Modern Gretsch Guitars

are bigsby handles interchangeable?

1

Just got new G-5655t- jr electromatic and love it. what I don't like , it takes about half a minute to describe it. Too long for me. Does anybody know if BIGSBY handles are interchangeable? I have an idea to switch the stock (Arm) handle with with the "Wire"one.

2

They are absolutely interchangeable. The one you are describing is called the "Chet Atkins Bigsby Handle". It was originally made by Chet Atkins out of an automobile turn signal handle. There are several different types available, that have different radius of the curved section of the handle. Just do a Google search for "Chet Atkins Bigsby Handle", and take your pick.

Others more experienced in the 'nuts and bolts' will undoubtedly chime in with how to make the swap. I've never actually done that modification, but I know that it is a very popular choice, from reading about it here.

3

If you have an import (licensed by) Bigsby, the handles may not be interchangeable. I was looking to get a Duane Eddy handle for a friend's 5420 and they were not interchangeable.

4

They are absolutely interchangeable. The one you are describing is called the "Chet Atkins Bigsby Handle". It was originally made by Chet Atkins out of an automobile turn signal handle. There are several different types available, that have different radius of the curved section of the handle. Just do a Google search for "Chet Atkins Bigsby Handle", and take your pick.

Others more experienced in the 'nuts and bolts' will undoubtedly chime in with how to make the swap. I've never actually done that modification, but I know that it is a very popular choice, from reading about it here.

– Wade H

Thanks to all.

5

Wade and lx are correct. All genuine US made Bigsby handles are interchangeable, but the licensed versions may not be. If you're unsure which you have post a pic here of the Bigsby and we'll let you know. It looks from the Gretsch website that yours is licensed, so some further research may be needed - you might need to swap the whole Bigsby out.

The arm swapover is one of the easiest mods you can do you make your Gretsch your own. It looks like that model has a fixed bridge which makes it even easier, but in the event you have a floating bridge and are not confident of getting it back in the right place it may be an idea to tape it down with some lo-tack tape to stop it from moving before you embark on the swap.

  1. Take all the strings off.
  2. Swing the handle right back so you can see the underside of it, being careful not to drop and lose the spring and any shim(s) that may be in there.
  3. Slacken the black hex-top grub screw that's on the underside.
  4. Slide arm off.
  5. Refitting is a reverse of the above, making sure the grub screw locates into the dimple of the Bigsby shaft properly.

Good luck.

6

On your guitar you've got what is known as a Lightning Series B70 Bigsby.


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