Use a torch to shorten Reverend soft spring?

Discussion in 'The Great Bigsby forum' started by capnhiho, Sep 25, 2019.

  1. capnhiho

    capnhiho Synchromatic

    Feb 16, 2013
    I installed a Reverend soft spring in my new Double Jet for the usual reason; sensitivity and action are greatly improved as usual. BUT the new spring, as well as the original leave s the handle standing almost 3" above the pickguard/scratch plate. I tried squashing the new spring in a vise to shorten the overall length to no avail. I don't want to bend the handle to a more comfortable shape because it would then contact the guitar top when swiveled into the storage position (down toward the strap pin). I know that shorter springs are available but I would lose the benefits of the softer spring if I try one.

    All that to preface my idea of heating a portion of the Reverend spring to red hot or thereabouts and trying the vise again. If it fails I'm only out 10 bucks, so the risk is low. Any feedback from G-T members familiar with metal working?
  2. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    Not sure, you may take the heat treatment out of the spring and it wont be much of a spring anymore.
    ZackyDog, hcsterg and wabash slim like this.
  3. capnhiho

    capnhiho Synchromatic

    Feb 16, 2013
    My goal would be to heat only a portion of the spring on one end, then squash it shorter after compromising the heat treatment of that portion.

    Hey, it's only a $10 fail if it's a bust!
  4. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    I just took off the handle, put it in a well padded vise and bent it so it was slightly lower. Pay close attention to where on the arm you want the bend to begin so it looks completely normal. Don’t do this with a cast handle!

    Very little bend produces a lot of drop, so go easy.
  5. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    That spring will act like a heat sink it will ruin it to heat it.
    ZackyDog likes this.
  6. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    this is probably a silly question, but have you taken out the little white plastic washer?
  7. capnhiho

    capnhiho Synchromatic

    Feb 16, 2013
    64BA431F-ACA9-4A51-BB17-3F447C85F7E6.jpeg ECE1F974-26B6-42D9-8A4A-D50F063EB109.jpeg

    Here’s what I’m up against. Yes, the white washer left last week. If I bend the arm it will contact the top when folded.
    Setzerhotrod likes this.
  8. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    Wow, yeah, that’s wicked high.

    Maybe buy a chet handle or a duane eddy handle? They both sit lower.
    They aren’t a direct fit to licensed bigsby’s, but I’ve heard of folks here on GT that reamed the hole for it to fit on the string shaft.
  9. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Did you contact Reverend and ask for advice? In my experience they are very customer-service friendly.
  10. cqscqs

    cqscqs Gretschie

    Dec 8, 2013
    Wow. On my 5420, I thought the reverend looked way too high. But when I installed it, and tightened the strings, it compressed as designed. This is a different story here obviously...
    Jeff67 likes this.
  11. capnhiho

    capnhiho Synchromatic

    Feb 16, 2013
    It has stood that proud from day one; doesn't matter if the stock Chigsby spring or the Reverend is in there. Otherwise it's an absolutely killer axe!
  12. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
  13. unknown fan

    unknown fan Gretschie

    Aug 7, 2018
    I would just clamp it in a vise and cut off a small portion of the spring and refit it and repeat until you get it where you want it. Heating it will most likely make the pring more firm and youd lose the benefits of having the Reverend spring in the first place. Good luck!
    audept and ronbo like this.
  14. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz

    Sure looks like it would hit the body when folded on your guitar. I did it on three different Gretschs without problem.

    If it was lower would it need to fold all the way back to fit in the case. Would it be possible to rotate it until it almost contacted the body and place some thin padding between it and the body.
  15. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Do you use light strings? Maybe a metal clipper would work. I am also concerned that heat would affect the tension.
  16. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    What if the tension bar was lower
  17. Byron

    Byron Synchromatic

    Sep 4, 2009
    Very strange. Since you mentioned that the arm position is really high with the stock spring as well as the Rev spring.... it's safe to say that the problem isn't the spring! You shouldn't have to fool around with a vise or red hot temperature. Look elsewhere for the reason for the problem. But I can't see any reason for it happening. Maybe good time to take it to a shop?
  18. R.S.Fraser Sr.

    R.S.Fraser Sr. Electromatic

    May 10, 2010
    Capnhiho - I can't speak specifically to the Reverend soft spring,
    but for what this is worth, heating the spring I had to shorten it did work.

    I did it last week on one of my tailpieces.
    Now, I had a spare anyway so there was not much at stake if I messed it up.

    First - to see if annealing the spring would have a detrimental effect,
    I heated the test spring up to cherry red, and let it cool slowly.
    It did not have any perceivable effect on the "springiness"
    as compared to the untouched spring.

    So then I reheated it to cherry red while it sat on a firebrick, and once red,
    I took another brick and pushed the top of the spring down to the measured amount that I felt I needed.
    All this while, I had the torch flame on it.
    Once at the height I wanted, I released the top pressure, and took the flame away,
    and let it cool slowly.

    I'm happy with the results as far as handle height goes.
    And yes -it did change colour.

    Of course cutting off pieces of the spring will shorten it, but you will lose the "flattened end" that Bigsby style springs have, and hence it may not sit correctly.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2019
    capnhiho likes this.
  19. capnhiho

    capnhiho Synchromatic

    Feb 16, 2013
    All good feedback above - and I’ve already thought through just about every suggestion. Installing the Brick’s BiggsFix tension roller didn’t change anything because it only affected the break angle between bridge and Bigsby; the spring tension didn’t change.

    R.S.Fraser: your experience is exactly what I was looking for. I think I’ll do a practice run on the OEM spring, then take my final exam on the Reverend spring. I only have a propane torch - hope it’s hot enough.

    Thanks to all who contributed :)
  20. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Friend of Fred

    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    You wouldn't happen to be using .009 strings, would you?
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.