HOW CAN I ADJUST/BEND A BIGSBY WIRE HANDLE?

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HOW CAN I ADJUST/BEND A BIGSBY WIRE HANDLE?

Postby bwalkertwalker » Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:14 pm

I have a CGP with a fixed Bigsby wire handle. I am wanting to bend the the handle where the knob will be in my palm while I am playing. I now know it will take more than my 2 hands to bend the handle. I am looking for how to bend the handle without messing it up. Does it need to be heated, etc.? Any suggestions? Thanks, BWalker
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Re: HOW CAN I ADJUST/BEND A BIGSBY WIRE HANDLE?

Postby tyguy » Sat Oct 09, 2010 11:55 pm

bwalkertwalker wrote:I have a CGP with a fixed Bigsby wire handle. I am wanting to bend the the handle where the knob will be in my palm while I am playing. I now know it will take more than my 2 hands to bend the handle. I am looking for how to bend the handle without messing it up. Does it need to be heated, etc.? Any suggestions? Thanks, BWalker

I bent 2 regular Bigsby handles.You have to take the handle off the assembly,obviously.I placed the handle in a slot in my oak work bench and bent as desired(no heat).Very easy!The wire handle may be different metal though(don't know).Try it.If it springs back.Stop! The Best Ty M.
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Re: HOW CAN I ADJUST/BEND A BIGSBY WIRE HANDLE?

Postby Roger Pratt » Sat Oct 09, 2010 11:59 pm

The method I use came from a tip from Paul Yandell. Just drill a hole the same diameter as the handle in a heavy desk or work bench and the wire will bend with some pressure. I use the box end of a large wrench and a rag to keep from marring the metal finish to provide some leverage. Take your time and do it in small steps.
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Re: HOW CAN I ADJUST/BEND A BIGSBY WIRE HANDLE?

Postby thenorm » Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:05 am

The tip is threaded on there and the threading makes the junction weaker.

Be SURE to remove the fat tip if you're going to put any kind of stress on that end of the piece because several guys broke the tip off.

Were I thee I would find a piece of 1/4" material, perhaps a piece of welding rod and do my bending on that first to use as a template or to actually try the idea before you commence bending on the steel rod.

Personally I don't think the mid-palm is a good idea. I use my Bigsby a lot and mine is set like Chet's and Chet's is set in such a way that it's about where his little finger bends. Mine came correct 'right out of the box' but that was some thirty years ago... prob'ly longer than that now that I think about it.

Good luck and let us know how it all works out...
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Re: HOW CAN I ADJUST/BEND A BIGSBY WIRE HANDLE?

Postby Roger Hardin » Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:08 am

I ask a friend of mine (and great Chet Style player) Bob Dennis about this last year and he sent this:
About the Bigsby, I use the stationary bracket with the chet handle. I quickly adapted to it and have never looked back. Of course I bend my handle to get the feel that suits me. I do this by slipping the area of the handle which is to be bent into regular fuel line. I place this into a vice to give leverage. You should warm the arm a little with a hair dryer or some other method of heating. The fuel line is a perfect fit for the handle dimension (thickness). It (fuel line) keeps the vice from damaging the plating & creates a very snug fitting on the handle which along with the heating, restricts flaking. Just take your time. I usually trim a little off the bare end of the rod. I make 2 deep bends in the rod part of the handle and then I usually bend the tip upward to my satisfaction. Eachend of the handle will be pretty much parallel. The deep bends will also shorten the handle tremendously. Raising the tip gives closer contact access and also allows me to slide my hand underneath for flatpicking with a thumbpick. The stationary bracket will also create a greater sensitivity of movement.
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Re: HOW CAN I ADJUST/BEND A BIGSBY WIRE HANDLE?

Postby thenorm » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:50 am

I checked my Paul Yandell archive to see what he had said on the topic an this is what I have:

________________________

Speaking of those handles, if you get one for yourself you might need to bend it to suit your own hand and style because for some reason they aren't bending the handles far enough .

What I use is an old ratchet wrench I have that has a hole in the end of the handle you use to hang it up with. I don't think they make the model like mine anymore. If you know someone who has a lot of tools they may have one you could borrow. The hole needs to just fit that ¼” rod and allow you some leverage so you can bend the metal.
If you have to bend the handle at the knobbed tip remember that the knob unscrews. Take the tip off so’s not to break it at the threads.

Bend the end around straight and bend it up a little… then bend the handle back where the first bend is. You can make it higher or lower according to your needs.
Another thing you can use is a piece of oak plank cut about 2" wide and 7 or 8" long. It needs to be about 1 inch thick. Drill a hole in one end a little bigger than the handle and you can bend it with that.

Bend in small increments. A little goes a long way. You might want to warm the handle up some by holding it under your arm so it’s easier on the gold plating. If the metal is too cold the plating could flake.

Of course you have to take the handle off the guitar to do all this.


_______________
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Re: HOW CAN I ADJUST/BEND A BIGSBY WIRE HANDLE?

Postby bwalkertwalker » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:30 pm

Thanks everyone for the great advice. Very insightful. It's great to be able to have a place to come to where like minds exchange terrific ideas. I'll let you know how it works out (slow and steady). Thanks again - BWalker
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Re: HOW CAN I ADJUST/BEND A BIGSBY WIRE HANDLE?

Postby Mike Nye » Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:37 pm

I made a bending jig to bend a Chet handle out of a piece of hardwood (Oak) 8"x2"x3/4" with a 1/4" hole drilled in it, mounted in a vise. Whatever you do, DON'T attempt to make a bend at the threaded area. It'll snap right off when you apply tension to the handle.

DON'T attempt to make ONE BIG BEND in ONE area. Make several smaller bends by moving the handle through the hole in the jig to make a gradual arc, instead if a single or series of kinks in the handle.
If BRUTE-FORCE isn't working, you're just not applying enough of it ! ! !
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