The Bigsby B5 Vibrato Tailpiece for Flat Top Solid Body Guitars is sometimes referred to as the Bigsby ‘horseshoe’ and is designed for flat top solid body guitars. Attaching via four screws to a guitar’s top, the B5 is extremely versatile. B5s are a favorite among all types of guitarists and fit many styles of guitars including SGs, Les Paul Jrs, Telecasters, and Rickenbacker 325s.
The Bigsby B5 vibrato tailpiece is a type of vibrato device for electric guitar designed by Paul A. Bigsby. The top mount unit allows musicians to bend the pitch of notes or entire chords with their pick hand for various effects. The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces.
The arm of the Bigsby B5 is spring loaded and attached to a pivoting metal bar, around which the strings of the guitar are installed. In the neutral or unused position, the pressure of the spring counterbalances the pull of the strings, resulting in constant pitch when the strings are played. When the arm of the Bigsby is pushed down towards the top of the guitar, the bridge rocks forward causing the strings to loosen, lowering their pitch.