Sunday, November 2, 2008
The Devil's Tailpiece or Paul Bigsby and his damned invention should be relegated to obsolescence.
So I took my Eastwood/Supro Coronado DeLuxe off the wall and decided to plug 'er in. It must have been time, because the high e string broke. It's not like I just got the guitar, but I have to admit I have never changed the strings on it. It features a Bigsby tremolo tailpiece. Well, I had success with the fourth low e string. I also went through two g strings before getting it right with the third. I won't go into the technicalities, but one clearly needs three hands to change the strings with the aforementioned Bigsby tailpiece from hell. I'm currently soaking my pants that I dripped blood on. I know there is a retro/vintage rockabilly vibe to the Bigsby, but Leo Fender had a much better idea for string bending. Ingenious, I would say. I installed the strings, gently giving eighth and quarter turns on the keys, all the while holding the ball end of the string onto the tiny post. I repeated the process in fits, spurts and snapped strings until all six were on. I tuned it up, gently, the way a bomb expert would disengage the right wires, sweating but dead still. It worked. Once it was in relative tune, I plugged her in, tossed off a couple quick riffs and, not wanting to tempt fate any further, unplugged the Supro and hung it back on the wall. I took out my '62 reissue sunburst Strat, and let 'er rip. Exhale and rock. In my former life, as an Angelino, I would bring my 12 string to David Neely to power change the strings. Pity I am so far from him now. For more reasons than one. He had not revealed his political leanings during our conversations in his shop over the Mesa Boogie store. We would talk gangs and the deterioration of the City of Angels, but it was between elections and Dubya was firmly ensconced dans la Maison Blanc. But I digress. I have committed to never owning another guitar with a Bigsby tremolo. I have also gained an added appreciation for Mr. Neely's unique skills.
Like Neil says, "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World!"