Bigsby Lubrication and Maintenance ?

Discussion in 'The Great Bigsby forum' started by GreatGretsch, Sep 5, 2021.

  1. GreatGretsch

    GreatGretsch Country Gent

    Jun 25, 2008
    Pittsburgh suburbs
    I have never oiled/lubricated any of the moving parts on my Bigsby equipped guitars.
    • Should you lube the moving parts?
    • If so, what is the best lubricant to use?
    • Is there any other maintenance I should be doing to keep them operating properly?
    Jerzey Bob likes this.
  2. Jerzey Bob

    Jerzey Bob Synchromatic

    Apr 3, 2021
    North Jersey
    Don't know if it's necessary or not, but, when I first got my guitar, I took a qtip dabbed w/ linseed oil & just touched any moving parts & friction points, (hinge, trem washer, & the ends of the roller on B70). I like that better that a chemical based lube, all it takes is 1 drop to ruin a finish. The biggest difference I noticed was the tremolo was smoooth. Long term I think any place that has 2 pcs. of metal rubbing, lubing is good, just a couple or 3 times a year, depending on use.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2021
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  3. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Friend of Fred

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    I’ve use some 3 in 1 oil on the stubborn rolling tension bar of the B5 on my Esquire with excellent results.
    I haven’t needed to lube any other Bigsbys.
    GreatGretsch likes this.
  4. mbkri

    mbkri Country Gent

    Sep 22, 2012
    Ive never used any lubrication at all. Unless you count graphite at the nut. Thats much more of an issue to keep your eye on for bigsby users. I do that with a soft pencil every time i change strings.
    GreatGretsch and Jerzey Bob like this.
  5. Highroller

    Highroller Country Gent

    Jun 11, 2015
    Portland, OR
    Never had the reason to do anything to mine, and I've had B3, B6 and B7 styles for many, many years - decades for some.

    Never owned a B5, but I hear they're "temperamental". Might explain Caleb's situation above.
    GreatGretsch likes this.
  6. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
  7. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    I hope not!
  8. ampe

    ampe Country Gent

    May 11, 2011
    It it ain't broke don't fix it is my strategy. I lube the nut and bridge when I change the strings but haven't done anything to my bigsbys
  9. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    A Bigsby is a mechanic device which has factory-lubricated needle bearings, and sintered-alloy brass sleeves that are not lubricated on the B5/B7 models.

    You don't need to lube it regularly, but one day, with the years passing by, it will become dirty and may show some binding, that you rcognize by an offset tuning and different rest position of the arm if pushed or pulled. The difference is not huge : 1 to 3mm at the tip of the arm is enough.

    What I personally do is dismantling the Bigsby shaft, cleaning toroughly all the rotating surfaces, even repolish them if needed, dissolve and remove old grease and dirtyness, clean the needle bearing and relube it with light lithium (green) grease for ball bearings, and then reassemble the whole.

    That's enough, but that's necessary. I know Guys that only spray WD-40 on the pivots of their Bigsby : it's not a rational, mechanical cure...

    But it's me, OK ? :D

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  10. gretsch-to-go

    gretsch-to-go Gretschie

    Oct 2, 2019
    Palm Coast, FL
    Kalamazoo Bigsby models are metal bushing, Lightning models have the nylon bushing. I don't think Lightning models require lubrication. The nylon bushing is replaced easily ?
    mrfixitmi likes this.
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