Is the Bigsby a Tremolo or Vibrato?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Gregor, Nov 16, 2020.

  1. tolm

    tolm Gretschie

    Jan 25, 2016
    Bigsby’s are branded as “True Vibrato” so I like to think that the T designation stands for that, rather than Tremolo, and Fender are just plain wrong. :)
  2. Moedecker

    Moedecker Electromatic

    Aug 21, 2020
    Reno, NV United States
    whammy bar
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  3. Scott

    Scott Country Gent

    Jun 27, 2008
    Winston-Salem, NC
    An amp has tremolo. A guitar has vibrato.

    Although I read in an interview years ago where Duane Eddy referred to the vibrato arm as a "goody bar". I'm good with that...
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  4. gretsch-to-go

    gretsch-to-go Electromatic

    Oct 2, 2019
    Palm Coast, FL
    Already made my peace with it, I call it a Bigsby, because it doesn't require the cut out in the body. Bigs for short, Trem or Floyd Rose for Strat style guitars. They're all just Whammy's. As each guitar style conjures up which one seems to be the implementation, it shouldn't trigger anyone negatively by any means.
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  5. 6stings

    6stings Friend of Fred

    Aug 14, 2010
    It's someting you replace with the G-tail!
    audept, speedicut and Gregor like this.
  6. DougieNorrie

    DougieNorrie Electromatic

    Nov 10, 2020
    It's a space lever
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  7. VRomanojr

    VRomanojr Electromatic

    Dec 4, 2012
    West Virginia
    Yet, while it may have tremolo Fender calls the one on the left vibrato. This conundrum has swirled, vibrated and pulsed through Fender amp discussions for years!
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  8. Alanqa

    Alanqa Gretschie

    Aug 22, 2019
    Lancashire UK
    My wife calls it a wobbler.
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  9. doc538

    doc538 Electromatic

    Sep 20, 2017
    Well my guitar has both so no debate ! I glued a 8penny nail to my volume control and attached a spring to it to make it work just like the bigsby and if I position the bar just right I can Trem and vibrato at the same time however this takes so much concentration that I have problems remembering the song I am playing.
    Electrosynthesis and Gregor like this.
  10. kpnash

    kpnash Electromatic

    Did anyone already say it's actually a chorus with the blend set to 100% wet?
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  11. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Friend of Fred

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    I call it a Bigsby.
    I’ll call it a trem sometimes, but mostly just to annoy people who are bothered by it.
    Gregor likes this.
  12. dbirchett

    dbirchett Gretschie

    Feb 11, 2009
    To Leo Fender, they must have seemed interchangeable. He used the save effect to call amps Tremolux and Vibrolux. My guess is that he deliberately chose the wrong word on the patent application for the Stratocaster "Tremolo" to make it seem to those reviewing the patent application (who were probably not guitar players) that it was completely different from Paul Bigsby's creation. Having gone down that road, they needed to be consistent in marketing. So they kept referring to it as a Tremolo.

    Someone referred to John Dryden, that pompous fop. He decided that it was more elegant ton have English goverend by the same grammatical rules as Latin (back then all educated people were conversant in Latin, and probably a little Greek) so that prepositions would not be separated from the nouns that they controlled. That is why some hypercritical people say that you can't end a sentence with a preposition. I hope that wherever John Dryden is spending eternity that there is someone with some annoying habit that drives him up a wall for ever and ever!
    Gregor likes this.
  13. afire

    afire Country Gent

    I'm with Henry. It's probably not as black and white as some make it out to be. Among modern guitarists, there does seem to be accepted wisdom that vibrato refers strictly to pitch, and tremolo refers strictly to volume. But take a quick look at Wikipedia and Merriam-Webster, and it would seem that the distinction is not so fixed.
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  14. rockinstephen

    rockinstephen Electromatic

    My understanding is that Vibrato is a mechanical effect and that Tremolo is an electronic effect. Therefore, the effect produced by a whammy bar is Vibrato as it is mechanical in nature. Tremolo was/is a built in feature of many Fender amps among others. I read somewhere, a long time ago that Fender (not necessarily Leo) was responsible for the mix up...
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  15. Gregor

    Gregor Synchromatic

    Oct 17, 2018
    New Brunswick, Canada
    ...just not me.
  16. Alanqa

    Alanqa Gretschie

    Aug 22, 2019
    Lancashire UK
    The terminology dates back centuries and is part of the language of classical music . Tremolo would refer to rapid fluctuations on the bow (on things like violins) or fingers/picks on plucked instruments. Vibrato was always pitch variations.
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  17. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    Tremelo is Tremelo and Vibrato is Vibrato. Fender just chose to call his Vibrato a Floating Tremelo. Like a guitar is a guitar, but he chose to call his guitar a Strat. :rolleyes:
    Gregor likes this.
  18. speedicut

    speedicut Friend of Fred

    Jun 5, 2012
    6stings sighting!
    More elusive than Bigfoot! :)
    audept likes this.
  19. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    But those century-old definitions are based on millenia-older definitions and are not the same, so maybe those classical definitions were actually wrong.:p

    Anyway, language is about communication so if someone understands what is said, it is "right".
    calebaaron666 likes this.
  20. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    It's a Wiggle Stick.......;)
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