Is the Bigsby a Tremolo or Vibrato?

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

  1. OleDangy

    OleDangy Electromatic

    Oct 23, 2020
    JC Tennessee
    A guitar has a vibrato, an amp has a tremolo. Sorry if I'm hijacking the thread but a real problem I have faced lately is the bend vibrato. I feel like every great guitar player I have ever heard has a beautiful bend vibrato. I have always done that by hand. Recently I found I can "cheat" with the Bigsby. Not sure why I'm asking but when should I do one over the other? It's a thing I struggle with.
    Gregor likes this.
  2. flip

    flip Electromatic

    Jun 22, 2020
    Manchester UK
    This post nearly captures what I've been thinking about while ready this thread.

    As most serious replies have stated, the Bigsby produces a vibrato effect ie pitch not amplitude.

    But, I was weaned on a violin and to this day I play vibrato on guitars just as violinist does, ie a movement of the fleshy part of the fingertip up and down the fretboard, not across it. I can achieve good results with one or two strings, not really more. It’s a much more difficult technique of course but at my age change has to have serious benefits to make it worthwhile.

    And my newest guitar a 5420, has a Bigsby that I only use for adding vibrato to whole chords which is, of course, where it comes into its own. Having said that, I recognise there are other techniques - I watched a luthier on You Tube yesterday achieving full-chord vibrato by bending the neck/body joint on a bolt-on guitar backwards and forwards. I suppose you have to be a luthier to do that.

    Needless to say I’m in the ‘less is more camp’ when it comes to Bigsby but that’s personal preference not technique.
    Gregor and OleDangy like this.
  3. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    so cal is written, a Gretsch without a Bigsby is no Gretsch at all.

  4. OleDangy

    OleDangy Electromatic

    Oct 23, 2020
    JC Tennessee
    So cool that in a different way I came across the same results. When I play a single note whether in a run, or a lick etc I use the natural (no vibrato) vibrato. When I have multiple notes and chords I use the bigsby.
    Sometimes on a single note it is fun to use both. Best I guess to not overthink it. Thanks for the reply.
    Gregor likes this.
  5. Gregor

    Gregor Synchromatic

    Oct 17, 2018
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Exactly the same here... and yes, it can be fun to use both although the Bigsby purists may disagree.
  6. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Friend of Fred

    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN

    quoted from the mystic seer NostroTavo-- 6th Quatrain, Verse 4.

    Later in the same Quatrain, (verse 36, I believe), NostroTavo predicted the 2nd bankruptcy filing of Guitar Center, and in verse 44 he predicted a shortage of JRC-4558 op-amp chips.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020
    Gregor likes this.
  7. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    so cal
    His theology on les pauls being seen but not heard, is ostentatious!
    tartanphantom and Gregor like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.