The Workbench

If I knew then…


Proteus' very generous test-drive offer aside; You have poly + drum-wrap under a (most likely) epoxied base. Plastic + plastic.

Unless the bridge base placement is horrendously off, why worry this much about a minor finish flaw that will be invisible with a new base in place?

I sort of get it but I still don't really get it. I'd love to have a green sparkle Filter Jet to compliment my red one, but if this one were mine I'd go violent on that base by now. Start out mild, then go increasingly wild until the dang thing was history. Worst case scenario: a finish flaw. A finish flaw won't mess with anything but your eye if this one's a keeper

EDIT: Blutonium came up with one more HOW while I was working on my WHY


I gave the brute force one last try, and I lost my nerve.

I reached out again to the guy who glued it. After seeing the picture I shared with this august body of learned men, he said I was on the right track and just needed to keep flooding it with the solvent and prying. I haven’t bothered telling him I already had, in addition to pounding on that putty knife as if it were a chisel in the process.

He offered to take the base off for free if I paid shipping both ways (as a refresher, he’s in Ohio and I’m now in northeast Texas). Knowing he made a significant repair for me on a gouged guitar that was invisible when he was done, I briefly entertained it, but a good local guy here said he could do it for “$25, unless it’s a nightmare.”

I figure even a “nightmare” would cost less than round trip insured shipping.

Other than this glue fiasco, the Ohio guy always did really good and was very fair, which is why I’m reluctant to flame him.

Unless I try steam and get a miracle this weekend, I may have my wife drop the guitar off with the local guy Monday when he opens again.

He may not do anything differently than me, but if he messes it up, he’ll be on the hook to make it right.

If I mess it up, I’ll end up paying him to fix it and likely also to remove this cursed bridge base.

I feel like a quitter, especially after all your time and very thoughtful advice, but I have too much respect for a beautiful instrument and would hate myself every time I looked at all the idiot marks and scars from my botched attempts to get this bridge off.


BFH Precision Alignment instrument?


a good local guy here said he could do it for “$25, unless it’s a nightmare.”

That sounds like a fair and honest estimate from a guy who probably knows what he's doing.

He may not do anything differently than me, but if he messes it up, he’ll be on the hook to make it right.

And that right there is the best reason to hire a professional. I realize now I'm overpaid for Mac consulting and integration specifically because I've been willing to assume that responsibility. It was an unrecognized stressor for years - when we're younger we're more resilient and don't even know what's wearing us down - but it's kinda cumulative, and at this point the most exhausting part of the job is dread. (Primarily of being party to someone losing a pile of data - and not so much because their data is precious, it's all newspaper production files and/or marketing pieces and graphics which I've tried to ensure is all redundantly backed up, but because of the protracted headache it would be for me to recover it and make everything work again.) I find myself less and less willing to wear the hairsuit of responsibility for other peoples' stuff.

Anyway, I figger I like it that people overpay me to do something I'm better at than they are, and I should pass that along by paying professionals when something gets under my skin, over my head, beyond my abilities, or just more annoying than the money is worth I might save by botching the job myself.

I'd drop it off with that guy, and have enough of a conversation with him to be sure you're on the same page as to the relative rarity of the guitar, your high esteem for its physical and cosmetic condition, and the undesirability of having the base glued on. 25.00 is a bargain. 50.00 would be cheap. You're into it probably 120.00 to ship it to Ohio and back, and I'd pay that NOT to have Gomer Gluon work on it again.

I'm sure you'll let us know what methodology your local uses. (Or if gives it a semi-heroic but fruitless try and hands it back to you in surrender.)

I don't mean to be too hard on Ohio guy. I can appreciate someone being good at 95% of their job and just clueless, misinformed, or wrong-headed about a small part of it. Ain't nobody knows everything. And I've been hung out for public whippings by disgruntled long-distance customers just enough to have no stomach for lynching people online in self-righteous outrage. I guess I hope he learns from this experience - as he may, if you've expressed your disappointment and frustration over this issue. And maybe that he's at least apologized.

