The Workbench

Bigsby on a Cabronita

26

Since we're talking about screwing bridges right to the body (over in Proteus' thread), the TonePros ROLLER bridge looks like a cool Bigsby solution as well....

– ruger9

But then you run into neck vs. bridge radius trouble again. Almost every TOM (except the Schroeder ones) has a 12" radius, or flatter. With a regular TOM you can file some saddles deeper to get to almost the correct radius, but with a roller bridge, you obviously can't.

27

A question on the Fender American Pro Jazzmaster/Jaguar bridge: is it height adjustable? I know it has inserts and posts... but is there a way to raise the action if wanted? Or do you have to put washers under the bridge (on the posts of course)?

28

It's height-adjustable. Leetle tahny allen-head screw down through those holes above the bridge posts on either side of the saddles.

29

Thanks Proteus. That'll do fine. I think for my project, I'm going to go with the Fender Am.Pro Jazzmaster/Jaguar saddle, that saddle that comes with the B5 kit has threaded saddles, and they seem to be universally hated.

30

Before I commit to drilling any holes, to be SURE this is something I want to do to this guitar (because once it's drilled, it's done), I think I might get this kit for starters. Then if I dig the whole thing, I will go ahead and get the JM/JG bridge, remove the Vibra-mate, and do it "right".

https://reverb.com/item/640...

31

You'll have to shim the neck a little because you'll lose some break angle with the Vibramate.

32

You'll have to shim the neck a little because you'll lose some break angle with the Vibramate.

– Curt Wilson

Crap!!! Well, it would be temporary, because I really don't like the way the Vibramate looks anyway... the whole thing looks big and clunky to me, not elegant like a B5 and a JM bridge would look... the Vibramate would just be an "insurance policy" that I do indeed want to put a Bigsby on this guitar before I start drilling.

Thanks for the warning Curt!

33

I would suggest trying all this out on a cheap Warmoth body rather than the original Fender body. You can often find ready-to-go Cab bodies at Warmoth or similar. The quality is very high and you have the option of going back to stock to sell if you want. They can even drill any holes you need very accurately.

34

Yeah I found this video yesterday, I thought it was also pretty helpful on the issue:

35

The B16 is made for Tellys- it‘s high responsive, smooth, stays perfectly in tune, looks uber-cool and is build from Paul for Leo in 1953. It‘s the original and is worth all the effort.

36

The B16 is made for Tellys- it‘s high responsive, smooth, stays perfectly in tune, looks uber-cool and is build from Paul for Leo in 1953. It‘s the original and is worth all the effort.

– Stefan

I'm talking specifically about a Cabronita tho- 2 Filtertron-sized pickup, so the B16 doesn't apply. It does look uber-cool tho... except for the bar, I hate those wire bars, I prefer the flat ones, specifically the "butter knife" one (Duane Eddy bar, I believe)

37

Cool informative thread! I'm figuring out what to do on my next build and i'm thinking cabronita. And I love Bigsby's. That Callaham bridge looks nice but I also like the idea of the modified ashtray bridge. Vibramates don't look right to me.

Good luck with your quest, I'm looking forward to your sollution.

38

I'm talking specifically about a Cabronita tho- 2 Filtertron-sized pickup, so the B16 doesn't apply. It does look uber-cool tho... except for the bar, I hate those wire bars, I prefer the flat ones, specifically the "butter knife" one (Duane Eddy bar, I believe)

– ruger9

That‘s an older picture, meanwhile I‘m using the vintage narrow handle. And you can cut the B16 if you prefer different Pickups.

39

OK, well... I've just ordered a Bigsby B5 for the Cabronita. I will also be putting the T-Armonds back in it. Going to order the Callaham bridge... just not sure if I should go with brass or stainless saddles? What the tonal difference, and is it drastic? The guitar currently has steel saddles....

40

OK, well... I've just ordered a Bigsby B5 for the Cabronita. I will also be putting the T-Armonds back in it. Going to order the Callaham bridge... just not sure if I should go with brass or stainless saddles? What the tonal difference, and is it drastic? The guitar currently has steel saddles....

