Help me replace the bigsby arm on my Black Falcon...

Discussion in 'The Great Bigsby forum' started by Jeremyjames, Jan 21, 2020.

  1. Jeremyjames

    Jeremyjames Electromatic

    18
    Jan 21, 2020
    Hong Kong
    Hi everyone
    First post here and hoping someone can weigh in with some help.
    Just bought a second hand falcon is great condition but the arm of the bigsby( butter knife style) has tarnished against the interior of the case. Want to replace but I’m unsure which arm would fit. The specs I’ve seen on the black falcons (2008) don’t mention which particular bigsby though I’m fairly sure it’s a B6. Whether it’s a B6g or B6cb or something else, I’m not entirely sure — or perhaps that makes no difference for the arm.
    A second question would be the best place to buy replacement parts - (after gold...)
    Thanks for any help!
    Jeremy
     
    T Bone likes this.
  2. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Welcome to Gretschville! Congrats on the Falcon. Lessee a pic of that beauty(and the Bigsby).
     
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  3. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    Welcome friend , yes we love pics here on the forum
     
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  4. Jeremyjames

    Jeremyjames Electromatic

    18
    Jan 21, 2020
    Hong Kong
    Yes, a picture is called for! Will post tomorrow. Thanks
     
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  5. Lockupyourfatdog

    Lockupyourfatdog Gretschie

    499
    Aug 8, 2016
    Everett wa
    The licensed bigsby on the electromatics have a slightly bigger diameter on the cross bar that the arm bracket mounts to. So with you having a falcon either bracket will fit just fine, the set screw will keep it tight. If you’re upgrading your handle with a Duane Eddy or a Chet or something it always has a pro bracket.
    I’ve gotten most of my replacement arms from eBay but reverb is a good source too
     
    Jeremyjames likes this.
  6. Moleng1

    Moleng1 Synchromatic

    Age:
    62
    748
    Jul 5, 2014
    Vancouver, B.C. Canada
    I'm pretty sure any bigsby 5,6,7 arm will fit (Not licenced for Bigsby that are 50, 60, 70), I tend to just buy the entire arm with the bracket then I don't have to fool around with the nut and spring that tensions the arm.

    I loosen off the strings, capo them on the 12 fret, lift the arm and take the strings off the pegs.

    Once you've done that you can roll the arm carefully away from the headstock to expose the hex head set screw that holds the arm on, loosen it and remove the arm (you'll have to back it out quite a bit as there's an indent that holds the arm in place when the set screw tightened.

    Now place the new arm onto the shaft and line up the set screw with the indent (you don't have to be perfect as both the set screw and the indent are chamfered and will align themselves if you wind the screw in slowly)

    Now comes the part where you need patience!! take the string ends and put them back onto the pins of the Bigsy, it's fiddly but can be done, I've done it hundreds of times. Once they're on, tighten the strings abit to keep them on the pins then remove the capo and bring her back into tune. Done!!

    I've attached a link for what you are looking for to replace the arm, good luck!!


    This is the Duane Eddy arm, the best in my opinion
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Gretsch-Bi...077332&hash=item3419a2d3ea:g:wqUAAOSwQupXUH-K

    If you want to try something different lots of members love the Chet Arm!!
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Gretsch-Ch...603866&hash=item48da1b9326:g:uEwAAOSwtbldgTpQ
     
    Jeremyjames, Henry and G5422T like this.
  7. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    usa

    Yep, replace the arm and mounting bracket.

    I prefer the "DE" arm too, and have put them on all my Prolines.

    I've purchased mine through Angela Instruments.

    https://www.angela.com/gretschparts.aspx


    The DE arm feels good and looks good to me.

    20200107_154553.jpg
     
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  8. JC higgy

    JC higgy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    49
    Jun 6, 2008
    Belfast Norn Iron
    Welcome to GT Jeremy !
     
    Jeremyjames likes this.
  9. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    Welcome!
    I put a gold Duane Eddy Style handle on my falcon. I find it to be the most comfortable and responsive option.
    8F3611F8-617B-4408-AC1E-C9A18F71C087.jpeg
     
  10. Jeremyjames

    Jeremyjames Electromatic

    18
    Jan 21, 2020
    Hong Kong
    Thanks so much for the detailed responses and feedback! Much appreciated.
    I’ll attach a couple of pictures so you can see the bigsby and what I mean re a replacement...
    The overall condition of the bigsby is ok but the arm is almost silver- I considered getting an entire bigsby but that seems like overkill.
    Just waiting for the brass Compton bridge to arrive then will get it cleaned and set up.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    Beautiful guitar! Congratulations!

    Yeah, don’t throw out the baby with the bath water as they say. Just replace the handle.
    It’s too bad I live on the other side of the world, I’d give you my spare gold butter knife handle.
     
    Jeremyjames likes this.
  12. Jeremyjames

    Jeremyjames Electromatic

    18
    Jan 21, 2020
    Hong Kong
    Thanks for the pic — the DE arm looks to have more of a curve (slightly) and perhaps more depth/weight? I’m happy with the butter knife style but am now thinking that the curve and ergonomics might improve the bigsby. Is that why you think it more responsive? I would have thought the responsiveness would be the same unless the attachment is different...
     
    calebaaron666 likes this.
  13. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    It’s definitely a beefier and stronger chunk of metal. That’s why it feels more responsive to me. I have them on 4 guitars. Much more comfortable than the butter knife for me.
     
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  14. Jeremyjames

    Jeremyjames Electromatic

    18
    Jan 21, 2020
    Hong Kong
    Yes it looks that way.
    Think this would be the best choice....however I have another gretsch, a 6119 that has the standard butter knife arm and perhaps keeping the same style on both might be a good idea. I’m still undecided.
    For the standard, it’s the 7” (short) one that’s most common right? I’ve seen 9” arms which don’t quite look right.
    If I get the standard I’m thinking this would be ok?
    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https://www.ebay.com.hk/ulk/itm/332788681142
     
    calebaaron666 likes this.
  15. T Bone

    T Bone Country Gent

    Welcome, cool guitar you've grabbed, nice!
     
    Jeremyjames likes this.
  16. Jeremyjames

    Jeremyjames Electromatic

    18
    Jan 21, 2020
    Hong Kong
    Can somebody who has made the upgrade from standard ‘butter knife’ to Duane Eddy arm comment on any difference in length.
    The only comparison picture I’ve made the DE look a good 1.5” longer. If so, I’ll stick with the normal one.
    If they are about the same I’m going to spring for the DE.
    Thanks so much for the help with this...
     
  17. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    About the same.
     
    G5422T likes this.
  18. mbkri

    mbkri Country Gent

    Sep 22, 2012
    Chicago
    Ahhhhhhh. I love the black falcon. Congrats. If you replace the arm aren’t you going to draw Attention to the patina on the bracket where the arm attaches? If you want it to look “new” then maybe a whole new Bigsby isn’t overkill......my 2 cents: keep it as it is coz it looks awesome or replace the whole Bigsby with a shiny new B6.
     
  19. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    usa
    DE arm on my Phoenix. (Same body as a Falcon.)

    20191015_152307.jpg
     
    Trash Kidd likes this.
  20. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    usa
    Yep, looked at mine, and they are about the same. Within an 1/8" of each other.
     
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