Kay vibrato

Discussion in 'The Great Bigsby forum' started by Wayne Gretschzky, Oct 18, 2020.

  1. Byron

    Byron Synchromatic

    879
    Sep 4, 2009
    uk
    Ah, I was wondering what the script on his pickguard logo said. Something for me to google about!

    Wayne, do yoy find your pickups very microphonic on the original?
     
  2. Buckyboy

    Buckyboy Gretschie

    I dig the insert design on that vibrato. Very cool!
     
  3. Byron

    Byron Synchromatic

    879
    Sep 4, 2009
    uk
    Can anyone find a film of someone playing one of these that sounds good? I'm being sarcastic now, sorry about that. But even my own contribution from Jake Landers is a bit clunky sounding. As I own a reissue, I'm trying to get an idea of what the guitar is capable of, both in vintage and modern form
     
  4. Byron

    Byron Synchromatic

    879
    Sep 4, 2009
    uk
    Just played through my favourite rig with the Kay after raising the pickups. Definitely has more character and girth. Feel that way about most single coils, they like to be close to the strings. Very piano like timbre, unique voice
     
  5. afire

    afire Country Gent

    I've always wanted a Thin Twin. Honestly, mostly because they're one of the coolest looking guitars ever made. But my aversion to putting a B7 on a nice vintage guitar has kept me away. I see Ed has managed a B6 with what appears to be some sort of jury rigged tension bar anchored to the bridge?

    I would have picked up a reissue and Bigsbified it with no regrets, but the Kelvinator headstocks they went with have absolutely no business being on a Thin Twin. They have their own kind of cool and really didn't need to be "upgraded" with a feature that was never part of the original aesthetic.
     
    j.s.c likes this.
  6. Wayne Gretschzky

    Wayne Gretschzky Country Gent

    Aug 27, 2008
    East Coast
    I think that Mr. Towner would object to the "jury-rigged" characterization of his string tension device. I was never a fan of the one's I saw that required screws into the top of the guitar (and would never do that to a vintage instrument) but this one has an elegant solution of anchoring to the existing bridge posts. It's working great, so I guess I'm a convert!

    122191953_10219108773056505_1661003036498445897_o.jpg
     
    1883 likes this.
  7. Wayne Gretschzky

    Wayne Gretschzky Country Gent

    Aug 27, 2008
    East Coast
    The other issue with installing the vintage B7 I have on this guitar is that on the reverse side of the B7 there is a "lip" (raised edge) at the base of the unit, above the tail-bracket. It's something that the B3 and B6 of the same period lack. Anyway... that lip made it so the vibrato didn't lay flat on the guitars top. This Kay unit (B6) did not have that issue, so between the better fit, and the stylish Kay-centric vibe, we figured out how to make it work!
     
    wildeman likes this.
  8. 1883

    1883 Gretschie

    233
    Apr 12, 2015
    Aotearoa
    Such a cool guitar, I have for a long time wanted to make one of those. Are you able to provide the dimensions? Perhaps an outline drawing with marked up dimensions? Perhaps your tech will be able to tell the thickness of the top too and if it has bracing?

    And brownie points for calling the 'trem' by its proper name!
     
    drmilktruck likes this.
  9. Lacking Talent

    Lacking Talent Synchromatic

    949
    Aug 5, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Well, let's hang on a second now, if you'd prefer no one disparage Christian Towner's clever devices, then you must not fall into that trap yourself: the original Towner Down Tension Bar to which you're referring doesn't require screws into the top of the guitar, it was designed specifically to save players from having to drill holes into the tops of their guitars when adding an aftermarket vibrato tailpiece, by attaching the bar by its "cuffs" to the already present anchor studs of a removed stop tailpiece that feeds strings to a separate (e.g., tune-o-matic) bridge.

    For example...

    Towner.jpg

    Your guitar -- which features a more recently brought to market, different model of the Towner bar intended especially for guitars with a trapeze tailpiece (i.e., no stop tailpiece) -- looks fantastic, BTW. What is that vibrato unit?
     
  10. Wayne Gretschzky

    Wayne Gretschzky Country Gent

    Aug 27, 2008
    East Coast
    Thank you LT... I guess I was saying that the after-market string tension devices that I've seen (not necessarily Towner products) seem to require extra screws. Those might have been home-made solutions, I don't really recall. I'm such a Bigsby purist I can't say that I ever paid that much attention.

    The vibrato is a Kay made unit applied to certain models in the 60s. There were actually 3 different versions with this styling, and they were offered with either gold or black accent paint.
     
  11. afire

    afire Country Gent

    Interesting. The only Towner I had seen is the type that screws into the stop tail posts. That's why I assumed it was some kind of improvised device.
     
  12. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    I see two big old screws holding that down......just sayin......since we're splittin hairs:D
     
  13. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Country Gent

    May 14, 2013
    Initech, Inc.
    Cool build. Am I correct in thinking that you also had a piezo bridge put in? The saddles look like the same make as my Electrocoustimatic build.
    EDIT: never mind, I can see in the closeup in post #27 it's a roller. Carry on.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
  14. Wayne Gretschzky

    Wayne Gretschzky Country Gent

    Aug 27, 2008
    East Coast
    There were two other styles of this style vibrato applied to Kay solidbody guitar models. One is depicted here on the right, it's the smaller top-mounted version. Then there was another that is basically the same as the one on the left, but without a tail-bracket. It too has the three screw holes near the base enabling the top-mount approach.
    Kay.jpeg
     
    new6659 likes this.
  15. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    Here's my old Silvertone, i miss it bad. 20201022_022115-1.jpg
     
    new6659 likes this.
  16. Lacking Talent

    Lacking Talent Synchromatic

    949
    Aug 5, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    They look so cool, may have to seek one out for a project guitar since it seems, at least based on your current experience, their tuning stability is good.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.