– ruger9

any bigsby on a tele that isnt using the B-5 will require a shim in the neck pocket.. this requires a properly sized shim be it wood or alum, or an actually pitch modification in the neck pocket (which I'm sure you dont want to perm alter the instrument this way). TKsmith.net sells his alum neck pocket shim that is made perfect for use of a bigsby style floating bridge and saddle/same as a gretsch base and abr-1 but diff saddle slot spacing and post spacing. the stock bigsby alum shim that bigsbt sells is off.. I had to add some JB wield to one of those and resand to get it properly thick enough.. all that to save money but ended up 5x more labor.

ps. marc rutters makes a bridge like the callaham, might be a little less spendy. I have one. regarding saddles... the call has to be made on what pickups and wood the instrument has. I have bell brass rutters saddles on an alum base for classic tele pickups.. but I like the stainless steel rutters saddles I have on a steel half bridge for my sugarpine cabronita w T-armonds. I first had the brad paisley missmatched set but I couldnt handle the look. my tele had pimp teeth

41

any bigsby on a tele that isnt using the B-5 will require a shim in the neck pocket.. this requires a properly sized shim be it wood or alum, or an actually pitch modification in the neck pocket (which I'm sure you dont want to perm alter the instrument this way). TKsmith.net sells his alum neck pocket shim that is made perfect for use of a bigsby style floating bridge and saddle/same as a gretsch base and abr-1 but diff saddle slot spacing and post spacing. the stock bigsby alum shim that bigsbt sells is off.. I had to add some JB wield to one of those and resand to get it properly thick enough.. all that to save money but ended up 5x more labor.

ps. marc rutters makes a bridge like the callaham, might be a little less spendy. I have one. regarding saddles... the call has to be made on what pickups and wood the instrument has. I have bell brass rutters saddles on an alum base for classic tele pickups.. but I like the stainless steel rutters saddles I have on a steel half bridge for my sugarpine cabronita w T-armonds. I first had the brad paisley missmatched set but I couldnt handle the look. my tele had pimp teeth

– TheNocturneBrain

Well, I AM using a B5, so... no neck shim, right? That's why I bought the B5...

I'll look at Rutters... as for the saddles: the pickups are T-Armonds. Wood is pine maybe? Not 100% sure what the vintage white MIM thinline Cabronitas were, but something is telling me I read they were pine?

I can also tell you this: this guitar (pieces of wood) is warm enough- it doesn't need the trebles rounded off or anything like a normal tele might. And I don't want to lose the snap I have in the wound strings, either... so I was considering SS saddles? I don't want it any brighter- it's got a Fender hardtail on it now, which is just plain steel saddles.

I just checked Rutters site... they don't (anymore?) offer a hardtail bridge with the cutouts for the strings (Bigsby)

42

I've accepted that Telecasters can do without vibratos. While the B16 has a certain overdone early 50s elegance (with plenty of 30s-40s industrial-design DNA), it still does unspeakable violence to the aesthetics of the guitar. Anything that wholly colonizes the whole expanse from bridge to butt had better redeem itself not only with stellar functionality, but with some redeeming aesthetic value.

The B5 fails on the latter - but not as bad as the Vibramate, which says "I care way more about vibrato than I do my guitar."

Looking at all these options now, Bob Howard's amputation approach is the only one that passes (today's) Aesthetic Police Standards. But I'm not sure a floating bridge on a Tele is a Thing to Have, and that may have had something to do with lack of love for the final result.

If I had to vibrate with a Tele, I think I'd almost prefer a Strat bridge (for frontal appeal), though I don't know how big hole hogged out of the back impacts tone. It sure looks ugly.

In retrospect, I'm glad I haven't adulterated any of my Teles with a vibrato. And if I had to go here, I guess it would be the B-16. If you're going, might as well go the whole hog and get a swoopy machinist's dream of Total Guitar Domination for your effort.

