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The Bigsby Telecaster Project

When the body came in, the bridge puzzled me. There was to much space – the whole thing slided back and forth it did not fit properly – tension thumbwheels where missing. All in all it looked not original – added later - For the next few days I searched the web for information on the bridge – nothing. Where to look?
Here is a picture of the bridge - can see it collected a lot of dust over the years.

One night late I came across a web forum where a discussion was going on F-style Tele Bigsby’s. I read all messages and made a post to the forum. In the next few days I learned the origin of my bridge – got original drawings for installation - found an original Jaguar bridge which I swapped for my old bridge – and got acquainted with lots of enthusiast TeleModders. Earles, Paul and Leo - members of the forum - helped me a lot. With Paul Setzer I swapped bridges. From Earles I go the sheets on TeleBigsby Conversion - which you can download from the Gallery page. As it became clear the bridge was original a Mosrite.

The Mosrite bridge is curved - all saddles are more or less the same size and follow the contour of the bridge base in a way the strings follow the curve of the neck. The Fender Jazzmaster/Jaguar bridge is flat and the saddles are placed in an arc. Saddles differ in size and can be adjusted in height with adjuster screws. For fine tuning the height of each string the Jazzmaster/Jaguar bridge gives more possibility. I also want a cover to go on top of the bridge - so when Paul asked to swap bridges I gladly accepted.

jaguar jazzmaster bridge

For the Bigsby it self I was missing some minor but essential parts. As you can see on first picture, the Bigsby is missing a tension roller. The Fender F-Bigsby is pretty close to a Bigsby B-5 and replacement parts can be used. I ordered one from Elderly. Some 10 years ago I ordered books from Elderly - because not all books where in stock I got a credit slip. All these years I kept the credit slip stashed away in a guitar case to find out that it was still valid. Elderly had all info there and the tension roller was shipped.
But I had overlooked a small detail. When I tried to fit the tension roller I missed the bearings that go into the roller. Two very small bronze rings. Back to Elderly online.

I get quiet some emails with questions on which bridge to use together with a Bigsby B5/B50/B500/F-style.
On my Tele I have a Jaguar/Jazzmaster bridge but also other TOM (Tune-O-Matic) bridges are an option. Lots of Bigsby Tele’s have a Mustang bridge but the saddles of a Mustang bridge can’t be adjusted in height like the Jaguar/Jazzmaster bridge. Older Tele’s have a 7.25" neck radius. The original Mustang bridge is made for this 7.25" neck radius. But newer Tele’s have a 9.5" neck radius (or more like 12"). It is a bit less curved. So when you add an original non-adjustable Mustang bridge together with a newer 9.5" radius Tele neck the strings do not follow the curve of the fretboard and high E-string can give a buzz. Also string bending is less easier because lowE/A and B/highE-strings have a higher string action. Lowering the bridge is no option because you will get string buzz on D and G strings. But you can over come this problem. There are three options when you want to add a Bigbsy together with a Mustang bridge and a newer 9.5” tele neck:
1: use Jaguar/Jazzmaster adjustable saddles for the outer two saddles top and bottom sides (so four in total)
2: change all saddles with the Graphtech adjustable saddles. They are new and also improve sound.
(see there website http://www.graphtech.com/)
3: use the new Warmoth Modified Mustang bridge. To allow adjustment to any desired radius they offer a Modified Mustang bridge with individual saddle height adjustment. The two middle saddles remain stock and are height set with the overall bridge height screws. The other four saddles have two set screws each. (see there website http://www.warmoth.com/)

Here is are pictures of a original Mustang Bridge - the Warmoth Modified Mustang bridge and the Graphtech saddles.

MYPROJECT[1] [2] [3]