Brian Setzer on using a Bigsby tremolo

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A Bigsby allows you to produce some unique sounds
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We've arranged Brian's examples into a 12-bar pattern to give you an idea of the context he had in mind for these licks. The first slides in bar 10 (A9, Ab9, A9) can be replaced by whammy bar bends if preferred, as Brian demonstrates just after this example.

Many people consider the Bigsby tremolo setup to be inferior to the more modern systems which make use of a locking top nut to stabilise tuning. However, as Brian shows, the Bigsby is capable of very subtle changes to the guitar's pitch, which produces an understated sound. Similar movements on a Floyd Rose-type setup would yield huge changes in pitch, making them more difficult to control.

Although Brian splits his ideas up on the video, we have put them together into one example so you can see how they work in the context of a twelve bar blues.

There are three main techniques to cover: the quick dips in bars 1- 4; the chord vibrato, found in bar 8 and the extreme 'fairground' effect in the final two bars. You should start off by isolating each idea until you feel comfortable, before moving on.

Don't worry if you don't have a Bigsby fitted to your guitar, you can still play Brian's ideas. You will need to make much less drastic movements with the bar, which should get you the same results.

You can learn Brian's examples from our free tab. If you are new to tab you should take a look at our tab guide.

If you want more Brian Setzer lessons then check out his other video lessons on rockabilly picking using open chords and rockabilly picking using barre chords.

For more information got o the official Brian Setzer website.

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