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Stringing a guitar w/ Bigsby

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by kingpinboogie, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. kingpinboogie

    kingpinboogie Daphne My Girl Silver Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2007
    Portland. OR
    Interested in what people are using to get that little 1/2 loop bent on the ball end of the string to hook up to the bar pin on a Bigsby tailpiece. Seems like its easy to cut your fingers doing it by hand, and pliers don't do a neat consistant job- might there be a specific tool or something?
  2. TwoTubMan

    TwoTubMan Member

    Nov 3, 2005
    Late of Pablo Fanques Fair
    It's a pain in the ass, isn't it?

    Wrap the ball end of your string around a small dowel, or even a pencil. Hold it there until it adopts a curl, and then insert it. Hopefully, someone else will come along with a better method.
  3. Rob Sharer

    Rob Sharer Muso-Luthier

    Sep 9, 2007
    Get a handy length of dowel in a similar diameter to the string bar of the Bigsby. Next, find the stoutest piece of steel music wire that will pass through a ball-end. Cut off a 3/4" length of the music wire, drill an appropriate-sized hole through the dowel, and superglue the music wire in the hole (should be a tight fit). This can serve as a bending jig for your strings; I mount mine in a vise, but you could make a portable one by fashioning a T-handle for the dowel.

    Side note: a young apprentice luthier, who shall remain nameless, once learned a hard lesson about what happens when you clip the strings on a Bigsby-equipped guitar without winding the strings slack first: six perfectly lined-up divots in the nitro. A word to the wise! Cheers,


    p.s. Best to just let the music wire protrude on one side, but still drill the hole all the way through the dowel, for stability.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2008
  4. cacibi

    cacibi Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    A rubber door stop is also handy as a wedge to keep the ball end on the Bigsby string post while you are taking up the slack on the new string. I keep one on my work bench just for Bigsby guitars.
  5. David Collins

    David Collins Member

    Feb 10, 2007
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Keep a set of these in your case.


    $3-$4 at any arts and crafts store. Still, I think any miniature needle nose pliers work just fine, round tip or not. All you need is a soft 90 degree bend near the tip to reach the pin. So long as you don't make the bend excessively sharp, the string will conform to the bar when pulled up to tension. You can just grab the sides of the ball end with some needle nose rather than gripping on the string itself, then pull the string around to bend a shallow curve.

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