Bigsby and Vibramate Revisited

Bigsby and Vibramate Revisited

Arming your axe with a Bigsby is a sure-fire way to bring a touch of class and versatility to your play style. However, when it comes to retrofitting this iconic Vibrato, you may well have stumbled through the minefield that is drilling, measuring, routing, filing and an assortment of other issues involved in this upgrade.

Fortunately there is a solution! The great minds at Vibramate have come up with a solution that allows you to fit a Bigsby to your guitar with nothing more than a Phillips head screwdriver and a little bit of time. Whether you have a Telecaster, SG or Les Paul, at Northwest Guitars we have all the parts and knowledge to help you make this upgrade!

Bigsby for Telecaster Guitars

There’s no doubt that Telecasters are incredible, but there’s one thing missing - a Tremolo. This is where the Bigsby B5 comes into play! Great for adding shimmer to your chords and expression to your leads, not only does it enhance your playing but it looks fantastic too. Sometimes referred to as the 'horseshoe', the B5 is not just for Teles, it’s suitable for most flat top guitars, such as the LP Junior, SG and Rickenbacker 325.

Vibramate for Telecaster

The advantage of a Bigsby over a regular tremolo unit is mainly in the large size of the tremolo arm, which allows you to use it with just a finger, rather than having to grab with your whole hand like you do with a traditional tremolo arm or a Floyd Rose. This means that with a little practice you can pick and use the arm at the same time, allowing for much more flexibility when adding vibrato to your playing.

American Standard Telecaster

The American Standard Telecaster requires a conversion to a three-saddle bridge before you can proceed with the installation of a Bigsby B5, whether you're using a Vibramate or not. For an American Standard Telecaster the  Vibramate V5-TEAS Mounting Kit allows you to securely install your new tremolo without ruining the finish of your guitar.

Vintage Style Telecaster

To match your Bigsby B5 to a Vintage-style Tele you'll need the Vibramate V5-TEV Stage II mounting kit. All Vibramate mounting kits are machined from high-grade aluminium to best match the Bigsby and minimize additional, unnecessary weight. This ingenious bit of kit works by replacing your existing bridge pickup plate, allowing you to easily and securely install your Bigsby B5 Vibrato unit with minimal fuss and no damage to your guitar.

Vibramate V5 for Telecaster

If you have a Humbucker in the bridge position, then there is a version of the V5-TEV with a Humbucker Bridge Plate as well as one for guitars with Filtertron Pickups available too.

Bigsby for SG & Flat Top Guitars

There's few guitars with a rock and roll heritage more hallowed than an SG, and once you add a Bigsby into the equation you've got one seriously good looking guitar! Whether you've got an SG in Heritage Cherry, Alpine White or Ebony; the last thing you want to do is ruin the finish by drilling a bunch of holes in it.

Bigsby B5 Vibramate

Thankfully there's a Vibramate for that, and it's not just the SG it fits either. The Vibramate V5 Standard fits pretty much any guitar with a Tune-O-Matic style bridge and a flat top, be it a Gibson, Epiphone, Ibanez, Schecter, ESP or many other big guitar brands. If you have an SG Classic or a guitar with a curved scratch plate, you may need the Vibramate V5 Short Tail.

Bigsby for Carved & Arch Top Guitars

If you don't have a flat top guitar there are still plenty of options to pick from with offerings to fit Gibson, Epiphone, PRS plus plenty of other models. Adding a Bigsby B7 to an LP style guitar is a popular option and there's no way you'd want to destroy the pristine Flame Maple top of a Gibson Les Paul! Thankfully with all Vibramate Mounting Kits you get three felt pads to ensure a fit that's firm enough to hold the bulky Tremolo unit in place, but soft enough to ensure no damage is done to the top of the guitar.

Bigsby B7 Vibramate

To mount a Bigsby B7 to your Les Paul style guitar you'll need the Vibramate V7-LP Mounting Kit. It's super simple to install and lets you add a wealth of additional sounds to your repertoire, as well looking ridiculously cool. It works with a big range of LP guitars with the stop tail and Tune-O-Matic style bridge.

There's also the Vibramate V7-335 Mounting Kit for fitting to a variety of Gibson and Epiphone 335 models, so if like me you prefer hollow body and semi acoustic guitars; this is the one for you.

In Conclusion

After traipsing through the world of Bigsby's and Vibramate's together, hopefully you’re feeling confident to retrofit your own Bigsby.

However if you're still not sure which Bigsby and Vibramate Mounting Kit is the right option for you, then feel free to give us a call or send us an email, and one of our guitar nerds will be more than happy to help you pick the right kit for your guitar.

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