Epiphone SG vibrola questions

Discussion in 'Other Epiphones' started by bitsleftover, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. bitsleftover

    bitsleftover Member

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    Hi
    I've just picked up a used limited edition Epi 1965 style SG with a long vibrola.
    This is the first guitar I've owned with this style of trem and I would like to ask for some advice from you learned gentlemen please.
    I notice that when i rock the trem arm, the bass side of the ABR stays solid, but the treble side post moves a lot.
    Also, the saddles themselves move forward and aft in their slots.
    My knee jerk reaction was to lock everything down nice and solid, but then it occurred to me that the flex may actually be helping the strings return to pitch?
    I've had a google around looking for general advice setting up and maintaining these trems but not really found anything that answers my curiosity.
    What advice can some some of you guys who have experience with these offer me?
    Generally the guitar is very well set up with a well cut and maintained nut and neat wound string posts. It intonates very well.
    Thanks for any advice. Cheers
     
  2. SGeoff

    SGeoff Premium Member

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    I'm thinking your knee jerk reaction is the proper one. Anytime posts, saddles, and the like can rock back and forth, this is more chance of something not returning to where it should. Even once everything is locked down, the vibrola is not the sort of thing you can dive bomb to hell and back. If you use it somewhat gently, you can get the system to work pretty good. If you go with roller saddles and locking tuners, you can get it to be very stable, somewhat to the detriment of the character of the guitar, just imho of course.:)
     
  3. T00DEEPBLUE

    T00DEEPBLUE Senior Member

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    Roller bridge saddles are a requirement with those sorts of vibratos if you hope to stay in tune.

    A new nut would benefit. It needs to be very precisely cut to minimize friction. But the way Epiphone headstocks are designed just doesn't lend itself well to good tuning stability. Too many harsh break angles for the string to get caught up in the nut on.

    Locking tuners are not really going to help you. Just string the guitar properly and you'll stay in tune just as well as any locking tuner.

    When all is said and done and you set reasonable expectations that you will go out of tune if you use the vibrato a hair too vigorously, you'll be fine.

    With that said most people who own these vibratos either take them off or they don't use them and keep them on only for looks, for a reason. They're just not good vibrato systems.
     
  4. bitsleftover

    bitsleftover Member

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    Great advice. Exactly the kind of help I was looking for.
    Many thanks to both of you for taking the time.
    I'll order up a roller bridge and start clamping this thing down. I don't really use the trem on any of my guitars, but this one goes out of tune if I so much as look at it!
    Thanks again.
     
  5. Parabar

    Parabar Member

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    I completely disagree. In my experience roller bridges rob tone far in excess of any tuning stability they offer (too many moving parts). As long as the bridge saddle slots and nut slots are cut sufficiently to allow strings to move in them without binding, there should be no problem. I have 6 guitars with Bigsby vibratos, and none have any intonation problems.

    If you're determined to change bridges, though, a solid rocking bar bridge is a FAR superior alternative. Two of my guitars have them, and they actually enhance tone and add sustain.
     
  6. bitsleftover

    bitsleftover Member

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    Thanks Parabar, I just ordered a roller bridge about 5 seconds before your post though. Oh well. I'll give it a try when it arrives and take it from there.
    Is a rocking bar bridge the sort of thing you find fitted to Gretch guitars? I've never understood how you intonate those properly?
     
  7. JCarno

    JCarno Senior Member

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    Hmm.... The Vibrola he's talking about and Bigsbys are two completely different animals.
    I have both, a Bigsby on a Gretsch and a Maestro Vibrola on an SG.
    The Bigsby is a much more robust piece of hardware compared to the Vibrola.
    I have much more tuning stability with the Bigsby than the Vibrola.
    I've often thought about a roller bridge for my Gibson but I have read many more cons(tone suck) than pros so I just deal with it.
    Here's a vid from a well respected "demo" guy. While he doesn't go into great detail about the reasons, he does mention the Vibrolas problems.
    My experience is the same as his although my SG is 50 years newer than his. :)
    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvCMG3YpUbo[/ame]
     
  8. TheX

    TheX Voice of Reason

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    I have used MANY GOOD roller bridges and never lost tone in doing so.
     

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