Installing a Bigsby on a Les Paul Studio?

Discussion in 'Gibson Les Pauls' started by TLespaul, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. TLespaul

    TLespaul Senior Member

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    EDIT: Is this a genuine Graph Tech?
    http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/installing-a-bigsby-on-a-les-paul-studio.414578/page-4#post-8806107


    Hello. I was thinking how flavoring-up chords with vibrato is missing on my 2010 LP Studio with its standard Tune-O-Matic bridge. I have a 7 string Ibanez (that I bought for the sake of 7 strings) with Lo-Pro Edge, but frankly handling the setup of such a floating bridge is often so infuriating I barely got to play the Ibanez ever since I bought it. I also have a Floyd Rose Classic Stratocaster that I actually wanted to sell years ago, but it's just been sitting in the case.

    So, in regards to fitting the Les Paul with a Bigsby:

    A. I can see there are several different versions. Should the Les Paul be fit with the B-5 Bigsby, or the B-7? I read somewhere that both should work with a LP, but that the B-7 is supposed to be the most correct version. Is the Les Paul Studio actually regarded as an archtop?

    B. There is something called Vibramate that let's you install the Bigsby without drilling any holes into the guitar. How does it compare to the standard installation?

    C. What should I expect in regards to tuning stability? Frankly, my Les Paul hasn't got the most stable tuning as is already. I read locking tuners aren't supposed to make a difference (correct that if it's wrong), and that you should rather lubricate the nut. But then users' reports were inconsistent – some said their tuning stability was perfectly fine and some said it wasn't.

    From the bit of reading I made it seems you should definitely switch the bridge from the standard Tune-O-Matic to a round "roller bridge", or else the tuning will be bad and the strings will break more easily. Which one would you get to replace a Tune-O-Matic?

    I think that's all for now. Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018 at 6:51 PM
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  2. Greg's Guitars

    Greg's Guitars Senior Member

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    Go with the Vibramate ,no drilling required and converts back to original with no issues.
     
  3. Greg's Guitars

    Greg's Guitars Senior Member

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    Nothing sexier (IMO)

    . lespaulansbasscase 001.JPG
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018
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  4. TLespaul

    TLespaul Senior Member

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    Hey there. I read some reports that the Vibramate may go out of tune more easily and that it also gets in the way of the picking hand for some people.

    And whether I'll opt for the Vibramate or not, is the B-5 or the B-7 the more fitting option?
     
  5. Greg's Guitars

    Greg's Guitars Senior Member

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    B7 ,if memory serves me well. Gibson should have something on their website regarding what Bigsby is on their present guitars. I may be incorrect (going off my memory) I believe the b5 can be mounted without screwing it to the top and the B7 requires screw mounting, Vibramate seems to stand behind their product and requires no drilling either.
    I would select a Bigsby with a roller tension bar myself.
     
  6. filtersweep

    filtersweep Senior Member

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    Friends don't let friends install aftermarket vibrato systems.

    I have a Bigsby with a regular TOM bridge-- and no tensioner--- on a GRETSCH (where they belong ;) ) It works great. I wouldn't replace the TOM unless you really needed to. This is a Bigsby you are talking about-- not some dive bombing setup.
     
  7. TLespaul

    TLespaul Senior Member

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    I'm not sure what the "roller tension bar" would be. It seems from the pictures the B-7 has an extension that gets screwed into the strap button hole. On the Gibson website I found some Les Paul variations (so not a Les Paul proper) that come with the B-70, which to my understanding is an Asian-made version of the B-7; it's apparently pretty similar but not exact, and one person said the B-70 won't fit with a Vibramate, for example.

    Are you sure there aren't any shortcomings to the Vibramate? It seems that due to increasing the height of the Bigsby, it also causes the strings to have a higher angle going off from the saddles.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018
  8. TLespaul

    TLespaul Senior Member

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    Why is that? You say you shouldn't use a Bigsby unless it came with the guitar? Why?

    And frankly, my LP's intonation and stability isn't currently perfect as is, and I read it might be due to the saddles. At least some people using a Bigsby claim to get better tuning stability after replacing the TOM with a roller bridge. It may not be a Floyd Rose (btw, how much vibrato can you get from a Bigsby? Maybe a semitone in each direction?), but I can't see how replacing the TOM would hurt.

    Also, is there any similar issue when tuning with a Bigsby to how (by design) a Floyd Rose goes out of tune whenever you retune one string?
     
  9. TLespaul

    TLespaul Senior Member

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    Ah, well that seems the same on both of them, no?

