Bigsby String Changes:

Discussion in 'Gear Chat' started by supersoldier71, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Well-Known Member

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    Last night I broke a string on my Wildkat. First time I've broken a string in a very very long time, and this was a little different because I was trying to adjust the action by lowering the bridge which was way too high.

    Anyway, so I slacked the strings, lowered the bridge, and as I was tuning up, the string broke at the tuner.

    Let me say this: I'd prefer to do ten Floyd Rose changes before I do another Bigsby.

    And while I'm changing strings, what do I realize? That I'd used the wrong gauge (9-42s) versus the 11-52s that I usually use, so I have no confidence that it'll stay in tune. We'll see about that though, because the action is comfortably low, the tone is great and of course, it's never played that slinky before (duh).

    My favorite tremolo systems, in descending order:
    1. Wilkinson 2 point
    2. Floyd Rose
    3. Fender 6 point
    4. Left blank for emphasis
    5. Left blank for emphasis
    6. Bigsby
     
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  2. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Well-Known Member

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    String changes on a Bigsby aren't too bad once you figure out the system. Here's what I do. I pre-bend the string at the ball end.... grab the ball with a needle-nose plier and make a J shape. String it through and attach it to the little pole, then hold it there with a piece of masking tape while I wind it on the tuner. Repeat for each string.
     
  3. Mickey

    Mickey Gandalf the Intonationer

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    I do what Norman does except that I use a typewriter (remember those?) eraser cut into a wedge shape to hold the string on the pin
    while connecting it to the tuner. Dead easy, really. :)

    Of course, you could always put a drop of super glue in the hole in the ball end of the string. :) :rolleyes:
     
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  4. rambleon

    rambleon Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    2 things to remember when stringing a guitar with a bigsby -
    1. Pre-bend the ball end of the strings so they wrap around the retaining bar without trying to spring back.
    2. Use a capo to hold your string in place while you tighten the tuners.
     
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  5. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Well-Known Member

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    Soooo...if the guitar stays in tune...it's good, right? As I mentioned, I installed .09s instead of .11s, and conventional wisdom holds that Bigsbys prefer heavier strings, but so far tuning has been rock steady.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  6. Mickey

    Mickey Gandalf the Intonationer

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    I dunno about "conventional wisdom" but the only tuning problems I've ever had with Bigsbys have been nut related. :)
     
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  7. mindwave

    mindwave Well-Known Member

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    I don't see the issues ( next you'll tell us your a southpaw right?). You want a pain in bthe earwax, try and change the strings on a poorly made but great looking Korean headless guitar copy. My sis has the real thing, and they are great, but the 'spider' I had had never even heard the steinberger specs. Loosened one too many screws the whole damn thing just exploded all over my living room.....
     
  8. Deadman73

    Deadman73 Well-Known Member

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    Bigsby style trems are the only ones I like. Jazzmaster style is tolerable.
     
  9. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Well-Known Member

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    If we all liked the same stuff, there wouldn't be enough to go around.

    I'm cool with Bigsby function, just not a fan of Bigsby string changes. IMO, string changes are easier for me on every other type of tremolo bridge.
     
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  10. big daddy

    big daddy Well-Known Member

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    Try a gauge swap from 11's to 9's on a Floyd Rose and let me know how things work out for ya... ;)

    In my experience, Bigsby trems care less about gauge than many other trem systems. They just adapt, or at least the good ones do. Don't think I've tried anything less than 10's however, so YMMV with lower gauge strings.
     
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  11. cornfed

    cornfed Well-Known Member

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    Pull them pins out and drill the holes out with a 1/8" bit, and while you're at it, gring off the stop so the arm spins all the way around. I did this to my Pro Jet and it made the guitar so cool now I'm going to do it to every Bigsby I come across. Ever get the feeling of freedom? That's the feeling I got,, Ahhh strumming holding the arm without it stopping at the Hi E string. It's freedom I tell ya. String changes? Easy peezy, slip it throught the hole, bend it around and string 'er up, no holding on so it doesn't keep slipping off the damn peg, cheers
    That's my $ 0.02 cents
    8ec79606067c250dccc094ef6b7ed5aa.png
     
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  12. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Well-Known Member

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    I'm currently rocking an .09 set and tuning stability has been great, the action is low and super easy to play, and most importantly, it sounds great.

    As to the Floyd Rose thing, I found the gripes about setting them up are overblown; slacken the strings, adjust the claw until the baseplate is level.

    Advantage Bigsby when it comes to changing tunings. I find I prefer Bigsbys over hardtails, no doubt...I just like them less than other tremolo systems.
     
  13. Mickey

    Mickey Gandalf the Intonationer

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    Great way to do it, but do take a slightly larger bit and chamfer (sp?) the holes to make your strings last longer w/o wanting to break. :)
     

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