Chet Atkins vibrato arm vs. regular bigsby arm

Discussion in 'The Great Bigsby forum' started by aanstadt, Oct 13, 2021 at 9:35 PM.

  1. aanstadt

    aanstadt Electromatic

    94
    May 13, 2021
    Atlanta
    Hey there. I’ve never played a Chet Atkins Gretsch before and it dawned on me that if I wanted to, I could switch out the stock vibrato arm on my White Falcon for the Chet Atkins one. I wanted to get some feedback on people’s preference between the two style arms. I personally think the Chet Atkins arm looks cooler. But wanted to know if there is a playability difference. If so what is it? Is there an overwhelming majority that leans one way over the other? Would love to hear some pros and cons for both style arms. Thanks.
     
  2. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Country Gent

    Feb 17, 2020
    Albuquerque
    It is 1000% up to you and how you like it.
    We all want them in different spots or different heights or different lengths. Squishy springs or stiff springs.

    Some players grab and manhandle the arm, others (like me) just give a little finger push once in a while for effect so it depends on your playing style.

    I watched a review of a Strat yesterday where the reviewer made a big deal of liking the longer, straighter arms more than the shorter bent arm that came with that guitar.

    Try to find one you can try out.
     
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  3. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Friend of Fred

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    I have one on my Falcon and I like it. It’s easier to be subtle with it. I think it looks better on this guitar than the regular handle.
    CFB8818C-6615-40EF-AE68-A2AADCCAAAB9.jpeg
     
  4. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I like them. Speaking only for myself, I find it easier to hook my little finger around it, if I want to move it both up and down. If I just want to brush the Bigsby downward, the butter knife of the Duane Eddy handle work just fine, but I find a greater sense of control with the Chet Arm.

    Aside from that, I love the look of the Chet Arm. It’s a handsome piece of gear.

    If you are dealing with a Japanese made Gretsch, the Chet Arm bracket will fit perfectly. If you have an Electromatic or Streamliner with a licensed Bigsby, you will have to have to hole enlarged, I believe to 10 mm.
     
  5. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    I absolutely prefer the Chet arm for feel and looks.
     
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  6. BrianW

    BrianW Country Gent

    Oct 21, 2014
    Vancouver Island
    I prefer the Chet arm myself, for the same reason @Synchro mentioned. I don't use a bigsby all that much, but when I do the Chet arm allows for better "subtle" control - if that makes any sense.
     
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  7. mister rain

    mister rain Gretschie

    402
    Apr 23, 2020
    new orleans
    the chet arm is easier to use for more extreme, my bloody valentine style chord bends. the stock arm does nothing for me - i use chets or duane eddy’s exclusively.
     
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  8. slickfaster

    slickfaster Country Gent

    Dec 29, 2009
    USA
    The Reg feels best in my hands… looks are in the eye….
     
  9. aanstadt

    aanstadt Electromatic

    94
    May 13, 2021
    Atlanta
    Thanks so much. It’s a Japanese model. Do you have any recommendations on where I can find a trusted Chet replacement arm? Is it easy to swap out? Or should I have a luthier handle it?
     
  10. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    Angela Instruments would be my first choice.

    Mounting is a breeze. If you can change strings, you can mount a new arm. Basically, you’ll need a set of Allen Wrenches, if memory serves, these are metric, but it’s been a while, so my memory of this may be inaccurate. Just relax the tension on your strings and you might be able to make the swap without restringing. I’d have some terrycloth wash clothes handy, to protect the top, and then I’d just go for it.

    Basically, it’s just a set screw on the shaft of the Bigsby and you’ll have to put the spring back in place under the new arm. Aside from loosening and tightening the strings (and finding your Allen Wrench set) the whole process takes less time than it did to write this paragraph.
     
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  11. HypotenusLuvTriangle

    HypotenusLuvTriangle Country Gent

    Oct 27, 2010
    Whittier, Ca
    I removed the Chet Arm and replaced it with a Duane Eddy Handle. Didn't like the look and didn't give me any benefit functionality wise.
     
  12. aanstadt

    aanstadt Electromatic

    94
    May 13, 2021
    Atlanta
    Awesome. Thanks so much for the details. Sounds simple enough. Looks like there is an 8” arm and a 9.5” arm. Which size do you use?
     
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  13. Archtops

    Archtops Country Gent

    Mar 4, 2021
    SoCal
    The only thing that stopped me from buying the Chet arm was I didn’t want to drill out the hole. But if, as you say, that doesn’t need to be done on the Japanese Gretsch then I’d love to add one to my 6659.
     
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  14. mister rain

    mister rain Gretschie

    402
    Apr 23, 2020
    new orleans
    i tried the longer arm, wanting something like the jazzmaster feel, but found it to be not a good match for how i play. i’d guess most of us would prefer the shorter arm.
     
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  15. Shadowy_Man

    Shadowy_Man Gretschie

    461
    May 18, 2020
    Chicago
    It's a bit more comfortable and I like that it doesn't have a stopper on it, so it can swing over the strings. . I wish they were slightly shorter though. I've used one for years.
     
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  16. Archtops

    Archtops Country Gent

    Mar 4, 2021
    SoCal
  17. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
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  18. aanstadt

    aanstadt Electromatic

    94
    May 13, 2021
    Atlanta
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  19. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    Your thread inspired me to buy one (in chrome) for my Guild. I got it from Angela which should make you feel powerful. You post a thread, and my Visa balance goes up. :)

    Darren Riley is a reputable dealer, and $83 isn’t a bad price.
     
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  20. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I’d use an 8”with all of my guitars, even the Country Gent.
     
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