Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Bigsby advice

1

Hi all.

More advice needed for my 70s Roc Jet please...

Loving the sound and feel but missing the tremolo (I normally play a Mosrite) so was thinking of putting a Bigsby on.

Anyone ever done this successfully? A quick Google image search shows a few and they all have B3s. I'm not sure it'd work though - surely there wouldn't be enough down tension after the bridge without the tension bar of a B7 type?

Any help gratefully received...

2

Here's one with a B3. The break angle looks almost non-existent.

3

One needs very little break angle for a non-tension bar Bigsby to work effectively. Especially if not hard fingerpicking the guitar.

Also, in my view, the tension bar Bigsbys are akin to condoms when it comes to the performance of a Bigsby.

I'd definitely start with B3 unless by the 70s Gretsch was making the jets with a completely flat top.

4

I’ve put B3s on 4 Jets, 3 Pro Jets and a Duo Jet. Never a problem and feels great. I don’t like the feel of a tension bar Bigsby. Plus, with a B3, no holes in the guitar top.

5

Thanks all - would you recommend keeping the existing (stock) Tun-o-matic type bridge or switching to a Gretsch roller version?

6

A rocking bar bridge. I’d get a Tru-Arc. Well worth it. Best tone, the radius matches the fret board and, as it rocks with Bigsby use, it’s easy on the strings and won’t add to tuning problems.

7

Thanks all - would you recommend keeping the existing (stock) Tun-o-matic type bridge or switching to a Gretsch roller version?

– sumlin

There is no right answer.

Some love tru arc and I am sure they are right. But for my part not a single song that ever seduced me to play ever featured a guitar with such a bridge on it and the guitar sounds on these were fine to me. My amps and studio gear are more important for my purposes. I have old tuneomatic, space control, melita, bar and Bigsby bridges on my old Gretsches and personally I can't tell one from the other. But, as mentioned, I can definitely tell a tension bar BIgsby from a non tension bar one. With the space control, as it is so old, the rollers rattled and I had to wrap plumbing tape around the cross bar to stop that. Gretsch back in the day would issue Bigsby or bar bridges with standard Bigsby equipped models, fwiw. In that sense if I wanted a bar bridge (which bridges I do like) I would at least seriously consider buying a tru arc.

And in parting, I might add that another thing I did was drill holes on the hinge of a B3 I put on an old Duo Jet I had so as not to add holes to it when I swapped out the G tailpiece for a Bigsby--if you *really want to keep your cool Roc Jet original.

8

Another vote for B3's and a bar bridge. The B3 is an easy install. I have one Roc that I've left the tuneomatic on as there is nearly no break angle and the Bigsby works flawlessly.. it might be even better with a bar but as its working so well and staying in tune even after heavy whammy use that I don't want to mess with it. But usually for feel and that mass of metal tone I'd go with a bar. AND, try a Reverend Soft Spring. They are amazing, it's like dropping down one or two string gauges and if you are partial to the Mosrite trem it will have much more of that feather touch you prefer.

9

IIRC, the Roc Jet had the longer G-cut tailpiece. In that case I'd try a B6 instead of a B3.

10

Excellent point!! I have forgotten that the B6 is the better solution.. and that's what's on mine as well.

11

IIRC, the Roc Jet had the longer G-cut tailpiece. In that case I'd try a B6 instead of a B3.

– sascha

Oooooh. SOLD. B6 it is.

Is that Roc Jet a refin/stripped version? Looks the absolute business.

If anyone has a B6 - Gretsch branded or not - and wants to sell let me know...

Thanks everyone!


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