Stringing a Bigsby-equiped Gretsch

Discussion in 'The Great Bigsby forum' started by Joe M, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. benjwri

    benjwri Country Gent

    Age:
    81
    Oct 27, 2011
    Central ON Can
    My 5 cent solution to holding the string on the peg. Just slide the pink eraser under the ball. No capo, no pre bending. er3.JPG
     
  2. P2gee

    P2gee Electromatic

    21
    Dec 19, 2018
    Texas
    As a modification of the eraser method, I use a common wooden pencil with the eraser end under the string ball end to hold in place. Works well and the price is right.
     
  3. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Sorry Vista
    Admin Post
    I’m with Robbie on this one; it gets lots easier. The first couple of times you feel like you need four arms and three legs, but after I’d done it a few times it became a matter of bending a hook into the string, keeping a little tension on the string with my left hand and then threading the string into the machine head. It took significantly more time to write that last sentence than it does to install a single string.
     
    macatt likes this.
  4. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    I have to sit down to do it, because I use my legs. I can do it in my sleep and in the dark. Pre-bend the ball side around your finger, lock it on the Bigsby. I pay attention to sharp wrap end, I make sure it's sticking out. The trick is leaning the neck on your legs while you measure the right amount of string, then doing the first wrap/post lock while holding tension in the string with your thumb and middle fingers. You have to pull against the weight of the body. Sounds weird/funny but I can string em fast this way. NO special tools needed, I never use a capo or a foam wedge, and I'll be in deep in the cold cold ground before I put one of those awful looking Vibramate cheaters on my guitar :)
     
    calebaaron666 and panhead6zero like this.
  5. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    I can restring my b6 fast and efficiently without tools or tricks. The locking tuners help.
    I recently added the callaham string thru shaft to my b5 tele. It’s awesome. That tension bar makes it challenging.
    Oh, and those ugly vibramate cheaters? I just put one back on my b70.... just until i get around to drilling holes in the shaft.
    Read it and weep! Haha
    8E9B032B-B8AC-4EB0-9904-2C49AD63CD9A.jpeg
     
    BorderRadio likes this.
  6. somebodyelseuk

    somebodyelseuk Country Gent

    Jan 22, 2013
    Birmingham, UK
    I call the neighbours, we put up scaffolding, I rent a JCB, we dance naked under a full moon around a camp fire and sacrifice a goat...

    Can't believe it took THIS long for anyone to suggest this.
    10 pence from my local corner shop - that's about 6 cents in US money.
    So cheap you can keep one in every guitar case. No other tools required... except for snipping the excess off. I don't even bother bending the end of the string!.
     
  7. Highroller

    Highroller Gretschie

    479
    Jun 11, 2015
    Portland, OR
    Yeah, you get used to it. By about the 10th time you'll be a pro!

    Now, if you want PITA, try a Ric 12 string, with the second set of tuning posts half buried in a headstock channel you can only access from one side! Who the f came up with that idea !?!

    I got one of these a few months ago and let me tell you - it makes a Gretsch seem easy!
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
  8. JHowdy

    JHowdy Country Gent

    Age:
    53
    Nov 16, 2013
    Finland
    Interesting. About the same as the new string through bigsby shaft? Could you please post a couple of pictures of your own guitar showing how the strings come through the shaft and in what angle they then head towards the bridge? That shaft in the picture being "upside down and all around" makes it a bit difficult to imagine. And I'm interested to see if there's a sharp edge where the string comes out.
     
  9. radd

    radd Synchromatic

    698
    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz

    I don’t have a good picture of the back of my Gretsch Pro Line that has a string through Bigsby as a stock part of the Players Edition series of Gretsch guitars. There are no sharp edges on mine and it works great. I know the Callaham replacement string through shaft only fits the American made Bigsby, B6’s, 7’s, etc, not the Asian made B60, 70’s etc.

    At first I was disappointed to learn the Callaham shaft did not fit my other Bigsbys. Now, I have changed strings so often and have the drill down so it is really about the same amount of time for me to change either type.




    0B192874-2D1D-4B65-BD23-D24610BFB1F7.jpeg C6287CDB-C963-4D51-BFD3-0C6BD7B75BC0.jpeg
     
    JHowdy likes this.
  10. JHowdy

    JHowdy Country Gent

    Age:
    53
    Nov 16, 2013
    Finland
    Oops, I seem to have mixed a couple of posts together. The one I quoted said nothing about actually having that Callaham shaft.
     
  11. Joe M

    Joe M Electromatic

    44
    Dec 6, 2018
    Michigan
    Thanks for all the advice, guys. After stringing my third Gretsch with a Bigsby, I've found using a capo is the easiest for me. Still, there's no way it will ever be easier than stringing a Fender with split-shaft tuners like hcsterg mentioned.
     
    BorderRadio likes this.
  12. Geezer1950

    Geezer1950 Electromatic

    46
    Nov 20, 2018
    here
    A quality piece of well engineered and constructed equipment does not require the end user to become a contortionist nor buy extra accessories, nor cast about for adaptations merely to perform a simple and recurring task that can be accomplished on cheapass junk instruments simply and easily and has been done so since time began..............ok, that last part was hyperbole, but still--what's so hard or expensive about drilling six holes?
     
    new6659 likes this.
  13. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Dude, that Vibramate thing is HIDEOUS! :D
     
    calebaaron666 likes this.
  14. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    If you loved Bigsby like I do, you’d never think this—the archtop design is pure, elegant genius. One must suffer for the art once in awhile :)
     
    calebaaron666 likes this.
  15. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    No bout a doubt it!
    Wicked ugly.
    Looks like a growth that doesn’t belong there.
     
  16. Geezer1950

    Geezer1950 Electromatic

    46
    Nov 20, 2018
    here
    If you loved Bigsby like I do, you’d never think this—the archtop design is pure, elegant genius. One must suffer for the art once in awhile :) ---famous last words Herr Hindenburg
     
  17. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Sorry Vista
    Admin Post
    y,
    The Bigsby was created by Paul Bigsby. It wasn’t designed by an engineering team, but it is certainly a successful product. It’s probably the most successful accessory this side of the 1/4” patch cord.

    IMO, it is a brilliant design. The holes are there already, they are just filled with roll pins, a very standard little off the shelf piece. What’s so hard about removing roll pins? The string-thru Bigsby doesn’t really appeal to me. If I bought a guitar that had one, I’d probably hit Ace Hardware and pick up some roll pins. I’ve never found string changes to be so challenging that it required remediation. It takes a few seconds to pre-bend each string. Now that I’ve done it for years, I don’t even put conscious thought into it.

    I agree. Paul Bigsby was one clever fellow. He came up with some excellent ideas. He was a motorcycle racer and knew how to make the things he needed. It’s a beautifully designed product which exudes the ingenious nature of Mr. Bigsby himself.

    I’d like to think that I could come up with something half that good, given the same challenge. It strikes me as an example of form following function. The smooth curves of the design eliminate stress points. The angled lettering makes it readable in both the playing position or if the guitar is hanging in a store. I would say that Paul Bigsby was both an engineer and an artist.