Is it hard on an archtop to add a Bigsby ?

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Is it hard on an archtop to add a Bigsby ?

Postby Larry Lenhart » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:21 am

I have a 70s lawsuit Ibanez L5 copy that I am considering making my "Merle Travis" guitar. I dont want to ruin the jazz feel of the guitar, as it is a fine jazzer....but I have a Benedetto for that purpose and also a Gibson Super400 with floating pickup...so I will only modify things that I can return to the original status. I was wondering if it is hard on an archtop to add a Bigsby tailpiece to it....I do not know about the bracing....it seems to me that it would be and I wouldnt want to harm the guitar in any way. I am also considering changing the pick ups to the Paf90s that someone pointed out to me in another thread. Thanks in advance for any help.
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Re: Is it hard on an archtop to add a Bigsby ?

Postby Vidar Lund » Sun Dec 19, 2010 4:00 pm

Here´s a link to Bigsby vibratos. It may help you find the model you want for your archtop Ibanez.They´re usually installed easily without making holes in the top.
http://www.bigsbyguitars.com/vibe/?page_id=15
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Re: Is it hard on an archtop to add a Bigsby ?

Postby Larry Lenhart » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:44 pm

My main concern is stress to the top of the guitar.....If an archtop is built with the idea of the Bigsby being included, such as my Gretsch and Gibson CG, then thats one thing,,,but to add it on later....I wouldnt want to put a crack in the top as a result of adding the vibrato arm. Thanks again.
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Re: Is it hard on an archtop to add a Bigsby ?

Postby thenorm » Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:05 pm

Merle (and Hank Thompson's) Super 400's weren't built with the idea of adding a Bigsby either. When properly installed the Bigsby just sits there on little felt pads. I think if you had to use a unit that required a tension bar (like on a 335 or a Les Paul) you might have pause since the tension bar units require that they be screwed down into the top I think but on something like the L-5 or Super 400 I don't think that becomes an issue.
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Re: Is it hard on an archtop to add a Bigsby ?

Postby Vidar Lund » Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:24 pm

My expererience with three Ibanez guitars since 1972 is that they are very well built and sturdy instruments that will handle a Bigsby vibrato unit without problems. The stress will not be on the top as any downward pressure will be modest and of little consequence like Norm´s answer implies.
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Re: Is it hard on an archtop to add a Bigsby ?

Postby Oddsteven » Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:20 pm

Your guitar probably has a laminated top. I don't recommend you do, but you can just about stand on the top of a guitar if it's laminated. Let me repeat that - don't step on your guitar!!!! :)
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Brand new Bigsby on my Super 400 - Thanks Dad.
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Re: Is it hard on an archtop to add a Bigsby ?

Postby Larry Lenhart » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:43 pm

Wow, thats a cool pic of your super400. I am wanting to get a "merle" sound out of my Ibenez and so I ordered some P90 pickups called mean90.....not here yet, but from the reviews i have read, I know think I made a mistake in getting that brand...from GFS.....what would you recommend....I know I will never sound like Merle, but I thought a pickup change would help....my super400 has a floating pickup , which is great, but not that sound. Thanks for any advise.
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Re: Is it hard on an archtop to add a Bigsby ?

Postby Oddsteven » Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:15 pm

My pickups are stock P90s, and despite my best efforts I really don't sound like Merle ;)

However, it does sound really good.
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Re: Is it hard on an archtop to add a Bigsby ?

Postby emjaybee94 » Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:43 am

Larry,

I bought a Hoyer Archtop guitar in the early 60's, which cost me the princely sum of £15 ..... over twice my weekly wage at the time. I couldn't afford a Gretsch then but I wanted it to look a bit like one. Bigsbys were not selling very well over here at that time due to their being priced at a ridiculous £36. I waited and the price went down to £18. I bought one and it was an easy fit and I'm sure the Hoyer wasn't built to have a heavy bit of metalwork placed on the top. I played that guitar for more than 6 years with no problems and almost got my money back when I sold it in 1967. If you're at all worried, it might be worth going to a luthier and getting pro advice, but I'm sure he would give the green light to go ahead with the installation.

Regards
Mike
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Re: Is it hard on an archtop to add a Bigsby ?

Postby Mike Nye » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:50 am

Just be sure to measure the body thickness, and distance from the tail/butt to the bridge to select the correct one per specs on the Bigsby website.

http://www.bigsbyguitars.com
If BRUTE-FORCE isn't working, you're just not applying enough of it ! ! !
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