Guitar Building: Bigsby Tele With Humbuckers, Part 4
The electronics are straightforward, with a twist or two. I always flip the control plate for better access to the volume knob. I used 500k pots for the humbuckers and a .022 mfd PIO tone cap, with a 180pf “treble bleed” cap. I found a new brand of jack, called a Pure Tone, which has two contacts each for hot and ground. They claim an improvement in the sound with this design. I can’t verify that, but the plug fits very securely, and the jack looks well-made.
The bridge is a Marc Rutters “Chopped” model, modified by Marc with notches for the strings to pass through. Without those, the strings would rest on the back lip of the bridge. Not good! As always, his bridge is a beautiful piece. The saddles are cold-rolled steel, which sounds good and wears like crazy, so they should work well when I crank the Bigsby.
Marc also made the control plate, in nickel-plated steel, with his slanted selector switch slot and the middle control hole 3/8″ further away from the switch than usual. These modifications work really well. The plate is not cheap, but well worth it!
Finally for this post, the tuners are a vintage-style locking type from Gotoh. I wanted vintage looks, but needed the locking feature because I want to whammy and stay in tune! These took some tracking down, but Philadelphia Luthier Tools had them and got them to me in a couple of days. They install like normal tuners, but have staggered post heights and a thumbwheel locking mechanism which pins the string into place with a steel rod, much like the Sperzel tuners. I have high hopes for these. Gotta have locking tuners if you want to whammy, unless you just loooove tuning up after every song.