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i just got my bigsby on my les paul. improve tuning stability?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by dudelove, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. dudelove

    dudelove Member

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    i just got my a bigsby b7 installed on my les paul. yes, i have tuning issues.

    i've been caught up with the decision of changing the saddles on the TOM bridge, or changing the nut. or both? and when i do, i'll send it to my favourite tech to get it properly set up.

    i need suggestions for the TOM bridge and the nut.

    i've been reading up previous threads. why do bigsby users discourage roller bridges?

    i was thinking of graphtech saddles and nut. any recommendations?
     
  2. homebrewer99

    homebrewer99 Member

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    The first step:

    I highly recommend a graphite nut cut/installed by an expert. Also, use Big Bends Nut Sauce or other lube on all contact points (nut, saddles, tension bar etc).

    Second Step: Try a roller bridge. I used a Schaller for years, but recently tried the Wilkinson and the GuitarFetish roller bridges. Both are better than the schaller in my opinion.

    Third and most drastic step: Locking tuners. I'm partial to Sperzel.

    This is my bigsby recipe which has served me well. Recently I have switched to ground-wound or half-round strings which also help to smooth out the bigsby action. Larger gauge strings also aid in tuning stability. I'm not a fan of graphite saddles as I dont like the tone. Some people dislike roller bridges for the same reason, but the two I mentioned above have great tone. Hope this helps.
     
  3. GtrDr

    GtrDr Member

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    Make sure the saddles are smoothly cut as you would a nut slot. Make sure the nut is cut properly. Big Bends helps too. The next expensive step would be to have a graphite nut & saddles installed, then locking tuners. The set up is key.
     
  4. 909one

    909one Member

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    I have three guitars with Bigsby's, it all really comes down to lubricating all friction points. I think I have the "nut sauce" (horrible name), but there is other stuff out there. Trust me it really does wonders! I wouldn't waste your time with tuners or a new bridge until you try lubricating. If that doesn't work, I would try getting the nut cut by someone who can do it really well. From what i have heard, those roller nut bridges affect the tone in a pretty negative way. I also suspect that tuners have actually the least affect on the tuning issues, unless of course they suck really badly.
     
  5. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    Take it off again!!!!!


    No really



    If you "MUST" have it you can get a roller tunamatic and locking tuners,also make sure your nut is well cut and lubbed.
    Then if that doesn't work throw it in the bin.
     
  6. dudelove

    dudelove Member

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    thanks guys for the input.

    i noticed the same pattern in all the other bigsby threads: everyone seems to have different opinions. some swear by this and that others dont. so i get pretty confused on what should i do.

    i think i'll do a combination of everything. starting with lubrication. but i do want to replace the saddles and nut for sure. hopefully my tech does a good job.

    also, the bigsby causes this hardcore break angle:
    [​IMG]
    looks like one more friction point. is this normal?
     
  7. dudelove

    dudelove Member

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    must you reply to EVERY thread with the word bigsby?

    seriously? the whole of tgp knows u hate bigsbys.

    so i'm just going to ignore whatever u say cos they'll forever be negative
     
  8. OlAndrew

    OlAndrew Member

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    Had the tuning problem with my Epi Riviera Deluxe. I stated a thread a long time ago which sparked quite a debate. What I observed was that the bridge was supported by a couple of very skinny screws set in tiny, kinda loose bushings in the wood of the face. Hit the Bigsby and the bridge wobbles back and forth, and the place it settles is kinda random, so there goes your tune and intonation.

    I got one of these:

    http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Bridges...ne-o-matic_bridges/Locking_Roller_Bridge.html

    and set the nice big bushings and had no more wobble, stayed in tune and intonation just great, BUT that bridge itself is fairly massive and heavy and between that and the rollers, the whole setup seemed to have pretty bad tone. Harsh trebles on little e and b above the 7th fret epsecially, not as much resonance in the bass, and less sustain.

