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keeping the Bigsby in tune

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by foo606, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. wildeman

    wildeman Friend of Fred

    May 10, 2015
  2. TSims1

    TSims1 Friend of Fred

    Jun 18, 2013
    benjwri likes this.
  3. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    so cal
    All you need is to move up to an 11gauge set of strings, 10g are just stupid in my opinion on a 24.6" scale guitar. Even master luthier, PA Bigsby authority; TK Smith sez 11gauge are necessary for proper tuning stability. So.. this simple thing can be fortified w coated D'Addario strings and a tiny bit of lube in the nut and saddles each string change. You will not only gain better tuning stability all around, but much improved tone from more mass and the coated strings slide naturally in the lubed slots. caveat: all this predicated on having the sense to set up a guitar properly when purchasing it, ie redressing all saddles and nut for appropriate string gauge. A bar bridge is a bandaid if you havent taken care of the basic setup.
    h2odog and JumpinJagFlash like this.
  4. jklotz

    jklotz Gretschie

    Mar 24, 2013
    94% of the time, it's the nut slots. I get abrasive chord from stew mac, and gently polish the nut and saddle slots, then use a little nut sauce on them, and it's works really well.

    Some folks use emory cloth folded, but I'm a big believer in having the proper tools for the job. If you buy the right diameter abrasive chord, it is round, just like the bottom of the slot is supposed to be, not a "V" like folded paper.
    JumpinJagFlash and MotorCentaur like this.
  5. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Sorry Tavo, but there are many Gretschplayers on the road using 10s without tuning issues. At least me ;)
    You're right, 11s add more mass and therefore more tonal mojo (and some guitars really needs 'em, my Guild Manhattan e.g.), but my Gretsch stays in tune without any probs- and with 10s.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
    JimB1122 likes this.
  6. benjwri

    benjwri Country Gent

    Oct 27, 2011
    Central ON Can
    Never have Bigsby problems again...ever...toss it!
  7. foo606

    foo606 Electromatic

    Mar 17, 2017
    Yes ZackyDog
  8. foo606

    foo606 Electromatic

    Mar 17, 2017
    Well update I have ordered some graphite powder and addres the nut and saddles , before attempting anything with the nut , thanks for all your input and help , I will let you know how things go .As for string gauge no tto sure what they are standard tho reckon they be 10s .
  9. wabash slim

    wabash slim Country Gent

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Nut Sauce and graphite are the same thing as pencil lead. It's a great lubricant. We'd use it on all of the hundreds of door locks in our theater and on the gear trains in carbon arc lamphouses, among other uses. Nut Sauce just uses a thin oil as a medium to get the graphite where you need it. Whatever you do, don't use silicone---it'll be problematic if you need to refinish your guitar.
    JumpinJagFlash and foo606 like this.
  10. JumpinJagFlash

    JumpinJagFlash Gretschie

    Apr 26, 2016
    Tabernacle NJ USA
    This is a great tip. I was not aware this stuff was available from StewMac. Thanks so much!
  11. Dave-B

    Dave-B Synchromatic

    May 23, 2016
    If your strings are wound many times around the tuner post, this can also cause tuning issues. Use a locking method to string up, then you only need a single wind around each post.

    foo606 and Stefan like this.
  12. Lockupyourfatdog

    Lockupyourfatdog Electromatic

    Aug 8, 2016
    Everett wa
    I have surf 90's in my 5120 too! Sounds great
  13. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Country Gent

    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    I've been lucky. I keep my tuner screws tightened, stretch my strings when I install new ones, clean the strings and do about 2-3 wraps around the capstan. I think the brand and type of strings figure into the equation too. I use these in 10-46:

  14. macatt

    macatt Gretschie

    Mar 18, 2011
    Silverdale WA
    If the nut slots are too tight and pinching the strings you must get them properly filed. That is the most common problem with Bigsby tuning issues. (I'm assuming the strings are properly wound on the tuning posts and stretched out)
    After that's done still lube the slots and other contact points. Graphite (pencil lead) works great in the nut slots.

    BTW, I use 10's and my guitars play great, sound great and stay in tune.

    S Mac
  15. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    That's what I believed for a long time until @tartanphantom hipped me to square cut slots. Less friction.
  16. foo606

    foo606 Electromatic

    Mar 17, 2017
    Graphite powder arrived today , so set about getting some on the saddles and nut .
    After retuning seems to hold tune much better than previously .
    Will report in a couple of days see how they settle .
    JumpinJagFlash likes this.