Other Equipment

Reverend Bigsby Springs

1

I've been hearing about these on the GDP for some time...for $10 I thought it would be worth a shot. I've never read anything but glowing reviews.

I don't like it. Installed on my 6120LTV tonight, I'm not impressed. It's certainly very different from the stock spring on my V-cut B6, definitely more sensitive. Maybe I'm just used to the stiffer response I've always had, but it feels too wobbly and delicate now.

I could see how it might be useful for a tension-bar Bigsby (about the least responsive device there is) or those who use lighter strings.

Anyways, since I've only ever seen great reviews, I wanted to point out to those who are happy with their wiggle sticks: you're not missing out on anything.

2

I have been one that has sung the praises of the Reverend spring. I have 4 guitars with Bigsbys. Two have tension bars, two do not. I have installed the springs on my Starfire 5 and my G&L ASAT with a B5 (both are tension bar Bigsbys). They made a world of difference, in a positive way. I had no desire to change the response of the Guild X-170 (with the Guild equivalent of a B6) or the Gretsch 6120-DC. They are fine the way they are. So my feelings are definitely in line with Otter's.

I have recommended them for tension bar Bigsbys in the past and do so again. For those with other Bigsbys, if you are happy with the response as is, why bother?

3

I have 25 of these springs. 22 are on my existing Gretsch guitars. 3 are ready for the next 3 Gretsch purchases. You might conclude I liked them so much I voted with my wallet. All my guitars have non-tension bar Bigsbys.

4

I've decided to launch my own brand of bigsby springs, although how do you compare them to my rev springs and stock bigsby? How do I make a squish-o-meter?

5

I use a Reverend Soft Spring in the import Guildsby on my Guild Newark Street X175B and it was a big improvement. The stock 7/8th" spring was much too stiff so I tried a real USA 7/8th" spring I had laying around and while a bit better, still way too stiff with poor range of motion. I then ordered a 1" spring and while the feel and action was much improved it made the arm way too high and when I did the Billy Zoom trick of bending the arm a bit I couldn't swing the arm back all the way (the import Guildsby geometry is a bit different). So I broke down and bought a Reverend Soft Spring and it was perfect...really nice smooth easy action and great range. On the other hand, the stock 1" spring on the G-cut B-6 on my Gretsch Power Tenny is fine and I don't feel any need to change it. IMO, it all depends on the guitar.

6

I have the same opinion! I bought one and also thought it was too wobbly for my Duo Jet. I think it would improve a stiff feeling tension bar B5 though.

7

I've decided to launch my own brand of bigsby springs, although how do you compare them to my rev springs and stock bigsby? How do I make a squish-o-meter?

– THE NOCTURNE BRAIN™

Tavo, I recommend you look into Hooke's Law. The relevant quantity you're looking for is called the spring constant (k in the equation), which relates force applied to displacement of the spring. It should be a function of the metallurgy, or, all-things-equal, the gauge of the spring.

8

My stock unit on my Country Club is perfect, a similar unit I installed on my Epi Joe Pass feels really stiff.I think I'll have to give the Rev a try.

9

I imagine with lighter strings a lighter spring might feel better. I use heavier strings and often have to put a penny or a nickel under the bigsby string to get a good bar height. I bought a couple of those springs once to try with a Viking's webster vibrato and it might've made it a little easier but not significantly.

10

I have some on the way.

My repair shop left me dig through their Bigsby spring drawer a few years ago and I found an obviously OLD one that was pretty soft, and it made all the difference in the Starfire I put it into.

I just installed a '70's NOS gold B-12 with a Chet handle on a Sorrento, and the stock gold spring feels almost too soft; like the word 'squishy' comes to mind.

I think there's a different quality besides soft and hard, which is smooth. I realize now what I prefer isn't either "stiff" or "soft"; it's smooth. And I'm guessing that the string gauge, scale length, and maybe even handle type along with bridge type all factor in to making the Bigsby action smooth on a given guitar. I also figure there's not going to be a 'one spring fits all' answer for any/every guitar.

11

I also figure there's not going to be a 'one spring fits all' answer for any/every guitar.

That's the crux of it. I'm perfectly happy with the Bigsby action on most of my guitars. When I come across one that's too stiff, I know it. I bought five of the Revs to tweak those guitars; problem is, I don't remember which guitars they are till I run across them. As I do, I'll replace the springs.

The one I've done so far - an Electromatic centerblocker - was transformed by the softer spring.

I know what I like in Bigsby action, and I'm happy to change springs to get there.

As for handles, yeah. I much prefer the stiffer handles, as they make for smoother, more controllable Bigsbying. The standard butterknife handle version can be too bendy, and lose some of my muscular intention on its way to the axle. My favorites are the bent Chet arm and the cast aluminum Duane handle.

But I can't afford to put them on every guitar, so they only go on when they're really most needed.

12

Reading this thread, no personal experience or opinions on them - but I agree with Rhythmisking and would think that string gauge and scale length (and the length of the arm) all make a difference. Maybe add those to the posts?

13

I've found the Reverend spring a big improvement on every Bigsby I've played.

14

Reading this thread, no personal experience or opinions on them - but I agree with Rhythmisking and would think that string gauge and scale length (and the length of the arm) all make a difference. Maybe add those to the posts?

– nielDa

I think that there are a lot of factors at work in accounting for the ease of action of a Bigsby. I got my first Chet arm when I bought Bear's beautiful 6120 DC. I noticed immediately that it worked more easily than I expected from my previous experience with Bigsby-equipped guitars. I mentioned that to Steve and he agreed with me. I then have installed them on all of my Bigsby-equipped guitars and have noticed an improvement in their action. Anecdotal but consistent. I don't understand the physics of it but I accept it as the result of my experience.

