Bigsby vs. Jazzmaster/Jaguar trem

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by GibsonLives, Dec 7, 2016.

  1. GibsonLives

    GibsonLives Supporting Member

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    OP again...wow, did this post attract an awful lot of cool responses! :)

    The traditional Bigsby sucks for changing strings, but that Vibromate Spoiler makes things much more bearable for $30 with no mods, and if you add locking tuners, it's a cinch...though those cost more than thirty bucks, ans may require additional holes.

    I find my Bigsby stays in tune just fine, but it's a factory-installed piece, I don't use it a ton, and I'm sure the Mastery and lockers don't hurt either.

    I'm a little nervous about how some are saying the JM vibrato requires special know-how for setup, but I usually tend to luck out with factory setups, so I might just take the plunge.

    Some are also mourning the loss of the rhythm circuit on these models, but I guess one benefit of being an offset newb is that I don't know what I'm missing, and thus, am not worried. if anything, I'm honestly a bit bummed that this one doesn't have the large headstock, but that doesn't really affect anything but look/vibe, so whatever. Me, I rather dig the stripped-down controls.

    Steve
     
  2. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

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    Nah. There's just one screw to adjust. That's actually much simpler than a Strat, which uses multiple springs and requires many adjustments to the bridge when a spring is added or removed.

    That said, I can't recommend a Mastery or (Non-Rocking) StayTrem enough -- if the new bridges rock and you are a nut about intonation :wave

    As far as the Rhythm Circuit, I think most offset players ignore it. Some even remove it from the circuit in hopes that the guitar will pick up less interference or to avoid accidentally flipping to it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
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  3. morgan918

    morgan918 Member

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    Yes, totally second either a mastery or Staytrem bridge. I have the staytrem on two current offsets (MIJ jag and a souped up JMJM) and they work great.
     
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  4. morgan918

    morgan918 Member

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    Also wanted to add one more thing - if you kind of like the clangyness of a jazzmaster or jaguar, get the JM with the offset vibrato. In my brief time trying a jazzmaster with a bigbsy I felt it lacked that extra sproingyness, that airyness around the notes. Take that with a huge grain of salt, but that was my impression, and part of the magic of the JM is that springy clang.
     
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  5. Stratoben127

    Stratoben127 Supporting Member

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    I just went from a vintage Jazzmaster to a modern Jazzmaster style guitar with a Bigsby and I much prefer the Jazzmaster vibrato. It's much better feeling to me and much less in the way, in addition to be easier to string. The bar feels better for me too. Bigsbys are cool but every guitar I've played with one except for a few vintage 345s and 335s just felt strangled by them.
     
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  6. Starshine

    Starshine Member

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    Adding the Vibramate makes the Bigsby less subtle so that if you work the bar really hard, you can get it kind of into Jazzmaster territory. Of course, the JM will take you there a lot easier and with a better feel. I much prefer a JM trem, and really would prefer to never have a Bigsby on a guitar (though it wouldn't stop me - one of my favorite guitars has a Bigsby).

    And I have to disagree with people who dislike the rocking bridge. I think it's a big part of the JM trem sound. Setting up a Jazzmaster is an art in itself, but if you get it right, the stock bridge is adequate.
     
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  7. bossaddict

    bossaddict Supporting Member

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    Just realized I've always had the lock button engaged. :p
     
  8. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

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    It never stays where I tell it to stay! ;)
     
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  9. GA20T

    GA20T Member

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    First time I took a JM home I gave the lock button a few wraps of plumber's tape underneath so it would stay put in the "off" position.
     
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  10. shakeshakeshake

    shakeshakeshake Member

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    You can go up or down on both, I think the offset lends itself to going up in pitch more so than a bigsby.

    As far as Bigsby stiffness, every one I've ever had or played was very stiff, except a MIJ Gretsch I had that had action almost as loose as an offset which was interesting to feel how floaty a bigsby can get with the right spring. I recently just ordered a Bigsby 'soft action' spring from Reverend, it hasn't arrived yet. Ill give heads up on how that makes it feel.
     
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  11. itstooloudMike

    itstooloudMike Member

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    I also love the rocking bridge on my Jaguar, and would never consider changing it to any non-rocking bridge. I believe it's an important part of the vibrato system design, and has significant impact on feel and sound. But it does take specific knowledge to get it set up well and working correctly/accurately. I play pretty hard, and have never had any strings jump out of the saddle slot. I also do not have intonation issues. I use 11s, and have fairly low action. Shimming the neck to get good string break angle over the bridge saddles is key to a good offset setup. My Jag plays well and stays in tune, with a stock vibrato and bridge. The system design is really brilliant if you take the time to understand how it works. Leo got it right.
     
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  12. GibsonLives

    GibsonLives Supporting Member

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    OP here.

