Elliot Easton's Tiki Lounge

Took the Tru-Arc™ SerpenTune bridge challenge!

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First off I would like to sincerely thank Bob French (Ric12string) for making the introduction to Tim Harman of Tru-Arc™ (I never get tired of using this ™ mark, lol!). Both fellows are true gentlemen and couldn't have been nicer throughout the process.
Tim had 2 lefty SerpenTune bridges made for me with the compensation set for left-hand stringing and intonation. One made of stainless steel and one of aluminum. They're beautifully crafted and popped right onto the bridge studs with no effort at all. This is the easiest mod you can do to a Gretsch, while being a true upgrade. I wasn't really up for a "Pepsi-Challenge", comparing the tone of the two bridges, going back and forth and driving myself nuts with second-guessing my decision. (Have you met me, lol!) As I was perfectly happy with the tone of the guitar with the stock bridge, all I was looking to do was improve the intonation and matching the radius to the fingerboard while keeping the tone as close to how it already was as possible. I took off the stock bridge and held it in the palm of my hand, feeling the heft and weight of it, and chose the Tru-Arc™ that felt the most similar in weight and density. That turned out to be the stainless steel one. Even from the description of the tones of the various materials on the Tru-Arc™ website, I knew that I had made the right choice. The aluminum one is much lighter and I plan on trying it on one of my signature Duo-Jets. (I'll report on that one too as soon as I get around to trying it). The best thing I can say about my new Tru-Arc™ bridge is that it didn't change an already great tone in any negative way, but dramatically improved intonation, and of course being the right radius for the fingerboard improved playability and action. I highly recommend the Tru-Arc™ Serpentune to any Gretsch player who either already loves bar bridges, or is wanting to try one.

Here are some shots of my 6120 1959-LTV with the stainless steel Tru-Arc™ SerpenTune bridge:

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So it's not just me. Tru-Arc™s rule. Another happy customer. Nice review, Elliot.

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Thanks, I'm really happy with what I consider to be a definite upgrade.

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Preaching to the choir. I have three Tru-Arc bridges and I may be ordering a fourth soon. (I don't know how to make that little trade mark thingy.)

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Preaching to the choir. I have three Tru-Arc bridges and I may be ordering a fourth soon. (I don't know how to make that little trade mark thingy.)

– UncleGrumpy

On a Mac, you simply hold the 'option' key while pressing the @ key.

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I've been copying/pasting the ™ sign since I first saw it. I've had a few Tru-Arc™s but the Serpintune is amazing.

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The SerpenTune is the only version I've tried, but it's a heck of a bar bridge! I can't image what you could do to improve on it.

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what was the stock bridge?

I'm not trying to be a negative Nellie but I generally hear many other bridges described as rattly tone sucks and as best I can tell Elliott is saying this particular replacement bridge roughly equalled the tone but improved intonation and action. So I'm curious which stock bridge rated so high so to speak?

Dramatically improving intonation and action is certainly a positive and I am trying to decide which if any bridge to switch out first

Thus if it's a decision between two stocks , it gives a better idea of which matches the Tru Arc in tone, but I can get can improvement in action and intonation, and presumably itight be the other where I would see a tone improvement possibly.

I'm guessing the stock bridge wasn't a AOM since those are pretty good at intonation , but guessing <<< being informed

Tia

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The stock bridge was simply whatever comes stock on that model guitar.

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This is so exciting that a lefty Serpentune can be made! I figured that since it is asymmetrical, that a custom build would be the case. I imagine a regular Tru Arc bar bridge could be flipped 180 degrees. I might try the change soon. Hopefully I could still get a Bmin11 chord with the string length from bridge to Bigsby. Also have and love a left handed 6120LTV!

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The stock bridge was simply whatever comes stock on that model guitar.

– Elliot Easton

So obvious Elliott, I am embarrassed and apologize for a dumb assumption on my part!

And THAT makes a lot more sense

The stock bridge WAS a rocking bar bridge

So that's a big PLUS COLUMN for Tru Arc in that I wouldn't expect tone to improve when replacing a BAR BRIDGE with a... BAR BRIDGE

so this actually makes Tru Arc more attractive to me, and I retract my Negative Nellie comment with humble apologies to the Tru Arc geniuses

I wrongly assumed you were replacing a mechanical bridge (a moving parts bridge), not a bar bridge, with no basis for that assumption

My bad

Again, apologies to Tru Arc (Proteus) for implying there was not a tone improvement from a conventional mechanical bridge to a Tru Arc

Obviously a bar bridge (not a Tru Arc) has the slab metal Tone advantages - it just lacks in precise action and intonation , as the stock version is designed.

So your post does not buck the CW, and I again apologize for an inference that I am embarrassed about as a person who likes to live in a world of logic, not specious inferences based on erroneous assumptions

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I now have 8 of my Gretsch guitars fitted with Tru-Arc SerpenTunes, 4 titanium and 4 brass. Absolutely happy with all of them. The only thing holding me back from getting more is the plunging value of the Aussie dollar!

