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I dislike Bigsby's.

Discussion in 'The Great Bigsby forum' started by Roy Clark, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. thunder58

    thunder58 Gretschified

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    You all know I have " Bigsbitis " .... can't play a guitar without one :)
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
    Trash Kidd likes this.
  2. JimB1122

    JimB1122 Gretschie

    Dec 15, 2016
    Silver Bay, Minnesota
    I've never had tuning issues with it, however... I use it like the f*** word - sparingly and for maximum effect.
    Ebidis likes this.
  3. Tinman46

    Tinman46 Country Gent

    Dec 19, 2011
    Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
    I like Bigsbys but not tension bars. Every tension bar Bigsby I've owned has given me problems.
    TSims1 likes this.
  4. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    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.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
    Rob Williams likes this.
  5. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    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 :)
    TSims1 likes this.
  6. Frank_NH

    Frank_NH Synchromatic

    Mar 25, 2013
    Lebanon, NH
    I can make the Bigsby on my 6120N dive bomb with no tuning troubles at all.

    CHelgason01 and TSims1 like this.
  7. TSims1

    TSims1 Friend of Fred

    Jun 18, 2013
    Dig those 6120N's!
    CHelgason01 and Frank_NH like this.
  8. dilver

    dilver Country Gent

    Feb 16, 2009
    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.
    RocknRollShakeUp, Ebidis and Ricochet like this.
  9. afire

    afire Country Gent

    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.
  10. wilblee

    wilblee Synchromatic

    May 23, 2013
    TX Hill Country
    I have Bigsbys on 3 guitars. Once set up they have all been lovely. Easiest trem to be subtle with.
    RocknRollShakeUp likes this.
  11. G5422T

    G5422T Gretschie

    May 24, 2012
    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.
    hcsterg likes this.
  12. Trash Kidd

    Trash Kidd Country Gent

    Dec 14, 2015
    London U.K.
    Same here!!!!!
    thunder58 likes this.
  13. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    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.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
  14. russmack

    russmack Country Gent

    May 1, 2017
    ballina australia
    Sweetwater in Oz? Thanks for that.

    You've opened up a door.

  15. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    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.
  16. russmack

    russmack Country Gent

    May 1, 2017
    ballina australia

    There are a few issues to work through though. Tax - customs - exchange rate - etc.

    But I'm so glad to have spotted your post.


  17. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    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!
  18. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    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 :)
  19. stevo

    stevo Country Gent

    May 1, 2012
    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.
  20. stevo

    stevo Country Gent

    May 1, 2012
    That's exactly the point - decking your tremolo is what brings it back in tune, even if it's not set up optimally.