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Bigsby/Digsby (Dearmond) help

1

Don’t own a Gretsch, but figure some in this community could help.

I’ve got a Dearmond Starfire Special with what I believe is a licensed Bigsby, often referred to as the “Digsby.” Never been happy with it: stiff spring with negligible pitch variation. Played a Gretsch Brian Setzer model a few months back and the Bigsby on that was fabulous: smooth almost spongy with a lot more depth. Questions:

The Bigsby model equivalent of the “Digsby” I have would be...?

Were I to purchase a new Bigsby unit, would that be a straight swap, i.e., same screw hole alignment/size - no drilling?

Could I accomplish my objective by simply replacing the spring with an aftermarket version, and if so can anyone recommend a size/specs and a reliable online supplier?

Last, I’d like to replace the standard arm with a Chet Atkins. Again, straight swap?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks

2

Is this the version with a tension roller bar like this?

If so, then I'd say the tension roller bar is the main reason it's stiffer than the Setzer you tried out. A new 1" spring will definitely help though. A bigsby B3 may be the answer.

3

Hello.

You will never get the smoothness of a B6 out of a Bigsby with a tension bar. I own guitars with both (B6, B7, B3, B50), love them both but for what you seem to be looking for it won't work. A B6 will not work properly on the DeArmond guitars due to the neck angle. I had a M75T and it had the same 'issue'. I doubt a replacement would fit 1:1 anyway.

My advice: Take the Starfire for what it is (a nice guitar which is not an accurate copy of its older Guild sister) or sell it and get something closer to your liking in terms of specs. You consider spending money on a real Bigsby. This plus what you would get out of a sale of your DeArmond should bring you in the territory of the current Gretsch Electromatic line. Well built, good pickups, a B-60 (!) and they come in orange.

Good luck!

4

It's the severe break angle caused by the roller that's causing the higher tension. You can relieve some of this by doing like Billy Zoom and put a plastic washers under the two screws in the top thus raising the roller and deceasing the break angle.

I also think someone said the spring on the Licensed Bigsbys' are stiffer then the standard so a spring replacement may also help.

5

The few guitars I've had that had Bigsby with a tension bar, I've solved the problem by just bypassing the tension bar and it really improved the Bigsby's action. Some say that the lack of string break angle may causes the strings to pop out of the bridge slots. I never had that problem, but then I don't bash it so hard, so if you like the guitar, it's worth a try.

6

No point in rehashing the drawbacks of the tension bar Bigsby (I will say that the break angle on the Starfire is not as severe as say a Les Paul however). With regards to the Bigsby spring.....yes they tend to be stiffer on the Licensed units; an inexpensive and easy improvement is to go on the Reverend Guitar Website and order yourself a Reverend "Bigsby Soft Spring". 10 bucks, drops right in, I have one on my Guild X175B and they work great.....nice easy Bigsby action with a huge improvement in range and sensitivity.

7

No point in rehashing the drawbacks of the tension bar Bigsby (I will say that the break angle on the Starfire is not as severe as say a Les Paul however). With regards to the Bigsby spring.....yes they tend to be stiffer on the Licensed units; an inexpensive and easy improvement is to go on the Reverend Guitar Website and order yourself a Reverend "Bigsby Soft Spring". 10 bucks, drops right in, I have one on my Guild X175B and they work great.....nice easy Bigsby action with a huge improvement in range and sensitivity.

– Gretschadelphia

^ tis what I was gonna say. I have it bookmarked so I'll save you a little trouble. It doesn't say but I emailed 'em and it's a 1" spring.

http://store.reverendguitar...

8

spring length and string gauge are major factors in bigsby feel..

bigsbys work better with heavier strings..that's what was around when they were designed

cheers

9

All:

Thanks for the useful / timely replies. Going to the Reverend Guitar Website for a 1 inch "Bigsby Soft Spring."

Stiffness wasn’t so much the issue as pitch variation. Hoping the longer spring generates more than a half-step each way. Worth 10 bucks to find out.

Not to press my luck, but anybody on the “Chet Atkins” wire handle? Bracket / hardware straight swap?

Great first experience on this forum.

Thanks again

10

Take the tension bar off and see if you like it better. It's just a set screw on the underside.

11

By the way.....DeArmond Starfire Specials are actually really nice guitars. I had one and regret parting with it. The DeArmond 2K pu's look like Dyna's but sound more like P-90's w/ some Dyna DNA.

12

Take the tension bar off and see if you like it better. It's just a set screw on the underside.

– Billy Zoom

Gonna' try that, Thanks...

13

My ES-335's B7 was very stiff to the point that it was basically unusable in any way. I replaced the spring with a low tension spring from Reverend Guitar at the Philly Guitar show ($10) and it made all the difference in the world. The B7 now has a much softer feel and response. A great improvement.

UD (Uncle Don)


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