I guess my favorite Tele setup is some variety of conventional bridge, string-through. The one on the white guitar just above works mighty well, especially if you're eschewing the traditional angled Telepup and its traditional surround.


All that who-cares aside, is that your white Cab, Ruger? It's completely stunning, and I'm smitten. T-Armonds in P-90 mount? Is it for sale? Can I just have it, please? Everything about it is just perfect.

What's the body wood?

It makes me think of getting another o-them 160.00 Rondo/SX numbers with P90s and getting T-Armonds. Basically, Cabronita for the cost of pickups...

But it's not a thinline. I like the f-hole.

Man, it's good to have something to want.

43

" All that who-cares aside, is that your white Cab, Ruger? It's completely stunning, and I'm smitten. T-Armonds in P-90 mount? Is it for sale? Can I just have it, please? Everything about it is just perfect."

Yeah, it's mine, had it several years now. I've had all kinds of pickups in it: Fidelitrons, Classics, Setzer Sigs, Powertrons, then T-90, T-Armonds, one currently Rio grande BBQ Trons... but I think the T-Armonds have to go back in. I just love the old-school jump blues Tony tonk tone I can get with them.

I think it's pine, not sure tho.

As for teles with Bigsbys, I do have some "inspirations" in that regard...

44

" All that who-cares aside, is that your white Cab, Ruger? It's completely stunning, and I'm smitten. T-Armonds in P-90 mount? Is it for sale? Can I just have it, please? Everything about it is just perfect."

Yeah, it's mine, had it several years now. I've had all kinds of pickups in it: Fidelitrons, Classics, Setzer Sigs, Powertrons, then T-90, T-Armonds, one currently Rio grande BBQ Trons... but I think the T-Armonds have to go back in. I just love the old-school jump blues honky tonk tone I can get with them.

I think it's pine, not sure tho.

As for teles with Bigsbys, I do have some "inspirations" in that regard...

45

I built this guitar 12 or so years ago, and originally as a hardtail. Decided I wanted a Bigsby and didn't want to re-invent the wheel just to install it. I decided, that sonically and esthetically, the Callaham bridge was the way to go. I love the simplicity and functionality that it provides, plus it covers up the filled holes of the previous bridge perfectly. Did I notice a huge difference in sound? Not really, but I don't get caught up in the minutiae of the trivial differences in sound. Most people don't. You either want a Bigsby or you don't, and will accept any slight trade-off in sound if you do.

It has Vintage Vibe blade pickups, treble bleeds on each volume pot, and whether it is played through either a Deluxe Reverb or Bassman, it covers everything and anything. The most versatile guitar I own, and even more so with the Bigsby.

Put on the combination saddles you had with the pickups you like, slap on the bridge and Bigsby, and be done with it. Most of the guitars we all own are not precious museum pieces that we should be so afraid to modify them to suit our purposes.

For my Tele Frankenstein, it has stacked volume and tone controls for each pickup, so the height of the arm is perfect with a 1 inch spring and 10-46 gauge strings. A Reverend soft spring was okay for height, but would allow the arm to hit the control plate with anything beyond a slight vibrato shimmer. Adding the Duane Eddy handle not only made it look better, but also felt better in the hands and almost negates any notice to the fact there is a tension bar. The guitar still fits perfectly in a standard, rectangular aftermarket case with the arm swung back.

I have never regretted installing the Bigsby and wished I had not been so afraid to do it sooner. Neither should you.

46

Side shot, showing height of arm:

47

Yeah, I like the 1" spring too, for the extra height. I also have the Duane Eddy arm on my Hot Rod... I guess I'll have to get one for the Cabronita too... it just feels more solid to me.

48

Alright, just ordered the DE handle, now just need the Callaham... I'll have to print out the order form and mail it in, no one sells the Bigsby bridge with stainless steel saddles...

49

You can still get those bridges from Rutters too, just ask him in an email.

50

You know, once upon a time I cut down a Bigsby B5 and I've been waiting for the right guitar to put it on. Bob Howard's post on page 1 is giving me ideas...


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