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FDP Forum / Guild/DeArmond/Tacoma Guitars / Has anybody put a Bigsby and/or a roller bridge on a DeArmond M65?

GrantFarmer

United States

Mar 2nd, 2016 08:16 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hi, all.

I've got an M65 and I love the tone and the neck, but I've been wanting a Bigsby on it.

Now, I paid $125 for this guitar ten years ago (at the Cambridge Music Center in Porter Square, Cambridge, RIP), and a Bigsby B5 plus roller bridge would cost me more than that. But hey, why not?

So I'm wondering if anybody's done that and has any advice, warnings, horror stories, thoughts, etc. Or just wants to laugh at me for talking about putting $200 worth of hardware on a $125 guitar.

I've thought about putting a B5 on my SG Special instead, but the internet's full of people who've done that.

As a side note, do all M65's sound this nice or did I just get lucky with mine? I haven't ever had a chance to play another one.


Peegoo
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Eat. Sleep. Guitar.

Repeat
Mar 2nd, 2016 11:37 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Heck yeah, stick a Bigsby and a roller on there. I've done this mod for several players (not on a DeArmond M65), but they are easy to do and always sound great. I've done this on Teles and SGs.

Note that the Bigsby does change the tone and feel a bit, due to the roller spring; it makes the strings feel a bit more 'rubbery' when bending notes.

Regarding the M65 Freshman in general, I have one of

the originals :o)

GrantFarmer

United States

Mar 2nd, 2016 12:15 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Your M65 is one beautiful guitar. Oh, boy.

I'm comfortable with the string-bending feel with a Bigsby on my M75t, so that doesn't worry me.

But I've never played the same guitar both with and without Bigsby. What effect would it have on the tone?

Peegoo
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Mar 2nd, 2016 12:43 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The Bigsby can reduce sustain. I say "can" because it doesn't always reduce the sustain.

Guitars are all different, and some are affected by the addition of the Bigsby (the roller spring and different string angle over the bridge).

The sustain will either be pretty close to the original response and tone--or sustain will be reduced. Also, sometimes this mod causes reduced lows in a guitar's tone.

If you can, install a Vibramate for the Bigsby B5.

This is an ideal option, because if you decide the Bigsby is not a good modification for you, the mod is 100% reversible: no additional screw holes are necessary to install the Bigsby, and the guitar can be returned to 100% stock condition.

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 09:37 PM, Mar 2nd, 2016)

GrantFarmer

United States

Mar 3rd, 2016 06:58 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks. I added the Vibramate to the Amazon order; I can give it a shot on the SG too, then. We'll see how it goes!

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Eat. Sleep. Guitar.

Repeat
Mar 3rd, 2016 07:15 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Excellent!

6L6
Contributing Member
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San Francisco, CA

Mar 3rd, 2016 08:06 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

By all means add the Bigsby!

6

GrantFarmer

United States

Mar 5th, 2016 09:08 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

It's on, and it sounds great. Thanks for the advice!

Turns out the Vibramate is a no-go with the M-65. I should have thought ahead more: The tailpiece is a chunk of metal screwed onto the top of the guitar with wood screws, at an angle. There's no hope of using those screw holes to mount a Vibramate. I'm sure it would do the guitar no harm at all to install proper mounting hardware for a quality tailpiece, and then mount a Vibramate as usual. But I'm cheap, lazy, thumb-fingered, and impatient.

So I fired up the drill and ran amok. Worked out OK: https://imgur.com/a/Yy28e

It's late here so I've only heard it through an amp sim in GarageBand, but so far I'm very happy with the results.

Bigsby B5 Install on DeArmond M-65

Peegoo
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Mar 6th, 2016 03:51 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

That came out GREAT. Nice work!

If any of the strings are touching the back of the bridge behind the saddle, you can always use a small round jeweler's file to make a little channel in the metal.

Remove just enough metal so the string doesn't make contact. No need to create any extra room because the string doesn't move laterally at all there.

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 05:52 AM, Mar 6th, 2016)

GrantFarmer

United States

Mar 16th, 2016 07:08 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Well, I added a Schaller roller bridge. The tuning was a bit unstable with the stock bridge if I used the Bigsby, but now the whole thing goes audibly out of tune with itself if I use the Bigsby for ten or fifteen seconds. No dive bombing or wild stuff, just fairly gentle vibrato. I don't understand how a guitar could go out of tune *more* with a roller bridge.

My only theory about that was that the old bridge studs were too tall for the Schaller, and the threaded holes in the old bushings were too narrow (the old ones were M4 x 0.7mm thread pitch) for the Schaller studs. So I pulled the old bushings to put the Schaller bushings in.

The holes in the top were too wide for the Schaller bushings, so I had to wrap the Schaller studs in teflon plumber's tape to fit them snugly. Thing is, the old bushings were about 3/4" deep, and bearing surface of the Schaller bushings is much, much shallower. Not a whole lot over 1/4". So I wonder if the bushings aren't rocking a bit and failing to keep the bridge immobilized.

Maybe all this wasn't my best idea.

But maybe I can get longer bushings that'll fit the Schaller studs. And shim with something rigid and hard.

(This message was last edited by GrantFarmer at 09:14 PM, Mar 16th, 2016)

Taildragger
Contributing Member
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USA

"bald to the bone"
Mar 16th, 2016 07:30 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I replaced the stock, TOM-type bridge on my Bigsby-equipped Gretsch 6122-JR. with a radius-matched, aluminum Tru-Arc bridge. That, and juicing the nut with "Nut Sauce" lubricant rendered superior tone and tuning stability over the TOM.

Tru Arc:

Taildragger
Contributing Member
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USA

"bald to the bone"
Mar 16th, 2016 07:31 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Big Bend...

..Nut Sauce:

FDP Forum / Guild/DeArmond/Tacoma Guitars / Has anybody put a Bigsby and/or a roller bridge on a DeArmond M65?




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