setting it in or out of tune. The tension distribution is not even, because of friction. Even if you lubricate the system very well, it will never be frictionless.

    As a mechanical engineering student, I can imagine a different bridge design that allows you to have one single string section and still keep the bigsby... first, you need a locking nut and locking bridge saddles, so the string can't slide over the nut or bridge (and tension can't be redistributed between different string sections). Then, you need a hinge on said bridge (I remember seeing bridge posts with a "rounded head", so the bridge could lean back and forth over them). Then, you need the rest of the string to be connected to the bigsby, so when you pull the handle, the string will pull the whole bridge back, pretty much like on a stetsbar. And last, you need some sort of fine tune mechanism. Now, the important section of the string can only be stretched, just like in a floyd guitar. It should be possible to make a bridge like that without changing the tune o matic looks too much.

    Oh well, I hope that's a good enough explanation of the concept, and somewhat interesting... what do you guys think? I want to build prototypes of stuff like that some day in the future... should be fun :)
     

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  11. JohnnyGoo

    JohnnyGoo Well-Known Member

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    Thats a fine lookin SG there MKR
     
  12. MKR

    MKR Well-Known Member

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    What's that rod that goes across the strings where the old tail piece used to be? Does it improve things or have any impact?

    I only ask as my dot has it's old tail piece showing (i have a b3 on it). Tuning has never been as good on my dot as it is on my SG and i am wondering if that bar might be of some use to me. Plus i think it looks good.

    Thank you kindly.
     
  13. JohnnyGoo

    JohnnyGoo Well-Known Member

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    Think they call that a Towner bar after the guy that invented it.can get um on ebay.goes in the holes where ur tail piece bolted down.actually a pratical set up plus it uses the holes that otherwise just show.plus you can adjust the break angle of ur strings with that towner bar.might save ya from havin to switch to a Abr1 bridge instead of the nashville style.some prefer the ABR1
     
  14. tolm

    tolm Well-Known Member

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    Yeh, the Towner bar looks to be a good solution for putting a B3 on a 335 or even SG, though the B3 will sit at a slight downward angle on an SG I think (tail bit will be higher that the front of the guitar vs a 335 which is an archtop).

    The bar allows you to adjust the break angle and also keeps the earth connection to the strings which is neat. I have one but haven't used it yet.
     
  15. JohnnyGoo

    JohnnyGoo Well-Known Member

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    Speakin of which tolm,i havnt grounded nothin on my B5 install and it works. Does the solid copper wire that runs into ur control cavity sit under the tailpiece stud mounts or the TOM bridge stud mounts. What should or could or might happen if Bigsby not grounded to that ? What about those Maestros ,i dont hear of folks grounding those.i know the ones that are on wrap arounds will have the string to earth but what about the ones that are over TOM bridges.inquiring minds want to know
     
  16. tolm

    tolm Well-Known Member

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    Most guitars I've Bigsby-i-ficated have had the earth wire running to the treble side tailpiece stud - rather than the TOM bridge. If the Bigsby touches the stud everything should be earthed fine but if not, you may get unwanted noise.

    Quick test: plug the guitar in and crank the gain. Now touch/tap the exposed treble side stud. If you can hear a difference in the background noise (like a "shw shw shw" as you tap the stud) then you have a missing earth connection.

    Guitar will still work without it: it's the connection to earth for YOU when you touch the strings - the human body is a giant aerial for background noise which will potentially be picked up by the guitars electronics since it's right next to you! - rather than the guitars electronics itself.
     
  17. JohnnyGoo

    JohnnyGoo Well-Known Member

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    Ok got ya tolm.that must be why the treble side tailpiece mounting stud sits higher in its hole than the other side it sits farther down.
     
  18. JohnnyGoo

    JohnnyGoo Well-Known Member

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    So what do you do run a ground wire or somethin.?? My B5 sits about a half inch back from tailpiece stud
     
  19. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    One mod I forgot to mention which I made to my guitar a few years back....

    I also replaced the tuners with locking machine heads. This also helped stabilize things a little. It may shock and repulse some folks, but I didn't ruin the guitar, but rather, made it more playable. I'm not concerned about resale value as it will never be sold. Besides, I rather think the busted headstock prior to changing the machine heads had a larger negative effect on its overall value! That's part of why I was willing to change the tuners. I realized the repaired headstock had already degraded the guitar's value, so I felt more comfortable doing it.

    Overall, I have been careful to preserve the essential look and feel of the guitar without making drastic mods to it. That is my only irreversible mod to the guitar.

    I knew I forgot to mention something.
     
  20. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    My stock Gibson "Bigsby" has the ground wire coming up through a hole drilled under the Bigsby frame. This hole extends from the face of the guitar into the control cavity. On one end, the ground wire is simply clamped between the face of the guitar and the underside of the Bigsby frame by the mounting screws. Then, the wire runs into the control cavity and is soldered to a potentiometer housing. This is the way it was done at the factory on my guitar.
     
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