General tech questions

Bigsby bridge question

1

I like the stock compensated bigsby bridge on my 53 jet but the "rocking" part is very annoying, it doesn't rock or return to center, it just leans forward and stays there. I'm thinking about filing it flat on the bottom, has anyone tried this? Seems like it would be an easy fix for this issue

2

Ha! Yes, that's the classic performance of the Bigsby bridge. It rocks exactly once.

You can file it flatter and perhaps get more return-to-center performance from it.

I hate to mention it, but a Tru-Arc is designed to rock...like both directions, over and over, and return to a fixed rest position every time. And they come in compensated aluminum versions. You can have it all.

3

I just want to file it totally flat so it doesn't rock at all, it sounds good and looks cool.

4

Yes , it annoyed me too , so I filed it flat. ( Rick 325 - Bigsby bowtie base ). Filed the top also to get the 7,25 or what ever radius that guitar has. Don't know if it's any better , but it looks better. Have to admit - the Tru Ark does work very well on guitars with a Bigsby . I've switched out the tune o matic on a Gibson , and the Bigsby compensated on a Gretsch . Big Improvement . Much better sustain /sound when using the tremolo and they stay in tune better . I think that's because the strings/spring return to the same position. Now, maybe I'll get a rebate on my next one.

5

I just want to file it totally flat so it doesn't rock at all, it sounds good and looks cool.

File away. You can always raise the wheels to make up the height difference. And what the heck, it's just a piece of metal. It can always be replaced. You have nothing to lose but one rock every time you change strings.

(Tru-Arcs are also available flat-bottomed for no rocking.)

Now, maybe I'll get a rebate on my next one.

Maybe!

6

I just want to file it totally flat so it doesn't rock at all, it sounds good and looks cool.

File away. You can always raise the wheels to make up the height difference. And what the heck, it's just a piece of metal. It can always be replaced. You have nothing to lose but one rock every time you change strings.

(Tru-Arcs are also available flat-bottomed for no rocking.)

Now, maybe I'll get a rebate on my next one.

Maybe!

– Proteus

I had a brass tru arc on my silver jet, I liked it. Apparently the post spacing is different for the bigsby bridge, can you do that? And for the standard non-compensated bar bridge, would my intonation still be pretty close? The thought of a stainless tru arc has crossed my mind. I don't know what the radius on the bigsby bridge is, but it seems pretty close

7

I just flopped the bridge forward and it works just fine. Nonetheless, a brass Serpentune is on my parts list.

8

Ha! Yes, that's the classic performance of the Bigsby bridge. It rocks exactly once.

You can file it flatter and perhaps get more return-to-center performance from it.

I hate to mention it, but a Tru-Arc is designed to rock...like both directions, over and over, and return to a fixed rest position every time. And they come in compensated aluminum versions. You can have it all.

– Proteus

If I didn't know better, I'd think you were somehow affiliated with Tru-Arc!

But I'm sure that, like so many of us here, you're simply an avid unpaid endorsee... nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more...

And yes, I agree-- a Tru-Arc will fix the Bigsby Bridge problem.

9

Full disclosure, of course (I don't think anyone in this thread is confused, but for any future visitors): Tru-Arc is "my" company. So I clearly have an interest - though not in selling bridges where they won't work properly, because if it causes a problem for a user (or aggressively fails to do anything worthwhile), it's a problem for me too.

Yes, we do the Bigsby 2-13/16" spacing by special order. Intonation should be very close even on the straight bar - fewer than a handful have ever been returned for unacceptable intonation. The SerpenTune is just ... closer. A Rock Steady (flat-bottomed) Bigsby-spaced SerpenTune should be as stable a platform as you could get on that guitar.

And, yeah, I think the radius will be good at 12" - but I could send you my cutouttable radius gauge to be certain.

10

Full disclosure, of course (I don't think anyone in this thread is confused, but for any future visitors): Tru-Arc is "my" company. So I clearly have an interest - though not in selling bridges where they won't work properly, because if it causes a problem for a user (or aggressively fails to do anything worthwhile), it's a problem for me too.

Yes, we do the Bigsby 2-13/16" spacing by special order. Intonation should be very close even on the straight bar - fewer than a handful have ever been returned for unacceptable intonation. The SerpenTune is just ... closer. A Rock Steady (flat-bottomed) Bigsby-spaced SerpenTune should be as stable a platform as you could get on that guitar.

And, yeah, I think the radius will be good at 12" - but I could send you my cutouttable radius gauge to be certain.

– Proteus

Tim, I have to say that you have more solutions for "square peg/round hole" bridge problems than anybody on the planet. If it uses a floating or post-mounted bridge of almost any type, you've got something that will work-- And work well.

And THAT'S a compliment.

11

Well, it's taken some hoop-jumping, but I apparently committed myself when I started to have a bridge for any Gretsch - and virtually any Gibson and similar. And any other guitar with a Bigsby, including Teles.

And we've done the DiPinto Galaxie and a Rickenbacker 660.

This was not a sound business decision, as it results in around 100 SKUs. But it's a bit like WD Music and pickguards: some of those model numbers exist as a set of dimensions and a program for the mill, and we only make them when ordered.

Gretsch continually finds new things to throw at me. Adapt adapt...

12

Here's a modest rumination tangentially related to this subject. The original rocking Bigsby bridges that the current ones more or less replicate were totally different. The saddles had flat bottoms and they rocked on floating posts, just like the vintage bar bridges. These bridges are confusing the first time you change strings and they flop apart, but they work perfectly, IMO.

13

I'm a big fan of the Tru Arc Rock Steady I have on my Power Tenny. The bridge is super stable and even though it does not "rock" it works very well with the Bigsby and tuning stability is excellent. Also, the Rock Steady is a bit lower profile than a regular Tru Arc which is helpfull if your guitar has a shallower neck angle.

14

I just want to file it totally flat so it doesn't rock at all, it sounds good and looks cool.

– Chmason85

that's the thing to do with those bridges - they sound better too with the saddle making more contact with the thumbwheels. The rocking feature doesn't work anyway.

15

Before hacking on your bridge pins, I would suggest that you set up you're bridge so that it tilts towards the tailpiece. That way when you push down on you Bigsby handle the bridge will become taller and will be glad to come back to it's lower position when you release the handle.

I'm of the opinion that modern "rocking" bridge does not rock at all, but because of the nice geometry the strings slide real nicely over the bridge.

Lee

16

WB, that's just what I was thinking, its gotta improve at least a little having full contact.

Lee, I have my action fairly low and with the nickel rockers I'm using, they seem to slide over the aluminum bridge just fine, I don't do anything crazy with the bigsby. I tried to lean it back, but it just wants to keep settling forward toward the neck, that's why I had the idea to file the bridge base flat

17

In order to make the Bigsby bridge work, the strings must stick to the bridge. If the strings slide, well your experience is what happens. Try tipping the bridge a little more toward the tailpiece.

Sliding strings are only way that the modern "rocking" bridges (which do not rock) work.

Lee

18

I prefer non-rocking bridges myself, or nearly non-rocking ones. I’ll make the bottoms either flat or slightly rounded, depending on the guitar. I use flats on all of my Gretsches, though, and I fine-tune the string slots like crazy. Magnifying glasses and 4-micron sandpaper are often involved.


Register Sign in to join the conversation