Slotting an aluminum Bigsby bridge: please help

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by slidincharlie, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. slidincharlie

    slidincharlie Member

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    Palermo, Italy
    I bought a compensated aluminum Bigsby bridge for my Guild archtop. It was unslotted. I tried to make the slots but made a very poor job, in that the strings are now unevenly spaced :( .
    I'm thinking to file the top of the bridge in order to go back to blank saddles and redo the slots.
    What method do you suggest?
    Should I put the strings in place, adjust the spaces by naked eye, then mark the string positions in some way?
    What kind of saw or file should I use?
    I find very difficult using a thin needle file because it tends to slip aside while filing a smooth metal surface...
     
  2. OlAndrew

    OlAndrew Member

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    You've got the right idea. Gibson whacks the strings with a hammer to start the groove, but I wouldn't recommend that unless you're awfully good at it already.

    I'd mark it, then take the aluminum part off, set it on the bench, and with a very small chisel and light (a few oz or less) hammer set the chisel on the mark and give it a little whack. Just enough to keep a file or fine saw from slipping off, then do the rest with the file. I'd do two marks, one on each side of a string, and try to center the chisel between them.

    You don't want much of a groove, by the way. Just about half the diameter of the string in depth, a tad more than the string in width. Make a nicely rounded hump, like a "U" turned upside down. maybe just a tad of a flat spot for the wound strings. Too sharp a hump, and the strings won't slide over for tuning, too flat and you get sitar noises.
     
  3. slidincharlie

    slidincharlie Member

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    Palermo, Italy
    Thank you Andrew,
    very clear instructions!
    I'll do the job
     

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