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Thread: Paul Bigsby

  1. #1

    Paul Bigsby

    After hearing about the Umanov closing, I took a look over on the Retrofret website. Looks like Retrofret would be a fun place to spend the day

    While there, I came across this write up on Lefty Frizzell's SJ-200 and it had some information on Paul Bigsby that I wasn't even remotely aware of.

    http://www.retrofret.com/products.asp?ProductID=2928

    Bob
    MLBob

    - 1986 Studio 24 acoustic (Gruhn design / Kim Walker build).
    - 1991 JF 30 - 12 acoustic.
    - 1990 Songbird acoustic/electric
    - 1981 Starfire 4



  2. #2
    That's a very cool and historic axe. And an informative article... especially the part about Paul Bigsby's influence on Leo Fender's design for solid body guitars.

    Here you go:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxLpkGx1ZtM

    sailin'shoes

  3. #3
    A frequent misconception is that Merle Travis' Bigsby guitar was a full solid body. It was not. It was more like a semi-hollow with no F-holes. But otherwise, Travis' Bigsby was visually the combination of a Gibson Les Paul body mated to a Fender neck, and neither of those iconic instruments had yet been developed!

    Did Leo Fender see Travis playing his Bigsby? Indeed he did, but he swore it was not a factor in the development of the first Fender. Okay, Leo!
    > Guilds: '73 F-30R / '74 F-40nt / '76 G-37bld / '92 D-6nt-hg / '94 JF-30nt / '97 Starfire III / '14 Savoy A-150b
    > Gibsons: '22 "A" Mandolin / '66 ES-125T / '66 Epi Cortez (B-25) / '90 Tennessean / '00 J-100xt / '02 J-45 RW / '02 SG / '06 ES-335 / '09 ES-339 / '10 ES-330L / '11 ES-335 P90s / '12 ES-330 VOS / '12 LP Special / '12 J-185 / '13 LG-2 / '13 Midtown Kalamazoo / '14 J-15
    > Epis: '00 AIUSA Sheraton / '05 McCartney Texan / '09 Elitist Casino
    > Martins: '00 OOO-16 / '01 Custom RW D

  4. #4
    One thing to note about the Bigsby and Fender headstock shapes is that they both come from an early 19th Century design by Viennese luthier Johann Stauffer. Leo Fender said in at least one interview that he first saw it as a kid on a Croatian instrument. Bigsby mayíve been a more immediate influence since Leo knew Bigsby and was familiar with his work. But Bigsby didnít originate the design.

    -Dave-
    1962 F-20 Troubadour
    1970 M-75 Bluesbird
    1971 S-100 "Black Cherry"
    1973 S-100 "Nature Boy"
    1990 Nightbird Custom
    2013 NS M-75 Aristocrat
    2016 NS S-200 Thunderbird

    c. 1971 Foxey Lady

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Quantum Strummer View Post
    One thing to note about the Bigsby and Fender headstock shapes is that they both come from an early 19th Century design by Viennese luthier Johann Stauffer. Leo Fender said in at least one interview that he first saw it as a kid on a Croatian instrument. Bigsby may’ve been a more immediate influence since Leo knew Bigsby and was familiar with his work. But Bigsby didn’t originate the design.
    -Dave-
    Yes, that is true re the in-line headstock shape. If I recall correctly, CF Martin trained with Stauffer, and built early instruments with a similar headstock design. Martin recreated aspects of those guitars in 1999, with the SP00-16RST, including the Stauffer headstock shape. Fun stuff!
    > Guilds: '73 F-30R / '74 F-40nt / '76 G-37bld / '92 D-6nt-hg / '94 JF-30nt / '97 Starfire III / '14 Savoy A-150b
    > Gibsons: '22 "A" Mandolin / '66 ES-125T / '66 Epi Cortez (B-25) / '90 Tennessean / '00 J-100xt / '02 J-45 RW / '02 SG / '06 ES-335 / '09 ES-339 / '10 ES-330L / '11 ES-335 P90s / '12 ES-330 VOS / '12 LP Special / '12 J-185 / '13 LG-2 / '13 Midtown Kalamazoo / '14 J-15
    > Epis: '00 AIUSA Sheraton / '05 McCartney Texan / '09 Elitist Casino
    > Martins: '00 OOO-16 / '01 Custom RW D

  6. #6
    Senior Member Walter Broes's Avatar
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    The book on Paul Bigsby and his guitars is very nice, and shows how incredibly influential his designs were

    -1960 CE100D
    -1961 Starfire III Special
    -1962 X175
    -1963X175
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  7. #7
    Senior Member dreadnut's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting, Bob! What a delightful article.

    And he wasn't really a lefty!
    "The air's as still as the throttle on a funeral train." John Prine

    '76 D-25M
    '99 DV-52ABHG
    '98 DeArmond Starfire Special
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  8. #8
    From the article...

    "Lefty picked up his nickname after a series of schoolyard scrapes."

    He must have had a good left hook!

    sailin'shoes
    Last edited by sailingshoes72; 12-02-2017 at 11:05 PM.

  9. #9
    Is that a metal (brass?) saddle?

  10. #10
    From the description...

    "...the moustache bridge is fitted with a typical aluminum Bigsby saddle, as seen on his vibrato units."

    sailin'shoes

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