Let's Talk Tremolos!

Bkat

Electromatic
Dec 8, 2013
62
Illinois
OK. Given that this is a Gretsch forum, I reckon there's a whole lot of luv for Bigsy. Yes, they're cool and cool-looking. Very mid-century modern and that chunky lever has nice lines.

But objectively speaking, how do they compare in both form and function to Fender, Mastery, and whatever other tremolo systems are out there? Is one necessarily better, or better designed than another?

Mainly, I'm just curious. I'm happy with my Bigsby and it looks the part on a Gretsch. Just wondering in terms of technical aspects of other systems.
 

razzer10_4

Electromatic
Dec 1, 2021
11
Spain
I just recently became aware of the Stetsbar. Cool trem system. Unlike the Bigsby the design incorporates the TOM bridge so no roller bridge required. More closely mimics a top mount Floyd Rose than a Bigsby.
 

Back in Black

Country Gent
Jun 22, 2020
1,532
Ontario Canada
OK. Given that this is a Gretsch forum, I reckon there's a whole lot of luv for Bigsy. Yes, they're cool and cool-looking. Very mid-century modern and that chunky lever has nice lines.

But objectively speaking, how do they compare in both form and function to Fender, Mastery, and whatever other tremolo systems are out there? Is one necessarily better, or better designed than another?

Mainly, I'm just curious. I'm happy with my Bigsby and it looks the part on a Gretsch. Just wondering in terms of technical aspects of other systems.

BK,

Love all those vintage ones, Bigsby/Burns/Kaufmann, and the original German made Floyd.

When set up properly/used with the correct bridge, they will all work without de-tuning the guitar. Although correct to John Lennon specs, the Bigsby B5 and the Bigsby Bowtie bridge, is not a good combination. The old 1958 Rickenbacker roller bridge works in combination with the B5 much better.

Best,

BIB.

IMG_1320.JPG DSCF1513.JPG DSCF1507.JPG DSCF1465.JPG 2012_0923EVHFrankenstein0006.JPG
 

thunder58

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dec 23, 2010
27,191
tappan ny
OK. Given that this is a Gretsch forum, I reckon there's a whole lot of luv for Bigsy. Yes, they're cool and cool-looking. Very mid-century modern and that chunky lever has nice lines.

But objectively speaking, how do they compare in both form and function to Fender, Mastery, and whatever other tremolo systems are out there? Is one necessarily better, or better designed than another?

Mainly, I'm just curious. I'm happy with my Bigsby and it looks the part on a Gretsch. Just wondering in terms of technical aspects of other systems.
I think the best explanation can come from our friend @Wayne Gretschzky
 

JoeHartley

Electromatic
Oct 17, 2021
11
USA
I disliked the trem on my Fender MIM Strat so much that ended up just taking the bar off. No matter how I played with the springs, I couldn't get it right. It was either too touchy or it wouldn't come back to being in tune.

I wasn't happy at first with the trem on my G5622T, but then I replaced the stock bridge with a roller and it's been great ever since.

I suppose I could have done the same with the Strat, but I was a lot poorer then and my style didn't really call for it. I use it sparingly on the Gretsch, but when I want it, it's perfect.
 

hcsterg

Friend of Fred
Feb 13, 2012
6,680
France
Bigsby and Göldo-Duesenberg are my favorites : they are available LH...

pEOBOb-ZETREMZ.jpg


A+!
 

Bertotti

Friend of Fred
Jul 20, 2017
9,799
South Dakota
Nocturne Nailhead is my tremolo of choice.

When it comes to whammy bars I never use it on my Strats and do your it on my Penguin. They all have pluses and minuses the thing is if each is set up right it gets the job done.
 

Bertotti

Friend of Fred
Jul 20, 2017
9,799
South Dakota

calebaaron666

Friend of Fred
Aug 15, 2018
7,364
Auburn, Maine
Not a tension bar amongst them! What model is that Bigsby on the pirate tele?
It’s a B16. It was Bigsbys original design for a vibrato made specifically for a Telecaster. Changes the instrument quite a bit because it requires a big fat shim in the neck pocket to raise the angle for the strings to sit high off the body and you gotta use a floating bridge.
It looks wild, but it’s the most reliable bigsby model I’ve ever used. Almost never go out of tune.
 

loudnlousy

Gretschified
Oct 18, 2015
12,554
Germany
For different reasons I love Bigsbys, Fender synchronized trems and non-finetuning-Schaller -made Floyds.
I searched high and low to get them when they were out of production and managed to get two original ones from Canada.
These are incredible. Their construction enhances the tone because there are no moving parts:
IMG_2340.JPG
 

Wayne Gretschzky

Country Gent
Aug 27, 2008
3,513
East Coast
"tremolo" = the modulation of volume... "vibrato" = the modulation of pitch. Referring to a guitar's pitch-changing device as a tremolo is a misnomer, but to be fair, it's something that even the golden era Gretsch marketeers periodically did in their literature. If Fender wants to refer to their pitch-changing mechanism as a "Trem"... God Bless. But the official name of the Bigsby device(s) are the "Bigsby True Vibrato"... so that's how I reference them.
 

hcsterg

Friend of Fred
Feb 13, 2012
6,680
France
I'm toying with the idea of putting a Duesenberg on my 5220 left handed Jet. Good idea? How do you like them?
Are the post dimensions the same?
Thanks.

