I need a bigsby on my 5191

Discussion in 'The Great Bigsby forum' started by Jpotts345, Feb 7, 2016.

  1. Jpotts345

    Jpotts345 Gretschie

    156
    Mar 30, 2013
    Pittsburgh,PA
    School me. Iv been without a bigsby for too long. I don't know anything about them so need the rundown on what to get and what to stay away from,and maybe what to expect to pay for a used or new one. I like the look of the one that has the bar that the strings go under. Those look pretty solid compared to the ones without them. What's the difference between the two?
     
  2. MTurner

    MTurner Friend of Fred

    Age:
    65
    Aug 17, 2010
    Clayton, North Carolina, USA
    That is called a tension bar. You'll see comments from those that have no issues with them, but more comments from people that have had tuning problems with tension bar Bigsbys.

    I can recall people who say they will never have a tension bar, but none who say they have to have one.
     
    audept likes this.
  3. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    63
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    You have a severe case of Bigsbyitis ( can't play a guitar without one ) and that's a good thing . I have it too .

    You need the proper Bigsby for the type of guitar you have . What type of guitar are you putting it on ? Solid body , hollow body ...? You should also talk to your luthier / tech . You may also want to look into a product called Vibramate . It's a mounting system that attaches onto your guitar in the existing holes and then the Bigsby mounts to that . In the long run it's an expensive system ( Vibramate plus Bigsby ) but if you ever decide to sell the guitar you can switch out the whole system to another guitar ( if it's a match for the future guitar ) . Best of luck
    edit : sorry , just realized you have a 5191
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
  4. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    Maybe a B6?
     
  5. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Age:
    74
    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Add me to the "I'll never have a tension bar Bigsby" list.
     
    tartanphantom likes this.
  6. OldCowHand

    OldCowHand Country Gent

    Sep 24, 2015
    Kent, England.
    Me too. Although there are certainly those who say they are happy with tension bars, I don't think there are many who would choose to have one if they had a choice.
     
    tartanphantom likes this.
  7. Jpotts345

    Jpotts345 Gretschie

    156
    Mar 30, 2013
    Pittsburgh,PA
     
  8. Jpotts345

    Jpotts345 Gretschie

    156
    Mar 30, 2013
    Pittsburgh,PA
    So some guitars need a tension bar and some don't?
     
  9. big kenny

    big kenny Country Gent

    Age:
    69
    Nov 2, 2010
    Wi
    ?

    I've got both, really no biggie either way but I'd rather string a non tension.... ps, all guitars need a Bigsby!
     
  10. Jpotts345

    Jpotts345 Gretschie

    156
    Mar 30, 2013
    Pittsburgh,PA
    What's the difference between a b6 and a b60?
     
  11. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    64
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    One is made in the USA and the B60 is Asian made.
     
  12. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Friend of Fred

    Age:
    58
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Me three... well, in theory, at least. I do have a few guitars with tension bars, but they were stock equipment and I've never changed them out.
     
  13. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Age:
    74
    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    B6 = made in USA
    B60 = made in Asia under licence by Bigsby, mainly used on the Electromatic line.
    Common belief is that made in USA Bigsbys have smoother action, but individual quality control on cast items is difficult. Correct installation is critical. My luthier has slightly re-positioned some of the Bigsbys on my Gretsch guitars to improve string alignment over the pickup polepieces and reduce the tendency of floating bridges to move sideways.
     
  14. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Friend of Fred

    Age:
    58
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN

    As Englishman said, the B6 is USA-made, sand-cast, with needle bearings.
    The B60 is less expensive, made in Asia, is die-cast, and uses nylon sleeve bearings.
    Also, the mounting bolt patterns on the rear hinge are slightly different between the two.

    If you are putting one on a Tim Armstrong model, I would strongly recommend a non-tension bar model... the extra break angle isn't needed, and the Bigsby action will be a whole lot smoother without it. Plus, with the B7 or B70 (tension bar models) you will have to put a mounting hole directly in the guitar top, making the modification much less reversible (if you find you don't like it) than a non-tension bar model.
     
  15. Tinman46

    Tinman46 Country Gent

    Dec 19, 2011
    Nope
    Add me to the pile of tension bar dislike. As long as you can get enough string angle behind the bridge I'll go with a non tension bar. I've seen people put a B6 on the TA and that's the way I'd go.
     
  16. Jpotts345

    Jpotts345 Gretschie

    156
    Mar 30, 2013
    Pittsburgh,PA
    Ok thanks guys. looking like a b6 then. So installing it is super critical? I thought it would be pretty simple. If all the holes r the same on the hinge how is there any adjustment?
     
  17. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Friend of Fred

    Age:
    58
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    The Bigsby hinge holes will likely NOT match up with the existing trapeze tailpiece holes, except, perhaps for the strap button hole.
     
  18. Jpotts345

    Jpotts345 Gretschie

    156
    Mar 30, 2013
    Pittsburgh,PA
    Yea I just noticed that they come as an option on this model w/ no tension bar.
     
  19. jacodiego

    jacodiego Gretschie

    162
    Mar 24, 2011
    california
    I have guitars with the tension bar and some without...

    As tartanphantom mentioned, there should be a "break" or an angle of downward bend on the Bigsby's side of the bridge. If there is not sufficient angle, the string will pop out of the slot in the bridge. There is also the possibility of tuning issues.

    The tension bar was invented for use on guitars where the non-tension Bigsby (B-3, B-6) did not provide enough break or angle.

    The problem is, on some guitars that use a B-7, a tension bar model, the bar is sometimes too close to the bridge. At times the string break (angle) is so steep, it actually touches the base of the bridge instead of just the saddle...this could really cause tuning issues. That steep angle also changes the tension of the strings, changing the feel of playing the guitar and effecting the tone, as well.

    However, on other guitars...like my Tomkins, the tension bar is far enough from the bridge that it provides an excellent string angle break, where a non-tension bar would have provided no break whatsoever and would have been usable. To that say they would never use a tension bar, I would say: never say never.

    Obviously, which Bigsby and whether or not a tension bar model is dependent on the guitar. Things to consider would be the carve or curvature of the top of an archtop guitar, the distance from the tailpiece to the bridge (and the height of the string leaving the bridge at that point), the height of the bridge & the angle of the neck, and holes. The tension bar models require screw holes on the face of the guitar to hold the unit in place (the string tension would want to lift the unit off the face of the guitar if not screwed down).

    I'm all for looks, and I think the B-7 is a very attractive unit: but for choosing which Bigsby, it is really dependent on the guitar rather than the visual effect.
     
  20. HypotenusLuvTriangle

    HypotenusLuvTriangle Country Gent

    Oct 27, 2010
    Whittier, Ca
    For a G5191 Tim Armstrong, you should put one of the three on it. My vote goes for the V-cut because that's the coolest looking one.
    http://darrenriley.com/store/gretsch-bigsby-tailpiece-b6g-0060143100/
    http://darrenriley.com/store/gretsch-bigsby-tailpiece-b6gb/
    http://darrenriley.com/store/gretsch-bigsby-tailpiece-b6gbvf/

    Do not get a tension bar. No one likes them.

    Maybe you could pull one of those newer Bigsbys on the new gretsch player guitars, the one with the holes in the bar, instead of using the pins.
     
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