But part of that apology would have been to offer to pick up the shipping both ways to make it maybe not.


I had the same thought, that me covering shipping took away much of the offer’s generosity.

And you hit the nail on the head. Paying a competent professional is well-worth sparing me the anguish, anxiety and frustration of messing with this. If it were a $100, made in China guitar, I’d hammer away at that thing, but unfortunately in this case, it’s a fairly expensive, hard-to-find one.

I don’t want my repair buffoonery to take away from a guitar I, or potentially someone else if I still don’t bond with it, could really enjoy.

Thank you for not making me feel like a quitter. But then I suppose this is a lesson we try to teach our daughter: if something is making you angry, ask for help or play with another toy that won’t make you angry.

With that, I’m going to plug some headphones into an amp and noodle until she gets up and wants to play her games all day!

Thanks again, everyone.


The concern is there a piece of clear film over the green acting as a clear coat. Worse case it takes the film off with the base and they you’d end up with real clear, maybe that’s a better scenario in the end.


Gentlemen, I regret to inform that the local tech was unable to safely remove the bridge base. He said he soaked it in acetone for 30 minutes and it wouldn’t budge. He said he quit then, rather than risking damage via brute force.

Great guy. He wouldn’t accept payment because he said it was more of “an experiment” for him.

So all I can say is, “Well @*%#.”

Do I put that roller bridge back on, or do I try a tune-o-magic to give myself the delusion that I’m in control of the situation?


I can’t believe that NOTHING is going to free that SoB.

Did you try steam yet?


I was thinking that might be my last resort. I think my wife may have a travel steam thingy for wrinkled clothes. It might be pretty perfect for the job.


That piece of crap didn’t work.

Besides trying to finagle a clothes iron in there, am I missing any obvious ways to focus/direct steam on the base alone?


Well, I have closure.

After the local guy couldn’t get it off, I still knew I couldn’t let this go and it would always be an irritant.

I ashamedly went back, like a victim of abuse who goes back to their tormenter, to the guy who glued it on. “He did so much top-notch work before, so he really didn’t mean to do something this idiotic,” I told myself...

It didn’t come off perfectly, but the bridge covers it to the point only I’d ever notice.

I think I can live with this.

Thank you all again for your help.


Wow! I admire your commitment, and am impressed that you went to such extended duress and effort to mount one of my 'umble bridges. I hope, after all that, you're pleased with the result. (And presumably the base is no longer fused to the top, so if that bridge doesn't light your boat afire, you can at least try others without positional limitation.)

But we gotta know how your gluthier in Ohio got the thing off, and what kind of damage was done, or residue was left. I'm guessing you needed a new base? Tell me he at least paid for that. Did he apologize? Does he get that he mighta maybe screwed up a little?

The guitar looks great, of course. Congrats on having it whole and healthy.


I suspect he did as he recommended I do, use this:

I know it didn’t do anything for me when I tried it.

I threw in the bridge base I’d bought when I thought I’d be able to do this myself, suspecting the old base was a loss.

The damage is thankfully only cosmetic. I’m guessing dissolving the glue led to some color bleed from the glued original base, where there’s a couple black smudges that are for the most part covered by the new base.

In our correspondence leading up to me shipping the guitar, he made a comment about removing these from time to time, giving him confidence in getting mine removed. That tells me if he continues to do so, yet continues having people ask him to remove them, the light bulb has yet to illuminate.


So the E-mail response I got from the glue-happy Ohio tech was as follows:

Some of the clear lifted off under the base from too many solvents and cause those discoloration spots. (I don’t buy this. The local tech and I soaked the base in acetone. Had that been one solvent too many, I assume the whole outline of the bridge and the holes for the roller bridge pins would’ve been marred, not just a couple spots where wood was tacked down with super glue.)

The base was quite stuck but was able to get it off for you. (This one, unfortunately, is indisputably true.)

I tried my best to get those spots smoothed out and then buffed that area back out to a gloss. (I believe him here too.)