Hi @Londoner Lefty Mate ! :)

The Duesenberg Super-Tremola is a super-fine instrument : think about a Bigsby B5 on steroids, if I can say so, the qualities without the drawbacks.

1664049839628.png

There is another version which is called Diamond-Tremola : close to the B7 in its design.

1664049920479.png

And also the variant Radiator-Tremola, which I think has a little longer chassis :

1664049998926.png

My experience is limited to the Super-Tremola : I never installed nor used the Diamond and Radiator models.

IMHO the Duesenberg tremolos are not suitable for Gretsch guitars - with the exception of the center-block models - where the Diamond and Radiator may fit, but it has to be confirmed.

On a Jet G5220LH, a B5 or a Super-Tremola will not fit correctly to the top, and I advise you against going that route : you will certainly face insurmountable installation problems.

But it's me, OK ? 😁

I think that the best solution would be to stay with a Bigsby B3 and a Towner Bar - if you do not want to re-shape the B3 chassis like I did.

Another option would be the use of the Duesenberg Les Trem - very easy to install as a swap-in with the V-stopbar :

1664050468728.png

A+!
 

Londoner

Gretschie
Dec 18, 2020
353
UK
Many thanks hcsterg,
Ah yes, the Les Trem, that's the one I've been thinking about.
Seems to be ok as long as the mounting posts line up.
Have you actually tried it?
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,425
Tucson
"tremolo" = the modulation of volume... "vibrato" = the modulation of pitch. Referring to a guitar's pitch-changing device as a tremolo is a misnomer, but to be fair, it's something that even the golden era Gretsch marketeers periodically did in their literature. If Fender wants to refer to their pitch-changing mechanism as a "Trem"... God Bless. But the official name of the Bigsby device(s) are the "Bigsby True Vibrato"... so that's how I reference them.

Unfortunately, those waters are so muddied, that I don’t think it will ever be straightened out.
 

hcsterg

Friend of Fred
Feb 13, 2012
6,680
France
Many thanks hcsterg,
Ah yes, the Les Trem, that's the one I've been thinking about.
Seems to be ok as long as the mounting posts line up.
Have you actually tried it?

Yes, I tested the Les Trem one time, quite quickly, on a friend's Lefty Tokaï ES-335 : it worked fine, very smooth, something like a Bigsby B3 or B6. I found it to be simple and clever design, perfect for entering the world of vintage tremolo without risks for the guitar, but with a good and affordable product on hand, IMHO.

Knowing the pragmatism of Dieter Gölsdorf (founder of Duesenberg guitars and Göldo brands), I'm sure that it will fit any standard stopbar post mounting. That said, you may search the web for a dimensional drawing - or simply the mounting specs - of the Les Trem and compare with the spacing on the G5220, which is standard, by the way.

To sum up with the B5 and Super-Tremola, they only fit easily and correctly on flat top electrics :

1664100334770.png

1664100515987.png

But it's me, OK ? 😁

On the same Harley Benton JA60 guitar - comparison of B5 / Super-Tremola / Les-Trem :

1664100566348.png
1664100836845.png

A+!
 

Londoner

Gretschie
Dec 18, 2020
353
UK
Yes, I tested the Les Trem one time, quite quickly, on a friend's Lefty Tokaï ES-335 : it worked fine, very smooth, something like a Bigsby B3 or B6. I found it to be simple and clever design, perfect for entering the world of vintage tremolo without risks for the guitar, but with a good and affordable product on hand, IMHO.

Knowing the pragmatism of Dieter Gölsdorf (founder of Duesenberg guitars and Göldo brands), I'm sure that it will fit any standard stopbar post mounting. That said, you may search the web for a dimensional drawing - or simply the mounting specs - of the Les Trem and compare with the spacing on the G5220, which is standard, by the way.

To sum up with the B5 and Super-Tremola, they only fit easily and correctly on flat top electrics :

View attachment 190704

View attachment 190705

But it's me, OK ? 😁

On the same Harley Benton JA60 guitar - comparison of B5 / Super-Tremola / Les-Trem :

View attachment 190706
View attachment 190707

A+!
Thanks for the info.
Interestingly whilst doing a Google search, found this =
Looks like a Duesenberg mechanism but with more a Bigsby looking arm,
left-handed too!
 

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