    The one video of the new Professional line (which I linked above) does mention a new bridge design on the JM/Jag, but not whether it's a rocker. That would be helpful to know, as well as how the JM's new V-Mod pickups sound with dirt, since that demo only features clean tones. The Professional Strat has a video with dirt (and it's hosted by Kenny Wayne Shepherd, so it can't NOT sound awesome!), and I really dig those tones. Course, the JM will sound different. Good thing I'm not doing anything until after Christmas - hopefully, more videos will soon follow.

    Steve
     
  13. 909one

    909one Member

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    The rocking bridge helps with tuning and fluidity of the trem. I also think it affects the resonance as well, it feel it makes the guitar feel more 'alive' when you are playing it because less of the energy is transferred to the body, it kinda vibrates more around where the strings run over the bridge.
     
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  14. IceTre

    IceTre Supporting Member

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    I have a Gretsch and a Jazzmaster. I love the trem on both. As others have said, the Bigsby is firmer, and great for half-step bends. The Jazz trem is less firm and wants to dive a little deeper. But it's SOOOO smooth and musical. Even if you've never been into surf/secret agent music, you just can't help playing some of that on a Jazz. :)
     
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  15. GibsonLives

    GibsonLives Supporting Member

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    OP again.

    Okay, y'all have sold me - I'm fairly convinced my next guit will be one of those new Pro series Jazzies, probably Mystic Seafoam/maple.

    I'll let you know how it all goes down. I've been on a slight Tele kick lately, and I've only got one Strat.....

    Edit: My next guitar will definitely be a Fender!!! :D

    Steve
     
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  16. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

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    The offset bridge has been the most problematic guitar part I have ever put up with. I can't even remember all the things I tried -- as we didn't have solutions like Mastery or StayTrem when I bought my first offsets in the 90s. I used the stock bridge in Jazzmasters and Jaguars for years. The intonation was constantly shifting, so much that at one point I stopped using the trem altogether -- and it still shifted after setup for use in a stationary position (all the way back). I had problems with strings sliding around regularly. The bridge falling-apart-as-you-play is also the cause of many mid-song/set guitar swaps -- as well as my own personal "Most Onstage Bleeding During a Show" award. I could go on… :D

    On the other hand, Non-rocking bridges work splendidly. The strings just glide across the smooth metal saddles. Intonation will be consistent with them. Non-rocking bridges also have greater sustain and energy transfer into the body. Some people may dislike that change in sound. It sounds less like the original Jazzmaster/Jaguar, but it still sounds great. Better, many would say. After all, increased sustain and resonance aren't bad things. Swapping the bridge to a modern Non-rocker takes a Jazzmaster from less reliable/stable than a (vibrato-equipped) Strat to more reliable than that same Strat. Of course, it will not be as stable as the Tele.

    Fewer moving parts. Less chance of failure. Better sound. Reliable intonation. No need to Loctite the dozens of moving pieces in the bridge to prevent them from vibrating free. Less chance of open wounds onstage. John Woodland got it right ;) For the guys/gals that need per-string intonation (eg odd tuning, string set, or wound 3rd), I recommend StayTrem.

    I accept that the original design works great for some people, but it has been very problematic for many people. I believe updated/improved bridges are a huge factor for offsets' current popularity. Many musicians just wouldn't put up with the original. Therefore, I inform potential buyers of Non-Rocking bridges so they know of their existence before giving up on their new guitar.
     
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  17. GibsonLives

    GibsonLives Supporting Member

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    Yeah, I'm really interested to know how the Professional series JM's bridge has been "improved". Sounds likely it could be a non-rocker, but again, information isn't totally out there yet...Either that, or I'm just too much of an offset novice to know what I'm looking for :).

    As mentioned, I'm doing nothing until after Christmas, which gives me some time to gather facts. However, it also gives me tIme to change my mind lol. Either way, it's fine, since I'll be getting a new guitar :D.

    Steve
     
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  18. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

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    Well, some of Fender's attempts at "improvements" to the bridge and vibrato have been questionable. The current CS RSD may be OK. The American Vintage use a rocking vintage style. Jim Root is hardtail. AmPro (at least) has brass Mustang-style saddles, which is a big win in my book. I am assuming they are radiused properly. Standards probably rock but they use non-threaded saddles, which is an improvement. Some use Adjust-O-Matics which I imagine grip strings well and causes intonation woes and string breakage - especially when vibrato is used.

    And of course, there have been tweaks and repositioning of the vibrato.

    Of that list, I'd say original vintage rocking is in the middle* but I haven't owned one of each of these guitars. Even if the AmPro bridge rocks, it ought to be more reliable than vintage. Give it a fair shot.

    Happy Future NGD!



    *if you can ignore the falls-apart-as-you-play factor :D
     
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  19. shakeshakeshake

    shakeshakeshake Member

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    I got that Reverend Bigsby replacement spring today. Its definitely much looser than the stock spring in my B70 Bigsby, pretty close to looseness of my Jazzmaster. Pretty cool. Was 10 bucks shipping included.
     
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  20. bubbaheat

    bubbaheat Member

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    You should also consider this.....



    I love mine.
     

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