Modern Gretsch Guitars

help with sourcing locking tuners and string through bigsby

1

hi guys I got a 2013 White Falcon LDS and would like to swap the tuners for Imperial locking tuners, like in the players edition. I would also like to change the bigsby to string through hopefully without having to buy a completely new one.

anyone knows where I can source these parts and if changing the bigsby string shaft only is a possibility?

thanks fed

2

You could ask one of the sponsors here if they could order them in for you as spare parts. Dave's Guitars might be able to get them in for you.

FWIW I actually prefer the string post (regular) Bigsby. it's quicker for restringing because you don't have to thread the string through anything. But then I've been restringing Bigsby loaded Gretsches for a long time now! It's not hard once you know how. Just bend the ball-end of the string around a screwdriver shaft so it has a hook shape and restringing is simple.

3

You could ask one of the sponsors here if they could order them in for you as spare parts. Dave's Guitars might be able to get them in for you.

FWIW I actually prefer the string post (regular) Bigsby. it's quicker for restringing because you don't have to thread the string through anything. But then I've been restringing Bigsby loaded Gretsches for a long time now! It's not hard once you know how. Just bend the ball-end of the string around a screwdriver shaft so it has a hook shape and restringing is simple.

– JimmyR

thanks. I don't know Dave Guitars but it's a good idea. it's strange that these tuners and string thru be only available if you get the guitars and not as spare parts....seemingly

4

There are no locking Imperials. You can use locking RotoMatics, which are much better tuners, but the screw holes won't match, and you'll have to use a couple of Grover washers to get the buttons to clear the headstock because Imperials have a longer offset. I'm glad I did the swap because the Imperials really suck as tuners. You can buy the washers on the internet.

5

The Imperials on my 6122 came with the Kidney Bean knobs, but either style will fit.

6

There are no locking Imperials. You can use locking RotoMatics, which are much better tuners, but the screw holes won't match, and you'll have to use a couple of Grover washers to get the buttons to clear the headstock because Imperials have a longer offset. I'm glad I did the swap because the Imperials really suck as tuners. You can buy the washers on the internet.

– Billy Zoom

Thanks Billy but not sure I understand. The rotomatic already have a longer stem so they should clear the headstock no problem. Rotomatics use 1 screw and not 2 and in a different position but that’s not a big deal. The issue is more the Actual holes I’m the headstock are of a different size why I’d need to change bushings. Isn’t this the biggest problem? I think imperial tuners are slightly bigger

I guess I misunderstood what you wrote.

7

For your string through Bigsby in gold finish you buy vintage (pre 1972) and remove pins as they will screw in from the other side of the bar. Then you will have a 100% gold Bigsby that you can put the string through.

8

Grover makes locking tuners, and the Calaham bar looks great, even with gold hardware! That’s what I have on my 6120! Got all my stuff on Reverb!

9

Like this...

11

For your string through Bigsby in gold finish you buy vintage (pre 1972) and remove pins as they will screw in from the other side of the bar. Then you will have a 100% gold Bigsby that you can put the string through.

– knavel

Thanks. Really appreciate. I was hoping a luthier could drill the holes but maybe it’s a difficult job

12

Thanks Billy but not sure I understand. The rotomatic already have a longer stem so they should clear the headstock no problem. Rotomatics use 1 screw and not 2 and in a different position but that’s not a big deal. The issue is more the Actual holes I’m the headstock are of a different size why I’d need to change bushings. Isn’t this the biggest problem? I think imperial tuners are slightly bigger

I guess I misunderstood what you wrote.

– pisquano

Rotomatics knob shafts are shorter & will need washers for spacers. The Imperials have a thicker string post, which makes them suck as tuners....BUT...both Imperial & Rotomatic bushings take a 10mm hole in the headstock, even though the hole in the bushing is different. Just use the bushings that come with the rotomatics. The string post on the Rotomatics is shorter also, and I had to file my nut slightly because of the steeper string angle.

13

Locking tuners make stringing a Bigsby MUCH easier, and the slimmer shaft & better gear ration make the guitar much easier to tune.

14

Thanks. Really appreciate. I was hoping a luthier could drill the holes but maybe it’s a difficult job

– pisquano

I wouldn't waste the money. Plus a jeweler would probably be better for a drilling job like that than a luthier.

If you can find a vintage gold Bigsby--Gretsch did use them on Country Gentlemen, Vikings, etc, then when you are bored with the Bigsby, sell the guitar, etc., you screw the pins back in and get your money back on eBay.

I know that you didn't want to buy a new Bigsby. On an old Bigsby you could change the tension bar since you could remove the pins, pop the cotter pin on the edge and slide the bar out.

On the modern Bigsbys, I have no idea if you can pull those fixed pins out in order to remove the bar. My Gretsch knowledge dies after about 1968.

15

Early Bigsbys used allen screws which are easily removed. Later Bigsbys have roll pins, witch can be removed with pliers. You can always buy more roll pins at any good hardware store.

16

My only concern about stringing through the bar is that it would create a very sharp break angle at a place where the strings is most vulnerable. In a lot of ways it is a better design of course - string through makes more sense than hooking the string to a post! But I like how quick it is to remove strings from a post rather than pulling them back through - I always worry about the finish when I do this on a Fender or a Gibson with a wrap-around bridge. I suppose you could just cut the strings...

But I genuinely don't have a problem with restringing a Bigsby. It's like anything - once you know how it's easy. The best solution? Probably not! And I wonder about how the feel of a Bigsby would be affected if they made the bar bigger in diameter. That would be an interesting experiment.

17

Later Bigsbys have roll pins, witch can be removed with pliers. You can always buy more roll pins at any good hardware store.

That answers one question I had. But you'd still have to drill although having the pin holes to guide will make the job easier.

18

I'm also a bit hesitant with Callaham. There's a lot of snake oil on his site. I have tried a few things from him and always regretted it! His Strat bridges are not all they are cracked up to be and his steel ABR-1s sound awful IMO.

The last thing I got from him was a vintage Strat bridge with narrower string spacing. I was looking to avoid the strings being too close to the edges of a fingerboard on a Strat I had. Well it kinda worked, but the trem bar came out of the block at 90 degrees, and typically on a Strat it's angled back a fair bit. So the trem arm poked out at a very weird place and if you bent the arm to bring it down it meant you had to remove it to put your guitar in the case. You don't have to with a regular Vintage Strat bridge. It was very poorly thought out and when I politely asked why he had made it like that he said it had to be made like that for obvious reasons. Well I might be thick but I couldn't see why he had changed something Leo got right all those years ago. His version was cumbersome and didn't work very well while Leo's did.

So never again with Callaham. And his price for a straight bar with some holes drilled in it is a bit silly. Tim's Truarcs have a lot more machining involved for a similar price.

19

Hey I never said strings would break! I'm sure it IS well made - mostly his machining is excellent. But his reasoning is not so good IME. However there is a lot more involved in a Truarc - is that relevant? Maybe not.

I did consider buying one of his Bigsby bars and the tension bar he does with the grooves in it for a guitar I had with a B7. I think the grooves in the tension bar is actually a very good idea. But the cost would have been more than I paid for the Bigsby (!) and because I have had less than fantastic results from Callaham parts in the past I decided against it.

If it all works for you that's fantastic. I'm certainly not attacking you at all, so please don't put words in my mouth. The whole point of forums like these is to express our experiences with various guitar-related stuff, which is what Im doing. Please don't take anything I said as an attack on you because it isn't.

20

No problem Jimmy, and same holds true here.

Just sharing experiences and thoughts. All good.

21

Ha! There are a lot more important things to worry about right now!


Register Sign in to join the conversation