There's nothing that can be done about those spots but luckily the base covers those blemishes so you won't see them. That's the best I can do. (Debatable, but it looks like this saga is over.)


50 Shades, I've been watching this thread, like a bad highway accident. I'm happy to hear that your tormentor was able to get that cursed thing off, with minimal damage to the top of the guitar. The fact that he glued the base on, without consulting you, is baffling to say the least. I could literally feel your angst during this saga, and my hats off to you for your diligence in resolving this matter.

I hope the True-Arc bridge is all that you hope it will be. While I haven't yet put one on my guitar, so many other people have had such great results with them, that I'm sure it will be a valued addition to your guitar.

Your green Sparkle Jet is stunning to look at, like a rare gem. I feel confident that you can now relax a bit, and begin to enjoy her again. I don't fault you for sending the guitar back to your former Gluthier, you were pressed between a rock and a hard place. I probably would have done the same thing, though I do note that charging you for shipping was unconscionable IMO. He began the whole sordid affair, and should have made you completely whole again.

I'm sure that in time, this will be just another bump in the road, and the horror of it all will fade away into an interesting story connected to the guitar. But man oh man, what a story it is!



Glad to hear it came out kinda OK in the end.


Hindsight is 20/20 but any tech who recommends locking tuners for tuning stability is already suspect in my brain. I'm happy you have a happy ending.


Thanks guys.

I think I can start enjoying the guitar now. What’s done is done, right?

And you’re right, Buddy, that hindsight’s 20/20. At the time, I didn’t know Filtertrons from Dynasonics, so I didn’t have anywhere near the acumen to know all I probably needed was some minor tweaks to the nut.

Still, this incident ranks far behind my number one life event in which someone took advantage of me.

First place remains my mother’s boyfriend who gave 12/13-year-old me the princely sum of $20 for my Atari 2600 and all my cartridges. I haven’t checked, but I bet hipsters are now paying top dollar for those early 80s artifacts.


I was playing my Jet this morning, and I just wanted to check back in and let everyone know that all is now well with this guitar. I also wanted to relay the gratitude I felt for all the moral support as I worked through that glue fiasco.

It was always my third-favorite of my three Gretsches, but now with my quarantine volume restrictions (my 5-year-old will come in and break up my guitar playing if she even hears unplugged noodling, let alone plugging into an amp), it’s getting much more play than my 5120 or 6120.

It’s such a beautiful and well-made guitar, and now I’m enjoying it without having that glued bridge thumbing its nose at me. It wasn’t the poor, abused guitar’s fault, but that bridge was always taunting me.

The scars are there, but fortunately the sparkle finish hides them much better than black or Cadillac Green would’ve. I don’t even notice them now.

Thanks again, and everybody please stay safe!


Excellent, 50 Shades! I'm happy to hear that you are doing well and enjoying your guitar. I know what you mean about that bridge glaring at you, I can't tolerate defects either. So, all's well and you've finally bond with your sparkly Jet, life's good like that.


All good to hear, though I’m still a bit abashed that it was my product that drove you (in a roundabout way) to such extremes. I hope it continues to please.

And such a gorgeous guitar!

Feel free to drop in here anytime and hang out with us.


Locking tuners make changing strings much easier, but I wouldn't trust anyne who claimed they would help with "Bigsby tuning stability".


The whole glue thing has thankfully moved into the regrets-in-life file, so I’ve just tried to move on.

I never believed those who’ve said they have no regrets. I’ve got a ton, so how could they truthfully get anywhere in life without a single one?? Anyway...

I trusted someone based on their previous good work on Fender-type guitars, but it didn’t occur to me that didn't mean he also knew Gretsches and Bigsbys.

I also used to unquestioningly pay full retail for a guitar, but I like to think I’m somewhat smarter across the board a few years into this guitar-playing thing. Time will tell, I suppose.

I won’t be a stranger intentionally. I drop by often, but my ability to contribute much worth reading is hamstrung by my poor playing, having never gigged, lack of technical know-how, and that my only vintage guitar is a single-pickup Silvertone.

I’ll try though.

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