tremolo advise

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by MKR, May 13, 2013.

  1. MKR

    MKR Well-Known Member

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    I am a new SG owner. Really pleased with the biuld, feel and of course sound of the guitar. It's a G-400 deluxe - sunburst. picked it up off kijiji for $200 which i reckoned was a deal.

    Currently it's my only guitar to not have a trem and i really like to use trem.

    So now i am wrestling (actually obsessing) with which tremolo i will install. It's between a bigsby b5 (and vibramate) and the maestro allparts piece.

    Pro's and cons of each:
    bigsby: super easy to install. no drilling. done in 5 minutes. From my understanding is more stable than maestro. con: doesn't look as good as maestro.

    Maestro: Looks amazing. and for me, looks matter! cons: the installation. Now i'll just say i'm not super comfortable drilling into the body although i have done this on some other guitars. I can handle drilling for screws, but for wires? yikes. then there's the issues of the bushings from the original tailpeice. Can i leave these in? Don't even know where to start to find a plug. as guitar is sunburst, filling and covering them up will end up looking like shite.

    Now i have read that people need to reroute the ground wire with a maestro and solder it to the back maestro (correct?), but i recall also seeing that the ground could be throught the bridge. Is it possible to put in a maestro and not do anything to the wiring?

    as the title suggests, i'm looking for some guidance.
     
  2. Alex_SG

    Alex_SG Well-Known Member

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    Hi MKR

    Normally your guitar is grounded at the stop tail piece, and all I did was extend the wire slightly, and run it to one of the screws on the maestro. Easy!
    You could solder it to the plate, but it isn't absolutely necessary. As long as the wire is in contact with the plate, it isn't a problem.
    Regarding plugging the STP holes, I removed the anchors (insert a bolt, and unscrew them) and filled them with epoxy. Then I cut some balsa to the same size as the holes, glued it in, and used marker pens to colour them. The color isn't exact, but close enough.
    [​IMG]
    Hope this helps!
     
  3. MKR

    MKR Well-Known Member

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    hmm... intesting. Thanks Alex. I have read your installation thread a bunch of times in my lurking.

    So you mean that the wire was connected to one of the bushings and you desoldered it and pulled it out a bit and then soldered it to a screw prior to putting the big flat plate thingy (can't think of the proper name) on?
     
  4. Alex_SG

    Alex_SG Well-Known Member

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    That's basically it. I didn't bother soldering it to the screw, just wrapped the end around the screw. (I stripped off the insulation first, though!)
    Once the plate is on, you can't see the wire at all.
    Just one word of advice though: When you join an extra length of wire to the earth, solder the wires together, as it gives a better electrical connection, and insulate it with electrical tape. That way if the join is in contact with other metal components, it won't earth out.[​IMG]
    If you look at where the white epoxy is, the earth wire comes out towards the middle of the guitar from there. You can just see it under the spring plate if you look closely. However, from a front on view it is invisible.
     
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  5. MKR

    MKR Well-Known Member

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    ya so i ended up going with a bigsby b5 along with vibramate. Scooped a combo deal off ebay for a nice figure.

    In a perfect world i would have gone with the maestro, but i am far from perfect so i took the easier road and t's not like the bigsby is chop liver. it's still pretty badass.
     
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  6. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    You can always mod this or another SG with a Maestro later. Meanwhile, let us know how the Bigsby works out and of course, pictures, we crave pictures ....
    Biddlin ;>)/
     
  7. MKR

    MKR Well-Known Member

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    well this is her now. soon to have a makeover.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Barcham

    Barcham Member

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    I think it's going to look fantastic! I've always loved the look of a Bigsby on a SG.
     
  9. discodaft

    discodaft New Member

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    cant wait for pics on this. i have the exact same guitar and the exact same debate!!
     
  10. MKR

    MKR Well-Known Member

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    i'll definitely post pics and discuss the installation (which i assume will be a 0 out of 10 on the difficulty scale), but i reckon we'll have to wait a while. It usually takes around 3 weeks for shipment via USPS. i don't know why you guys are so slow.
     
  11. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    BEFORE PROCEEDING: MAKE SURE THE TOP OF THE GUITAR IS CLEAN, SPOTLESS, DUST FREE-THEN CHECK THE FELT PAD(S) ON THE VIBRAMATE PLATE FOR ANY DEBRIS. Now just use care with tools and hardware .

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]
    Lickety-split, you're done.
    Good Luck ! and lots of pics,
    Biddlin ;>)/
     
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  12. MKR

    MKR Well-Known Member

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    cool biddin. You know one thing i don't have in place is a roller bridge and i'm not really planning on getting one. I have a b7 on my dot and tuning has been good with the stock tuneomatic bridge, so i assume the tuning will be fine on my sg as well. Plus it's not like i'll abuse the bigsby. does yours keep in tune nicely?
     
