Any problems with Bigsby B70?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Footsore, Jul 18, 2020.

  1. Footsore

    Footsore Electromatic

    Nov 29, 2019
    I've got a G5230t and the B50 Bigsby is a bit of a problem. Before I go replacing it with a B7 or B70 I am wondering if the tuning stability is good with them.
    The B50 is designed for a flat guitar and binds up a bit when the mounting screws are firm on my 5230. The B7 and B70 are designed for archtop guitars so should be better. Is that what people have found?
  2. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    Tuning problems with ANY Bigsby are rarely caused by the unit itself, the nut/saddles/tuners are most likely where you'll find the trouble. That said I've had no trouble from my B70's but find the action of the USA made one's better and easily worth the added cost.
    lathoto likes this.
  3. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    I have a B70 and it works fine BUT that is because it is on a larger 16" lower bout size. On a jet (under 14"), the bigsby will be much closer to the bridge and i would be concerned about binding. Common alternative are a Les Trem II or a B3 with a Towner down tension bar.
    Outlaw likes this.
  4. RomanS

    RomanS Gretschie

    May 26, 2010
    Vienna, Austria
    A B5 and a B7 are functionally the same thing, both have the tension bar, they are just designed for different body shapes.
    The real difference is between Bigsbys with and without tension bars, unfortunately, you can't use the latter ones (which are also the much better functioning and feeling ones) on all types of guitars.
    While I agree that the main problem with tuning stability & Bigsbys is usually the nut, tension bar Bigsbys also can be at fault there, since zhey usually cause a much sharper string break angle over the bridge - particularly with TOM style bridges that can make the (wound) strings get stuck in the saddle slots of the bridge.
    So, in conclusion - if at all possible with your type of guitar, try to avoid tension bar Bigsbys. If you have to use them, try to find some type of rocking bridge, or at least something with a smooth and hard surface in the saddle area of the bridge.
  5. lathoto

    lathoto Gretschie

    Apr 23, 2020
    Stellar dive bombing Bigsby frenzies require graphite nuts and saddles. Short of that get yourself some "D'Addario Lubrikit Friction Remover."
    Outlaw and Footsore like this.
  6. rockinforJesus

    rockinforJesus Synchromatic

    Nov 7, 2014
    Upstate New York
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2020
    MTurner, Setzerhotrod and RomanS like this.
  7. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    Yep, all of my tension bar Bigsby's have plenty of clearance to the bridge and work great. 20200628_012407-1.jpg 20200627_142202-1.jpg 20170902_142249-1-1.jpg 20161015_160803-1.jpg
    Maybe the OP can just move the B50 back a bit and/or shim up the tension bar, i think @hcsterg has done this
    Footsore, RomanS and calebaaron666 like this.
  8. Footsore

    Footsore Electromatic

    Nov 29, 2019
    My main concern with the B50 is the base of it it flat, designed for a Tele or SG. Because my guitar is curved on top there is a gap at each end and when the mounting screws are tightened the whole B50 is distorted slightly. With the strings removed this is obvious because the arm becomes stiff and only frees up when the mounting screws are loosened. I have put some washers between the B50 and the body and left the screws looser as a compromise and it works better but not great.
    B70s seem to be fitted to nearly every other Gretsch with the same body shape as the G5230t and I just wanted to know if they work well.
    Don't know why Gretsch put a Bigsby designed for a flat top guitar on one with a curved top??
    Outlaw and Setzerhotrod like this.
  9. tolm

    tolm Gretschie

    Jan 25, 2016
    You can remove the “sleeve” around the roller bar on a B50 which will reduce the break angle a little and could help with “smoothness” and tuning stability.

    A little pencil “lead” (graphite) in the Bridge saddles and nut slots will also help.

    Failing that, in my experience a B3 (or B6) is significantly smoother and holds tune better that a B5 or B7, though they are by no means always “bad” in that respect if set up well.
  10. HypotenusLuvTriangle

    HypotenusLuvTriangle Country Gent

    Oct 27, 2010
    Whittier, Ca
    Just remove the tension bar. You don’t need to do all that. I have the g5232T model jet. I removed the tension bar and it works much better. But I also switched out the nut for a ZeroGlide. I can divebomb and not worry about Tuning issues.
    I’ve had no issues with break angle.
    Footsore likes this.
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