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Bass Bigsby?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by M.D.S., Dec 16, 2005.

  1. M.D.S.


    Nov 8, 2004
    Ever since getting the 'Bass culture' book detailing parts of the late John Entwistle's guitar collection and noticing that he had a pair of Alembic basses packing bigsby tremolos, I've been wondering how I could get my hands on one!

    It looks like the Bigsby's in the book could be modded stock guitar models (With extra holes drilled), but I can't really be sure, and even if I was, I'm not sure how you would do this correctly. :confused:

    If anyone has any information on this at all would be very handy, as I can't seem to find any specific info at all...
  2. lookjojoisplaid


    Oct 17, 2005
    San Diego
    Hipshot makes a a full floating bass tremlo there is really no difference between that and a reall bigsby
  3. I don't know if I can agree with that last statement...
    MDS, I got the same impression you did; Alembic made a similar Bigsby bass for Stanley Clarks. It appears they took a stock Bigsby, drilled new string holes and ground down the tail section to fit.
    You could talk to an experienced repairman about having this done, but as a Bigsby will only take guitar strings up and down a full tone or so, I don;t know how effective it would be on bass.
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I heard Stanley do a mild dive bomb on his Bigsby-equipped bass on one of his albums. But I agree that Bigsbys aren't really good for much more than adding some vibrato a la Brian Setzer. Get the Kahler if you want to get serious about vibrato bars (BTW, when the heck did the misnomer "tremolo" start to be used for vibrato bars?).
  5. Matt H

    Matt H

    Jul 30, 2005
    Ithaca, NY

    bout 50 years ago with the introduction of the stratocaster, as far as i know. of course, it's 'Tremelo" most of the time- which is doubly wrong. hahah

    hell, on fender amps, the tremolo is labelled "vibrato"- figure that one out. :)
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Must be a new thing. On my 70's Super Reverb, the knobs just say "speed" and "intensity" with no reference to what it's speeding and intensifying.

    Me, I'd like to return to using the proper terms for each. So just to set things straight:

    VIBRATO---quick changes in pitch
    TREMOLO---quick changes in volume

    Join me in my quest, won't you please?
  7. Matt H

    Matt H

    Jul 30, 2005
    Ithaca, NY

    you'll notice that the inputs to that channel are labelled "vibrato", and "normal" is written above the jacks on the furthest left inputs.

    that is, that's how it is on blackface and early silverfaces... i don't know if they dropped that off post '74's.

    does your amp say "super reverb" or "super reverb amp", and does it have a master volume control?
  8. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Whoops...this one slipped thru the cracks for a couple days on me. My amp says "Super Reverb," and you're right...channel two does, indeed, say "vibrato." And no master volume. Fortunately, it doesn't need one.
  9. Matt H

    Matt H

    Jul 30, 2005
    Ithaca, NY
    fortunately? heheh

    so yours is either pre 72 or 74 (can never keep that straight)- definitely the good ones.

    (most "improvements" that CBS made really just sucked the life out of things).

    congrats on owning an awesome amp. I almost had a chance to pick up a '68 for a great price, was about a minute slow in responding to the ad... bummer!
  10. Salizander


    Oct 28, 2004
    I came across this Etwistle/Bigsby info a little bit ago at this website:

    John Entwistle Gear: 1974-1985

    About 1/3 of the way down there's a small black&white picture with the caption,

    "In the studio with Alembic Baby Bass fitted with Bigsby reverse tremolo, as used on the bridge of 9:05 and Dancing Master."

    - p.s.: If you have a few minutes, cruise around the rest of the website, there's some pretty impressive info on all equipment of the mighty WHO.
  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, I have no idea what year it is. And I say fortunately because I've never really dug the master volume on Fender amps, plus once you turn it past 7 or 8 it gets an amazing distortion tone like no pedal or master volume ever made. Doesn't go over so well in tiny clubs but sure sounds good on recordings.

    Want me to bum you out even more? I paid $70 for it!
  12. Back from dead (I know that's a 4 years old thread)
    But have anybody saw or tried a Bigsby for bass meanwhile? (Not Kahler or Hipshot).
    It looks like a Bigsby B5 can be modified for a 4 string bass but will the spring be powerful enough for bass strings?
  13. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Eastwood Guitars, CHC Guitars, GHS strings

    If not, you could always try using a automobile valve spring. That should be a bit stiffer.
  14. rich007


    Nov 21, 2009
    dude i played a gibson black beutti with one of theese......they are,nt the same as the ones which go on the 6 strings,but they have the same downfalls....ie....bad tunning issues all the time.....also your neck will need reinforcing due to the fact its built for the tension of your strings in a static position,constant tightning and losening of the stirngs will snap the neck in no time........there are modern effect pedals wich simulate the same effect with out the problems........just my opinion dude.....and i,m no jaco......respect to all...../:bassist:
  15. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Eastwood Guitars, CHC Guitars, GHS strings
    Not true at all. I use Bigsby's on several guitars and have zero tuning issues. You simply have to know HOW to use them. They aren't for divebombs and stuff...just simple vibrato.

    You'll have no "neck problems". Again, you clearly don't understand how a Bigsby is designed to be used.

    If there are, I sure haven't heard them. The various vibrato pedals sound nothing like a Bigsby, and things like the Whammy pedal aren't even close.

    Not trying to be hard on you or rude...just stating my opinion and observation from 31 years of using Bigsby and "Bigsby style" trems.
  16. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    The spring should be just fine, its a pretty damn heavy spring.

    The only actual made for bass Bigsby there is, is for the Gretsch White Falcon, as an optional bridge/tailpiece, maybe you can get some info off of them, or Bigsby about that.

    No, it will not. :rolleyes:

    I've had trems, and Kahlers at that, with *far* more range than a Bigsby, on two of my basses, and their necks are just fine, so are every other bassists that I know with trems.

    If that was the case, guitarists would be snapping necks weekly(guess what, they're made the same way).
  17. I'd like to see ths for cool factor if nothing else.
  18. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 28, 2009
    White Bluff,Tn.
    Owner: Moonshine Custom Guitars
    I've actually seen 4 string bigsbys listed somewhere, I'm just trying to remember where...
    Moonshine :bassist:
  19. I've heard folks(guitarists, mind you ;))call them *wang bars*
    Sounds like a drinking/social establishment one might find in certain sections of say, San Francisco(not saying there's anything wrong w/that :)).
    On the 'snap your neck in no time' comment, I'm getting a vision of some kind of Chuck Norris tie-in here, but it's early- a little help?
  20. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    I thought I'd chime in because it appears that most folks posting don't understand that the Bigsby Tremolo bridges work a little differently than most.
    First you'll notice that the strings attach to posts on the underside of the rotating bar. For a bass, clearly the spacing would be wrong and you'd have to change the post positions, and most like the guage to handle the heavier strings. This feature, while necessary for the operation of the bar, is a major pain when changing strings. My first electric guitar had this model of Bigsby tremolo (a Kustom hollowbody), and the guy I bought it from had strung it incorrectly. When I'd used it (gently I might add), I had tuning problems. After looking at some pictures of other guitars, I realized that the strings must go under the bar at the front and then over the bridge. (Check pic below for clarification.)
    This maintains the string tension and helps keep the strings in tune. The spring is under the post where the arm attaches, and trust me, it is massive. It could handle bass strings no problem.

    Hope this helps. :D