General tech questions

Installing a Bigsby …

1

I’m finally getting around to putting a Bigsby on my ‘90s Peerless made Epiphone Sorrento. Never done it before but I am sufficiently mechanical that it doesn’t intimidate me. Read a bunch of forum posts and watched a bunch of how to vids and everyone emphasizes that getting it centered is key to good tuning stability. I have to use a B7, so I’m drilling the top sheet of the guitar and have no take backsies on this job. The Sorrento had a stock trapeze tailpiece, and at some point it got tricked out with a Frequensator, so it already has a bunch of extra holes drilled in the bottom. I was hoping that I could get away with re-using some of the existing holes, but by my reckoning, both sets of holes are off by nearly a quarter inch to the bass side!

So my questions to those of you who have done a few of these — is it common for a tailpiece to be that far off from the factory? Does it just not matter as much for a trapeze style tailpiece? And since I gotta fill some of the old holes in order to properly drill new ones, is there a better trick than the old “toothpicks and wood glue” that you would use on a stripped out strap knob drilling?

2

tailpieces are often off center on factory jobs, yes. Bigsby and other.

You can fill holes with small diameter dowel rods and glue to do a cleaner job than with toothpicks.

Before you drill the holes in the top of your epi, see if the hinge on the Bigby is center in relation with the main plate that lays on top of your guitar : in my own experience, with recent Bigsbies, that's almost never the case. And that can make putting a Bigsby on a guitar a finicky, frustrating job.

3

Couple of hints.....ignore all the other holes when it comes to finding your center-line....they're almost always off. When plugging holes...use hardwood, not toothpicks. Get some small maple dowels. The Sorrento probably has maple sides and top.....drill pilot holes, and soap your screws....you don't want to snap off a screw. Use your nut, neck, and bridge to determine your center line, and try and get your strings over your pole pieces, in a straight line with your nut and bridge....this assumes that your pickups are mounted with true center....don't assume that they are.

4

Your strings have to be centered on the neck. Center of the guitar means nothing, and pickups often don't quite line up with the strings. The important thing is how the strings line up with the neck. You might prefer to have the strings slightly more to one side of the neck. I do. Make the bigsby line up the strings on the fingerboard here you want them, and then make sure the bridge is centered under the strings. Sometimes the Bigby doesn't hang straight off the hinge plate and you have to shim the hinge plate slightly. Make sure your ground wire is in good contact with the hinge plate.


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