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1988 Ovation Elite 1758, 2009 Gibson Flying V Faded Cherry, Edwards Esquire, Marshall DSL 40 CR
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was browsing guitars online and came across this tele. I was wanting to get some opinions on this type of after market modification. Basically it is what you see...a Bigsby mounted onto a Tele.

In my opinion, Tele's are already fairly heavy guitars and a Bigsby is only going to add more. This mod also needed to cut notches into the bridge plate to allow spaces for the strings to go over the saddles. If you wanted to take the Bigsby off, the screw holes would still be there in addition to the notches, making it pretty much an irreversible mod. Above all, there is now a honking piece of metal taking up half of this beautiful candy apple finish.

Thoughts?

 

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I once bought a partscaster with a Bigsby (and 2 Wolfetone humbuckers). It sounded great and weight wasn't an issue in this case.

If you like Bigsby's then go for it. I'm kind of indifferent. I don't think I would go out of my way to install one, but I certainly don't mind them on a tele.
 

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The Bigsby is made mostly of aluminum, it's not particularly heavy. A B5 is 10.1 ounces, I assume that includes the box it is shipped in.

There are a few options for the Bigsby.

You can buy a correct bridge plate, or half-bridge plate, with the slots already cut.

Some people don't like the tension bar Bigsbys. They will modify a B3, B5 or will chop a B-16. This involves adding a shim on the neck.

I went with the unmodified B-16N, you still need the neck shim with that. It looks great.

Instead of shiming the neck, you can have the neck pocket modified, which would help as the shim raises the height of the neck and the neck pickup can be far from the strings.

Most of the problems people have with Bigsbys involve the nut. You want the nut to have flat-bottomed slots that flare-out on the headstock side, or that don't pinch if they are straight. Bigsbys work best with heavier gauge strings.

There's also the Vibromate to look into if you want to install it without holes, and a few newer vibratos [similar to the Les Trem?].

 

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1988 Ovation Elite 1758, 2009 Gibson Flying V Faded Cherry, Edwards Esquire, Marshall DSL 40 CR
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The Bigsby is made mostly of aluminum, it's not particularly heavy. A B5 is 10.1 ounces, I assume that includes the box it is shipped in.

There are a few options for the Bigsby.

You can buy a correct bridge plate, or half-bridge plate, with the slots already cut.

Some people don't like the tension bar Bigsbys. They will modify a B3, B5 or will chop a B-16. This involves adding a shim on the neck.

I went with the unmodified B-16N, you still need the neck shim with that. It looks great.

Instead of shiming the neck, you can have the neck pocket modified, which would help as the shimraises the height of the neck and the neck pickup can be far from the strings.

Most of the problems people have with Bigsbys involve the nut. You want the nut to have flat-bottomed slots that flare-out on the headstock side, or that don't pinch if they are straight. Bigsbys work best with heavier gauge strings.

There's also the Vibromate to look into if you wabt to install it without holes, and a few newer vibratos [similar to the Les Trem?].
Yes when I looked up the Teles that Fender makes which come stock with their own "Bigsby" (with the Fender logo on it) they looked more playable like this one.



The candy apple one I saw was do it yourself style which I am not a huge fan of.
 

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Yes when I looked up the Teles that Fender makes which come stock with their own "Bigsby" (with the Fender logo on it) they looked more playable like this one.



The candy apple one I saw was do it yourself style which I am not a huge fan of.
 

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Tremolos don’t really work. They work, but not more than they don’t. And it really does take away from the way that a string through sitting on barrels feels and sounds.

That being said, if you need to surf, you need to surf and nobody should stand in your way.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You have to pay extra to get one with a B-16.


The B-16 doesn't always cover the original pickup cavity.

Here's a chopped B-16 and a chopped B5.

https://www.gretsch-talk.com/proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2F1.bp.blogspot.com%2F-vom-KiCWQaA%2FVF0xzzQkSVI%2FAAAAAAAAAXU%2FKOmFrAn1eN0%2Fs1600%2FIMG_1698.jpg&hash=51a1ab333db5df5b68fc481513fb396d
Yes I like how it fits the guitar and the way that it goes over the saddles. If I went through this this I wouldn't want to go the "notched" regular tele bridge look.
 

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Putting nostalgia and our apparent collective affection for antiquity aside, no, I would chose something more refined and modern. If we're worried about resale value, I'll let others make those judgements. That's of no interest to me. I'm only concerned with what will (for me) make it a better guitar in some way. There are more evolved vibrato bridges and tail pieces available.
 

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One of the nicest Teles I ever tried was a '63 with a Bigsby, stock. It changes the tone a bit, or so it seemed, but more to the point, it changes your playing style. Bigsbys are not for dive bombs. They are for emotional nuance.

As for weight, I have two B5 units, one an original vintage unit, and the other an aftermarket unit I bought off Kijiji. The aftermarket unit weighs about 40% more than the all-aluminum original.
 
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