Wraparound Bridge? Hipshot Baby Grand vs Schaller 455 vs Pigtail?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Buduranus2, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. Buduranus2

    Buduranus2 Member

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    I've got an old Firebird III that came stock with a short Vibrola and a compensated wraparound bridge. I had a custom-machined tune-o-matic made so I could still use the Vibrola plus intonate the guitar. Recently I installed an "el cheapo" compensated wraparound bridge (compensation for the G is better than the original) and was completely blown away. Instant Trainwreck!!!! Sustain for days and completely balls-out. Plus no more tuning issues as with the Vibrola (every time you tighten one string it loosens another.) And no obstruction from the Vibrola arm. So now I'd like to get a high-quality wraparound so I can intonate the guitar properly. I've narrowed it down to the Hipshot Baby Grand, the Schaller 455, and the Pigtail bridge. Of the three the Baby Grand and the Pigtail are aluminum, which is somehow supposed to provide a "better" sound. The Baby Grand and the Schaller are easier to change strings on, which is a consideration for me. The Baby Grand's "break angle" behind the saddles seems shallower than the Schaller, so does that affect sustain? And the Schaller is by far the heaviest, which apparently is undesirable. Any guidance you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Shamus

    Shamus Supporting Member

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    Pigtails are expensive - but the product is first class!
     
  3. plagtr2

    plagtr2 Silver Supporting Member

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    Another Pigtail vote. Pulled the stock Bad Ass on my Gretsch Malclolm. MUCH better setup. The spacing on the Pigtail is ever so slightly wider & is PERFCET on this guitar. Should be stock IMHO. Used the Pigtail studs as well. Could not be happier.
     
  4. guitarman_1

    guitarman_1 Silver Supporting Member

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    +1 on the Pigtail.Awesone tone and build quality.
     
  5. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    Pigtail bridges are great, but do yourself a favor and search for Pigtail and you'll find that the proprietor, Steve Rowen is a total flake when it comes to customer service. There have been many threads on TGP about him and 95% of them are the same - he doesn't deal well with single customers - no responses to phone calls or eMail for months and months (me included).

    I'm not just whining, you'll read it for yourself over and over again. I would not recommend doing business with him, even though the product is very good.
     
  6. Buduranus2

    Buduranus2 Member

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    I've read that there are sometimes issues with the Pigtail tilting forward when mounted and saddle movement related to retainer clip placement.
     
  7. dharmafool

    dharmafool Member

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    Hard to imagine the Pigtail wraparound bridge tilting forward on Pigtail studs and bushings. I don't see any retainer clip on the wraparound, which sells for 89.95 (nickel or chrome) BTW.
     
  8. Buduranus2

    Buduranus2 Member

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    Do I have to use their studs? I thought the bridge would retrofit on my stock ones.
     
  9. googoobaby

    googoobaby Member

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    I've had the Pigtail and the Baby Grand on different guitars and liked them both. It's more up to style and fit with the guitar than any other quality.
     
  10. Buduranus2

    Buduranus2 Member

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    The Baby Grand appeals to me because of the string-changing consideration. But if I rest my hand behind the bridge, will the weight of my hand put pressure on the strings and affect the tuning? Also, having had both, do you notice any difference in tone, sustain and string tension? It's really about sound and playability for me, so if I've gotta fish out a broken string end occasionally I can live with it.
     
  11. googoobaby

    googoobaby Member

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    I haven't noticed any sensitivity to hand pressure with the Baby Grand. It's hard to compare string tension because the Pigtail was on an Anderson Atom at Gibson scale and the Baby Grand is on a Scott French SF3 at 26" scale. The Atom felt a little mushy to me tension-wise, but I don't blame the bridge for that, and it certainly sustained well.
     
  12. Buduranus2

    Buduranus2 Member

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    Thanks for the additional observations. I'm tending more toward the Baby Grand for a couple of reasons. First, I've noticed that several custom builders are using this bridge on their instruments, Scott French being one of many. So I don't think he and his fellow travelers would choose an inferior sounding or performing bridge with so many other options available. Second is the string-changing consideration. With the Pigtail you have to finagle the strings over the lead pickup and under the bridge. Plus if you break one it looks like it'd be a little bit of a chore fishing out the broken end. Haven't heard any feedback (no pun intended) on the Schaller 455. Looks like it's brass and heavy, kind of '80s. Is there a tonal difference between aluminum (Pigtail and Hipshot) and brass, and if so what is it?
     
  13. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    One major problem with many bridges..including wraparounds..is loose saddles. These can easily cause audible buzzing...often, intermittently.

    Shake your new bridge and listen for rattles. Use a fingertip to see that the saddles will not wiggle.

    I have seen this problem with bridges that would surprise many of you.

    I am told that the "Anderson Saddles" are the only way to go on a Pigtail, in order to avoid this situation.
     
  14. Buduranus2

    Buduranus2 Member

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    OK I'll keep that in mind. As I mentioned, I'm leaning away from the Pigtail because of the string changing issue. Do you have any direct experience with the Baby Grand or the Schaller? Or perhaps you're aware of another option I hadn't considered?
     
  15. cnardone

    cnardone Member

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    Bill Chapin choose the Baby Grand for both of mine. I am pretty sure that they are available in materials other than aluminum. I could be wrong, it is worth checking out. Also, from all of the discussions on the board, I am not sure aluminum is better, just different. Possibly better for you. There is a tool for every application (If you know what I mean).

    cmn
     
  16. Buduranus2

    Buduranus2 Member

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    Seems that the general consensus is that aluminum is brighter than brass. If so then it may not be the best option for me, because I prefer a darker sound. So maybe I'll have to get the Baby Grand and the Schaller and see which one works for me. Hate to spend the extra $$$ if I don't have to though. How's the string tension with your Baby Grands?
     
  17. cnardone

    cnardone Member

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    My Chapin (one is still on order) is 25'' and it has less tension than my McRosie. But the headstock has a lot to do with it. The Chapin is 6 in line which I believe makes for much less tension on the bottom strings.
     
  18. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    I've got the Schaller 455 on 2 guitars and another sitting in the basement...

    When I first put one on a guitar in 93 or so- I thought it was superior to the Badass it replaced. More string travel- so it actually intonated on my guitar, and it was easier to restring.

    When I got my Epi Olympic, it was missing a bunch the bridge/vibrato components, so I got a Schaller 455 to put on there.

    When I got annoyed with my 58 LP Special being slightly out of tune past the 7th/9th fret... I got a Schaller 455 to put on there. I honestly don't remember a difference in tone or anything when I replaced the stock wraparound with the Schaller. However, when I decided to throw the stock wraparound back on- that guitar came alive!!! I left the Schaller off.

    I like the bridge. If you have a guitar that needs adjustable intonation... However from what my experience is, the I think there's a better design that would allow for restringing from the rear or top, there's a better design that would weigh less and be more sympathetic to the resonance of the guitar. I'm not convinced the Baby Grand is the most... subtle design that could be attained. I've considered the Pigtail, but I'm content with the Schallers.
     
  19. maccampbells

    maccampbells Member

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    I've got a pigtail for sale if you are interested. I put it on a PRS SE, but I am removing my upgrades prior to sale. Pm me if interested.
     
  20. dharmafool

    dharmafool Member

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    MannMade has an aluminum intonatable wraptail, sold with Mann's studs and bushings for $125.

    ABM (Germany) has a couple to choose from -- one identical to the Gotoh wraptail, the other a one-piece version of the Schaller with fine-tuners. No idea on their pricing.

    Good luck in your search.
     

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