Bigsby experts - adding a Bigsby - please advise!

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by big jilm, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. big jilm

    big jilm Supporting Member

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    I am finally going to put a Bigsby on this: my ES 137 Classic.

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    Here's the question:

    Do I go with the B7, and put a "Custom Made" plaque over the tailpiece holes, or do I go B3 with a Towner Down tension bar where the tailpiece used to be?

    I'm thinking that the B3 with the Towner might be the way to go because if the electronics are grounded to the tailpiece the Towner will keep the strings in contact with the ground, whereas a B7 with the plaque will leave the electronics ungrounded. Am I right on this?

    Any thoughts as to the pros/cons of each situation?

    Any advice would be much appreciated!

    big jilm
     
  2. BobK

    BobK Member

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    I put a B5 on my ES-135 with a Vibramate. No drilling required, the Vibramate just screws into the bridge stud anchors and the Bigsby then screws onto the Vibramate. I didn't need to do anything about grounding it.

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  3. big jilm

    big jilm Supporting Member

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    That intrigues me - it would make things easier, for sure. I just like the look of the longer tailpiece style Bigsby as opposed to the horseshoe shaped ones. Worth a look though, thanks!

    Any other B3 with a Towner bar vs B7 thoughts?
     
  4. gimpyjoe

    gimpyjoe Member

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    this is definitely the way to go. I built up a firebird clone and came across the best deal of my 60yrs life- a gold B5 with a matching gold vibramate for $90 on ebay. some gold wear, mostly on the bar, but the vibramate base was perfect and the B5 was an 8 1/2 out of a 10. it mounted with absolutely no mods, felted contact points. installed looked great and sounded even better. and the best part is ease of taking it off if you want. I remove mine when I change strings to clean the lower bout.
    one tip I replaced the factory Philips head screws with allen heads- much better fasteners, and looks almost the same.

    plus with the pickguard off in that vintage SB and the bigsby mounted that is one righteous looking thinline.
    clean, lean, and mean. kudos my friend!
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015
  5. Mejis

    Mejis Member

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    I have a B3/Vibramate and a Towner on my ES347 - it's awesome and I like the look of it more than the B5 (just my .02). The only issue was that the Bigsby wrenched on the strap button quite badly at first and I had to have a luthier reinforce it... So I think drilling vs. Vibramate was debatable in my case.
     
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  6. Mejis

    Mejis Member

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    Also, the B3/Towner is a bit spongier feeling than the B7s I've used and sits further away from the bridge... not worse, but definitely a different feel.
     
  7. BobK

    BobK Member

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    The Bigsby without the tension bar has a much softer, easier feel so you get the same effect with a much lighter touch. I'm used to them both. I put the B5/Vibramate on the 135 because it was easy and the modification is reversible.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Mejis

    Mejis Member

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    +1 - Same effect with a lighter touch is a great way of putting it. That is a beautiful Gretsch too!
     
  9. smiert spionam

    smiert spionam Member

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    +1 to B3/Towner for feel and aesthetics. Grounding is a non-issue either way if done correctly.
     
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  10. big jilm

    big jilm Supporting Member

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    Thanks for all the input, everyone. I'm leaning B3 with the Towner. Thanks!
     
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  11. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Member

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    B3 and Towner is what I have on my Epi Dot. It works well.
     
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  12. big jilm

    big jilm Supporting Member

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    Also, looking at the B3 and Towner setup, I can put it on either my ES 137 or my '61 Reissue SG without drilling holes in the guitar. The Towner kit has a plug with a long screw that goes through the strap pin to hold the B3 in place. I think this is the way for me to go.

    Thanks, all!
     
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  13. BobK

    BobK Member

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    Good luck! It would be nice to see a pic when you're done.
     
  14. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Member

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    The endpin bracket is only needed if you plan later to sell the guitar but not sell the B3 along with it. If the B3 is staying on the guitar, you can just screw that sucker right in place around the strap button.
     
  15. big jilm

    big jilm Supporting Member

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    I'm thinking of using the endpin bracket mainly because I would like to try the Bigsby on 2 different guitars - my ES 137 and my '61 Reissue SG. I can play with the bigsby on each for awhile, see which one I like it on, then leave it on the guitar that I prefer it on.

    Been getting into Neil Young again, lately - always makes me want a Bigsby. :)
     
  16. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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    I prefer the B3 & Towner down bar on a Les Paul-ish guitar that already is drilled for a tailpiece. Palm muting, and general "feel" is the same as with the stock tailpiece. The Towner allows you to adjust/control the amount of down force on the strings over the bridge. That has a big effect on the strings feel/slinkyness.

    Also do some measuring and see if the B6 isn't a better choice for your ES-137. It is longer than the B3 and will sit closer to the bridge, which may or may not be better for you

    http://www.bigsby.com/vibe/products/vibratos/bigsby-b6/

    http://www.bigsby.com/vibe/products/vibratos/b3/

    The Vibramate plate is a solution for folks "afraid" to actually commit to a Bigsby. It holds the Bigsby up too high off the body, and too close to the bridge. It blocks access to the controls.


    Once again, I post my Guild Bluesbird with a B3 Guildsby and Towner down bar,


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
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  17. big jilm

    big jilm Supporting Member

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    That Guild is absolutely fantastic, man. What a beautiful piece of work.

    Thanks for the info and heads-up on the B6 - I'll measure. The concern, just eyeballing it, is that the ES 137 may be too thin for the hinged piece (which is longer, and comes to a point on the B6). Also, the B3 could be attached to my SG as well as my 137.

    I'll measure it - thanks, everybody!
     
  18. townerusa

    townerusa Member

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    Thank you guys for the positive reviews and response of the Towner Down Tension Bar systems, don't hesitate to message me for any questions from the site.
     
  19. big jilm

    big jilm Supporting Member

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    Ordered the Bigsby B3 and Towner Down setup - but I changed my mind, as I am going to install it on this:

    [​IMG]

    Looking forward to giving this a shot!

    big jilm
     
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  20. big jilm

    big jilm Supporting Member

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