Gear Q&a

This is­sue: Bigsby al­ter­na­tives, Gold Foil pick­ups & jacked up tones

Guitarist - - Contents -


I would like to fit a vi­brato sys­tem to my Gib­son ES-135. I have con­sid­ered the tra­di­tional Bigsby unit, but no mat­ter who I speak to, they tell me that tun­ing stability is an is­sue. Plus, I would rather not drill holes in the gui­tar if pos­si­ble, so I would like a unit that can be fit­ted without drilling or other ‘dam­age’. I have seen the Due­sen­berg Les Trem II, which looks perfect, but it seems too good to be true. Do you have any ex­pe­ri­ence with that par­tic­u­lar unit, and what else is there to con­sider, please? Gary Holder, via email There are a num­ber of retrofittable vi­bratos avail­able for Gib­son-style stop­tail and tune-o-matic-equipped gui­tars, Gary. Stets­bar makes a good ver­sion and there are also op­tions from Schaller and Floyd Rose. You’re right, though, the Due­sen­berg Les Trem II seems so er­gonom­i­cally sim­ple and easy to fit, one won­ders if it re­ally does the job… We can tell you that it does; a num­ber of friends have fit­ted them to gui­tars with noth­ing but pos­i­tive com­ments so far, as in­deed is the case for Due­sen­berg vi­bratos in gen­eral.

Be­fore buy­ing one, there are a cou­ple of things to keep in mind. Firstly, the cen­tre-to­cen­tre post mea­sure­ment for your ex­ist­ing tail­piece must be 81.5mm in or­der for the Les Trem II to fit. Se­condly, you’re still us­ing the gui­tar’s ex­ist­ing bridge/sad­dles and nut, so any friction/burrs, etc, there are a threat to tun­ing stability. The Les Trem II comes with the two most com­mon met­ric- and im­pe­rial-thread re­place­ment studs and a cou­ple of wash­ers should you need them. Chrome, gold or nickel and a whole heap of wob­bling fun!


Ever since I read your in­ter­view with Joey Landreth from The Brothers Landreth a while back [is­sue 407], I have been toy­ing with the idea of get­ting some Gold Foil pick­ups for my Strat (a 2013 Clas­sic Series ’50s model). I have two ques­tions, please. Firstly, will they fit in a Strat? Se­condly, what are your ob­ser­va­tions of their sound com­pared with stan­dard sin­gle coils and hum­buck­ers? Richard Kemp, via email We think Joey Landreth prob­a­bly sold a good few sets of Gold Foils around that time, Richard. As you’re doubt­less aware, a hand­ful of mod­ern brands (Mojo in the UK and Lol­lar in the US, for ex­am­ple) make re­pro­duc­tions of these quirky Tesico-style clas­sics, per­haps best known via Ry

Joey Landreth and Gold Foil pick­ups: Richard’s think­ing of do­ing the same

The Les Trem II: the most el­e­gant and ef­fec­tive stop­bar­retrofit vi­brato avail­able?

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