G5220 Bigsby Options?

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by YouFellowRebels, Jul 3, 2020.

  1. YouFellowRebels

    YouFellowRebels Gretschie

    279
    Jun 17, 2020
    Minnesota
    So I recently acquired the G5220 in a trade. For recording purposes I could use something with a Bigsby or Tremelo. Of all my guitars this is the only one I’m comfortable with modifying, its my only under a grand guitar.
    What options would I have? What would cover the current stud holes or work with the holes?
    Couldn’t find much info, assuming most people just get the 5230 to start! Thanks in advance for any tips or ideas.
     
  2. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Hi @YouFellowRebels,

    In my case, I choose a B3LH that I modified to achieve the suitable string break angle at the bridge (7-8°) :

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Another alternative - more easy - is to use a B3 plus a Towner Bar... Many other G-T members went this way, so I let them post their pictures and explanations ! ;)

    Note that you may need a roller or rocking bridge, and a frinctionless TUSQ-XL nut to stay flawlessly in tune. That's what I do personally.

    But it's me, OK ? :D

    A+!
     
    DennisC, Henry, BorderRadio and 2 others like this.
  3. YouFellowRebels

    YouFellowRebels Gretschie

    279
    Jun 17, 2020
    Minnesota
    That looks elegant and classy! Appreciate the thoughts. I wouldn’t need it as I play rhythm, but have gotten into writing and recording complete songs so now I’m in lead guitar territory and it could help many spots.
     
    hcsterg likes this.
  4. tolm

    tolm Gretschie

    279
    Jan 25, 2016
    UK
    Assuming it’s a TOM/STP setup at the moment - my vote would be for a B3 with a Towner bar where the STP would be.

    Both my Gretsches came with factory-fitted Bigsby’s but I’ve done this on an old SG and have a B6 with a Towner bar on my 335 and it works like a charm.

    SG (No longer owned)
    [​IMG]

    ES 335
    [​IMG]

    Fun fact: it’s the exact same set of pickups that I moved from the SG to the 335 when I sold the SG!
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
  5. HypotenusLuvTriangle

    HypotenusLuvTriangle Country Gent

    Oct 27, 2010
    Whittier, Ca
  6. YouFellowRebels

    YouFellowRebels Gretschie

    279
    Jun 17, 2020
    Minnesota
    That is sexy on the SG! Almost makes me want to put p90’s (take out the mini hums) and the Bigsby on my SG special.
     
  7. YouFellowRebels

    YouFellowRebels Gretschie

    279
    Jun 17, 2020
    Minnesota
    Berington likes this.
  8. jfassett

    jfassett Synchromatic

    648
    Dec 9, 2017
    Tucson
    Les trem perhaps?
     
    hcsterg and YouFellowRebels like this.
  9. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
  10. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Congrats on your new guitar! The 5220 is great.

    Your best bet is a Bigsby B3 with a Towner Down Tension Bar. If cost is a factor, you can save a little money by buying a B30 instead of a B3. (The B30 is the import model. The B3 is better, but the B30 is perfectly serviceable.) If money is no object, get yourself a Gretsch-branded B3C. It's a B3 with chrome plating, a Gretsch logo, and the classic V-cut design. It doesn't work any differently from a B3 but it sure looks cool.

    The Bigsby is a great vibrato unit, and the Towner bar will fill the stoptail holes while allowing you to dial in a perfect string break angle. I went this route with a G2655 and was very happy with it. It's a much better setup than the Bigsby B50 that comes with the 5320.

    If you buy a Towner bar, make sure you also buy a set of metric posts from Towner. The bar won't fit on your current stoptail posts.

    For a truly great Bigsby feel, add a Super Squishy Spring. Our fellow forum member @Setzerhotrod makes them, and they're fantastic. It gives much smoother action and a more sensitive feel.

    If you want to make the mod totally reversible and don't want to drill any new holes, you can also buy an adapter from Towner that will allow you to mount the Bigsby using a single screw through the strap button hole. You'd just need to widen the strap button hole to accommodate a larger screw. You wouldn't be able to use the classic Gretsch strap knob, but that's a minor trade-off.

    Enjoy the new guitar—let's see some pics!
     
    YouFellowRebels likes this.
  11. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Right @jfassett : I always forgot to mention that even simpler option... :rolleyes:

    A+!
     
    YouFellowRebels and jfassett like this.
  12. tolm

    tolm Gretschie

    279
    Jan 25, 2016
    UK
    Another benefit of the Towner bar vs just blanking our the STP holes is that it keeps the strings grounded - assuming the ground wire is (as normally) connected to one of the STP studs.
     
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  13. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    63
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    I've had a few in for setup and noticed some owners leave the ball ends on but feed the string through the tuner peg first. At least that way you only cut once.
     
  14. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Never thought of that. How many wraps are on the tuner? I'll have to try that next restring.
     
    englishman likes this.
  15. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    63
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    Only about one, just a little slack at the end to nip in the bridge, don't need locking tuners as those balls aren't going through those holes anytime soon.
     
  16. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Thanks! I don't use locking tuners. I know how to lock & wrap a string.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2020
  17. DennisC

    DennisC Synchromatic

    Age:
    38
    995
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    I'll doube the B3 & Towner.

    As I see it, the Towner Bar is adjustable in height, which enables a break angle not making the bridge as crucial as it is with a Bigsby already equipped with a tension bar. Tension bars suck.

    If the guitar is long enough, a B6 may also fit, but on that I'm not sure.

    The Nut ... I'll double something again, TUSQ XL is the preferable material here ... as far as I know, there is nothing better available by now. Nicely cut slots can become an issue in case you never cut the slots before, but this isn't that hard ... I learned that, too.

    Anyway, she looks nice - congrats!

    ... if you want this to be reversible, a Les Trem might work well, too ... they don't have any kind of tension bar and are mounted in the STP's place. Of course, a Bigsby looks way cooler and stuff, but regarding function, it may work just as good as a Bigsby does. At least, these two options are the ones I'd continue with .... B3 or Les Trem.
     
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  18. Tele295

    Tele295 Country Gent

    I have been eyeballing the 5220. It has more neck angle than I thought it would, but a Towner tension bar would probably increase the effectiveness of the Bigsby B3

    The grey-Jade One would look wicked cool with a v-cut B3
     
    YouFellowRebels likes this.
  19. YouFellowRebels

    YouFellowRebels Gretschie

    279
    Jun 17, 2020
    Minnesota
    Sounds like the most reasonable route! I don’t mind modifying it as long as it still looks decent
     
  20. YouFellowRebels

    YouFellowRebels Gretschie

    279
    Jun 17, 2020
    Minnesota
    It’s a great guitar. I honestly really enjoy the BT Broad’Tron pickups! It feels as nice as my Les Paul or SG, yet tonally more in line with my Ric with a bit more bite.
     
    new6659 likes this.
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