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How to restring your Bigsby guitar tailpiece the easy way

How to restring your Bigsby tailpiece
(Image credit: Future / Jack Ellis)

Being able to do your own guitar maintenance doesn't just save you money, it's also a great way to understand how the different features of an electric guitar affect its tone and playability. We’ve teamed up with Jack Ellis from Manchester's Jack’s Instrument Services to give you a guide to the best way of restringing any guitar that's fitted with a Bigsby…

In the workshop we’ve seen all manner of, shall we say, alternate stringing techniques but the Bigsby tailpiece seems particularly perplexing! Maybe we can help. 

The Bigsby has been around since ‘52 and it’s not really changed, there’s a few models to suit different styles of guitars but all use the same string mounting design with mini pins. 

In this article we’re covering how to correctly string up a Bigsby B5 which is commonly fitted to Telecasters but the same time-saving techniques can be used on their other models too. We got carried away and covered a couple of different accessories for Bigsby tailpieces too at the end. Let’s string up!

How to restring your Bigsby tailpiece

(Image credit: Future / Jack Ellis)

These little fellas attach sideways to the pins.

How to restring your Bigsby tailpiece

(Image credit: Future / Jack Ellis)

To make things easier, pre-bend the string, this helps it stay on its pin while we’re fiddling around.

How to restring your Bigsby tailpiece

(Image credit: Future / Jack Ellis)

Thread the string under the roller bar at the front then over the string bar hooking it under on a pin.

How to restring your Bigsby tailpiece

(Image credit: Future / Jack Ellis)

Hey, we’re stringing a left-handed guitar here by the way!

How to restring your Bigsby tailpiece

(Image credit: Future / Jack Ellis)

Top tip, you must try to keep tension on the string as you’re winding it up at the tuners, do this by winding with one hand and tensioning with the other. Our pre-kinked ball end of the string will be helping loads at this stage.

Jack’s written an in depth article on using a Wrap Lock technique which is used everyday at his workshop – follow that to fully string up like a pro!

How to restring your Bigsby tailpiece

(Image credit: Future / Jack Ellis)

Repeat another 5 times, don’t worry about getting the 1st string in tune as when you add the others, the tremolo will depress and the arm will come downwards too

How to restring your Bigsby tailpiece

(Image credit: Future / Jack Ellis)

Finish up, tuning up the strings so they’re evenly spaced and pull in a straight line to the bridge by shifting the strings sideways on the roller. Don’t forget to stretch your new strings in, this helps settle them down for greater tuning stability - were all done.

Further modifications...

As the Bigsby tremolo has been around since 1952 there have been quite a few accessories and mods created for it

How to restring your Bigsby tailpiece

(Image credit: Future / Jack Ellis)

Callaham have created an alternate string bar which simply uses holes instead of pins, it can be swapped out with relatively common tools negating the possibility of strings slipping off the pins altogether!

How to restring your Bigsby tailpiece

(Image credit: Future / Jack Ellis)

Vibramate have a whole catalogue of Bigsby accessories including screwless mounting plate systems plus their Spoiler string anchor. This cleverly fits over the pins and doesn’t involve trickier modifications to the Bigsby. Neato!