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Tuning instability on Gretsch Streamliner... Is it the Bigsby?
Old 6th April 2020
  #31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shannon Adkins View Post
I'm thinking of moving to 11s for this guitar. Will this truly help?
It should help a bit. 12s might be better.
Old 6th April 2020
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
It should help a bit. 12s might be better.
I don't have a problem moving to 12s. But not sure if the guitar would handle it. I'll do some research...
Old 16th September 2020
  #33
Gear Head
Hi there. Sorry to hijack this forum but I have an annoying Bigsby problem I can't find a solution for online:

Years ago I put an original Bigsby on my Tele Deluxe. I upgraded it with a Callahan roller and the body with a Callahan Tele bridge. It worked well for a long time but last year, after a period of not using the guitar, it started to stick in position, means that when I push it down it stays flat, when I pull it a bit it stays sharp. I can even hear a "clicking" noise at those sticky positions. I have no idea what's going on. I lubed all moving parts with some machine oil but this didn't help.

NOTE: it's NOT the nut. I tried with a capo and the problem's the same.

Also because the Callahan bridge moves with the strings, it can not be the saddles.

Feels like the roller is moving fine too.

I suspect that the Bigsby parts got somehow stiff over the years. But I also read many times that lubricating is not necessary. On the other hand that to me contradicts with the logic of physics, that all mechanical parts needs to be lubed from time to time - why should the Bigsby be exceptional...?

Any ideas?

Last edited by Moulin; 16th September 2020 at 01:34 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 16th September 2020
  #34
Gear Head
 

Here's a decent article on Bigsby bearing lubrication. I would caution against using 3-in-1 or WD-40. I use Tri-flow, the container with the tube, not the spray. And use only a tiny bit. And shake the bottle first. I've also used clipper oil, though that stuff can migrate and make a mess because it's so thin.

https://www.thegearpage.net/board/in...icant.1068633/

It's already been said in this thread, but I'll repeat it: A roller bridge is a necessity.

If the axle has nonmetallic parts acting as bearing surfaces (sleeve type), keep oil off those. SOme oils will deteriorate some plastics. Instead, use silicone on nonmetiallic parts, but make sure the label says it contains no petroleum. I'm on my last bottle of Plasti-Kote 290, old label. Don't know if the newer stuff is still petroleum-free. I'm pretty sure 3M silicone is. Part number 08877.

Finally, Bigsbys are designed for a light touch. Ask any more of them and all bets are off.
Old 16th September 2020
  #35
Bigsby designs will never stay in tune. Adjust one string up, the rest go down. It's like trying to push a ping pong ball down in water with your thumb. If you want tuning stability, use a plug for the spring.
Old 17th September 2020
  #36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
It's like trying to push a ping pong ball down in water with your thumb.
I laughed at this,... then I laughed again when I tried to do it.
Wife walked in the kitchen when I was in the middle of the experiment,... she laughed and shook her head at me then turned and walked away,... didn't even want to know what I was up to,
Old 18th September 2020
  #37
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Bigsby designs will never stay in tune. Adjust one string up, the rest go down. It's like trying to push a ping pong ball down in water with your thumb. If you want tuning stability, use a plug for the spring.
Hi. It's not about staying in tune. It's about a Bigsby so stiff that it's sticking between a range of almost a semitone. It's completely unusable.
Old 18th September 2020
  #38
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by c1010 View Post
It's already been said in this thread, but I'll repeat it: A roller bridge is a necessity.
Thanks for your answer.

As I wrote, I have a moving bridge, so no rollers needed.
Old 18th September 2020
  #39
Gear Head
I found the solution (after googling with completely different terms than actually describing my problem )

It is basically this: https://www.instructables.com/id/Mak...by-B70-Usable/

The problem was my Callahan roller that I upgraded with a washer to keep it in place which is, well, the wrongest thing one can do...
I removed the washer and now it moves nicely and the problem is gone!
Old 18th September 2020
  #40
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I ended up selling my Gretsch and getting a Jazzmaster. Much happier with the tuning stability and overall feel. I'll probably never own another guitar with a Bigsby again.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moulin View Post
Hi. It's not about staying in tune. It's about a Bigsby so stiff that it's sticking between a range of almost a semitone. It's completely unusable.

semitone is WAY heavy handed w/ bigsby
Old 2 weeks ago
  #42
BTW, just to exercise one of my pet peeves - a Bigsby is NOT a "trem" it is a VIBRATO. (Fenders are too, but Leo got his nomenclature confused - he wasn't a musician.) It's particularly annoying with a Bigsby because Paul Bigsby ALWAYS called it a vibrato and so has the company.

