I could use some Bigsby assistance.

Discussion in 'The Great Bigsby forum' started by Larry Mal, May 16, 2011.

  1. Larry Mal

    Larry Mal Electromatic

    5
    May 16, 2011
    Saint Louis
    Hey, all, I'm brand new on the forum here, and that's not surprising, since I've never owned a Gretsch guitar. I do, though, have Bigsby questions, complicated ones, further complicated by the fact that I know nothing about Bigsbys.

    (I do actually play guitar, though, believe it or not.)

    Anyway, I came across an item called a Bigsby Palm Pedal a while back, and I thought it would be fun to install on my Gibson Les Paul Studio. I was lucky enough to find a unit, with the two bars attached to a Bigsby B700 import model at a good price. But the rear hinge on the unit is cracked, although it will work just fine if I need it to.

    But I thought that I would simply buy a non-import Bigsby B7, and put the levers on it. (I do not and never have really liked whammy bars.)

    My ignorance of Bigsbys meant that I didn't know that the center bar, on which the strings would attach, doesn't come off. Or doesn't seem to come off. I guess that's question number one. Do they come off? Can I simply move the bar from the B700 with the Palm Pedals attached to it into the Bigsby B7?

    One of the reasons why I'm so insistent on the B7 is, I don't really want to drill into this guitar and make this permanent. I will if I have to. But I really wanted to use the Vibramate, since it looks easier, and not permanent. But the Vibramate won't work with a B700, only with a B7, is what the Vibramate people say.

    Or will it? It seems to me that the main difference in what wouldn't fit would be the tailpiece hinge, which would need to be replaced on the B700 model anyway, ideally. Can I use a hinge from a B7 on a B700, is my second question? If someone could verify whether that is possible, then I can probably use the B700 with the Vibramate. Or if not, then I have the replacement hinge on that I need anyway.

    There's no way I can lose here. I can either just put on the unit I have now, and use the B7 and the Vibramate on another guitar- this also means I have to buy another guitar, but what can you do. Or I can just put the B7 on the Les Paul, and save the Palm Pedal model for another guitar. There are advantages either way.

    For anyone who doesn't know, a Palm Pedal is a unit that instead of doing a whammy type thing, instead will raise the pitch of the G string, the B string, or both, by a set amount, usually a whole tone. It is designed to sound like a steel guitar. This sort of thing is more common in the Telecaster world with B-Benders and to a lesser extent, G-Benders, both of which I'm a big fan of. While not exactly common even with Teles, this sort of thing is very rare on other types of guitars, and I thought it could be a fun addition to my Les Paul, which is otherwise a sort of boring instrument, in my opinion.

    I've included what pictures I thought would help. Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions you might have! I know I'm a Gretschless interloper here, but this seems to be the Bigsby database, as far as I can tell, so I thought I'd give it a shot!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Jukebox

    Jukebox Gretschified

    Age:
    64
    Jun 2, 2008
    Foreston,MN
    Welcome to the G-T, I not the best at this , but if the hinge can be changed , change it and use the one in the bottom picture, Otherwise someone else will be along and might be able to help you further.
     
  3. Larry Mal

    Larry Mal Electromatic

    5
    May 16, 2011
    Saint Louis
    Hey thanks Jukebox! The problem is, I don't have the hinge at the bottom. I will get it, though, if there is a reason for it. It's only $25.
     
  4. Jukebox

    Jukebox Gretschified

    Age:
    64
    Jun 2, 2008
    Foreston,MN
    It would be a lot cheaper than a new or used Bigsby.
     
  5. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Country Gent

    Age:
    56
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    The top-mount holes on a B700 will NOT mate up with the top-mounting holes in a B7 Vibramate. The changing of the hinge is irrelevant. Only a B7 will fit the Vibramate. Although they are similar in looks, the design of the B7, B70, and B700 are all a bit different. They are not interchangeable when it comes to perfect line-up of the mounting holes.

    Also, the string bar will come off. It's held in place by a C-clip on each end. And the handle and string pins must come off before sliding the string bar out.

    However, you can replace the B700 hings and use the B700 without the Vibramate, but of course the drawback is that you will have to put holes in the guitar top, which you already said you don't want to do.
     
  6. Larry Mal

    Larry Mal Electromatic

    5
    May 16, 2011
    Saint Louis
    Ah. Then I can get the levers off. This makes all the difference.

    A couple of follow up questions, then. Is the bar the strings are attached to the same size on the B7 and the B700? It does me little good to pull them off if they won't go on the other.

    Or even better, can I just put the old bar in the new Bigsby B7 and vice versa?

    And how does one remove the string pins?

    Thanks for the answers!
     
  7. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Country Gent

    Age:
    56
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Nope. changing the hinge won't change the position of the top-holes vis-a-vis the Vibramate mounting plate.
     
  8. Larry Mal

    Larry Mal Electromatic

    5
    May 16, 2011
    Saint Louis
    OK, so I'll hopefully just get the center bar out and put it into the new Bigsby B7 that will work with the Vibramate. That seems easiest.

    Are those bars the same dimensions on the two models?
     
  9. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Country Gent

    Age:
    56
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    I'm not sure if they are the same size. However, it's worth a shot.
     
  10. jaycemumford

    jaycemumford Country Gent

    Age:
    29
    Jan 2, 2011
    OzVegas
    The string pins are 'roll pins' most of the time when used for other things they go all the way through but on a bigsby they dont. (obviously)
    I would assume you could pull them out..
     
  11. rockabilly-rebel

    rockabilly-rebel Country Gent

    Jul 21, 2009
    Derbyshire, England
    yep - they just pull out - be careful not to damage them though!
     
  12. Big Ron

    Big Ron Synchromatic

    732
    Nov 17, 2010
    Chattanooga, TN
    Ditto what Rockabilly-Rebel says. A roll pin is made to drive into an opening that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the roll pin and stay there. It isn't made to be inserted and removed and re-used. The issue is that when you drive the pin into the opening it press fits, and makes the roll pin slightly smaller. When removed it may or may not spring back to it's original size. The second time it is used it may not have the ability to hold onto the opening like it did the first time.

    You might want to mark the pins and turn them around using the other end. Come to think if it, you can probably see which end was removed when you pull them out. This would make them at least a 2-use pin.

    Big Ron
     
  13. Larry Mal

    Larry Mal Electromatic

    5
    May 16, 2011
    Saint Louis
    Hey, thanks all. So if the bars are interchangeable, then I'm good to go. If they aren't then it doesn't matter what I do, I'll either use the Palm Pedal as is, and drill into the guitar (which isn't really that big of a deal), or use the Bigsby B7 as a whammy with the Vibramate.

    Using it as a whammy means that I'll be able to palm mute, a big part of my playing, and I didn't exactly realized that the Palm Pedals would make that impossible. I can still do it, but it will likely remove all the harmonic content that I like to let through a bit.

    Still, though, I have a lot of guitars I can play in that style with.

    And since I can remove the string bars and replace them, I'll do that. These ones are bent and not in great shape as is. I knew the B700 unit had some problems, I basically bought the palm levers.

    I'll let you all know if the bars can be switched out when I get it! Thanks.
     
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