Anyone here ever replace a Bigsby hinge?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by 229someday, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. 229someday

    229someday Member

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    I bought a Gibson Country Gentleman that was apparently damaged in shipping. The Bigsby hinge cracked, and I've ordered a replacement for it, but I'm wondering about what tool is needed to uninstall and reinstall the pin that holds it together. What's more, the only hinge I can find is shorter on the outside edges than the original, so I'm thinking I'll need a new pin now as well and I just can't find one (it was a miracle just finding another hinge). I was hoping to be able to cut the pin down. Actually, I was hoping the replacement hinge would be the same from the start but at least the inside edges match up.


    Anyone go through something like this? I'm trying to save the seller from ponying up for a whole new gold B-6, but it just might not be worth the trouble. Exibit A:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    I replaced one a few months back (made a custom end piece to match original tailpiece footprint), and was able to use the original pin. A new pin would be ideal, but you're not going to find one at your local hardware store., If you're careful, you should be able to pull the original pin leaving the flared end intact enough to reuse.

    Edit: I misread your original post - didn't catch that the outside width was narrower on the new one. How much narrower is it? The original pin is a semi-tubular rivet, and I'm not sure how far in it is hollowed on the end. If the hollow goes in far enough you could cut off the excess length and flare it out to fit, but you would loose some gold plating. If aesthetics aren't a major concern, you could use about any suitable pin or bolt. You could just use a solid bar and drill and tap some set screws from the inside as to not be visible). There are actually lot's of ways you could secure a new pin, but at this point it all comes down to how much work you want to put in to it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008
  3. 229someday

    229someday Member

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    Thanks for the advice David, I appreciate you taking the time to post it. It's at least an eighth of an inch shorter on either side, so using the same pin sounds like a possibility.

    I also just found a gold hinge pin on the Gretsch/Fender parts list for the B6, which should line up with this shorter hinge. I'm in Tucson so I'll call them up in Scottsdale and see how much begging it takes for them to send me the $3 piece. The guitar is a bit of a looker, so I'd like to keep the gold if I can.

    If you made a custom end yourself for yours, you are truly the man.
     
  4. henry_lee

    henry_lee Member

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    hi there -

    First, congrats on the Gibson Gent. Awesome guitars for sure!

    I've swapped / replaced a hinge on a newer Bigsby very easily.
    Tap it with an awl and it will come right out. After trimming the original
    pin, tap it back in gently with a rubber mallet.

    I'd be more concerned with getting a proper hinge to line up with the
    original screw holes. Those Bigsby's on the Gibson Gents seem to
    be B6's with a shallow B7 hinge.

    Vintage ones, not so easy. The pin diameters appear to be different
    on the old ones too. My vintage B6 was impossible to disassemble.

    Let's see some pics when you're done!

    HL
     
  5. 229someday

    229someday Member

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    HL, the replacement hinge does look like it could work, I'm just hoping that after trimming it and putting the pin back in that there's enough of the hollowed end left to crimp the edge to keep it in there. The replacement hinge is from the Gretsch-branded Bigsby B-6's they're using on the thin Tennessee Roses and newer Country Gentleman guitars.

    I found out today that UPS will pay for the whole repair, so I'm thinking about just ordering a new, non-Gretsch branded B-6, but the hinge those come with is way too deep for the thin 'Gent body, so I'll be back where I started from.

    I don't really like the black paint on the faces of the new B-6's, but there still seem to be some around without it.

    Thanks for the advice. Maybe I'd have better luck with a B-3 or B-7 hinge, but I can't find either of those.

    I've given up on it aligning with the old holes, so long as they cover them I won't mind. It should be a challenge enough just to get it properly aligned with the neck. Here's a shot of the whole thing.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. henry_lee

    henry_lee Member

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    awesome guitar!

    I wish I could play one, but the one I played at a shop here had a massively wide
    nut and the neck profile wasn't working for my hands. love the burgundy ones
    or black ones too.

    anyway, sounds like you got a solution there. you could always pick up a recent
    used gold B3 or B7 and get that hinge if the Gretsch one doesn't work out.

    how in the world did that break during transit? I'm amazed the guitar is in one piece.

    anyway, good luck. let me know if you find a dealer that sells the all-gold B6's.
    I've got a gold and black on the way, but want all gold! lol.

    best,
    HL
     
  7. 229someday

    229someday Member

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    I love the 1 3/4" nut width on it, but I'm down with a lot of fingerpicking and I have giant sausage fingers. The neck reminds me of my Gretsch Tennessee Rose and my acoustic Gibson Gospel, and I dig both.

    I have a guy here in town working with the old Bigsby face and pin and the new, thinner hinge and he says it shouldn't be a problem, though of course the old holes don't line up.

    I'll keep my eyes out for a gold B-6. They do make them for some of the Gretsch White Falcons, but of course Fender won't let anyone order them without the guitar attached.
     

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