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How were factory installed Bigsby units grounded?

DANELECTRO

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Feb 24, 2003
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6,200
I'm curious as to how grounding was accomplished on 1950's Bursts and Customs which had Bigsby units installed by the factory. If the guitar also had stopbar bushings installed by the factory, then I could see that they may have grounded to the treble-side bushing, but what about guitars that did not come with stopbar bushings? The only places to ground that I can see would be through a cross-drilled hole between the control cavity and the butt-end of the guitar, or possible a cross-drilled hole to the ABR stud or Bigsby mount screw on the top, but that seems unlikely.

Here's the control cavity of a mint condition 1959 Custom. There are no stopbar bushings to ground to, and I don't see any indication of a ground wire running to the control cavity. They were grounded, right?

59 Black Beauty Mint 4g.jpg

59 Black Beauty Mint 4b.jpg
 

buyusfear

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Oct 3, 2006
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2,940
I don’t think they were.

The ground came off of the ABR treble post.

Found a Pic here.
bigsby_string_ground_wm.jpg
 

Mark Kane

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Jul 18, 2001
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5,730
Didn’t they get grounded at the butt end through one of the 4 bigsby mount screws with a wire from the control cavity? I had a ‘65 Sheraton and that’s how the it was grounded.
 
Last edited:

DANELECTRO

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Feb 24, 2003
Messages
6,200
I don’t think they were.

The ground came off of the ABR treble post.

Found a Pic here.
bigsby_string_ground_wm.jpg
That's one of the ways that I suspected it could be grounded. I wonder if that's a factory installation or if it was done later by a tech.
 

buyusfear

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Oct 3, 2006
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That's one of the ways that I suspected it could be grounded. I wonder if that's a factory installation or if it was done later by a tech.
I researched this quite extensively after a recent Bigsby build with no tailpiece studs, and found this method on any Bigsby equipped guitar, as well as on 335's.
I have also seen on a darkback goldtop where the ground was more akin to how they did it on trapeze's.
It's why if you see PAF's with solder half way up on the braided pickups hookup wire, is indicative of them having come from a 335.
 

gibson-r8

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Jul 15, 2004
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So grounded from the bridge pup braid thru a hole to the treble ABR?
 

Aloha_Ark

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Apr 2, 2020
Messages
120
If the treble post is the only point of contact for the ground, then it is an indirect ground to the Bigsby, which requires completion with one of more metal strings. Fine for nickel-steel strings, but what about Elixir Nanoweb strings?
 

Flogger

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Sep 23, 2008
Messages
471
If the treble post is the only point of contact for the ground, then it is an indirect ground to the Bigsby, which requires completion with one of more metal strings. Fine for nickel-steel strings, but what about Elixir Nanoweb strings?
My ES345 is a factory Bigsby with no studs. I have used Nanowebs on it for the past 10 years. No problem.
 
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