  13. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Don't have one of my own, those are stock photo's, but the one's I've worked on did OK with TOMs. I'm lookin' at this for my next project:
    [​IMG]
    I'm a spoiled Maestro user .
    Biddlin ;>)/
     
  14. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    If you actually plan on using your vibrato I can almost certainly guarantee you will have tuning issues using the Bigsby B5. I wish I had seen you post earlier & almost hate to poison the waters now that its already ordered..but. The design of the B5 just asks too much of the strings where the Gibson style Vibrola is direct, simple and a short straight path to the bridge. The Bigsby has a hard time returning to zero pitch as well as the strings staying straight as they tend to wander off line with use.

    Some guys love them and use bunches of dodads to correct & compensate the Bigsbys' 'issues'. Anyway, if its not too late and you really want to use your Vibrato and do more than style & posse, send that Bigsby back & get a better tremolo. It is simply worth any cost because, well because function has to come before everything else and a B5 does not function as good as several other options available. However, it does look good. So, look good or have a good vibrato. Tough choice eh? But, a Vibrola looks pretty good in its own right. I have several B5s & several Vibrolas. I am only speaking from my experiences. I prefer things that work and stay in tune as well as things I don't have to baby.

    So keep it real bro. Return the B5 or be resolved to having issues. That is my reality. Take it for what it is worth. People don't like my truth sometimes because they might have a Bigsby and can wiggle it lightly every once in a while & its fine. Point is it will go out of tune designed as it is if you are going to play it with some emotion and do more than lightly wiggle it. The Vibrola will take it all quite well and stay in tune. This has been my repeated experience & swear it to be true. Believe dat yo!

    Watch the protesting begin.
     
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  15. Alex_SG

    Alex_SG Well-Known Member

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    Barry, agreed 100%
    I think on the right guitar (maybe a Gretsch) a bigsby looks OK and performs reasonably. A vibrola on the other hand, looks damn sexy, and performs brilliantly!
    I know I'm biased, but just ask Biddlin! He'll back me up!!!:naughty:
     
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  16. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    I am a confirmed Extreme Vibrola user.:dude: I don't baby it, and with 9s, I get some pretty fair power dives and climbs goin'. A country/punk player friend from Tucson recently described a session with me on Miss Lizzie as " Mercurially dynamic".:wow: I'm about to purchase an Allparts unit for a project guitar. From an aesthetic pov, I find the elegance of the long Maestro on an SG body unparallelled . My minimalistic nature also is drawn to the short Maestro on early 60s juniors . The short-tailed Bigsby looks great on 70s walnut SGs . As to function, it may be a matter of style and skill, more than design . My friend Ben is a great rockabilly player . He uses an ES-135 with a Bigsby and a rollerbridge with great success . I did the mods and setup, but I can barely get the damn guitar in tune, much less keep it there . Ben has said the same about my Miss Lizzie . One thing's for certain though, if you needed a make-shift anchor, the Bigsby would win, hands down .:laugh2:
    Biddlin
     
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  17. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    I have 3 guitars with Bigsby B5 units on them. Despite Graphite on the nuts & everything being set up the way a Bigsby should I can not use any of those B5 units without tuning issues occurring rather quickly into a session. I find then to be totally annoying & downright disheartening. I do not care to remember the times I have tried to play out or rehearse with one of them only to end up pissed off and putting them down for a more stable guitar. Now I also have 3 guitars with various forms of the Vibrola on them. In contrast they perform wonderfully and hold tune amazingly well. I have performed many a 3 set night with my 69 SG & its Vibrola with nary a tuning issue despite me being as rough as I please with the handle. That is just my reality and unbiased experience. Being I own both on several different guitars I only speak from what I have experienced & prefer, not what I think looks better or what I own being my factors for quantification of which is better. The Vibrolas just work better than the B5 Bigsby's for me.

    Plus, there is nothing like a good Vibrola on an SG. Smoke em f ya got em.
     
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  18. PringlesPunk

    PringlesPunk New Member

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    Check out the Stetsbar trem system i just made a thread about it, with pretty much all the info you need !
     
  19. MKR

    MKR Well-Known Member

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    woah. kind of surprised to see the bigsby hate. I have a bigsby on one of my guitars (335 epi dot) and have not had any problems with tuning. This is also with a stock tuneomatic bridge. Maybe it's because my trem use is subtle... not much of a bomber i just throw in a little vibrato here and there., i mean sure after a while i'll slightly adjust the tuning, but i've never felt let down by either the bigsby or the instrument. and this is on an guitar that i almost never lube or graphite up.

    We'll see how the b5 acts on the sg. i have a hard time imaging it will be much different than what i'm used to.
     
  20. MKR

    MKR Well-Known Member

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    ya i've read about that option before and while i'm sure it performs well, it's not exactly what i'm after. hopefully i didn't make the wrong choice.
     

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