Replacing a Maestro with a Bigsby

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Sloop John B, Apr 11, 2015.

  1. Sloop John B

    Sloop John B Supporting Member

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    Having thoughts about replacing the long Maestro on my SG Custom with a Bigsby B7, which is my favorite vibrato. I know this is super-specific, but I have two questions for anyone who has potentially done this/tried this:

    1) Does a Bigsby B7 even fit on an SG?

    2) Would it cover the holes left by the Maestro?
     
  2. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

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    I've only ever seen this on 335 style guitars, where if you replace a Maestro with a B7 you can see screw holes from the Maestro just behind the roller of the Bigsby. There was a late 60s ES355 on Reverb the other week with exactly that mod, but unfortunately it's no longer there to link to.

    Yes, holes aside, you should be able to add a B7 to an SG.
     
  3. Krausewitz

    Krausewitz Member

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    Just out of curiosity....why are you ditching the Maestro?
     
  4. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Member

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    I have a SG Melody Maker that originally had a Maestro, judging by the holes in teh top. When I got it it had been converted to stop tail and tuneomatic. Didn't know where to get a maestro at the time, so I put a Gibson labeled B5 on it.

    A B5 may give you more leeway to position it so it hides the holes, but you'd need to dry fit it to make sure the roller wouldn't drag the strings against the back of the bridge.
     
  5. Sloop John B

    Sloop John B Supporting Member

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    Two reasons, in order of importance:

    - Better break angle over the bridge
    - Smoother vibrato action
     
  6. Krausewitz

    Krausewitz Member

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    Why do you want a better break angle?

    You'll forgive the daft questions, I hope, but I'm in the market for an SG, so am trying to sort this stuff out. :)
     
  7. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Member

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    A very shallow break angle over a TOM bridge can lessen the sustain and soften the note attack so it sounds less like a solidbody and more like an archtop with a floating bridge and trapeze tail.
     
  8. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

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    Be careful what you wish for though! A B7 on an SG will have a very steep break angle with the strings likely touching the back of the tunomatic - that can be a recipe for tuning issues due to the strings binding on the saddles. Is the break angle of the Maestro causing you problems?
     
  9. big jilm

    big jilm Supporting Member

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    I recommend a B3 with a Towner Down bar for an SG. The Towner lets you decide exactly how much tension gets put on the bridge from the strings, unlike the tension bar on a B7. Fits perfectly, no issues. I did this to mine a few days ago:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. itstooloudMike

    itstooloudMike Member

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    This statement doesn't have to be the case. If the SG has the "revised" neck joint (not like the '61 RI, or very early SGs) that is found on most 90s and 2000s SGs, you can mount a B7 by using the same Vibramate as used on a Les Paul. The Vibramate raises the B7 up off the guitar body (by the thickness of the plate), and therefore reduces the string break angle significantly. The only issue is that you have to flip the Bigsby end plate to allow for fit to the SG. This isn't hard. You just drive the hinge rivet out, flip the end bracket over, and then put the hinge rivet back in. You also will need to put a washer or two between the end bracket and guitar body, to fill the small gap. There are pictures of this install on the internet (google "Bigsby B7 on an SG"). Looks great and works great. Don't try this on a '61 RI, as the B7 won't fit. The different neck joint changes the dimension from the tailpiece studs to the rear strap pin area of the body (longer), making it impossible to use a B7 with a Vibramate. I tried, it won't work. Normal SG Standard = OK with B7 + Vibramate.
     

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