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Thread: Where to drill holes for bigsby?

  1. #1

    Where to drill holes for bigsby?

    Howdy folks,
    just finishing up the stain on my tele kit.
    Now, I'm a little confused as to WHERE I should be putting the bigsby on the guitar.
    There doesn't seem to be any pre made holes and I am a complete novice.

    For a bit of context I'm planning on making this a baritone guitar, so if thats going to affect the positioning let me know what to do

    You can see the build/guitar here and some photos of the kit as well as what I've done so far

    http://www.buildyourownguitar.com.au...ead.php?t=8982

  2. #2
    oh also, generally is it best to drill everything and then finish or the other way around?

  3. #3
    Overlord of Music Andy40's Avatar
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    Can't help with bigsby as i've not done one, but generally I do all modifications before the finish, so if you muff it up, you can hide the muff ups.
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  4. #4
    Overlord of Music Fretworn's Avatar
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    How are you finishing the guitar? This can affect the answer to whether you drill the hole before or after.
    Current:
    AST-1FB

    Completed:
    First Act ME276 (resurrected curb-side find)
    ES-5V
    Scratchie lapsteel
    Custom ST-1 12 String (to be converted to 6 string)
    JBA-4
    TL-1TB
    Scratch Lapsteel
    Meinl DIY Cajon
    Cigar Box lap steel

    Wishing:
    Baritone
    Scratchie 12 string
    Open D/Standard Double 6 twin neck

  5. #5
    Mentor JohnH's Avatar
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    I also can't help with the Bigsby, but can say I have drilled holes before and after finishing and was a hell of a lot less stressed when I did it beforehand. I've heard that water based stains can get into drill holes and make them swell up, so the type of finish probably makes a difference.
    #001 (LP-1S) [finished - co-runner up Nov 2018 GOTM]
    #002 (WL-1)
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    #004 (ST-1 JR - Arachnoid Superhero build) [finished]
    #005 (LP jr)

    Junk shop acoustic refurbs (various)
    'The TGS Special'

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Fretworn View Post
    How are you finishing the guitar? This can affect the answer to whether you drill the hole before or after.
    dingo tone

  7. #7
    Overlord of Music Dedman's Avatar
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    take a look at other Tele's with bigsby's. Basically find and mark a centre line on the body ( put some tape down and mark the tape rather than the body) Measure and mark the centre of the bigsby and line it up. I found stringing it up with cotton string or fishing line allowed me to check that the strings ran straight to the bridge. As to how far back they usually go as far back as possible without hanging off.
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  8. #8
    Overlord of Music Simon Barden's Avatar
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    It doesn't matter that it's a standard scale or a baritone guitar, the positioning is exactly the same.

    Obviously the strings need to line up with the bridge saddles, so that gives you your side-to side position. For back-to-front positioning, you need to think about the angle of the strings between the bridge and the string bar at the front of the Bigsby unit. You don't want the unit so far back that the break angle is very shallow, but neither do you want it so close that the break angle is too great or the strings catch the rear edge of the bridge.

    It's something you really want to adjust during a mock-up. Bolt the neck on, fit the two E tuners (without using the anti-rotation screws), prop the bridge in the holes either using tape round the posts or suitable sized plastic tubing. Put masking tape over the top of the guitar so that you can mark up the position for drilling holes and move things around without leaving marks on the body.

    You can then run the two E strings from the cheap set that came with the kit from the Bigsby (tape them in place or they'll keep falling off the pegs when doing this) over the bridge and up to the tuners. You''ll need to shim the bridge so that it's at roughly the right height for your preferred action. Obviously the bridge height will affect the string break angle.

    You can then move the Bigsby backwards and forwards until you like the look of the string angle. You are going to be constrained in positioning it by the amount of space left on top of the body so you won't really have a lot of movement to play with.

    You'll also need to consider where the Bigsby arm ends up as you'll want it in a position that's easy for you to grab or keep in your hand when playing.

    This is also the time to consider whether it would be a good idea to fit a bridge with roller saddles as you've got the Bigsby. Its a cheap mod that many people have done when using Bigsbys, and is a better solution when fitting a trem to a guitar with a Tune-o-matic bridge where the pointy saddles will provide resistance to string movement, which can easily lead to tuning issues.

  9. #9
    Overlord of Music Fretworn's Avatar
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    Iíd leave it until you have finished the guitar. Once the finish is completed and fully cured you can use some low tack masking tape to help to avoid damaging the top while positioning the whammy and drilling the holes. My first kit was the TL-1THB. I didnít drill anything until for the bigsby until the end.
    Current:
    AST-1FB

    Completed:
    First Act ME276 (resurrected curb-side find)
    ES-5V
    Scratchie lapsteel
    Custom ST-1 12 String (to be converted to 6 string)
    JBA-4
    TL-1TB
    Scratch Lapsteel
    Meinl DIY Cajon
    Cigar Box lap steel

    Wishing:
    Baritone
    Scratchie 12 string
    Open D/Standard Double 6 twin neck

  10. #10
    Overlord of Music Andy40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesB606 View Post
    dingo tone
    Dingotone is oil based so you are fine. If you are worried just grab some parrafin wax and stick it in the holes
    Build #1 - ST-1 - Completed and upgraded
    Build #2 - LP-1SS - Completed | Co-Winner-May 2016 GOTM | Runner up GOTY 2016
    Build #3 - TLA-1R - Completed
    Build #4 - SGD-612 - Completed | Runner up Feb 2017 GOTM
    Build #5 - ES-1G - Completed
    Build #6 - STA-1HT | Completed | Co-Winner - July 2017 GOTM
    Build #7 - ST1JR - Completed
    Current Build #8 - JBA-4
    Build #9 - Semi-scratch build Tele x 2 - Completed
    Current Build #10 - PRS-1H
    Current Build #11 - AGJR-1
    Current Build #12 - ATL1SB

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