Billy Zoom's Jet Set

Billy Zoom guitar setup

1

Hi, I'm new to the forum, a massive X/Billy Zoom fan, and finally got my dream axe, the 57 silver jet. I have always been curious as to billy's setup, like what string gauge, any neck relief etc? I just put 12's on, raised the action and straightened the neck, but it doesn't sound as good with the totally straight neck. Any thoughts or info would be much appreciated!

2

Your strings are too heavy. Use pure nickel strings, .010" or .0095".

3

Billy, thanks for responding! The .12s are great on my strat, but kinda weird on the gretsch. Do you prefer some relief in your necks or dead straight? It feels tighter than a drum now, and there's all this phantom ringing acoustically now, maybe the bridge is too high? I also have to confess, not a big fan of the space control bridge, thinking of switching to the rocking bar. Can't wait to see X for the sixth time in Philly this august!!

4

Hi, I'm new to the forum, a massive X/Billy Zoom fan, and finally got my dream axe, the 57 silver jet. I have always been curious as to billy's setup, like what string gauge, any neck relief etc? I just put 12's on, raised the action and straightened the neck, but it doesn't sound as good with the totally straight neck. Any thoughts or info would be much appreciated!

– Chmason85

Hey, welcome You might want to search out some older posts on the BZ section, theres a lot of stuff about his Guitar/s--Here's a good start for you--enjoy

http://gretschpages.com/for...

6

I can't apologize but when I changed to 10's with a wound G string...I am sooo much happier

7

Hey, welcome You might want to search out some older posts on the BZ section, theres a lot of stuff about his Guitar/s--Here's a good start for you--enjoy

http://gretschpages.com/for...

– 949Norm

Thanks for the link! I did put lighter strings on that I had last night, and need to finish setting it up today, but it's funny how it got better going down a gauge, whereas my strat got better everytime I went up. Would it be a worthy upgrade to get a rocking bar bridge to replace the space control, or would the difference be negligible? I think the SC looks cool but those rolling saddles keep ending up to the left, im guessing from using the bigsby pretty frequently?

8

Personally, I don't like the Space Control bridge either. Rocking bar is always nice.

9

I'm also a rocking bar guy. Didn't like the space control at all and I didn't know what I was missing until I heard the lovely sustaining tone and felt the better action from adding a TruArc to my guitar...and the TruArc Serpitune attenuates well.

10

Space Controls are junk. Get a Melita. Strats like .0095" Big Core Nockel Rockers.

11

Is the melita floating like the others or does it need to be pinned? I'd like to avoid any mods that aren't reversible. Im also curious about the adjustable pole pieces on the pickups, they sound great from the factory so im hesistant to change it. Sorry if any questions sound goofy, I'm not used to working on this kind of guitar, I've been a strat guy for years

12

I screw my bridges to the tops of my guitars. It's easier that way. For 24 1/2" scales I use .010" - .046" pure nickel, usually Dunlaps. For 25 1/2" scales, I use .0095" Big Core Nickel Rockers. I'm not sure what String Relief means. Set them so they don't buzz. Also, use a medium pick and hold it loosely. Pick very softly...very softly. Let the amp do the work. Learn to play all the chords without moving your hand more than 3 frets, use different parts of the neck for different tones.

13

Ka-ching... come to the GDP looking for setup facts, you got 'em.

And space controls definitely are junk....

Billy, of all the bridges Gretsch used, Melitas have intrigued me the most. Finicky, I bet. But it's high time I tried one.

14

I put Melitas on everything...on my Epiphone Coronet, a gold one on my 6120, etc. I love them. I've never known them to be finicky. I intonate them once, and never touch them again. Of course, I do screw the base down so I don't have to deal with it moving. Flat screws are a must, but I have about a thousand of them. I like the heavy casting and the plastic saddles. They sustain really well and play well with the Bigsby. Your mileage may vary, but I've been hooked on them since the sixties.

15

Interesting - this has got me looking into a melita now for my 6120. saw a reissue made by Embie. Anyone know of them?

