Bigsby - B5 Towner VBlock Vs B7 Vibramate - Consensus for Les Paul

sidepartings26

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Hey.

A few years ago I bought a B7 + V7 and ended up not installing it on my Les Paul Standard. Just from looking at it, it seemed like it wouldn't work due to the arch of the guitar and there being a significant gap between the Bigsby and the non-arched part of the end of the body. I can't really fully remember why I sold it to be honest but I think it also seemed like the hinge plate of the Bigsby would not stretch around/down far enough to the end of the guitar because of this gap.

Now that I want to put a Bigsby on it again I am looking into trying the B7 again, but this time the B3 with Towner V Block is around as an option too.

From what I have read the Towner solution seems better in terms of functionality - due to the Towner tension bar. Is this correct?

I just don't like the look of the big V Block spacer at the end of the guitar re the Towner solution. However, aesthetically I would also prefer the solution that covers the least amount of the guitar-top and that would be the B3 right?

Any thoughts from users of these systems?
 

Gibsonrocknroll

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I have a Bigsby B7 and Vibramate V7 on my gold top. You do have a little space between the top and the Bigsby. It functions very well. There was no fit problem. It took under five minutes to install. I looked at the Towner system. I did not like that giant block that attaches to the back. Just my opinion.
 

MSB

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I tried a B7 and V7, couldn't stand to leave it on for any amount of time. How others put them on, I am somewhat baffled. I even went so far as to take apart three separate LPs to test them all. Because of the arch in the top, the V7 rides so high you have to loosen the studs quite a bit to get enough angle to be able to put the strap pin in. Then the arm is so high off the top of the guitar, its useless imo. I have seen the vibramates used for years with success and had always wanted one.... but that quickly came crashing down when I got them in my hands and on a guitar.

maybe I'm just an idiot (its quite possible)

I'm digging the B3 minus the huge block by the strap pin. What would be nice is if someone would make a vibramate type of plate for the strap pin for the B3
 

sidepartings26

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I tried a B7 and V7, couldn't stand to leave it on for any amount of time. How others put them on, I am somewhat baffled. I even went so far as to take apart three separate LPs to test them all. Because of the arch in the top, the V7 rides so high you have to loosen the studs quite a bit to get enough angle to be able to put the strap pin in. Then the arm is so high off the top of the guitar, its useless imo. I have seen the vibramates used for years with success and had always wanted one.... but that quickly came crashing down when I got them in my hands and on a guitar.

maybe I'm just an idiot (its quite possible)

I'm digging the B3 minus the huge block by the strap pin. What would be nice is if someone would make a vibramate type of plate for the strap pin for the B3
Hey what do you mean by loosen the studs? The base mounting screws?

Re: the Towner system, the VBlock strap pin has to be that fat as it's basically just a spacer so that the B3 Bigsby is kept further back and not interfering with the tension bar (which is where the tailpiece would usually be).
 

MSB

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Hey what do you mean by loosen the studs? The base mounting screws?


yes, otherwise the V7 was sitting flat, not allowing the bigsby to come close to being able to install the strap button screw.
 

sidepartings26

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I went B3 with Towner and VBlock (the thread title should read B3 btw) and am happy with how it worked out. I messaged Christian and he was super quick to reply. It doesn't look noticeably different to the B3 on my Gretsch (which is factory) despite the block, and after some setting up stays in tune much better! Will post a pic when I have time to upload to a URL!
 

Tonemeister

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Some guys luck out and get their Bigsby system working great. I have not had such luck without modification. Les Paul + Towner Down Tension Bar + B3 + V-Block is killer. Works perfectly and allows for fine tuning of the setup of your Bigsby for your specific guitar. Here is my thread about an R7 with the Towner and B3.

I have a 335 with a B7 and it gave me all sorts of issues. Over the course of the better part of a year I figured out how to get that system working. Here is that thread...335 with B7.

THe issue with a Bigsby on a Les Paul, in my experience (and YMMV), is that with a B7, which is the correct unit size wise for a LP, there is too much down tension on the tension roller from the B7 to the back of the bridge. The strings get hung up in the slots due to the downward force. Enter the Towner tension bar. It installs where your tailpiece studs are. You can adjust the tension on the strings from above. The bar raises and lowers on the strings. This was essential for creating just the right amount of tension for the strings to dampen and not ring behind the bridge yet not too much so that the strings would get caught in the slots from too much tension. I know how to file and smooth nut slots and saddles so don't bother commenting on that as a solution. :)
Since your tension roller is installed where the tailpiece was, you can't/don't need to install a B7. You need to install a B3 which has no tension roller but it is too long to install flush on the butt of the guitar. That's where the V-Block comes in. It is a perfectly sized, cut, radiused for your LP and smoothed aluminium block that fits under the hinge plate and allows you to use your tailpiece strap button hole to screw in and firmly attach the base plate. This is key because you don't need any other screw holes like in a B7 installation. Also on the top there are no screws needed so this mod is 100% reversible with no evidence. You can't even tell it's there when you are wearing a strap so not sure why someone would hate the look of it but to each his own.
I don't think this looks bad....
 

moreles

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Geez, I hate to see Bigsby's installed in Les Pauls. The device has nothing in common, visually, with the shapes and size of the guitar -- it's like bolting a waffle maker on a canoe. But yeah, Neil Young, and Keith Richards briefly, I know, so yeah, sure. And it's not my guitar, and of course you should do what you, not I, like.
 

ColdCobra

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I would try the towner bar first. I prefer the slinkiness of B3's to B7's, especially on Gretsches. Never tried the towner bar though.

I have tried both B7's screwed to the top and B7/V7's. They work fine when setup from my limited experience with both. I have a B7/V7 on my 75 goldtop deluxe right now and it has good sustain.

The bigsby's without the tension bar just seem slinkier and easier to use. But LPs need a tension bar, either towner or B7, due to the break angle so...
 

Tonemeister

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I prefer the slinkiness of B3's to B7's, especially on Gretsches.....The bigsby's without the tension bar just seem slinkier and easier to use...
"Slinkiness" is a good way to describe it. It is more elastic even. The Towner lets you dial in just the right amount of downward force for your guitar so you can get pretty close to that B3 feel.
 

tolm

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I'd personally go B7/V7 on a Les Paul. You might get away with a B3 and no tension bar at all - you can buy the VibraMate end plate adaptor a separately from the full kit on the Gretsch online shop.

On my 335, I've used a B6 but switched the hinge plate to a B7 one to fit the depth of the guitar. I've then used a Towner Bar to adjust the break angle. Works perfectly.
 


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