I'm making a "Partscaster", Thinline Tele body, MIM standard neck, Fralin pickups. Now I'm thinking of putting a Bigsby on it as well. I have no experience in doing this myself, so I want it to be as painless as possible. No drilling or modifications of the guitar. I did see something on one of the manufacturers about shimming the neck. If I need to do that, I'll pass. Again, I want simple "drop in" type of assembly. Any suggestions appreciated - even if it's to tell me to forget about it.
Post by funkykikuchiyo on Apr 7, 2020 13:05:49 GMT -5
The neck should be shimmed, unless you want the strings popping out of the saddles all the time. If you're worried about "full contact" in the neck pocket, you can either make a tapered shim or buy one from Stew-Mac.
Bigsbys radically change tone, especially on solid bodies. It is so different from whatever other hardware there was (stop tail, traditional tele bridge) that it becomes an entirely different animal. The thing it is most similar to is a trapeze tailpiece, and even then there is a definite difference in tone. In the case of a Tele, the traditional way to do it is to put either a Jazzmaster-style bridge or some variation of a tune-o-matic in there, so that's another way the tone will change.
I also don't think there is a solution that is 100% drop in. The last time I checked there wasn't, but there could be one now. Parts exist to replace a stop tailpiece with a Gibson sans-drill, so maybe someone has come up with something when I wasn't paying attention (which is often).
Personally, I think they are pretty cool on Gretsch and Gretsch-esque instruments, occasional Guilds or atypical Gibsons, but with a lot of the mods out there it is like putting ketchup on a steak. Just my opinion.