Dan Duffy's Corner

Trem problems on a gretsch…Viking?


I have a customer in my shop today who brought in this Gretsch. There is no model or serial number on it. The problem I'm having is the trem. There is an L-shaped bolt that runs from the string mount bar into the body where it attaches to a brass plate with a spring. I can't figure out how to set it up correctly though. My instinct is telling me he has a piece missing, but I can't be sure. Has anyone seen a trem like this?


Can you post up some photos of the guitar so that we can try to help you identify it?


Sorry, I thought I posted all of the pictures, I guess only one went though


This is the interior of my '69 White Falcon. The white woodblock at the bottom of the picture is the guitar's heel block. The trem's actuator spring sits inside the recess (large gold spring) and the actuator lever (gold threaded end bar with the lockbolt on it) protrudes through the guitar's top and screws to the trem's string bar. The lockbolt rests on the end of the spring. I've never seen the one like your customer's. Wish I could get a hands-on look at it.


That's the Jimmy Webster telescoping arm vibrato. I've never seen the inside works before. After seeing it, I don't think it's an improvement over the standard Bigsby. But it's adjustable.

The patent is here: JW Vibrato

From the picture you supplied, it looks like the vibrato arm is too close to the pickguard. You can lift the arm by moving the two nuts on the threaded post toward the top of the guitar. Make sure you have your customer's favorite strings on the guitar first.

Good luck!



That's COOL, you learn something new every day! The Viking's vibrato flexes the spring, whereas the Falcon's compresses it. I guess with the Falcon's later version they simplified the design.

Are you taking notes for your next book, Ed?


On adjusting the height of the arm, is there a set screw that tightens the arm to the string bar? Maybe you can loosen it and raise the whole arm assembly up that way?


Checkout the early issue Viking scratchplate....fabulous stuff.




That seems to be the earliest Viking I've ever seen. I have never seen one without the tuning fork bridge (or the space for it), red felt around the mute switch (which changed to black in 1965) yet still it has the T zone dots and the telescoping arm--I would have thought those were late 60s features.

No serial number? Check the top of the headstock where it would have been in 1965.

Register Sign in to join the conversation