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Thread: Bigsby/ TK Smith 5 String info......please

  1. #1
    gary nava; luthier GarY Nava's Avatar
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    Default Bigsby/ TK Smith 5 String info......please

    Ok Mr. Spruce, I was blissfully ignorant of these wonderful instruments and now am fascinated!
    I was wondering what the scale length, tuning and gauges of strings were- I just watched the Chris Scruggs video and whatever the dimensions are they seem perfect.
    Thanks Gary

  2. #2
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bigsby/ TK Smith 5 String info......please

    Hi Gary...

    TK built 3 (I think) bench copies of the Glen Tarver Bigsby 5-string mandolin, but now has his own design, which rocks...

    Not sure of the scale length (mine's out on loan), but I'll measure it when I get it back on Tuesday...

    The key to the whole deal are the wonderful pickups, which TK makes...
    I've been chasing Tiny's tone on "Back to Back" for years, and this instrument does it in spades...the neck pup tone by itself is to die-for, and is a dead ringer for "that" tone...

    After watching that Chris Scruggs video, I really want a Bigsby on mine...


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    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bigsby/ TK Smith 5 String info......please

    Quote Originally Posted by Spruce View Post
    The key to the whole deal are the wonderful pickups, which TK makes...
    I've been chasing Tiny's tone on "Back to Back" for years, and this instrument does it in spades...the neck pup tone by itself is to die-for, and is a dead ringer for "that" tone...
    The key to Tiny's tone is the pickup location, which no other electric offers. The Bigsby stops at the 17th fret (as does my Buchanan). This allows a neck pickup to get a much deeper "neck" tone, more like a guitar. It's a big-coil single, but the fat tone is due to the placement. I get the same rich jazz (or rock) tone from a similarly placed single-coil on my Buchanan.

    My solid-body electrics can't get that same fat tone, as they both have 20 frets and the pickup is closer to the bridge.
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    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bigsby/ TK Smith 5 String info......please

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wright View Post
    The key to Tiny's tone is the pickup location, which no other electric offers.
    Ya know, I think I could get along with just the single pup...
    ...but on a 5-string please...
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    Default Re: Bigsby/ TK Smith 5 String info......please

    Quote Originally Posted by Spruce View Post
    After watching that Chris Scruggs video, I really want a Bigsby on mine...

    That sounds great!
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  9. #6
    gary nava; luthier GarY Nava's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bigsby/ TK Smith 5 String info......please

    Thanks guys,
    Does make you wonder how something built so early on in the days of electric instruments can be so right.
    There’s no doubt that the 17 frets helps enormously with the pick-up positon and therefore tone- all my e-mandos have had 21 frets, which of course places the pick-up nearer the bridge giving a brighter tone. I guess one question for players is- “what would you prefer more frets or better tone?”
    Damn, I feel a project coming on!
    Cheers Gary

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