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Bigsby for Epiphone Casino [Pros & Cons + FULL Installation Process]

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Hate it or love it, the Bigsby vibrato tailpiece is impressive in its own right. Aside from functionality, performance, and ergonomics, the Bigsby just looks plain awesome. 

Also, it can be a priceless tool when it comes to infusing expressionism and character into your play. Who wouldn’t love some subtle and maybe wild vibratos added to an already scintillating but slow guitar solo and passage? 

On the other hand, the Epiphone Casino is a “beyond-amazing” hollow-body electric guitar. For numerous players, it is nothing but a dream guitar. To some players, it is a priceless and [maybe] beloved possession that they never joke with. 

On that note, it is not exactly out of place to be in a sort of conundrum when the thought of incorporating a Bigsby into your beloved Epiphone Casino crosses your mind. 

The truth is that you can mount a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece on your Epiphone Casino. But, it is not that straightforward. There are different views and schools of thought in regard to this. 

Some people think it is a terrible idea, while some think that it is an amazing one. However, everyone will agree that you can do it. But there are just a few things you should know.

About the Bigsby – All you Need to Know 

A man who could build anything, Paul Bigsby (1899 – 1968) designed the Bigsby (or Bigsby vibrato tailpiece). The Bigsby is not a tremolo arm as often mislabeled by some musicians.

Rather, it is some sort of mechanical vibrato device for the electric guitar. The device lets you tilt the pitch of the entire chords or notes of a phrase with your picking hand for different tonal effects. 

To flatten a note (lower the pitch), all you need to do is push down the arm of the Bigsby towards the top of the guitar. The strings loosen when the bridge rocks forward and return to normal pitch when you release the arm. 

Hence, notes can also be sharpened (raised) by lifting the arm. You achieve all these and more in the electric guitar because the Bigsby lever arm is spring-loaded and fastened to a pivoting metal bar near where the strings are installed in the guitar. 

The device contains a rocking bridge and not a roller bridge. Also, the vibrato unit installation is done at the top of the guitar. The truth is that we can install the Bigsby vibrato in almost all electric guitars, although some guitars will require slight amendments. 

The good news is that they manufacture Bigsby vibratos in both long and short sizes. A variety of models are designed for either arc top, thin, large, thin electric, or flat top solid body guitars. 

Regardless of the electric guitar, whether it is a hollow-body guitar, you can start enjoying the Bigsby vibrato by finding the model that fits perfectly with your guitar. 

The Bigsby vibrato has contributed a lot to music creation and guitar playing since its invention in the year 1951. Bigsby history won’t be complete if we fail to mention Merle Travis

When Merle Travis heard Murphy and West play sustained notes from the Bigsby steel guitar, he started wondering why the sound was sustained longer than his hollow-body electric guitar which fades out rather so fast. 

He later concluded it was because the steel guitar was solid. Now, here is how Paul Bigsby, who could build and repair anything, came into the picture. 

With Merle Travis’s description, the body cutaway was added to the original guitar. The metal bar across supported the body. Paul Bigsby did it!! Yeah, he did it! 

Also, the Floyd Rose and Fender synchronized tremolo arm are available competitors for the Bigsby vibrato tailpiece. While some guitar players want to stay in tune, some want different tones, and some desire to just bend their pitches. 

Pros and Cons of having a Bigsby on your guitar


  • Effecting tonal modulations like adding colour notes and chords is quite easy with the Bigsby vibrato. 
  • Truth be told, Bigsby looks great on an electric guitar. They are great decors even when not used. 
  • The bridge facilitates a Steady tune. 
  • The Bigsby produces amazing shimmering and warbling sounds. 
  • Regardless of how much you modulate the sound, tuning stability will never be an issue.  The Bigsby just stays in tune. 


  • It is so hard to do the Jimi Hendrix technique (dive bomb) due to limited pitch. 
  • The Bigsby makes it so tough to replace the guitar strings. 
  • Rarely stay in tune if not fitted or installed properly. 
  • You must use sparingly the Bigsby vibrato to avoid tonal issues. 
  • The weight of the Bigsby vibrato on the electric guitar may be strange to some players.

