The Workbench

Will adding a Bigsby (to a tele) DECREASE TENSION?

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I would think that with the right cup of coffee, the tension should be essentially, undetectable.

Okay, lame joke out of the way, this is a timely post as I was wondering the same think myself. My main concern though, would be the potential change in tone/sustain/spank of the Bigsby equipped 'caster. Fact is, I've always liked the aesthetic of such a model since first I spotted one in a '69 Fender catalog I received as a kid. Still, I've never owned one. I recently purchased an American 60s model in Lake Placid metallic blue and have been thinking how well a B5 might look on it, or rather on a Fender issued version of this guitar stocked with the Bigsby (which I believe currently do not exist). In any case, this thread in giving me more pause for thought on the subject.

– General_Lee

Tonal change, from what I have read, will be even LESS perceptible than a tension/feel change. Some seem to hear a change in sustain, but I've never heard anyone say the TONE really changed. The strings are still going over the same saddles, so... what happens behind the saddles shouldn't matter much?

And as for the overtones caused by the "harp" on the non-tension-bar Bigsys, I HATE that, and have a leather shoelace in my strings to prevent it LOL

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To be clear, I've never felt the need to put a Rev spring on a pro-line Gretsch - or any other guitar without the tension bar. Most Electromatics and Streamliners, in my experience (and other tension-bar guitars) are waaay stiffer than the stock setup on a pro-line. Feels like the handle itself will bend before I get any pitchwobble.

This is, indeed, my experience with the tension bar, and the reason I went with a B16 on this Tele.

My feeling is that the Reverend spring treats the symptoms of the tension bar, and not the problem, which is the tension bar itself. I'd rather have no Bigsby than have a B5. Like Tavo, I have a chopped B5, and I plan to put it on my Danelectro-alike with a neck shim and a radius-matched compensated rocking bar bridge. That's like three projects down the line though.

Nevertheless, I think Mr Ruger need not worry he will lose the TELE FEEL going with the B5 and the notched ashtray.

– Otter

Interesting. I bought a Rev spring for my Hot Rod, but never put it in- I like feel of the stock spring just fine.

But maybe I could use it on the Cab/B5... if the tension bar makes the Bigsby stiffer, maybe the Rev spring would help "cancel" out some of that with it's softer action...

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I think Mr Ruger need not worry he will lose the TELE FEEL going with the B5 and the notched ashtray.

I agree. Or tele tone.


I have a conflicted relationship with tension bars. Most feel awful (oddly, some don't). When they're awful, I try running the strings over rather than under the bar. If it works, I'm good. I sometimes remove the bar, which improves the looks a little (though residue of ugly remains).

If the ugly bothers me enough, I replace the Bigsby with a real one - though it has to be an "important" enough guitar, and the ugly has to really offend me.

On the others - where the strings have to run under the bar for sufficient break angle, and where the feel is this-ain't-no-durn-Bigsby stiff, here come da Revspring.


On my Tele(type)s- and I have enough that one ought to have a wigglestick - I've been conflicted for the reasons ventilated in this thread: feel, tone, appearance. I think I'm deciding a chopped B5 is the way for me to go too, for all those reasons: closest both to "normal" Tele tone and feel AND to "normal" Bigsby feel and action, while taking up the least space.

Glad we got that settled.


What Dano-like are you working on? Did I miss something? (I have an unannounced Dano-family build gestating as well...probably take months.)

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What Dano-like are you working on? Did I miss something? (I have an unannounced Dano-family build gestating as well...probably take months.)

T'were this'n: http://gretschpages.com/for...

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One thing I haven't seen mentioned here that helped immensely with the B5/ashtray configuration on my Tele is the saddles. Before the Bigsby, I used the old-fashioned brass bar saddles. After the Bigsby went on and the strings no longer went through the body, they were prone to move side to side along the saddles since there was less downward pressure. I eventually went with the threaded steel 60s style saddles, which gave each string a nice slot to fit into.

What saddles do you have on the Cab?

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With a floating Strat tailpiece, the trick is to put a little pressure on the tailpiece with your palm when you bend strings. You cn also just wank the wanger with your palm by wiggling your hand. On a Tele, I think if you shimmed the neck back a little and raised the bridge & pickups slightly, you could get enough break angle to do without the tension roller. The one in Tavos photo looks like it could work well.


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