The Reverend spring is another of those variables that anecdotally has worked for me when I have used it and has made a substantial positive improvement. YMMV

15

I have 25 of these springs. 22 are on my existing Gretsch guitars. 3 are ready for the next 3 Gretsch purchases. You might conclude I liked them so much I voted with my wallet. All my guitars have non-tension bar Bigsbys.

– audept

Hope you got a quantity discount!

16

Reverend Bigsby Springs---preaching this Sunday at the Triple Rock Church in Berwyn!

Sorry---I'll let myself out.

17

I use my bar a lot but mostly as a subtle vibrato effect to give a nice waver to notes and chords similar to what a steel player does with his bar. That means I'm pulling up on the bar giving it a wavering motion.

A lighter spring won't help in my situation because I'm pulling up against the pull of the strings. Another thing to consider is the fact that the act of bending strings causes the un-bent strings to go slightly flat. A softer spring will make this problem worse because it offers less resistance to that unwanted movement.

I do dive and dip occasionally for a special effect but it's not at all hard to do that with a conventional spring. I use the up motion far more. I don't really care for that worbbly rock-a-billy shake that you hear so much of at the end of phrases.

I like a 1" spring with a penny in the cup to shim it up a little more for more travel when I do press down.

S Mac

18

Digging up an old post. For the last couple years I have had a couple of my B6 Gretsches updated with the Bricks Squishy Springs. Gives the Bigsby a softer feel.

But this week I decided to update a couple of my B5 solid body guitars with the Reverend soft springs. Are the Reverend springs a lot softer than the Brick’s springs? Changing to the Reverend springs seems to have greatly changed the slinkyness of the strings. 10’s now feel like 9’s. Has anyone else experienced this?

19

the B3 on my Pro Jet is just fine as-is, but this spring sounds like it would have been just the thing for the tension-bar B50 on the Epiphone Wildkat i used to have. i'll bear this spring in mind if i get another one, which i'd rather like to do.

20

TWENTY-TWO GRETSCHES??? crimeny, i don't even have 22 guitars LOL. i have to admire your dedication to the brand.

21

I don't understand the physics of it but I accept it as the result of my experience.

I think the physics here - and the physics of making a Bigsby "smooth" - are the same, and not much related to the stiffness of the spring. (The stiffness and height of the spring are critical in getting exactly the rate, or stiffness/softness you want or need on a particular Bigsby with particular strings.)

I think "smooth," though, is entirely a function of how rigid the arm itself and the connection of the arm to the bracket are. The more flexible the arm, and the looser that connection, the less responsive and smooth the action will be. The more rigid the arm, the tighter the bracket joint, the smoother the action. The Chet handle and the Duane handle work for stiffness because one is a bent rod and the other is a thick cast assembly. Both have less "give" than the standard stamped butterknife (the worst of all Bigsby arms to me).

And if you're seeing or feeling the bolt end of the arm (where it screws into the bracket) lift at all from the bracket when Bigsbying, you're losing input energy. Welded would be best...very tight will do. But you don't want any wobbling there. (Or at least I don't.)

The fixed arm is probably the best of all - but I do like to be able to position the arm where I want it.

Strats with flappy swinging arms make me completely crazy.

22

I don't understand the physics of it but I accept it as the result of my experience.

I think the physics here - and the physics of making a Bigsby "smooth" - are the same, and not much related to the stiffness of the spring. (The stiffness and height of the spring are critical in getting exactly the rate, or stiffness/softness you want or need on a particular Bigsby with particular strings.)

I think "smooth," though, is entirely a function of how rigid the arm itself and the connection of the arm to the bracket are. The more flexible the arm, and the looser that connection, the less responsive and smooth the action will be. The more rigid the arm, the tighter the bracket joint, the smoother the action. The Chet handle and the Duane handle work for stiffness because one is a bent rod and the other is a thick cast assembly. Both have less "give" than the standard stamped butterknife (the worst of all Bigsby arms to me).

And if you're seeing or feeling the bolt end of the arm (where it screws into the bracket) lift at all from the bracket when Bigsbying, you're losing input energy. Welded would be best...very tight will do. But you don't want any wobbling there. (Or at least I don't.)

The fixed arm is probably the best of all - but I do like to be able to position the arm where I want it.

Strats with flappy swinging arms make me completely crazy.

– Proteus

Absolutely true. First set your Bigsby handle perfectly smooth, than add the Reverend spring. Check every now and then if your Bigs is nice lubricated. And I agree with Tim, the butterknife handle isn't also my favourite- I prefer the Duane arm for handling and style.

23

I'm still a fan of the cast aluminum arms (DE and the skinny or wide vintage castings). Since I use .010s on nearly everything with a Bigsby, the 7/8" OEM spring works better than the Reverend or the 1" OEM for me.

I have also been known to cut off the last loop of a 7/8" spring and carefully anneal the new tip so that it can be better flattened for the cup (grinding to match OEM). The annealing takes out the spring tension where you get it hot enough, so you really don't want to anneal more than about a quarter turn - just the tip really. This will take the spring down to a smidge greater than 3/4" overall length, but retains about the same stiffness.

When the guitar still has the stamped steel arm on it, I'm that guy that tightens out all of the give/slop on the little mounting spring. Don't like that give one little bit. It makes the arm seem un-responsive to me.

24

I swapped the Reverend one for a Gretsch spring on my Reverend I did not like the mushy feeling.


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