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Digital Subscriptions > Guitar Magazine > Jun 2019 > HOW TO INSTALL A BIGSBY ON A GIBSON ES-335

HOW TO INSTALL A BIGSBY ON A GIBSON ES-335

They fell out of favour for a long time, but these days, having a Bigsby on a vintage-style Gibson is a cool as it gets. Here, we show you how it’s done and make a few other tweaks along the way in pursuit of the ultimate ES-335…
The strap-button screw will be useful for anchoring the Bigsby while it’s being positioned
To hold the Bigsby in place, a large washer is used between the strap button and the hinge plate

Only relic finishes cause more of a commotion in the online guitar community than the humble Bigsby tailpiece, but converts to the waggle-wand of pure shimmering joy will tell you that these chunks of sandcast aluminium still represent the most expressive and musical vibrato system ever invented for guitarists. Here, I’m taking a recent Gibson Memphis 1958 ES-335 reissue and swapping the stopbar for a Bigsby B7.

There are, of course, several innovative ways to install a Bigsby without making permanent modifications to your guitar, but the prevailing feeling in this office is still that sonically speaking, there’s no substitute for screwing that thing directly into the body.

With that commitment made and the guitar in bits on the workbench, it seems sensible to take the opportunity to make some further upgrades – including the pickups. Time to see if an already very good guitar can be made into a great one…

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