My new guitar is... a Bigsby!

svenslim

Gretschie
Jul 28, 2009
182
Göteborg, Sweden
NGD – A Bigsby! I recently had my first new guitar in a decade delivered. It is a Bigsby no less! Hand-made by an European luthier to my specifications based on a previous build he had done. All woodwork including bridge and nut are hand made. The only thing he did not do himself would be the strings, the Kluson tuners, Fender Tele-style pickup selector, Gator case and the pickups –hand made Bigsby replicas by Mojo Pickups in England. A bit about Paul A Bigsby:

Bigsby made the first proper custom-ordered electric guitar. Not a test thing, not a “what-happens if…”-thing: a fully playable guitar for a working musician who wanted to cut through in a hillbilly band, that was Merle Travis. Travis, who today is remembered for the “Travis picking”, designed the shape and form for the guitar, inlcuding the playing card position markers (which only his guitar had), the curls and the cutaway, string-holder and ornamentation and everything.

He lent the guitar to Leo Fender for a week, an often given reason as to why the Telecasters came with string-through solution and six-on-a-side tuning pegs, and later the Stratocaster came with a headstock strikingly close to Bigsby´s. Mr Bigsby was not amused.

Around two dozen Bigsby electric guitars are known to exist, all were made different to the others in some way. The very first two had one pickup, the rest two pickups. From 1949 on all guitars built were called a “Standard” model, which in Bigsby´s language meant “not a steel guitar but one you stand up and play”. At least three of them were double-necked with a 6-string guitar and a mandolin on top with different number of strings. He also made lots of steel guitars of various types and some mandolins. But if anything, Bigsby are still remembered for his true vibratos. Most of the owners of his guitar had him put on a hand-made vibrato as they were made. Thus the first 10 or so Bigsby vibratos ever manufactured are still on the original guitar they were made for.

My guitar is a mixture of mostly the 1948 cosmetics and the 1949 standard features, with other bits from later years added. I decided against some things, like having my name on the pickguard.

I have used it a couple of times in rehearsal now and I am happy to say that it is a delight to play. The fretboard and the neck is so easy for the fingers, the pickups are much more powerful than I expected. It will make its first gig Saturday May 21 when we play at for some 45000 runners passing us half way through a half-marathon. We will play for hours so it will be put to good use.

Getting a guitar like this has been on some kind of bucket list for years, unreachable until now. Today is my 60th birthday and I couldn´t be a happier owner of a Bigsby replica, made just for me, to me! /Jonas
 

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radd

Friend of Fred
Dec 27, 2017
5,818
Santa Cruz
Bigsby, a truly under appreciated parson in the development of the solid body electric guitars. Leo made a fabulous creation in his fist Esquire and Telecaster, but he clearly need that Paul Bigsby and Merle Travis influence to do so.

Paul Bigsby

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Merel Travis

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Byron

Country Gent
Sep 4, 2009
1,173
uk
Excellent work mate! I just put some Mojo Bigsby pickups in a Silverjet jet. I'm still pondering them, I'd be interested to see what you think of the sound
 

Byron

Country Gent
Sep 4, 2009
1,173
uk
Excellent work mate! I just put some Mojo Bigsby pickups in a Silverjet jet. I'm still pondering them, I'd be interested to see what you think of the sou
 


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