Bigsby B5 Telecaster

Here I show the installation of a Bigsby B5 vibrato in a Fender Thinline Telecaster 

Bigsby is still a current classic. Especially on legendary guitars, like this Thinline Telecaster, the tremolo looks great.

First, the strings have to be removed and the surface masked.

before Taping

The set comes with a red string that can be used to roughly check the position. For me, this is too imprecise and therefore I determine the position starting from the bridge position and the center line. The string position must also be observed. With a straight ruler placed on the neck and bridge, I quickly see that the bridge is too high and the string action will certainly be over 3-4mm. But with a trick that follows below, it is possible to continue the installation.

Mark align

The bridge is in guides and the height is determined by grub screws in the two feet. So, mark, drill, check.

Mark jacks Drill bushings

The ground connection of the strings is important. This is done by pressing a stripped piece of cable into the socket.

String grounding

Also connected are the cables to the pickup's metal retaining plate.

String grounding

The pickup is now reinstalled, the cable is placed under the plate and clamped while screwing it on.

Install Pickup

After the complete Bigsby is attached and the outermost two strings are pulled out, I determine the necessary neck angle to correct the string position. The feeler gauge tells me how thick the wedge must be at the end. The wedge is sanded from a thin piece of maple, holes drilled and secured with a few drops of glue.

Check the neck angle
Customize wedge
Pad Wedge
Bigsby B5 installed Bigsby B5 installed

The strings are put on, the saddle position and the intonation are adjusted and the wonderfully soft tremolo can be used.