The B16 vibrato, which is specific for a Fender Telecaster, was a rare item on early Fender models as it was only available in 1953 and early 1954. For 2013, Bigsby is reintroducing the original 1953 aluminum neck shim designed by Paul Bigsby for use with the Bigsby B16 vibrato. Accompanying this reintroduction is a step-by-step installation video available here
The video demonstrates the process of installing a B16 using the neck shim, but an installation can also be performed without the use of the original aluminum shim. As consumers often desire the possibility of personalizing their instruments to fit their own vibe and playing preferences, there are benefits to both styles of installations. If the player desires to keep vintage look and integrity by using the shim and a single saddle floating bridge, the shim adds the perfect height (3/16") and pitch angle for the neck. As this process includes an additional contact point of wood and aluminum, the tone of the instrument changes. Many suggest it adds sustain and a shimmering top end. If the player chooses the vintage look of the B16, but wants a modern 6-saddle body-mounted bridge, no shim is needed. The use of a 6-saddle bridge allows for individual string intonation, different saddle material choices, and a more traditional “woody” sound as the neck joint is wood on wood. These two installation options offer the player the perfect opportunity to make their Telecaster unique to their creative mind!
In the seven decades since Paul Bigsby created his innovative vibrato design, guitar enthusiasts continue to revel in his inventions. In an ever-changing world of music-related gear, Paul Bigsby’s classic and legendary designs are still setting an amazing high bar by which all others are measured.
To learn more about the history of the B16 vibrato and other works of Paul Bigsby, check out Andy Babiuk’s The Story of Paul Bigsby: Father of the Modern Electric Solidbody Guitar
For more information on Bigsby products, please visit www.Bigsby.com