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I now have 8 of my Gretsch guitars fitted with Tru-Arc SerpenTunes, 4 titanium and 4 brass. Absolutely happy with all of them. The only thing holding me back from getting more is the plunging value of the Aussie dollar!

– audept

Yes, bad for Aussies, but this makes my Australian surf junket appealing. I wonder if bringing a Tru Arc or two along with me would be a good currency for ding repairs, surf wax, and good will from the locals

I think I'll give 'Ours' And the Bra Boys a miss, though. I like my teeth

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So, I have a Gretsch with a Space Control, a few with AOM's, a DeArmond with their TOM version, and one with two bridges - a Rosewood and a Melita (which I already ordered bitchen replacement saddles for).

Is the CW that SC's are the dodgiest as far as rattly tone suck (not to mention intonation and action) and I should get my first Tru Arc to replace the SC?

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Yes. You'll probably like the TruArc™ much more than an SC.

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Yes. You'll probably like the TruArc™ much more than an SC.

– Elliot Easton

Thanks. As much as I like my Anniversary and its HS Filters, it does seem to lack... Sonething

That will be first and the Jet with TV Classics and an AOM is next

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Elliot, I am pleased that you were open-minded enough at the outset to consider something other than a TOM bridge to address your intonation concerns. Many players are skeptical that a bar bridge would be able to properly intonate. And I am happy for both you and Proteus that the Tru-Arc™ SerpenTune was what solved the issues for you.

The Tru-Arc™ bridges are certainly a better mousetrap insofar as the correction of the radius mismatch is concerned. Changes or improvements to a guitar's tonal qualities from the bridge change is inherently subjective, but many, many customers that have written about their experiences on this site seem to find that there is an improvement in the tone from the new bridge.

Again, congratulations to you, Elliot, for a successful experiment.

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I had a stock Gretsch bar bridge and replaced it with a Tru-Arc™ and, in addition to the matching of the radius, the tone was improved by going from chromed pot metal to solid stainless steel. It would also be improved, I dare say, by going from the stock to the brass, copper or the titanium.

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Bob, interesting that you wrote that. I had a post ready to upload the exact same point, but was seeking some confirmation first that the metal of the chrome-plated bridge was, in fact, pot metal.

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Sustain is also greatly improved with the Tru-Arc. It's also more 'comfortable'. And it looks great.It's an all around improvement.

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What's up with Gretsch?

If the consensus is that these are better bridges, have there been any hints by Gretsch that they would consider adopting Tru Arc bridges as an option?

It makes the guitars better, and Gretsch is hardly averse to adopting outside company's hardware - TV, SD...

does ANYBODY prefer a stock Gretsch Bar Bridge to a Tru Arc?

I have yet to read ONE review anywhere on any site where somebody was DISPLEASED with a Tru Arc, and ceteris paribus, people are way more likely to post about a disappointing purchase anyway ime, so I'm thinking there's pretty strong evidence - AT LEAST - when it comes to bar bridges, that these are way better than stock.

It's 2015 and Gretsch is still selling guitars for thousands of dollars with bridges of incorrect radius? This just seems incomprehensible to me

If people want higher action, a properly radiused bridge won't prevent the At, but if they want lower action - it's REQUIRED

Gibson has gone as far as to fully do a 'oops' and reverse the insanity of their 2015 line, and this would be an iterative change for Gretsch

What do they have to lose?

Are we afraid of putting otter scrubbers out of work (sorry, cryptic comedic reference). It just seems these bridges have proved their merit. I'm all for tradition, but not when it apparently holds no benefits (Gretsch bar bridge).

By all means - keep the Melita, and even the AOM- they have differences (adjustable saddles ) some may prefer, but it seems silly to keep selling lesser bar bridges and/or to not offer a superior bar bridge option AT LEAST

am I missing something?

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On many custom shop models, and on more than a handful of Professional Line models, Gretsch has used Tru-Arc™ bridges. Duane Eddy specified the bridges for his signature model guitar.

It is all about cost, I surmise. Eventually, I bet we may see Gretsch have a radius-correct bridge if they can have it for the right cost. Only time will tell.

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Okay, how do I make that TM thingy on my HP? I want to sit with the cool kids.

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On many custom shop models, and on more than a handful of Professional Line models, Gretsch has used Tru-Arc™ bridges. Duane Eddy specified the bridges for his signature model guitar.

It is all about cost, I surmise. Eventually, I bet we may see Gretsch have a radius-correct bridge if they can have it for the right cost. Only time will tell.

– Ric12string

Oh sweet! I totally missed that. That's pretty cool that they are flexible with that. I like low action . I was playing my Steinberger today and there is just no way I can get my 6118 that low. For some bizarre reason, my Jet sets up well with really low action but that guitar is just magickal and weird. Seriously, if it stood up on two legs and started playing Ave Maria (Schubert version of course), I'd only be mildly surprised. I just need to get around to measuring my fretboard radius so I can order one.

I don't know what the cost differential is when talking wholesale etc but Tru Arcs just seem like a way Gretsch can up the mojo on their guitars at low cost - at least the ones that are already bar bridge equipped

Granted, they seem a trillion times more sensible than Gibson has been with their ridiculous 2015 line. What a train wreck


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