Bigsby Standard Model Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1958), made in Downey, CA, serial # 91558, natural finish, maple and walnut body, laminated maple neckwith rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case. Paul A. Bigsby is a genuine American legend, an extremely important figure in 20th century guitar history. He contributed mightily to the early development of the electric guitar as we know it and essentially invented the modern pedal steel. The vibrato unit he designed became widely popular as an add-on in the 1950s, adopted by Gretsch, Gibson, Guild, Harmony, Magnatone, and Kay as standard equipment on their guitars. It is still widely used today, so his name is emblazoned on many thousands of guitars made since the early 1950s.While P.A. Bigsby is mostly remembered today for that vibrato, beginning in the late 1940's he built spectacularly flashy electric instruments and customized existing guitars and mandolins for the southern California "hillbilly" music community. All Bigsby instruments were custom-built and "one-of-a-kind." As the sole Bigsby brochure put it, "Sold Only Directly To The Player." He was friendly with all the top players in the area, and exchanged ideas with both Leo Fender and Les Paul as the modern solidbody guitar was beginning to evolve. A number of country music greats -- Chet Atkins, Hank Garland, Grady Martin, Joe Maphis, Speedy West, Billy Byrd, Hank Thompson, and Tiny Moore -- played instruments built or modified by Bigsby. When these top "Hillbilly" musicians began playing Bigsbys, he soon had a waiting list two to four years long. A Bigsby instrument was a mark of distinction, a cowboy Cadillac among musicians. "P.A" for the most part worked alone, hand building one piece per month in his garage. Each of his creations is handcrafted and unique and so authentic Bigsbys extremely rare. The great bulk of his output was pedal steel guitars, which he essentially invented (or at least perfected). For some years after Bigsby remained the only real source of the best professional-grade steels. The Standard guitars, mandolins and custom conversions account for only a small part of his output, which was by most accounts set at 12 instruments per year. This amazing and historic guitar is a recent discovery, believed to be the last "Standard" or Spanish guitar P.A. Bigsby ever built. It was made in mid-late 1958 for a young local Midwest guitarist and studio operator named Larry; the pickguard is inlaid with his name. It was completed and stamped with a serial number on September 15, 1958, just about two years after the guitar previously believed to be the final "Standard" Bigsby, built in late 1956 for Louisiana entertainer Luke Charpentier.The body has the same construction standards as most other Bigsby instruments but the shape is unusual. Instead of an upper scroll the body has a unique uneven double-cutaway form with a shallower hooked upper cutaway and very thin lower horn. This template can be seen on page 146 of the Bigsby book. An earlier Bigsby guitar completed in February 1956 used a similar body design but with slightly less extreme cutaways. It appears solid but is in fact semi hollow, with a maple top and back and walnut sides. The body and neck are bound with single layer celluloid; the top and back show a spectacular bird's eye figure. The neck is typical Bigsby, laminated maple with a walnut center core and a rosewood fingerboard with simple shaped pearl inlay. The facing on the signature scrolled six on a side headstock bears the Bigsby name. The white plastic truss rod cover mimics the headstock shape; the tuners are the clipped Kluson Deluxes in the single-sided layout adopted wholesale by Leo Fender. The neck heel is artfully faired into body, a Bigsby trademark.Electronics consist of a three-way pickup selector, master volume, and master tone controls. The two single coil pickups were handwound by Paul Bigsby himself and housed in milled aluminum covers. Many who have had the opportunity to try them consider Bigsby's pickups among the best ever made. The pots are marked 304-650. Some parts are hand-marked in pencil by Paul Bigsby with the future owner's name. "Larry" is neatly inlaid in black letters into the white pickguard. The guitar is equipped with a Bigsby vibrato, by then a proven product used on all his later instruments. The neck is mounted higher off the body to accommodate this, as Bigsby built his instruments with it run more-or-less flat to the plane of the top. The strap attachment points are set up with aluminum loops for dog clips, a Bigsby trademark. Although more or less forgotten for decades in the 'rock" era the original electric instruments hand-built by Pa

Listed6 months ago
ConditionVery Good (Used)
Very Good items may show a few slight marks or scratches but are fully functional and in overall great shape.learn more
  • Standard
  • Natural
  • 1958
Made In
  • United States
Fretboard Material
  • Rosewood
Right / Left Handed
  • Right Handed
Body Type
  • Semi-hollow Body
Number of Strings
  • 6-String
Neck Material
  • Maple
Scale Length
  • 25"

Reverb Protection

Simple Returns, Secure Transactions, Human Support

Learn more

Secure Checkout

Retrofret Vintage Guitars

Brooklyn, NY, United States
Joined Reverb:2015

Reverb Gives

Your purchases help youth music programs get the gear they need to make music.

Carbon-Offset Shipping

Your purchases also help protect forests, including trees traditionally used to make instruments.

Oops, looks like you forgot something. Please check the fields highlighted in red.