Gretsch Guitar Bigsby Handles

The Bigsby bridges Gretsch used are well-known and well-documented. What's less known is the different types of handles fitted to the bridges over the years.

"Fixed handle"

Fixed arm Bigsby

The original, fixed-arm Bigsby handle did not swivel. This wide-handled, anodized arm was made of cast alumnium and was used mostly on early 6120 Chet Atkins Hollowbodies. It has been reissued.

A narrower version was found on B3-equipped guitars from this era. The narrow arm is a little flatter so sits more parallel with the guitar top.

"Breakaway fixed"

For a brief period in 1956, Gretsch used a fixed-arm Bigsby assembly with a crude provision for folding away when not in use. In fact, it was so crude it fouled against the 6120's knobs.

"Duane Eddy"

Duane Eddy arm

Late in 1956 Gretsch introduced a proper swiveling Bigbsy arm. They were still cast aluminum, with a soft, organic profile and a good heft, only now people could get them out of the way when they wanted.

As it turns out, they were the last of the vintage cast aluminum Bigsby arms.

Since Duane Eddy was easily the best known '57 Gretsch player, they have come to be known colloquially as "Duane Eddy" arms, and they are much loved.

Of course they've been reissued, and have been fitted standard on some modern DSV, DSW and DE models.

Stainless steel "Butter Knife"

Butter Knife arm

For 1958. Gretsch introduced a stamped stainless-steel arm. It is both thinner and sharper-edged than the cast-aluminum pieces, and has been the standard arm for decades.

Wire arm

Wire arm

The wire arm was used extensively in the 70s, and was a favorite of Chet Atkins during that period.

Modern swinging fixed arm

In recent years Gretsch/Bigsby has introduced a swiveling version of the original fixed arm shape that retains the original wider profile. This "swinging fixed arm" has been used on recent DSW models.