Bigsby on a Jazzmaster: Yay or nay??

Yay or Nau?

  • Yay

    Votes: 22 38.6%
  • Nay

    Votes: 35 61.4%

  • Total voters


Considering this for a build, I've never owned a guitar with aBigsby, and I've owned guitars with every other type of vibrato. I personally didn't really use a vibrato even when I had it, but Bigsby's are just cool! It would mostly be for a unique aesthetic with this instrument. Thoughts? Experiences?


I don't really see the point if you're doing it just for looks. Might as well build a hardtail.
But, that being said, the Bigsby is my favorite vibrato by far. If I had a Jazzmaster, it would have a Bigsby, I hate the JM vibrato.


The Jazzmaster vibrato, with the long string distance behind the bridge, is regarded as being a big part of the Jazzmaster sound. A bigsby is probably going to result in something that sounds like something different.

For example, some people put an accessory called a buzzstop on a jazzmaster to keep the strings from moving around on the vintage bridge saddles, but many (most?) people feel it changes the tone unfavorably. Of course, some people probably prefer those changes or they wouldn't keep making buzzstops ;)

(As an aside, when it's set up well, a jazzmaster vibrato or a Mastery vibrato work very well IMO)

Da Geezer

Silver Supporting Member
A YES from me.

I'm considering a Bigsby B5 for my hardtail (pictured below)

I can't play a stock JM trem....with my picking style (using a pick held by index/thumb and my 3x other fingers plucking "up"...modified claw?) the high E pops off within a few notes :mad:

I'd have to install a roller TOM, too...



Different sound than a classic JM vibrato but perfectly valid and has a place.

If I were building (more realistically, speccing) myself, it would either be a Mastery or a Bigsby.


Silver Supporting Member
I think the mastery is the uber wiggle stick.
I'm not really a traditionalist, and the regular jazzmaster trem (not the trem itself, but the associated harmonics) is what's causing me to fight with my jm.
so, when I get around to "fixing" mine, it'll get a mastery and a piece of weatherstripping.
Why use a bigsby when you can use the Jazzmaster Vibrato? It's better. It's not hard to set up and it is far more subtle and stable than a bigsby. Also has a much smoother feel than a bigsby, not to mention it will give the Jazzmaster the right feel and sound.
People like to hate on Jazzmasters for some reason and push to advocate builds that only have the shape of a jazzmaster (not jazzmasters)
disclaimer: I actually like bigsbys. Don't get me wrong. I have one on a casino, I just much prefer the JM unit's overall feel and musicality. I've always used vibratos. Will be installing a maestro or bigsby on my SG at some point (body's not deep enough for a JM vibrato :p)
JM vibratos are also effortless to restring.

It's your guitar though, so do what you want.
I don't know. I would have to skootch a Bigsby up the body about 3/8ths inches. I like a relaxed break angle but I'm skeptical about the tuning stability on this set up (a Mastery would help). Does anyone have some numbers on how much additional weight we have to carry if we substitute a Bigsby for the stock trem? Much obliged.

Also, the upper reach of the arm is about a Mile from where my right hand would sometimes be, by the neck pickup. How am I supposed to do that?

Da Geezer

Silver Supporting Member
I don't know. I would have to skootch a Bigsby up the body about 3/8ths inches. I like a relaxed break angle but I'm skeptical about the tuning stability on this set up (a Mastery would help).
Do you mean closer to the bridge, or farther away?
I'm thinking a roller bridge would help the tuning stability (?)


Why not, if that's what you want. It won't be a "Jazzmaster" but the offset body style always looks cool and so is a Bigsby. Put the two together and it would probably be fun.


Gold Supporting Member
Why are they using a B50 "licensed" on a limited edition American guitar?

OP: I agree that the tone changes if you don't have the traditional JM vibrato, but that's not always the most important factor for all lovers of JM's. Some people love the body shape and pickups, while also loving bigsbys and are perfectly happy to blend the two.

There are plenty of ways to go about this. "Limited Edition" Fender, custom shop, custom builders, frankenmasters, etc. Creston does a lot of offset customs with bigsbys. You can check out his examples for ideas.


The standard American (not Mexican, not Japanese, not Indonesian, etc) JM/Jag vibrato is the best vibrato. Slapping a bigsby on there is a big downgrade IMO.

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