    EDIT: And here's a review I found on a B-7+Vibramate listing on eBay. Seems a bit concerning.[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018
  10. Gibsonrocknroll

    Gibsonrocknroll Senior Member

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    I have a Bigsby B7 with the Vibramate V7 on my gold top. It installed in less then five minutes. I have no tuning issues and that's with a standard nut and bridge. Comes off just as easy and leaves no marks or indentations in he body. IMG_0508.JPG IMG_0511.JPGx.JPG
     
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  11. DarthPaul

    DarthPaul Member

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    '12 Gibson 60's Satin 20180615_220221.jpg 2017-10-22 21.48.35.jpg Studio
     
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  12. TLespaul

    TLespaul Senior Member

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    And you don't find there are any issues with the Vibramate not completely fitting the LP's slight curve?

    Also, what would be a good price for the B-7+Vibramate? I found on eBay someone selling both for $250, but that's because he's using "Global Shipping" which adds another $46 on top of the stated $24 shipping cost.
     
  13. Gibsonrocknroll

    Gibsonrocknroll Senior Member

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    Here's a side view of the Bigsby B7 and the Vibramate V7. I purchased the B7 and V7 a few years ago but I seen a few on the internet for under $200.00.

    IMG_1012.JPG
     
  14. TLespaul

    TLespaul Senior Member

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    Well, it seems like no part completely touches the body. Is that how it's supposed to be?

    And what section moves when engaging the Bigsby? I presume the whole mechanism involves having the tension bar moving down or up, increasing or decreasing the tension of the strings. But the posterior end of the Bigsby should probably moving in the opposite direction - just that I can't see how that would happen with the way it's mounted on the guitar in your picture.

    Also, that seller said he had a bunch of issues shipping to my country through USPS in the past and thus that he would never do that again, but after a couple of messages he said "OK, I can do that for $20 (+$180 item price) but don't complain if it takes a lot of time to arrive".
     
  15. Gibsonrocknroll

    Gibsonrocknroll Senior Member

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    This.
     
  16. TLespaul

    TLespaul Senior Member

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    Israel.

    So basically the Bigsby tailpiece kind-of over-winds or unwinds the strings in order to increase or decrease the tension?

    Also, I'm asking again, is there any similar issue when tuning with a Bigsby to how (by design) a Floyd Rose goes out of tune whenever you retune one string?
     
  17. Christosterone

    Christosterone Premium Member

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    Go with a vibramate B7

    I have a lot of bigsbies....I’m talking a lot...

    You’ll have to trust my bona fides :h5:

    They do not cause a guitar to go out of tune but are a bit tricky to perfect stringing…
    But once you get it down, it’s super easy…

    And with the Viberamate, the steep break angle which was a problem with bigsbies when you drilled them straight to the body is made less severe because the entire Bixby mechanism sits up a few centimeters from the body licking the break and go much closer to the regular Hardtail break ankle…

    Do not get a licensed one…
    They will not fit the vibramate adapter…
    Get one made in the USA or the screws will not line up…
    I learned that the hard way

    [​IMG]
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    -Chris
     
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  18. Gibsonrocknroll

    Gibsonrocknroll Senior Member

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    Yes.

    You are not going to "divebomb" with a Bigsby so you are not going to go out of tune. It's more like a vibrato thing.
     
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  19. MSB

    MSB Senior Member

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    so I have to ask, how many do you have laying around as paperweights? They should really endorse you, or at least get a discount.

    I still can't decide what I want to do. I got the B7/V7 a couple years ago and no matter what I did, the force to push down the back to get the strap button on I was no ok with. This was on 3 separate LPs I had at the time. I would honestly think I was nuts, but I've seen others have the same issue. I'm fine with the B5/V5, just don't care for the gap on a LP. I had a Duesenberg Les trem II and it was pretty good, by far the worst looking, but the arm made me get rid of it, only to find out later you can put a bigsby arm on it easy enough.

    I like the idea of the B3, and the towner system, but not the big ole V block hanging off the back. I really think I'll just end up doing a B6 with a B3 plate and if need be using the vibramate spacers, with should only be mms at most. Just have to find the time to run across town and try a B6 out. The measurements online are worthless to me because I'd be swapping the hinge plate, but just having hands and eyes on something is nice.

    I really think the B7 outfit would work because its a thin body and the strap pin is about 1cm closer to the top, but i hate to spend $200 to just turn around and try to get half that on CL for a basically brand new item.
     
  20. Christosterone

    Christosterone Premium Member

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    My last 3, maybe 4 have been B5s

    I’m going thru a phase I suppose...

    The cobalt blue was built less than 2 weeks ago...
    It’s awesome....love the B5

    Also looks great on my 18 goldtop classic...

    I’m not into towners unless on a hollow body...
    But that’s just my opinion

    -Chris
     
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