Vintage Gretsch Guitars

vintage Bigsby forensics (for geeks only)

1

No secret that I've been studying vintage Bigsby vibratos for awhile. I'm working on a theory that all the 50s B6 units were cast from the same mold (as opposed to multiple positions at a time).

I've identified an inclusion I'm calling the "J-dent". It appears just under the "D" in the Bigsby patent number. It's more clearly perceived on earlier '54-56 units, but it's still there (although less evident) in the late 50s B6 units.

Here's a fixed-arm ('54-56) specimen...

3

Same period anodized fixed-arm B6...

5

Slightly later B6 unit ('56-57), featuring the Duane arm...

7

Here's a more worn, less evident example from a Phillips-head swivel specimen ('58-59)...

8

And another late one... it's less defined, but it's there.

9
So you're asking, "what's your point Ed?".

I'm curious if those of you that have vintage guitars with 1950s B6 units might be willing to check out the Bigsby, and confirm that the "J-dent" exists. I have yet to find one where it doesn't... but I'm hoping to use the power of the GDP to verify that assumption. Thanks in advance for any relevant input!

10

Anodized B6, fixed arm 1955, 6120 2nd batch

11

1955 fixed arm anodized B3, 6121 1st batch Raised numbers. No "J"

12

Thanks Hepkat67! Since the B3 units are a completely different casting they are out of scope. Just looking for B6 info. I appreciate you adding yours!

13

Yep,my 57 6120 and 57/58 Gent has the "J" dent.

15

So what do you think when they switched to the multiple molds, Ed?

Here's one of mine. Bought it as a '59 seperate. It has some scars but I can't find a trace of the 'j'.

P.S. Sent you pics of the Selmer B7.

16

Good eye, all those casting marks look consistent with being poured from the same mold.

17

Thanks sascha... your B6 is an early 60's model, evidenced by the raised text on the patent number (as opposed to the debossed style on the 50s units). I believe that's also when they started making them as a 4-up unit. Markings on the reverse side suggest that.

18

Cool, thanks! Love that guitar it is on.

19

Did the raised PAT no. appear earlier on the B3? All the later 50s B3s I see have it? Even these that might look familiar.

20

Interesting! I never noticed the J before.
But they also all have the dent on the left side of the rim. Just below the B of Bigsby...

21

This is my kinda thread rightchere.

22

Interesting! I never noticed the J before.
But they also all have the dent on the left side of the rim. Just below the B of Bigsby...

– Danman

Yes Daniel... that is another landmark I've identified as well, but the J-dent seemed more pronounced, and easier for folks to find. But, since you've decided to play, I propose we call that new artifact "the Dan dent"!

23

Did the raised PAT no. appear earlier on the B3? All the later 50s B3s I see have it? Even these that might look familiar.

– sascha

Correct sascha... the B3 has had raised patent number info from the beginning (as do the early B7s). Ugh... hopefully those two beautiful guitars make up for the homely dude holding them!!!

24

Yes Daniel... that is another landmark I've identified as well, but the J-dent seemed more pronounced, and easier for folks to find. But, since you've decided to play, I propose we call that new artifact "the Dan dent"!

– kc_eddie_b

Ha ha, I like the name!!! Although I must admit that I think it was JazzBoxJunkie who pointed it out to me. So perhaps we should call it the Jazz-dent!

25

Wow, this is hard to photograph! J dent on my 57 6120. Replated chrome and repainted black, but the J is still there.


Register Sign in to join the conversation