    Addendum: I have one of the Guitar Fetish roller bridges on another guitar and it sounds very good, but its on a full hollowbody with the freestanding wooden bridge, so its not an even comparison.


    Tried Graph-tech saddles in the Epiphone ABR-1 bridge, got little better tone, but that bridge is so badly made, it isn't much fun anyway.

    Just got a Graph-Tech Resomax last night, along with one of their Tusq nuts. Got the bridge on and it sounded better, but I didn't have time to do much with it. I'll review it properly when I've had time to play it a little.

    Had a bone nut on the Epi, which was really well cut, and had no tuning problems from that. I'm putting in the Tusq because some of the grooves were wearing too low, and I'd rather replace than shim. If you had any tuning issues with the nut pre-Bigsby, swap it out. You'll never get it to stay in tune with the B..

    Here's a link for the Graph-Tech kit I got. It has a set of sturdy bushings and posts with it, a nice bridge and Tusq nut.

    http://www.graphtech.com/products.html?SubCategoryID=25
     
  9. bilbal

    bilbal Member

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    LOL!!!

    Hey Dudelove, I was thinking about getting an LP295 but learned it is discontinued from where I was going to order. I am planning to grab an LP Traditional very soon and was thinking about putting a ZZGuitarworks.com EZ-Mount Bigsby on it after awhile. Do you have any pictures that you could post of your guitar with the new Bigsby attached. I assume you had to drill into the top of your Les Paul, correct? I am wondering if I might run into the same things you are currently dealing with. Please continue to post on this thread with your findings.

    Thanks dude',
    Bill
     
  10. dudelove

    dudelove Member

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    i'm actually more concerned abt tuning stability than tone change. cos mine goes out of tune quite badly after using it once or twice.

    tone will be secondary here. i honestly cant tell these minute changes in tone. unless i can compare one side by side.
     
  11. dudelove

    dudelove Member

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    hey bill,

    yeah i did have to drill the top. 6 holes in total. the old holes from the stopbar tailpiece are not fully concealed, so i had to use a white sticker to cover em up.

    here you go:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Brion

    Brion Supporting Member

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    From your first picture of the bridge it looks like the strings are touching the back of the bridge. If that's the case you will probably have tuning issues until you solve that. If they're not touching, nevermind. I find that on my Bigsby equipped guitar that anything less than 11-50 guage strings have more tuning issues so I use 11-50's on it. Good luck with it. :)
     
  13. bilbal

    bilbal Member

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    Wow, that looks really cool!!!

    Where is the 'white sticker" you mentioned? I can't see it in the pictures. The Bigsby looks like it's stock to my eyes. I really dig the look.

    Dude, when you say "tuning issues" are you referring to just one or two strings that don't keep a tune or are you constantly retuning the entire guitar? Also does these issues only present themselves after you have used the bar or all the time?

    Thanks. The guitar looks great!!!

    Bill
     
  14. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    You need to seriously reduce that break angle and try a roller bridge .Also the string must not contact the bridge anywhere other than the saddle .:AOK:phones
     
  15. dudelove

    dudelove Member

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    how do i reduce the break angle?
     
  16. dudelove

    dudelove Member

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    anyone knows what i can do abt that break angle?
     
  17. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    Yes but your not listening to me right !
     
  18. dudelove

    dudelove Member

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    i was. but u didnt say how..

    u just said u need to reduce that break angle and try a roller bridge.

    hmm, so how would a roller bridge reduce the break angle?

    i dont know if this is possible. but could i.. get taller saddles, and lower the bridge?
     
  19. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    Roller tunamatic and you need to lift the bigsby with a spacer .
    you can make a nice one from aluminium that wont be detrimental to the tone (any more than the bigsby anyway) It just needs to sit under the points of contact,you could use thick washers at a push but that would look a bit Heath Robinson, but hay this is a bigsby so Heath Robinson is a good as it's going to get.
    On a serious note the angle needs to be about 10 degrees to work well.
     
  20. dudelove

    dudelove Member

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