Other guitar-y things

Any idea of the age of (what’s left of) this Bigsby?

1

Anyone know what age this might be. Was sold as 70s but I thought the serial number was only de-bossed in the 50s. Appears to be gold plated not anodised. The pins have been broken off and aren’t screwed in from behind and its been chopped obviously.

4

There’s a mark on the back.

5

It's an early one. Embossed Pat. number and possible J-dent, so it's from the original mould. I'd say 55-56.

Are you sure it's plated? Looks like shiny anodising from the pics.

6

It's an early one. Embossed Pat. number and possible J-dent, so it's from the original mould. I'd say 55-56.

Are you sure it's plated? Looks like shiny anodising from the pics.

– Deke Martin

No actually it might be anodised Deke. I don't really know...not sure i've ever seen an anodised one in the flesh. I thought the shininess I could see meant it wasn't.

7

I think this one captures the possible J-dent better

8

Yes, definitely the J dent. Cool.

The anodised ones were shiny, but not super-bling shiny like you would expect from plating.

I've not re-read the J dent thread in its entirety for a while, but from what I can remember it was surmised that the 'Pending' was chiselled off of the original master and the number was then stamped in. That's why it's embossed rather than raised. I think the J dent is a chisel mark made that was done.

A B6 with raised pat number was made with a later/newer mould (but that would have been fitted to a non-gretsch guitar as by then Gretsch were using the V-cut 'Gretsch by Bigsby' tailpiece).

9

Isn't that long bar for a fixed arm? That would definitely make it a very early one.

10

I didn't realise the fixed-arm had a longer bar. I've retro-fitted fixed arms to swivel arm Bigsbys and it's always looked fine.

Actually, you raise a good point. Do we know what the crossover period was like regarding patent numbers and fixed arms?

11

As far as I know, the string bar is the same for fixed and swivel handles. But I could be wrong.

Also, it's odd that it was chopped like that. When you occasionally see a chopped Bigsby, there will be holes in it for mounting directly to the top. I guess somebody must have hacked this one up then abandoned the project.

12

yeah i'm not sure if the bar is longer than usual...I think it has slipped through the holes and is protruding more on the handle side...it is easy to move it.

13

Maybe someone wanted the hinge plate; crazier things have happened..

14

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15

but does the bar not having the pins screwed in from one side sound right? I thought the early ones had them screwed in or is it possible that the bar is later?

It certainly looks as old as the rest of it.

16

The screwed in pins stopped being in Bigsbys sometime in the early '70's.

17

The screwed in pins stopped being in Bigsbys sometime in the early '70's.

– lx

Have they been screwed in from the very beginning or was the method changed when they began to produce in larger numbers?

18

My old '56 6120 had the screw in pins; I'm assuming the '55 fixed arm Bigsby did too. Much better design as you could remove the pins and do a straight string through.

19

so...long shot...but if a fixed arm handle, spring and hinge plate could be found do you think this is repairable?

20

Not without a whole lot of work, and maybe not at all. The biggest issue is that the part that the hinge plate attaches to has also been sawed off. Not sure how you'd go about replacing that. I guess you could cut notches in what's left and drill a hole to accept the hinge. It would be shorter than it originally was, but could be workable.

21

Not without a whole lot of work, and maybe not at all. The biggest issue is that the part that the hinge plate attaches to has also been sawed off. Not sure how you'd go about replacing that. I guess you could cut notches in what's left and drill a hole to accept the hinge. It would be shorter than it originally was, but could be workable.

– Afire

wouldn't it be possible to spot weld a replacement loop/donor part to accept a hinge plate rod?

  • I know nothing of spot welding
22

You'd have to do aluminium welding (mig or tig) and then as it's cast it might be difficult. Probably it could be done, you'd probably cook some of the anodizing though. I'm not an aluminium welder but my circus brother is crazy good.

23

They are made from cast aluminium. Ali can be welded - kinda- but it’s very difficult. You need to get the parent metal hot enough to accept the weld without completely melting into a puddle.

24

ah ok...yeah this sounds difficult. I might just hang on to it as a paperweight for now!

...or it could make a cool if somewhat large belt buckle

25

That’s a cool old piece of bigsby. painful to see it’s being cut off like that.

LMK if you ever want to part with it. I think I could revive it somehow some way. I’d make into like a B5 bigsby haha.


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