Les Pauls and Bigsby tremolo - awesome, or nightmare?

jbd3

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Owing to the doleful influence of one Mr. N. Young, I've been thinking about a Bigsby -equipped Les Paul. However at the same time the potential tuning instability (I have a hard enough time keeping a hardtail in tune) and the pain of restringing scare me off. What kind of experience have you all had with Les Pauls and Bigsbys?
 

FritzCat

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I've never had a Les Paul, but several guitars with bigsbys. The restringing hassles are easily solved by pre-bending the ball end of the string with needle nose pliers, and if need be using a capo to hold the string in place while rigging up the tuner. Tuning instabilities can usually be traced to binding in the nut or saddles, a little lube in these areas goes a long way.
 

sixty2strat

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got one on a old 74 standard that was just refreted. used the vibramate system. only way to go. no issues worse than a stat
 

gmann

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I've never had a Les Paul, but several guitars with bigsbys. The restringing hassles are easily solved by pre-bending the ball end of the string with needle nose pliers, and if need be using a capo to hold the string in place while rigging up the tuner. Tuning instabilities can usually be traced to binding in the nut or saddles, a little lube in these areas goes a long way.
This post exactly! The key is pre-bending. Needle nose pliers are perfect. And as always tuning problems are usually nut related.
 

Dashface

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I'm a fan. Love mine :D I've just got to get a Firebird pickup in there to Neil it up a bit more!

 

CyberFerret

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I just got a gear tour with Joe Bonamassa where he showed us his prototype Gold Top LP which is equipped with a Bigsby. He has another butterscotch one with a Bigsby as well. Said he likes them.

Joe is fairly selective with his gear, so if it works for him then I'd say it would be a good call for most others.
 

jbd3

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How are the Bigsbys in terms of tuning stability?

Also--and I hope this isn't a dumb question, but like I said, I've never had a Bigsby-equipped guitar--do they make special cases for them? That handle is gigantic. (I know: that's what she said.) But seriosuly: you don't take the handle off like you do with a Floyd or a Strat, right?
 

Dashface

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How are the Bigsbys in terms of tuning stability?

Also--and I hope this isn't a dumb question, but like I said, I've never had a Bigsby-equipped guitar--do they make special cases for them? That handle is gigantic. (I know: that's what she said.) But seriosuly: you don't take the handle off like you do with a Floyd or a Strat, right?

I've had a few guitars with Bigsbys now. I mostly like them because I like how they look :D

Lots of people will say that they're fine for tuning. In my experience, they are certainly not as good as a strat trem for tuning stability - but they are certainly usable. A good nut makes a big difference. The main issue is the ABR-style bridge - not really made for a Bigsby, and you do tend to get a bit of a bind there. My technique is to give the handle a little wiggle right after using it but before I play the next set of notes - that seems to put everything back where it belongs.

And no - you don't remove the handle. It rotates back until it is basically flush with the body (pointing towards the tailpiece). Seems to fit just fine in most cases that way.
 

wizard333

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As with all trems:

Awesome if you know how to set them up to stay in tune, nightmare if you don't.

I can set up a Bigsby so that I have a wide range of throw, can beat the hell out of it and it stays in tune, so I enjoy them. LP and a 356 with Bigsbys, both are a lot of fun.
 

Mark Robinson

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The B7 or B-70 with the hold down bar are pretty good. The B3 would not work for me at all, too much free play in everything.

None of them would work worth a damn with the original tuneamatic, the angle was such that the string wanted to contact the body of the bridge. I ended up with a Schaller made roller bridge, taller saddles, which sounded just fine by the way. I have seen the bridges from Guitar Fetish work great too, but not for me because the studs weren't right. The Schaller is fine.

The Bigsby works, but do not expect to use it as freely as a well set up Fender or a Floyd Rose. It doesn't have as much range and the angled headstock up top is likely to give you notes coming back sharp if you take it way down. If you can use heavier strings, like 11-48, you will be rewarded with better tuning stability.

I let that guitar go and miss it to this day.
 

909one

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bigsby's will work with just about any guitar as long as you get the nut and bridge setup properly to allow for least amount of friction at these points as possible. this is where the tuning problems are. if the guitar already has these issues, putting a bigsby on it will appear to make it worse, but really its just revealing a flaw. the only tuning issues that the bigsby itself actually brings to the guitar is if a string breaks, all of your strings will go slightly out of tune. however, when the bigsby is at equilibrium and the nut and bridge are setup properly, it works beautifully.
 




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