I call my red Gibson BFG "Billy", due to both the "ZZ Top" sound of the guitar and the rumor that Billy F. Gibbons designed its circuitry. When I bought Billy, I thought (and said, aloud) that it was the last guitar I would ever need to buy. And, it remained my favorite, until my 2005 Flying V came along. The addition of the P-94 at the neck, and the Bigsby tailpiece that I added moved the V into Favorite territory.
Awhile back, I bought a vintage Bigsby B-3 to add to my Japanese hollow-body, in an effort to make a Rockabilly guitar. It didn't work out, because the B-3 didn't produce enough string tension over the bridge. So, I found an equally vintage B-7 frame, on eBay, for cheap, and bought it. I thought I would use the parts from the B-3 to complete the B-7. The tension bar would then make the strings sit tightly over the bridge.
In the meantime, I was playing Cooper (my LP Special, with a B-5) rather than Billy. So, I started thinking about adding a Bigsby to Billy. But, I don't have the cash to buy the adapter, plus another Bigsby. So...
Today, I gathered up the B-3 and the B-7 frame and started to work.
Disassembly went smoothly, and more easily than I anticipated.
Driving the needle bearings out was the biggest challenge, but even that only took a couple of minutes per bearing.
Before long, I had all of the parts swapped, and the B-7 was ready to install. I still didn't have the adapter, so I opted to do the old-school install. Nothing makes me feel more manly than drilling holes into the face of a Gibson Guitar!
I was careful to get the alignment correct, and I went with slotted screws to stay with the vintage vibe.
The finished product was just what I wanted! I strung it up and played it for an hour. It holds tune really well, even with the stock bridge. But, I have a roller bridge to put on it, if string breakage becomes a problem.
I'll be playing Billy for the first set, at The Phoenix, this Saturday, if you want to hear how he sounds.
We start at 9:00.