Bigsby Vibrato Tailpiece - Got it?

BTW, I am not convinced that the "bridge that moves" is an actual solution to the problem; roller bridges are MUCH better. And the "bridge that moves" kinda messes with your intonation a bit.

The problem with Bigsbys is that there is no adjustment to compensate for string tension, as there is on a Strat.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #43
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enorbet2's Avatar
The key to any non-locking "whammy" system is precision and lack of friction. If the bridge end rolls, it must be well lubed with proper lube. If it rocks on a knife edge it must be precise and stay that way usually by case hardening. As for friction on the nut end, the straighter the path from bridge to tuners the better. String Trees are problem points and if they must exist they need to be very low friction material and at the minimum angle to prevent nut buzz. That ideal straight path is in two dimensions, both side-to-side, and dihedral. Steep head angles are a problem and deserve special attention..

If you use a locking system the above problems are traded off for problems when strings break, including immediately upsetting the tuning a lot on the remaining strings as well as having to keep and find the Allen wrench. Commonly an additional problem is that often locking systems include fine tuners which introduce a number of moving parts that rather strongly affect tone and sustain. Kahlers had the problem of dominating the tone of guitars so much that almost everything and anything you put them on sounded "Kahler" instead of Strat, Tele, Les Paul, SG, etc.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post
Kahlers had the problem of dominating the tone of guitars so much that almost everything and anything you put them on sounded "Kahler" instead of Strat, Tele, Les Paul, SG, etc.
Huh? That hasn't been my experience, and I've installed a couple. But only a couple.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #45
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enorbet2's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikhael View Post
Huh? That hasn't been my experience, and I've installed a couple. But only a couple.
Re: Kahler dominated sound. Perhaps I wasn't clear or even overstated. I didn't mean that Strats, Teles, Les Pauls and SGs all sounded exactly like each other once a Kahler was installed, but I tried out dozens of brands and models and there was a strong tonal component, neither good nor bad, just a commonality, that was obviously influenced by the Kahler design and materials.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post
Re: Kahler dominated sound. Perhaps I wasn't clear or even overstated. I didn't mean that Strats, Teles, Les Pauls and SGs all sounded exactly like each other once a Kahler was installed, but I tried out dozens of brands and models and there was a strong tonal component, neither good nor bad, just a commonality, that was obviously influenced by the Kahler design and materials.
No, I knew what you meant. I just didn't hear that when I installed them. But I was VERY careful with the install, and like I said, it was just a couple, on mahogany instruments. Maybe it's influence was less obvious there, I don't know. But it was the smoothest feeling vibrato I've ever used, and although concerned about the effect of the roller saddles, it didn't reduce the sustain one bit.

Anyway, this is about the Bigsby, of which I've not been fond, but will be interested in some of these tweaks that get it to perform better.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moulin View Post
Hi. It's not about staying in tune. It's about a Bigsby so stiff that it's sticking between a range of almost a semitone. It's completely unusable.
Either the Bigsby is defective or your strings are much too light. The only Bigsby style vibrato I know of that worked well with 9s is the Mosrite patented compensated vibrato. And it doesn't work well with heavier strings.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #48
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Arseny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
BTW, I think Gretsches are great studio guitars. It made total sense to me when I finally discovered that Pete Townshend was using a Gretsch on many Who recordings - especially on 'Who's Next' and 'Quadrophenia'.
this is my opinion as well. I got also a custom les paul, a custom telecaster, both having a very nice tone. But my white falcon is for a non distorted tone hard to beat in the studio.

i particularly like the tone in this video, it is even with no amp but some axe or something

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