Replacing a pinned Bigsby string bar with drilled string bar

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Replacing a pinned Bigsby string bar with drilled string bar

Postby George Beasley » Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:10 pm

A few weeks back, Norm made a post (see viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2916 )n the Announcements section that said that a company was now making a replacement string bar for Bigsby units that was drilled for the string instead of being pinned. This was something that Paul Yandell had done to at least one of his guitars, as well as Norm, and a few other builders (Tom Anderson has been doing it on his guitars since the mid 2000's ).

Anyway, I like things that make my life easier....as well as like to tinker with things, so I placed and order with Callaham, and received the part yesterday.

This morning I did the procedure on one of my guitars. I took some photos, and thought I would share.

I currently have two Gretschs....a George Harrison Duo Jet, and a 6120-CGP. I decided to go with the Duo Jet first only because it was out.
Here it is before I started (yes, I cleaned it after I finished working on it....). It has a SS Tru-Arc bridge, and a Duane Eddy handle on it (both replaced the originals the day I got the guitar)
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I taped the bridge down with blue painters tape, so I wouldn't have to fuss too much with resetting the intonation.
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I took the strings off, and removed the handle/bracket.
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I then used a pair of needle nose pliers (I wrapped the ends in tape to keep the teeth from chewing up the pins). The pins came out fairly easy, pulling straight out with a little twisting.
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After the pins were out, the bar can slide out freely.

Just for informational purpose, I put the both the old string bar with pins, and the new drilled Callaham string bar on a gram kitchen scale so you could see what they weigh. The Callaham weighed less. No big surprise here, as it has holes drilled in it.
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While comparing the two bars side by side, I noticed that the Callaham unit was drilled out with slightly wider spacing. In the photo below, the pin on the bottom is aligned with the center of the drilled hole on the Callaham unit. You can see how much of a difference there is when it gets to the top pin in comparison to the top drilled hole.
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At first I was worried about this, but it fit in the Bigsby body, and lined up perfectly.
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Time to clean the guitar and string up. Stringing the bar was a breeze, though you need to slightly raise the bar to feed the strings through.
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And with the strings tensioned up. Notice the red ball end visible in this pic? I didn't when I took it. It was not fully seated. I had to loosen the string and pull it all the way through. I will remember to watch that the next time I change strings.
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All done. After getting it all put together, the unit works as it should. The wider spacing of the drilling actually results in a straighter string path from the bridge to the string bar, and is not angled on the outside strings like on my stock pinned units. Anyway, $40 from Callaham. You have to call them up to place an order, as they have no way to order online. I ordered last Friday, and received it a week later. The send via USPS, and require a signature. I am happy with my purchase. Good company, good product, and does what it is advertised to do.

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Thanks,
George
George Beasley
 
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Re: Replacing a pinned Bigsby string bar with drilled string

Postby Norm » Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:56 pm

Superb tutorial

Answers just about any question one might have...
...that's how it looks to me...The opinion expressed above is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of this station. Your mileage may vary...

Audio samples: http://www.youtube.com/user/acountrygent/videos
That should do it.
Norm
 
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Location: redwood city ca

Re: Replacing a pinned Bigsby string bar with drilled string

Postby craigdobbins » Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:59 pm

Nice job, George.
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Re: Replacing a pinned Bigsby string bar with drilled string

Postby David Elliott » Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:18 pm

Norm wrote:Superb tutorial

Answers just about any question one might have...


I wish some of the big electronics companies would hire George to design and compose their "Owner's Manual's! :) Sure simplifies things when the instructions are not only well thought out and presented, but as a bonus, they're even in understandable English! :lol:

David
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Re: Replacing a pinned Bigsby string bar with drilled string

Postby Frank G T Robinson » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:33 pm

Hi,
I find this procedure intriguing but I would like to replace the Bigsby unit on my Tennessee Rose with the bent bar ala Chet. Would anyone have one for sale,
Thank You,
Frank
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Re: Replacing a pinned Bigsby string bar with drilled string

Postby Norm » Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:00 pm

These guys

www.blackriderguitars.com

usually have both bracket types and two different lengths of handle
...that's how it looks to me...The opinion expressed above is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of this station. Your mileage may vary...

Audio samples: http://www.youtube.com/user/acountrygent/videos
That should do it.
Norm
 
Posts: 1310
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:36 pm
Location: redwood city ca

Re: Replacing a pinned Bigsby string bar with drilled string

Postby Frank G T Robinson » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:59 am

Thank you, Norm,
I shall contact them.
Frank
Frank G T Robinson
 
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