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Bigsby Vibrato Units

July 19, 2010
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Bigsby

One of the oldest and most successful vibrato unit designs, the Bigsby  Vibrato  provides a relatively gentle amount of  vibrato. It allows pitch to go both up and down , but not to an extreme degree.

The Bigsby Vibrato design can’t produce “dive bomb” effects; that’s not its forte.

There are two basic types of Bigsby – single bar and dual bar, and all are available as either surface mount or trapeze mount.

The appropriate model depends on the type of guitar and its geometry.   The most important element is the neck angle and the height of the bridge from the body.

Single roller models require that the bridge saddles be approximately an inch and a quarter from the face of the guitar, or there won’t be enough downward pressure on the saddles to keep the string in place.

Dual roller models allow a lower bridge height by passing the strings under a front bar, but the units require extra screws to resist the upward tension of the strings.

Surface mount models  are often used on solidbody guitars, such as Fender Telecasters or Gibson SGs.    These are screwed directly to the top of the guitar.

Trapeze mount units are commonly found on arched top guitars, and are attached with three or four screws into the tailblock.  The tailpiece section is attached to the top section via a hinge, and for single-roller models, no screws  are used on the guitar top.   Dual-roller models require two screws into the top to resist the upward string tension on the front bar;  one screw is on the spring mount and the other on the bass side support.


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