General tech questions

Do You Have Troubles With Your Standard Bigsby at String Changes?


So what's the advantage to the pin style Bigsby from the through bar? (Matt Vogt)

I have a "String Through" Bigsby on my Broadkaster Jr. (bought 6 months ago). I was surprised to find that it seemed MORE difficult to string than a standard Bigsby with pins. The holes through the bar are at an angle (not parallel with the top) which makes it very difficult to see the hole where the string gets inserted. I find inserting the string more troublesome than the old "ball over the pin" method.

I have large hands so it is especially difficult to change/replace 1 string at a time -- the high E is the worst.

When installing an entirely new set of strings I rotate the Bigsby arm back over the tail piece and insert all 6 strings through their holes. that makes it fairly simple.

If Gretsch asked for my opinion I would vote in favor of the longer pins as specified by Duane.


I did my first Bigsby string change yesterday and was worried after reading horror stories. Not as easy as a Strat or Tele but not bad. The low E did give me some trouble.

I wonder if that Vibramate changes the tone?


It's so hard I'm selling all my Bigsby guitars. How DARE it be that difficult!


I'll take them all off your hands!


I'll come to your house and get them!

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!


My first Gretsch, a '56 6120 had the pins removed, so I never knew it had pins. No problem at all. I was stunned when I saw the "new" Bigsbys with pins.


So, ... how does this gadget allow you to add all 6 strings w/o several falling off?

At least Locking Tuners allow you to add 1 at a time, w/o wasting time.

At the beginning of Bigsby Time, String Through seems to have been a lost concept...

But still, by every measure, I'll take a Bigsby over all other Trems.


Changing strings was a cuss filled event until someone here suggested a capo.

– NJBob

Yup. And that's all I'm gonna say.


I do it one string at a time, but maybe there are better ways. I just don't see how you could have all six strings on the posts at the same time and then put the clamp on.

It's pretty easy to take it on and off, string by string. That's what I do when I use the eraser thing.


Someone should make a video..


Someone should make a video..

– LA_Manny

Manny, check out Post #1 above.


Manny, check out Post #1 above.

– Ric12string

That looked pretty easy if I must say.That clip seems to do the job.


I timed myself stringing up a B6 with my fingers and a cheap string winder tonight, 3 minutes 40 seconds. If I can do it in that time anyone can.


I think the trouble you have depends on:

The length of the pins: the diameter of the pins; the size of the ball ends; if the ball ends are coated; the thickness of the string; the stiffness of wrapping; the thickness of your fingers.

I haven't had much trouble with my Gretsch, but on my B-16 equipped Tele, particularly with the low E from a set of D'Addario 11-52, with a silver ball that is maybe coated with something shiny, that thing doesn't want to stay there.

The second-last time, it wouldn't stay on without a bend and then the bend acted like a spring and kept popping it off.


As Curt said, practice makes perfect.


Instead of pointless machismo it would be better just pile up on Bigsby company to make the pins longer on every unit. They should have done that long time ago, they didnt, so why advocate stupidity? I dont wanna practice changing strings, I wanna practice music.


Some do not consider it pointless machismo to string a Bigsby-equipped guitar at all. This reads like a thread on the profound challenge of lace-up shoes, or manual toasters, or opening a bottle of wine.

I have a guitar that came with a string-through Bigsby and it was OK and only slightly idiotic vs. a normal string bar (with pins). I stayed with it for a year then switched it out for a normal pin-equipped string bar. It is simply a little easier.

No big deal on the string-through, just enough worse to inspire the change.


And do not get me started on colored string ball-ends from D’Addario. I mean, seriously?


do not get me started on colored string ball-ends from D’Addario.

For me they're just proof a guitar is equipped with D'Addario - which, all things being equal, I usually prefer.

Of course if I'm putting strings on myself, right there's the package, so duh. But if the guitar comes from elsewhere - and these days my own past (and therefore guitar cases in my music room) qualify as elsewhere - the colored balls help remind me what's on the guitar.

TI has the red thread, right? Or is that Pyramid? I think it's TI.

I forget why I need these little memory helpers.


pointless machismo

Love this phrase. Actually I didn't think of changing strings as machismo at all. Now I have a fuller appreciation of my manhood.

But the suggestion is well taken. I can't think of any downside to longer pins, and I guess it's marginally easier to change strings on my DE than on my other Bigsbified boxes. If it makes a product noticeably easier to use for more people, does no violence to the design or function, doesn't offend history in any meaningful way, and costs insignificantly more to implement, I say why not.

Less someone comes up with a strong practical counter-argument, I see no reason Fred should not make long Bigsby pins standard. (Or, for my purposes, any compelling reason he should.)


Hi Tim,

T-I have different colors on different sets. I have red on the JS flat strings, but a sort of dreary (pointless drear-ismo) green on the BeBop rounds. I forget, but the Bensons maybe use a blue?

Agreed that there is no downside to longer pins. Likewise hard to find an upside, but if some do find an upside, then why not do it.

There used to be a guy who sold 7/16 and 1/2” pins online, No idea if he is still out there.

Pulling and replacing pins on the string bar is pretty easy. They are a very light friction fit.

So for removing and replacing a string bar, removing the pins is easier than removing a bearing from the main casting. In my opinion anyway.



Actually I suppose there is a potential downside to long pins. If the ball end settles far out on a long pin, the string tension could conceivably deform the drilled hole in the relatively soft string bar due to the long lever of the extended pin. Maybe.

But this would take some talent for disaster on the part of the re-stringer. Pointless Disastrismo, so to speak.

So yes, let’s see them longer pins.

I assume this allows a marginally set ball end to wander without heading off-pin?


All you need to do is this: Used to have them made for me until I found Callaham was making them now: https://www.callahamguitars...

Increased tuning stability. Fast. Makes it no different than stringing a LP, Fender, etc. I have it installed in ALL my guitars with a Bigsby.

Then you need to add this, too. WAY less friction, better alignment, etc. https://www.callahamguitars...

Better, yes?

BTW: Works great with a TruArc, too!


Agreed with all points, Chris.

Gman, yes. Good stuff. Funny these comments come back to back: I once had the inspiration to make fatter diameter Bigsby rollers - presumably as a sleeve to fit over the original shaft. It was going to provide enhanced pitch-variation-per-erg-of-handle-input. Grooved just like Callaham's fatter front roller, and yeah, we were going to just leave a hole for the string.

However, in taking the pins out of the original axle to mock up a protertype, we broke one. (It was an old piece; maybe the light friction fit had calcified. OK, electrolytically self-welded.) I still have that Bigsby in a bag. I also have the prototype for the replacement roller.

About that point, it dawned on me that the last customer support issue I wanted to be in the middle of was suggesting to the average Bigsby owner that he should pry those retaining rings off and disassemble his Bigsby. Even with the specialized tool, there's opportunity for disaster. With the rounded-off straight screwdriver most guys would try to use, opportunity becomes certainty. I didn't want to be the guy indirectly responsible for the consequential nasty gouges in guitar tops all over the world.

I assume Callaham makes buyers sign a legal waiver of responsibility. Really, they got brasser 'nads than I do!

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