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jaberwock

Callaham Bigsby Front Roller Upgrade

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Interesting concept...I'm all ears!

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3 hours ago, cmatthes said:

Interesting concept...I'm all ears!

What's the interesting concept? Tone and sustain from a Bigsby?

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string guide with added weight.

you can make the same thing at ace hardware for about 1/2 hour of your time and 5 bucks.

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9 hours ago, murkat said:

string guide with added weight.

you can make the same thing at ace hardware for about 1/2 hour of your time and 5 bucks.

 If I had access to a lathe I'd  try making one for sure; but if I can rescue my Thin line Tele from the thin weak tone it has at present for 45 bucks, I'll give that a go.

  Here's what Charles Guitars had to say about the mod:

 

All guitars equipped with a Bigsby B5 or B7 Vibrato suffer greatly because the front roller is made from hollow tube and so gives a very thin tone with little depth, resonance and sustain.

Callaham's upgrade kits provides a solid, stainless steel front roller and axle that will widen the frequency response and sustain to where it should have always been. The roller is polished to a mirror finish and is grooved to maintain string alignment. This is a simple retrofit and pays huge dividends.

We say:

We have fitted these and the difference is remarkalble, Bigsby's have always had a reputation of providing a Vintage look but thin sound....well not anymore with this upgrade the tone is thicker and fatter.

 

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18 hours ago, kizanski said:

What's the interesting concept? Tone and sustain from a Bigsby?

Any improvement there would be good.  I love everything about my Bigsby'd guitars, but if they're lacking anywhere, that would be where I'd improve things.  I have no tuning issues and am not under any illusions that a Bigsby might work in your VH Tribute act, but that retrofit definitely has me curious.

As far as making my own, I lack a number of prerequisites there, from tooling to the required skills! :D

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1 hour ago, cmatthes said:

not under any illusions that a Bigsby might work in your VH Tribute act

You'd just need a guitar change at each verse.  :lol:

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I have them on my USA Bigsbys.  Definitely makes a difference- the Bigsby manufactured piece is hollow, and noticeably thins out the tone and hinders sustain.  I also added the back Callaham "holed" bar to one of my Bigs, but with the rest I just added the Vibramate Spoiler- the Spoiler is actually easier to change strings with (especially in a hurry onstage).

The string guides on the Callaham are also a nice improvement.  Don't regret getting mine.

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9 hours ago, jaberwock said:

I remember reading that Hamer reworked the Bigsby's on their guitars.

 

This is interesting as well. I wonder what they did.....?

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Hmm... only issue here is that my Bigsby, like a lot of the ones out there, is the Licensed import version, not the USA version. I think this only works on the USA.  So, I'd need to get both another bigsby, but also the roller upgrade.

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On ‎9‎/‎15‎/‎2017 at 2:44 AM, ArnieZ said:

T shirt says they're local boys. Never heard of them before.

Probably because I haven't owned a Bigsby equipped guitar in years.

 

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On 9/8/2017 at 8:40 AM, Jakeboy said:

This is interesting as well. I wonder what they did.....?

Hamer fabricated (in house) these parts out of aircraft-grade aluminum to fit under the mounting "horseshoe" of the B-3 units they used.  It helped modify the angle that the tailpiece sat on an arched top, but also had the resonance/sustain factors of a high quality metal piece (lighter weight, obviously) as a transfer point.

Most people I've pointed those out to have never noticed them before.

HamerNewportBigsbyaluminumshims.jpg

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14 minutes ago, cmatthes said:

Most people I've pointed those out to have never noticed them before.

Add me to the list!

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I found some copper pipe that with a little sanding, was a nice tight push fit inside the front roller, added around 30% to the weight, and really reduced the "tinny " sound when tapped; adding some silicon grease to the two brass "bearings" made a  big improvement to tuning stablity, and freed up the Bigsby movement.

 A brass GFS roller bridge increased sustain, and fullness, over the Schaller it replaced, this plus the Bigsby overhaul turned this guitar from one I was thinking of selling to  a regular player for around thirty five bucks !!

 

  Jaberwock

 

 Thinline b.jpg

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On ‎9‎/‎16‎/‎2017 at 10:47 AM, cmatthes said:

Hamer fabricated (in house) these parts out of aircraft-grade aluminum to fit under the mounting "horseshoe" of the B-3 units they used.  It helped modify the angle that the tailpiece sat on an arched top, but also had the resonance/sustain factors of a high quality metal piece (lighter weight, obviously) as a transfer point.

Most people I've pointed those out to have never noticed them before.

HamerNewportBigsbyaluminumshims.jpg

I definitely noticed these but I thought they were just shims to fit the Bigsby to the Arch top.  I'm late to this post.  I came across this because I'm doing research for my Monaco and Monaco III.  I'm not sure which route I'm going to go yet.  I agree about not being cheap to mod.  Front Roller $45, Rear Shaft 45, how about a Compton Bridge $80.  This us adding up to fix a simple tremolo.

I'm new to this Bigsby research but aren't the Bigsby's with the horse shoe like on my Monaco and MIII B-5 units?

 

Edited by dhuber

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For those of you who may try the Callaham roller upgrade, be aware there can be variability in Bigsbys that may make it necessary to perform some minor filing / drilling on the Bigsby frame.  I used a flat file on the inside edges of the horseshoe to get the edges perpendicular to the bottom of the Bigsby so the roller would spin freely.  I used a small round needle file to open up the holes for the roller axle. It didn't take much to get it installed but I did work slowly and fit check often.

The finish quality of the Callaham parts put the Bigsby to shame.

 

From Callaham:

"You can run a 3/16 drill thru the hole for the axel to clean out the burr left by the Bigsby axel.  If the horseshoe is twisted or warped that can cause a problem.  We can shorten the front roller if needed.  You can even send the Bigsby to us and we will custom fit it." ...  "But warped or twisted horseshoes is a common problem."

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