Saturday, 31 October 2015

Fitting a Horseshoe Vibrato (Bigsby style) To a Telecaster. ShonKy Bedcaster

Recently I made  a Tele shaped guitar out of my daughters redundant cot bed.
I basically laminated the thicknessed planks together and routed out the shape. The neck and all other parts where recycled and I put a new budget electrical control plate on.
To get a quick sale and a bit of cash in the coffers I put it on ebay for auction.
As with all my guitars I sell I offer to upgrade any pickups and parts and the buyer wanted a Bigsby style tremolo.
There aren't many options for fitting one to a tele. You have the official Bigsby Unit with the replacement bridge and pickup plate which is beautiful and very expensive. (more than the guitar sold for)  There is also the stetsbar unit which is pretty cool looking bit of kit but also very expensive. .
Other options are taking the bridge off completely Making a separate plate to hold the pickup and fitting a TOM roller bridge or in this case adapting the bridge plate.
This one had a top stringing bridge but with 6 individual strat style saddles. To have the strings going from the bigsby through the holes in the back and then through each individual saddle was going to cause no end of problems with the strings catching on all that. so I swapped the bridge for a 3 saddle plate and put some wilkinson brass compensated saddles on. I simply elongated the holes so the strings would pass freely through them without touching anything, attached the bigsby strung it up and hey presto job done.

One final tip. the strings will rock the saddles when operating the vibrato Due to the sharp apex of the compensated saddle and the raised height of them causing a creaking noise I simply put a little touch of copper lube in between string and saddle which eliminated this. It would probably need to be done on a regular basis I expect over time the strings will wear a groove and it will be less of a problem.
Anyhow guitar is with it's new happy owner now. Heres a couple more pics of the finished guitar.

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