Before working in music he was a motorcycle racer known as "P.A. Bigsby", and was the foreman of Crocker Motorcycles, and designed many components. For example, the overhead-valve cylinder head for their first V-twin motorcycle. The tremolo arm, however, was what made Bigsby's reputation, as it was used by Gibson, Gretsch and other guitar companies. In 1966, Bigsby sold the company to former Gibson guitar executive Ted McCarty. On May 10, 1999, the Fred Gretsch company purchased the Bigsby company.