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Discussion in 'The Great Bigsby forum' started by Roy Clark, Jun 19, 2017.
You all know I have " Bigsbitis " .... can't play a guitar without one
I've never had tuning issues with it, however... I use it like the f*** word - sparingly and for maximum effect.
I like Bigsbys but not tension bars. Every tension bar Bigsby I've owned has given me problems.
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I had the pleasure to play lots of different tremolosystems. There are some faulty designs around. The Bigsby is one of the most elaborate and classic systems out there. Timeproven and elegant.
I am divebombing happily without any tuning problems.
yeah but I don't even find them any work on a Gretsch.
Once you get them set up right my 2 on a G6131 and G5422 work flawlessly and I don't need to lube up anything - just play.
Bigby's do have limits you must respect though.
They are made for wobbles only - like 1/2 step either way.
They are not made for dive bombing.
If you push em too far they won't return to tune.
But then there's very few trem systems that will.
And if you use a vibromate string spoiler they are just as easy and fast to restring as a Tele.
I luv my bigby's
I can make the Bigsby on my 6120N dive bomb with no tuning troubles at all.
Dig those 6120N's!
Hopefully, this doesn't come off as condescending, but unless you know how to set up your guitar properly or have access to a tech that's familiar with Bigsbys, you're just asking for problems. I can completely floor the Bigsbys on all 3 of my Gretsch guitars and have them come back perfectly in tune. Perfectly.
In 25 years, I've never had a problem with a Bigsby and never really had to go out of my way with lubing or filing nuts or saddles. But all of my guitars have been old, and all have had either rocking bridges or Melitas with plastic saddles, and most have had zero frets. I get the sense that brand new tightly cut nuts and tuna-matics must require more attention.
I have Bigsbys on 3 guitars. Once set up they have all been lovely. Easiest trem to be subtle with.
Improper stringing can cause tuning headaches too. Otherwise, "what everyone else has said" holds true.
Over the years, any Bigsby problems that I've had, came back to set up faults, or improper stringing. Correct those issues, and a Bigsby will perform problem free.
No just one's that aren't properly set up and adjusted right.
I got my new G5422 from Sweetwater 6 months ago and the bigsby (and everything else) was flawless on arrival. There's a good guitar store in my town (called Musos Corner) that is a pro outfit who carry lots of Gretsch (54s, 61s and Streamliners).
I go in there and test out all the Gretsch models often (test only).
I've not found a single bigsby Gretsch there that did not work perfect.
Then I hear stories from other guys here who bought same model as me, or a similar 5420, from some place in US or Europe and they have all kinds of issues.
Common theme is the guitar was not set up right by the seller.
To me that indicates the new owner bought from a non professional retailer and then..........once rec'd the owner doesn't have the knowledge and experience to ID what/where the problems are and then how to fix them
A few of em then get on here and complain about Gretsch guitars, Korean crap blah blah and blame everyone but themselves. To me it's just user error.
Sweetwater in Oz? Thanks for that.
You've opened up a door.
No mate - Sweetwater of New York City.
I don't buy guitars in australia cos I'm not into throwing money away.
You can get em shipped over in 5 days for 50% of the Aust price from good US retailers like Sweetwater. They ship all over the world and it will arrive to your door in perfect cond.
There are a few issues to work through though. Tax - customs - exchange rate - etc.
But I'm so glad to have spotted your post.
The only Bigsbys that causes problems are no-name "Bigsbys". Correct installed on a good adjusted guitar an original Bigsby is a lifetime lasting construction, time proofed and flawless. And no vibrato shimmers and sings like a Bigsby. None!
No customs duty payable in Aust on any item imported from US under $1000.
For any item over $1000 you pay 10% GST only on the part over 1000 (and not including shipping cost).
Factor in exchange rate and shipping cost.
6 months ago I got a new G5422 from Sweetwater in hard case shipped to my door for US$780 total. Exchange rate at time made it A$1050
Sweetwater charged me $90 to ship & arrived in 5 days from NYC.
No customs duty owed or paid.
Or I could have bought the same guitar at my local guitar store in Newcastle for $1950 with Gretsch hardcase. And that price was the best available in Australia.
In Ballina add another $500 for the guitar.
Take your pick Russ - no brainer for me
Contrary to popular thought, Bigsbys and Fender tremolos are great for bending and staying in tune. They can mask tuning instability caused by slight nut and saddle issues as well as over-wrapped tuning posts. All you have to do is deck the handle a couple of times and tuning comes back.
If your nuts or saddles are way off and strings are binding terribly, it can be difficult to achieve good tuning in the first place. So you do need to have your nut and saddle well sculpted and lubricated. But in general, I don't see it that bad. You do need to deck the handle as part of your tuning process.
But beyond that, Bigsby's are a guys best friend when it comes to tuning stability. You can bend and dive like a banshee and just deck that handle a couple of times and you'll get back to relative tune better than any hard tail guitar.
That's exactly the point - decking your tremolo is what brings it back in tune, even if it's not set up optimally.