About the Epiphone Casino 

The Epiphone Casino is one of the outstanding thinline and most popular hollow-body electric guitars by the Epiphone brand. They are ideal for stage and studio recordings.

John Lennon is said to have used the three Epiphone Casinos held by the Beatles to record classics. The Epiphone Casino offers the guitarist a transparent and ringing sound that enables overdrive if required. 

Since its creation in 1961 by Epaminondas Stathopoulos, the Epiphone Casino has been found in the hands of great players like John Lennon, Keith Richard, George Harrison, Paul Mccartney, Howlin wolf, Brad Whitford, The Edge, The Beatles, Peter Green, and Dave Davies.

Epaminondas named the company manufacturing Epiphone after his nickname “Epi” and phone (meaning voice in Greek). 

His father Anastasios Stathopoulos originally established the Musical instrument manufacturing company in Smyrna way back in 1873 and later moved to New York. 

In Smyrna, the Ottomans Empire (now Turkey), The Greek company made unique lutes and fiddles. When they later moved to New York, they also made banjos from a factory in Long Island City, New York.

Epaminondas after taking over from his father rebranded the company in 1928. That same year, the company commenced making guitars. 

Epi later died in 1943, and his brothers Ophie and Frixo took over the company. They moved the company to Philadelphia in 1951.

And Gibson achieved the Epiphone company in 1957. The Epiphone is now used by various guitars, beginning with Gibson and other companies under contract with Gibson. 

However, the Epiphone Casino is still unique and easy to spot because of its hollow body. You can always find the Epiphone in the hands of star performers like the Beatles. 

The hollow body enables the Epiphone Casino to deliver rounded and exact tones mostly heard in jazz and blues. 

The hollow-bodied electric guitar could be said to be equivalent to a fully acoustic guitar due to its comparable clean and natural tone. 

The Epiphone Casino has nothing inside it, just like the acoustic guitar. Another reason they sound bottomless is that they have no sound hole.

Watch the Beatles playing the Epiphone Casino. 

Difference Between Hollow, Solid, and Semi-Hollow Body Guitars 

Here’s a handy difference from a performing musician’s standpoint between hollow, solid, and semi-hollow body guitars. 

The hollow-body guitar gives what we can describe as a precise and rounded tone applicable largely in jazz and blues. 

The hollow body is very sensitive to feedback. Musicians have to pay attention to gain as they can have terrible feedback issues if over-gained or played at an increased volume. 

The solid-body guitars are made without a sound box and depend on a device’s amplifier or loudspeaker to produce sound. 

The amplifier allows the solid-body guitar to be played at a high volume. They do this with the aid of the preamplifier and equalization for low, middle, and high frequencies found in some solid-body guitars. 

The solid-body guitars are associated with Rock and heavy metal. Also, the solid-body guitar weighs more than the hollow-body guitar. Perhaps, many guitar players like the feel of heavier guitars on their neck (just saying).

The semi-hollow guitar can regulate increased gain because of the centre block of wood. They are great for Rock and contemporary styles of music. 

The semi-hollow body will not have the feedback issue typical of the hollow-body guitar. That being said, this makes the semi-hollow body a better guitar for overdrive and distortion. 

B. B. King, alongside other jazz and blues musicians, played semi-hollow body guitars. Legendary musicians like Lary Carlton, Foo fighter frontman Dave Growl and Chuck Berry also played this, too. 

Different Types of Bigsby and Matching Guitars

The Bigsby is built in different models and designed for a particular classification of guitars. Finding the correct model for your guitar is of great importance. 

The following will be different Bigsby models and design functions. And also possibly the guitar they best fit or match. The B-3 model matches with thin electric guitars like the Fender Mustang, Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar, and Gibson SG Melody Maker. 

The model B-5 model matches with flat top solid body guitars like the Gibson Les Paul Junior and Fender Telecaster. The model B-6 matches with large acoustic and arch-top guitars like the Gibson L-7CE, D’Angelico style, Stromberg deluxe, Regal custom, and Gretch New yorker. 

The model B-7 model matches thin electric guitar with more downward pressure. With a string tension bar, you can easily install it without drilling on the Gibson Les Paul and silver jet guitar. 

