Anyone know where I can get Vibrola for Gibson Melody Maker

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Duppy03Duppy03 Frets: 80
I like the original style rather than a Bigsby as it would be period correct for my 1964 Double Cut Melody Maker. One like this, or open to more modern designs that have a similar aesthetic:


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  • mr-macmr-mac Frets: 196
    You can get short vibrolas on eBay etc iirc
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  • Duppy03Duppy03 Frets: 80
    Thanks@mr-mac i’be got to put my hand up and admit i’ve never tried one of these trems, do they actually work okay? Are there no springs in there, just bent steel?
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32846
    Yes, they work OK - the bend range is fairly limited, but there are no moving parts so they return to pitch very well, as long as the strings don’t snag at the bridge saddles (or nut). You’re right, the spring is the bent ‘C cross-section’ piece of steel itself.

    The main issue is the very poor arm attachment, which is difficult to make loose enough to turn and tight enough not to work loose at the same time, and can’t be easily removed to put the guitar in the case - it should swing round, but it usually doesn’t sit low enough to avoid the case lid pressing it down, even when facing backwards.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • mr-macmr-mac Frets: 196
    It's a trem, not a whammy, i know long ones cause tuning issues if used in 335 etc but no sure about short on the stop tail.bridge (may work.better) as used with abr you need to use slightly domed thumbwheels and tuning is great till you use it.

    hopefully someone who's used one on stop tail bridge will know and be along to give you and answer.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32846
    mr-mac said:
    It's a vibrato, not a whammy
    FTFY :).

    mr-mac said:

    i know long ones cause tuning issues if used in 335 etc but no sure about short
    There’s no difference in the mechanism, the long cover piece is purely ornamental.
    mr-mac said:

    as used with abr you need to use slightly domed thumbwheels and tuning is great till you use it
    Domed wheels do help slightly, but polishing and lightly lubricating the saddle grooves is at least as important.

    They can be made to stay in tune very well if you’re thorough about eliminating friction, just like a Bigsby.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • Duppy03Duppy03 Frets: 80
    mr-mac said:

    i know long ones cause tuning issues if used in 335 etc but no sure about short
    There’s no difference in the mechanism, the long cover piece is purely ornamental.
    So is the same design that is used on a Lyre Vibrato, only it has the long piece at the back for decorative purposes?
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  • mr-macmr-mac Frets: 196
    Same design except one has like a tail piece and other screws to deck.  Yeah can be made to work but can be a pain in the ass.  However may work better over a stop bar style bridge than an abr style one.

    plan to fit vibrola to one of my 335 copies.  Just as a tailpiece though (why? cos 5 players i rate produced my favourite tone ever for them on vibrola fitted 335-355).  Though mine will be fitted in non domed thumbwheels and with arm not fitted... Well 4 of the 5 players had arm missing too so just used it as tail piece.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3327
    I have one on my 1965 Melody Maker. I got fed up of tuning issues. (Admittedly, some of these may have actually been intonation issues caused by the original "lightning bolt" bridge.) I removed the arm and string anchor but left the spring section attached. The strings wrap around a Mojoaxe replica bridge with the corrected pre-set intonation ridge. 

    The tuning issues now are those you would expect from ancient, yellowed and imperfect low budget machineheads. 

    ICBM said:
    The ... arm attachment ... is difficult to make loose enough to turn and tight enough not to work loose at the same time, and can’t be easily removed to put the guitar in the case - it should swing round, but it usually doesn’t sit low enough to avoid the case lid pressing it down, even when facing backwards.
    My guitar has a mark on the pickguard where the arm fastening bolt has repeated pressed against it.  :/

    ICBM said:
    polishing and lightly lubricating the saddle grooves is at least as important. They can be made to stay in tune very well if you’re thorough about eliminating friction, just like a Bigsby.
    One practical solution would be a fully adjustable bridge with roller saddles. Unfortunately, this will upset vintage/originality purists. It might also alter the tone. My preference is for the one-piece bridge.

    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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