Restringing a guitar with a Bigsby

grausch

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Since I don't break strings often, I usually just take the guitar to my local tech for a string change and a setup every 3 months or so. However, I am now trying to different brands and gauges of strings on my guitars and wanted to do this myself.

So, while struggling with getting the ball of the string to stay on that little metal pole on the Bigsby, I kept on repeatedly thinking, "How the @@@@ did my tech manage to change strings and get it set up in 30 minutes?!?"

Once I finally got that done and managed to get the string through the locking tuner, my second thought was, "How the @@@@ did they change strings on these things before locking tuners?!?" So, my utmost respect to anyone who used a guitar with a Bigsby before locking tuners.

In any case, by the time I replaced the 4th or the 5th string it was going smoothly, and the guitar is now clean, has had the neck oiled, its nut lubed, its saddles lubed, in tune and will be ready to play once I wipe off the excess oil.

Rock on!!
 

grausch

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Makes sense. Keeps the string tension so that the ball stays on and allows you to get the strings wound around the tuner. I never would have thought of that.

Still was a learning experience for me though. Don't have a guitar with a Floyd, but I can imagine restring one of those will be even more fun.
 

Dave Johnson

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It's an act of love.
Having equipped 5 guitars with Bigsbys you learn little tricks.
Some use a rubber erasers to wedge the ball ends on the pins, some use a capo.
I pull the pins & drill out the string bar. Makes restringing as easy as a regular wraparound bridge.
Calliham sells a pre drilled bar for around $40. But you can do it yourself a whole lot cheaper.

DSC01596_zpse90wglnp.jpg
 

Biddlin

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kyhjzgyxe7pztp79vcxn.jpg
Vibramate-Spoiler6120A-280.jpg
Vibramate-Spoiler6120B-280.jpg

Next best thing to tossing out the Bigsby.
floydrose.jpg

FRs are worse, the worst, imho.
 

Dave Johnson

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The string spoiler is cute, but still costs $30 -$40 depending the finish & where you buy it.
It also falls right off without string tension holding it on.
But everybody has they're own preferences. I'll just keep drilling em out...
 

Biddlin

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I keep threatening to get rid of my WildKat before the next restring. I don't really like or use the Bigsby that much, but nostalgia gets a hold on me and I start playing Bebopalula and then I cancel the CL ad.
 

smitty_p

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Like Tony said, use a capo. It works great. I've been doing that with my SG for nearly 30 years.

But, Biddlin and I have a running, good-natured disagreement about Floyds. I like mine and don't mind the string changing routine.

That said, Bid is a fine guy and full of good info!
 

Biddlin

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But, Biddlin and I have a running, good-natured disagreement about Floyds.
floydrose.jpg
2007102174429629.gif

The Floyd system is comprised of more individual components, each one with the potential for failure, than 20 long Maestro vibrolas!
vibrola-gold-new.jpg

and countless short ones.
vibshortch.jpg

I am a firm believer that the more complicated the plumbing, the easier it is to clog. The agony of restring a Floyd is matched only by trying to keep the guitar in tune once you've "locked" everything down. The fact that you must carry extra wrenches to retune seems onerous to me. Break a string on stage and you'll spend 10 minutes to change it. Smitty must have a very delicate touch and gentle repertoire, to keep his in tune.
 

smitty_p

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Actually Biddlin, I play it on those songs that use rather aggressive trem action. In the last gig I used it, I used it for an '80s style series of songs and dropped it until the strings went slack, in addition to the other fluttering I did with it. It always returned perfectly to pitch.

But, I do like the Maestro, too.
 

Raiyn

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It's an act of love.
Having equipped 5 guitars with Bigsbys you learn little tricks.
Some use a rubber erasers to wedge the ball ends on the pins, some use a capo.
I pull the pins & drill out the string bar. Makes restringing as easy as a regular wraparound bridge.
Calliham sells a pre drilled bar for around $40. But you can do it yourself a whole lot cheaper.

DSC01596_zpse90wglnp.jpg
Ya gotta love how clean that is.

Before meeting Dave, I'd have agreed with you. The Spoiler is a nice thing if you don't want to mess with drilling out the Bigsby, but if it were me and I had a buddy like Dave.....yeah, we're drilling.
 

Tony M

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:smile:
This will contribute nothing to the discussion.

s-l1000.jpg


See. I told you.
 

John61

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...So, while struggling with getting the ball of the string to stay on that little metal pole on the Bigsby, I kept on repeatedly thinking, "How the @@@@ did my tech manage to change strings and get it set up in 30 minutes?!?"

Get one of the little 'eraser heads' that go on top of pencils. They are angled perfectly to hold the ball end of the string on the pole while keeping the finish safe.

eraser-head.jpg
 

grausch

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Restrung the guitar again this week and except for one little hiccup with my first low-E string it actually went quite smoothly. I needed no additional tools and the process was as follows:

  1. Guide the ball-end of the string through the Bigsby and place the ball-end on the post.
  2. While keeping a finger on the ball-end, pull the string tight close to the bridge.
  3. Once the string is tight at the bridge, place it in the slot and then just move the placeholder finger onto the saddle.
  4. It is important that the string does not move in the saddle as that will cause the ball-end to slip from the post on the Bigsby.
  5. Thread the string through the tuning peg.
  6. Since I have locking tuners, I could pull the string tight and lock it in place with one hand and without releasing the the finger from the bridge. Without locking tuners I would have needed the wife's finger or use the erasers shown above.
  7. Before tuning up the string, I would ensure that the ball-end was properly on the post, I would then place my finger on the ball-end again and only then tune up.
The above method worked quite well, but locking tuners were key to making it work. I did have the ball-end slip off from a post after my first low-E was already locked in the locking tuners which is why step 7 was added. I could not get the ball-end back on with my fingers and I was not going to use pliers, so I grabbed a new set of strings.
 

SG standard

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  1. Guide the ball-end of the string through the Bigsby and place the ball-end on the post.
I'm wondering if you're missing the first step:

0. Prebend the string at the ball-end.

One you've done a couple of restrings prebending & using a capo, it'll seems surprisingly straightforward.

But I do like the idea of the roller bar with holes for the strings - I might just have to try that. :)
 

grausch

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I'll be honest and admit that I did not think of prebending the strings. That could make the process easier and I will give it a shot next time.

I found that the strings won't lie in a nice straight line on the roller bar, but once I pulled them tight over the bridge the problem lessened. As I tuned up, I would do a final adjustment to get the strings straight. Prebending will probaby make the strings line up better.
 

Six String

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I have pre-bent the string to fit the bottom, but I have found that the eraser trick really helps hold it while I'm working on the other end. Frees up both hands. :thumb:
 

grausch

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I have pre-bent the string to fit the bottom, but I have found that the eraser trick really helps hold it while I'm working on the other end. Frees up both hands. :thumb:

Didn't want to mention it, but I forgot to buy the erasers so I needed to improvise.:facepalm:
 


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