Stringing a Bigsby: The Nightmare Returns

Cryin_Caleb_Aaron

Friend of Fred
Gold Supporting Member
Aug 15, 2018
7,655
Auburn, Maine
Yeah, just like many other chores, the more you do it, the easier it gets. The capo does make life easier. That’s the only “special” tool I need, and that’s only for the guitars without locking tuners.
 

Mikethomas

Electromatic
Nov 3, 2022
12
South Florida
I forgot how freakishly frustrating it is to restring a Bigsby B60. Bending string ends around my finger, using pliers, ball-end slipping off ten times before I can attach the other end to the tuner — yikes.

My last Bigsby-equipped guitar was a PRS Starla, for which I bought a Vibramate. I hesitate to buy another one as I worry about tone-suck. Thoughts? Is there a foolproof way to string a B60 that I’m not aware
Maybe invest in some locking tuners. I’ve always found with a bigsby and locking tuner setup you can lock the non ball end of the strings in the tuners which thus acts as another set of hands.
 

Gregor

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 17, 2018
1,469
New Brunswick, Canada
It's funny. There are countless things I struggle with that other people seem to do just fine, but stringing a Bigsby isn't one of them.
It is funny!!! I don’t see what the big deal is with all the helpfull suggestions already offered. Maybe if you're trying to change a broken string on stage in the middle of a song, it might be a concern. By the way, I once saw a person actually do this (I think it was one of the lads in the folk group "The Brothers Four"...and yes, I'm that old). Quite the feat but then there wasn't any Bigsby involved.
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
19,212
Petaluma
I have done it with fingers but much faster and more precise to use needle nose pliers - I have a pair that includes a wire snip to cut off the extra string. I also like to use the needle nose pliers to pull at the tuner end for tension, a better grip means I'm less likely to bend or crimp the string somewhere.
 

1adam12

Electromatic
Feb 25, 2022
82
Atlantic City
Call me a masochist, but I kind of enjoy it. I try to compete with theoretical grace. making my bend right, threading it through the unit, attaching to the unit all while keeping tension and up to the tuner! Always try to see if I do it better than the last time! LOL
 

ronbo

Gretschie
Feb 28, 2012
440
Broomfield, Colorado
Thanks larryr! Been stringing my Bigsby's for years with and without the capo, but there's always a certain level of frustration, especially when I can't find my capo...$15 with shipping for the Stringray tool seems like a great price for something that looks like it will work every time! ;)
 

Hammerhands

Country Gent
Aug 26, 2011
2,512
Winnipeg
My teacher told me he once broke a string on stage while playing his Gretsch Country Gentleman, he didn't mention any trouble restringing it but he did say it was a hell of thing not stopping the song, using the Bigsby to get each string down to pitch as they were all off different amounts.
 

Hammerhands

Country Gent
Aug 26, 2011
2,512
Winnipeg
Alternative to the string spoiler: ButchieBar


75e6a8_f234ceab5e864b2d98ad0a5198a63737~mv2.jpg


This sure looks better than the String Spoiler, I wonder if it is harder to use?
 

David MacNeill

Electromatic
Gold Supporting Member
Nov 13, 2022
36
Boise ID

Bertotti

Gretschified
Jul 20, 2017
10,157
South Dakota
David,

Not that difficult at all...try this...

First of all. your finger is too big.

Tightly wrap the ball end around a pencil, making sure the ball eye is positioned correctly, before you start your bend.

If your bend is correct, the string end will stay in position on the roll pin.

Your goal is to match the string/ball eye loop diameter to the diameter of the tension bar.

If your string loop/ball eye looks like the diagram, you will have trouble.

Best,

BIB.

View attachment 195144
Exactly what I do although I wrap it a bit smaller diameter so it stays in place like a spring. I never understood why people have such trouble stringing a Bigsby
 


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