Phillips Screw for Bigsby B5

Setup, repair and restoration of Rickenbacker Instruments

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Phillips Screw for Bigsby B5

Postby (500mpl) » Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:21 am

Has any one had to modify their trem arm on the B5 so as to use the Phillips head screw? My Bigsby arm seems to have a mount that should be countersunk to allow the machine screw to fit farther in the arm. Otherwise the screw is too far raised. Any suggestion would be welcomed.

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Re: Phillips Screw for Bigsby B5

Postby (beatlefreak) » Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:48 pm

Seems to me I had to remove the washer, and then it was still a struggle to get the threads to catch. But they did.
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Re: Phillips Screw for Bigsby B5

Postby (wj350) » Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:47 pm

Yeah, I got rid of a washer and IIRC a small spring (not the big spring that tensions the arm).
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Re: Phillips Screw for Bigsby B5

Postby (kylek350) » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:55 am

I actually drilled a countersink into my B5's arm to flush-mount a 1/4" flat head Phillips drive screw. I'll post pictures when I'm at my computer.
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Re: Phillips Screw for Bigsby B5

Postby (jingle_jangle) » Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:15 am

That's exactly what's needed. But I'd use an oval-headed Phillips headed screw, in stainless if possible.

Flat head screws look strange in this sort of application. Ovals give a more "finished" look.
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Re: Phillips Screw for Bigsby B5

Postby (kylek350) » Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:09 pm

Sorry for the lousy camera phone pics, but they depict the degree that I had to countersink the arm. I have not seen many vintage Bigsbys with the Phillips screw, but all of them have had an oval headed screw. Curiously, every picture of V81 I've seen makes it appear that it's a flat headed screw, totally flush with the arm.

The 1/4" screw I used was as close as I could get in terms of head width, but the phillips drive is certainly wrong. Short of finding a vintage screw, I don't know if I'm going to get closer. Additionally, I found that the countersink isn't quite deep enough, so one day I'll have to do something about that. Good enough for now. :)

On the inside, I'm simply using a washer and a nylon lock nut.

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Re: Phillips Screw for Bigsby B5

Postby (kylek350) » Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:04 pm

Jingle_jangle, you're right. It's definitely an oval headed screw. The consensus from some Bigsby experts on another forum is that all screws (slotted and Phillips) on Bigsby arms were oval.
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Re: Phillips Screw for Bigsby B5

Postby (jingle_jangle) » Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:47 pm

My personal preference is for an oval-headed screw. (Don't tell my wife... :lol: ).

But--remember that Lennon's Bigsby was a licensed "Selmer" unit, and this unit was not made in the USA, but was probably tooled directly from a USA-made Bigsby original B%, which would explain why the Selmer unit is about 7% smaller than the USA unit--that happens to be the shrink percentage for sand-cast aluminum alloy such as used in the Selmer Bigsby.

Oval-headed screws were not commonly stocked here in the USA until the mid-'70s, except in specialty hardware warehouses. Even today, they are available commonly in a small percentage of the actual number of sizes available to tradesmen.

I would wager that John Lennon's Selmer B5 wore a flat-headed screw from the European (French?) factory.
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Re: Phillips Screw for Bigsby B5

Postby (kylek350) » Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:14 pm

Ah, yes. I did consider the possibility of his being an oddball Euro market with atypical features. I guess I'll need to fly to Japan to find out for sure. ;)

Check out the pic on the following page. With different lighting, it pretty clearly appears to be oval headed. I think the corrosion makes it difficult to discern in most pictures. We'll get this groovy mystery solved one way or another.

http://www.rickresource.com/rrp/lennon325.html
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Re: Phillips Screw for Bigsby B5

Postby (jingle_jangle) » Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:37 pm

It looks oval-headed to me. It's possible that the screw was replaced, too, when it was refinished in the '70s and the pickguard replaced. Yet the vertically-oriented photo, with its neutral lighting, makes it look like a flat-head.
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Re: Phillips Screw for Bigsby B5

Postby (kylek350) » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:54 pm

Okay, finally got around to re-drilling the Bigsby arm and getting the right screw: 1/4" oval head phillips drive.

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Re: Phillips Screw for Bigsby B5

Postby (BILLYC58) » Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:11 pm

Nothing like that vintage look my bigsbys are like that.
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Re: Phillips Screw for Bigsby B5

Postby (beatboy77) » Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:47 pm

Looks Nice!
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Re: Phillips Screw for Bigsby B5

Postby (Funkymojo) » Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:10 pm

Where can i get the vintage style Phillips screw Bigsby arm stud? Would love to get one. I've seen some screws that are flat head and some oval head. Were the original Bigsby phiilip head screw arm stud flat or oval head? Thanks guys... :D
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Re: Phillips Screw for Bigsby B5

Postby (kylek350) » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:24 pm

It took me a long time to find the best size (would have been easier if I had a vintage Bigsby to compare to), but this is what I came up with. I was not able to find mild steel, so stainless it is. Also, I could not find a single local hardware store that carried the Oval Head in this size. Bolt Depot to the rescue!

Phillips Oval Head, 1/4" 20 TPI X 3/4", Product #1327

Flat Washer, Product #2947

Nylon Insert Hex Nut, 1/4" 20 TPI, Product #2554
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