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Another Bigsby question

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by dudelove, May 24, 2011.

  1. dudelove

    dudelove Member

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    I've had a Bigsby B7 installed on my LP for a couple of years already, proved to be a real pain and took me a lot of time, money and reading up to get all the nonsense like tuning right. Today it works just fine, stays in tune great and overall I'm quite happy. I don't use it that often, and when I do its mostly for chords as its a really subtle thing.

    It all changed when I saw Joe Bonamassa play Dust Bowl live and he had his signature Goldtop with a B7 Bigsby on it. The way he used the Bigsby was really beyond anything I could ever imagine or dream of. He was getting all sorts of Beck-ish sounds with the Bigsby on single notes, chords, everything. I could never ever pull off sounds like that on my guitar. Further more it looked effortless to him. For me to get a full step down I need to depress the bar down so hard till it touches my pickguard.

    Is there something wrong with my Bigsby? Perhaps a abnormally stiff spring or something? Because I'll be honest, I've never played a Bigsby equipped guitar other than my own.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Chicago Slim

    Chicago Slim Member

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    I know that players like Brain Setzer, have huge collections of springs, in order to get the feel that they want on each guitar. I'm on my third guitar with a Bigsby (Starla with a B5), and it feels very stiff.
     
  3. dudelove

    dudelove Member

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    I guess it's the spring. Anyone knows where I can purchase these Bigsby springs?
     
  4. bluenote23

    bluenote23 Member

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    Montreal, Canada
    Gretsch players have a lot of experience with Bigsbys.
    Try puttting a penny or another small coin under the spring. This will raise the handle of the bigsby a little higher. You can also place a washer on the top of the spring between the spring and the handle and this will raise it higher still.
    There are two spring sizes, one inch and 3/4 inch. You probably have a 3/4 inch spring.
    You can get springs at online dealers like Angela's but non-USA shipping for a $10 (or less) spring can be excessive. I think I paid $30 shipping for a very small order with them.
    Note that there are 'real' Bigsby springs and just regular springs. The 'real' springs are more nicely finished and may (it's very subtle) be a little less tight. However I have several Bigsbys and some are looser than others so spring consistency may be an issue.
     
  5. Rumble

    Rumble Instrumental Rocker Silver Supporting Member

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    IMO, with B7 LPs, the Bigsby is too close to the bridge, making the string angle quite sharp. Removing the outer roller on the tension bar can reduce the string angle slightly.
     
  6. Alvis

    Alvis Member

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    I like a spongier spring. I used to get these springs from the specialty parts drawers at a local hardware store . (Home Depot & Lowe's ran 'em outa biz)

    They were the correct diameter ,but long ,so I would cut 'em off with a dremel to desired length,that would also make them weaker/spongier

    I've heard some guy used some Harley clutch springs ,I seem to recall those were stiff and a little less in the diameter than a Bigsby spring cup...?
     
  7. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Member

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    "Back in the day" folks used automotive valve springs and ground them to spec. I am sure there is some mojo aout Studebaker or
    Edsel springs being the best, butjust can't recall.
     
  8. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Supporting Member

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    I've been able to get more detune range from a stock Bigsby spring by using a vise and a pair of Vise-Grips to stretch the spring longer. The stiffness stays the same but it holds the handle higher to allow more travel before bottoming out. It works, but it is best done on a spare spring in case you aren't fond of the results. You can squash the spring till the coils are stacked and it won't return to its previous height.
     
  9. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze Member

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    Guitar Part Resource has some in different sizes.

    You can also fashion a washer type spacer from pickguard material to provide higher angle without adding quite as much stiffness.

    Then there is simply removing the bar and bending it into shape. I like the Chet Atkins style bar for this very reason (plus it does not have the stop so can be held in your picking hand while it is over the strings)
     
  10. Bob Pollock

    Bob Pollock Supporting Member

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    Paul Bigsby started out making aluminum castings for the Crocker motorcycle company, so he used cycle parts for his creation. Harley exhaust valve spring, aftermarket springs are available in different spring rates.
     
  11. dudelove

    dudelove Member

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    Thanks guys, that was a lot of help. I'll try all these suggestions before buying another spring.

    Anyway there's a 7/8" spring and a 1" spring. 7/8" for low tension and 1" for high tension. If I want a less stiff spring compared to what I'm using and I get a 7/8" spring, is there a compromise to tuning or something?

    Basically I just want my Bigsby to be more responsive. Right now I really need to press down hard to get something. Joe Bonamassa could just flutter the bar with his fingers and get those Beck-ish sounds and I'd love to get that too. So is it the height, or the tension of the spring or a combination of both?
     
  12. bluenote23

    bluenote23 Member

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    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    You,re right. The two spring sizes are 7/8 inch (not 3/4 inch) and 1 inch. You probably already have a 7/8 spring right now.
    I think that more height will give you what you're after. I have several USA Bigsbys and while one is spongier than the others, they are all responsive to a light one finger touch.
    Try the penny trick.
     
  13. kumpfunk

    kumpfunk Member

    Messages:
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    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    you can also try untightening the allen screw that holds the bar together. The one underneath where the arm attaches to the Bigsy main roller, the one the strings attach to. That loosens the feel up considerably.
     

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