The model B-11 matches with thin Hollow body and semi-hollow body guitars like the Epiphone Inspired By Gibson, Harmony Comet, Gretsch G5622 Electromatic Center Block Double-Cut, Eastman Romeo LA, Guild Starfire I Jet90, D’Angelico Excel SS, and PRS SE Hollow body II Piezo. 

The B-12 model has a pressure bar and matches with large acoustic and arch-top guitars. These could be the Gibson vintage, Eastman classic, heritage Sweet 16 flamed, Peerless Cremona, and Epiphone vintage broadway. 

Which Bigsby is Best for the Epiphone Casino? 

Following the method of design for each model by Bigsby, the B-3, B-7 and B-11 are often recommended for the Epiphone casino. The Epiphone Casino is a thin-line hollow-body electric guitar.

They fall under these three Bigsby models. The Bigsby B-3 will not work just well on the Epiphone Casino especially if you are using light strings. Even when you are using heavier strings it is still not the model for the Epiphone Casino. 

Some Epiphone casino owners claimed to have installed the B-3, and it worked, but they had to do a little adjustment at the bridge so the strings would stay and not pop off the saddle. Imagine that stress just to install a Bigsby. 

The Bigsby B-11 is designed for hollow bodies but certainly not for the Epiphone casino. The Bigsby model B-7 is the best model for the Epiphone casino. This is the original option and is also factory fitted. 

There is great doubt and controversy about how the Bigsby B-7 is the best model for the Epiphone Casino as some players are seen using the B-3 with a towner. 

Gibson foremost 330 when debuted had the Bigsby B-3 model and not a B-6 or B-7. later, nearly after 2years, the Gibson 330 has the Bigsby B-7. Likely they couldn’t get the Bigsby B-3 model to function on the Epiphone Casino guitar, so they had to replace it with the Bigsby B-7.

A simple guide to making a better choice for your Epiphone Casino; if the bridge is instantly mounted onto the top, use a B-7. However, if the bridge is lifted above the body on a wooden base, use a B-3.

The neck pitch determines which model works or won’t be functioning. But with few possibilities of whether the B-3 is a real deal for the Epiphone Casino. 

The Bigsby model B-7 is the real deal for the Epiphone but sometimes dampens the string’s vibration and possibly considerable improvement is to substitute it with the B-3. Get the Bigsby B-7 and drill a hole in your Epiphone casino guitar or get a Bigsby B-3 with a towner. 

How to Install the Bigsby on the Epiphone Casino

Installing the Bigsby on your Epiphone Casino may need some drilling, especially the Bigsby model B-7.

To continue with the installation, you have to be competent with fundamental tools like the drill and screwdriver. 

Installation process: 

  • Step 1: Be okay with bracing screws drilled through the top without a centre block. 
  • Step 2: Run a new ground wire to the Bigsby by drilling an additional hole through the top about one and a half (1 ½) to three-four (¾) straight behind the new mounting screw hole on the spring or handle side of the Bigsby. 
  • Step 3: Extract the bridge pickup to see the ground wire attached to it. It’s connected to a particular threaded shaft for the stop bar stud bolt. 
  • Step 4: Run a fresh ground wire from the additional hole. 
  • Step 5: Solder one end to the ground wire from the pickup. 
  • Step 6: Wrap the other end around the mounting screw for the Bigsby. 
  • Step 7: Endeavor that the wire is in straight contact with the metal surface of the Bigsby. 
  • Step 8: Remove the felt pad in the spot and re-install it over the mounting screw so that it sits between the wood surface and the ground wire. 

The Bigsby vibrato tailpiece won’t be grounded if the ground wire is between the wood top and the felt pad. 

Finally, prevent the additional front roller part of the B-7 from shifting side to side by re-top mounting screws. 

Rest assured that all purchased Bigsby vibrato come alongside the installation instructions. I recommend you call your local guitar tech service or an experienced luthier for installation if you are not confident enough. 


The Bigsby is an amazing addition to any guitar. However, it might not be a smooth and easy process to add a Bigsby to all guitars. But, it is always worth the stress where there is stress.

It doesn’t matter what kind of guitar you own, the Bigsby can always have its place on your guitar – including the Epiphone Casino.