16

I have an Embie, but I haven't had a chance to properly evaluate it. Embie is very well made, but of vary different materials: aluminum vs. pot metal casting...Metal or bakelite saddles vs. soft plastic. I'm sure they sound great, but I can't speak to the specific differences between an Embie and a Melita. I like to do direct A&B comparisons and that takes time. I will say that years ago I hand made Melita saddles of both Aluminum and Brass, and in the end I went back to the plastic. I'm waiting for a custom pickup for my Duane Eddy, and when I set it up, I'll compare both bridges and report back. FWIW, I find no noticeable difference between the original Melita's and the now Gretsch copies other than the metal brackets on the new ones don't fit as well and need a little fiddling to get rid of buzzes. That's a one-time fix though if you do it right.

17

Thanks Billy. Look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

By the way, after reading this thread I tried changing the strings on my tele to lighter strings and bang it's suddenly zingy and alive sounding. For some reason I've believed , from what i've heard, that the heavier the string the better the tone. but heavy strings made my tele sound dead n plankinsh...

18

Well longer scale guitars have more tension -- 10s on Fender feel like 11s on Gretsch

19

I put Melitas on everything...on my Epiphone Coronet, a gold one on my 6120, etc. I love them. I've never known them to be finicky. I intonate them once, and never touch them again. Of course, I do screw the base down so I don't have to deal with it moving. Flat screws are a must, but I have about a thousand of them. I like the heavy casting and the plastic saddles. They sustain really well and play well with the Bigsby. Your mileage may vary, but I've been hooked on them since the sixties.

– Billy Zoom

The flat screws you gave Me for my Melita was the best thing that ever happened to it, I love it now. To be clear about it, the old Melita's had big honking saddle adjustment heads on the top of the screws making it not so easy to "Palm" it, with flat screws it makes a world of difference.

20

I put Melitas on everything...on my Epiphone Coronet, a gold one on my 6120, etc. I love them. I've never known them to be finicky. I intonate them once, and never touch them again. Of course, I do screw the base down so I don't have to deal with it moving. Flat screws are a must, but I have about a thousand of them. I like the heavy casting and the plastic saddles. They sustain really well and play well with the Bigsby. Your mileage may vary, but I've been hooked on them since the sixties.

– Billy Zoom

I use Melitta for my coffee.

21

Haha I use melita coffee filters too, the flavor is much better than the space control. Well it seems like people have favorable things to say about pure nickel strings, so I ordered some DR pure blues, hope that was a good choice. Definitely the right price at $6. I would love to get the melita/gretsch bridge, but the cheapest I've seen is $130, all the way up to $180!? Billy, I tried the medium pick, a fender, and I think I do like it. Chords sound great but im still trying to get the swing of the single note picking, it feels like the res a slight "delay" when doing the fast single-note stuff, but im sticking to it

22

I screw my bridges to the tops of my guitars. It's easier that way. For 24 1/2" scales I use .010" - .046" pure nickel, usually Dunlaps. For 25 1/2" scales, I use .0095" Big Core Nickel Rockers. I'm not sure what String Relief means. Set them so they don't buzz. Also, use a medium pick and hold it loosely. Pick very softly...very softly. Let the amp do the work. Learn to play all the chords without moving your hand more than 3 frets, use different parts of the neck for different tones.

– Billy Zoom

That right there is probably singularly the best advice I have ever heard for Guitar Player's.......and Folks, its coming from BZ.....Thanks Billy

23

That right there is probably singularly the best advice I have ever heard for Guitar Player's.......and Folks, its coming from BZ.....Thanks Billy

– 949Norm

Absolutely great advice, it's awesome to be able to get this stuff straight from the man himself, as im a mega X fan and first time real gretsch owner. I had an electromatic jet years ago I got used and it was the single worst guitar I've ever owned, and my new pro series silver jet is the best I've ever owned, in fact probably the nicest thing I've owned, period lol

24

Anyone here completely dislike the melita? Im gonna change the bridge in the near future but the melita is pretty pricy, though the idea of accurate intonation like my strat is very enticing. People seem to rave about the rocking bar, intonation aside, and it's like half the price for a tru-arc

25

i have a rocking bar at the moment and it , to me , seems to be lest zingy, jangly than the bigsby bridge. Unfortunately the strings slid out of place with the bigsby bridge and think it was the wrong ratio. not so fussy on intonation but looks forward to trying a melt. May get my wife to buy one when she is in the US next month


Register Sign in to join the conversation