Modern Gretsch Guitars

12-string bridge..

1

I picked up a year-end sale 5422G-12. Fit and finish is great, sounds really good, but....... impossible to get both G strings intonated, and the difference between them is pretty big. Anything above about the 5th fret and it's a little cringey. Tips or tricks? A bridge with 12 individual saddles (and any recommendations on that)? A new bridge would basically eat up the sale savings and possibly more I'm guessing. If it's going to be too tricky to get it sounding good I may just (sadly) return...

2

With a 6-saddle bridge on a 12, I’ve found string gauges to be a lot more critical when it comes to intonation between pairs. Were it I, I’d try some different sets of strings (major pain with a 12, I know) until you hit on one that works. And just so I asked: how is the intonation on the primary 6? For me personally, another BIG factor on a 12 with regards to it playing in tune is action height. I need it really low for a couple of reasons, one being that the less the string has to travel to get down to a fret, the less it’ll be pulled sharp, and those two different gauges’ pitches won’t change uniformly when they’re fretted simultaneously. The other reason just being easier playability.

But don’t give up. I have a 12 just like yours along with one of my Rickenbackers having a 6-saddle bridge and they both play wonderfully in tune. Just hafta figure out what part of the equation is outta wack.

3

I also have a Ric 12 sporting a 6-saddle bridge, but have not had an issue with intonation until the 11th fret or so.

When I ordered my 370, i ordered the 12-saddle bridge, but the factory shipped it separately, and the guitar came with the 6-saddle. At the second or third string change, I swapped in the 12-saddle and took it to my guy to get the intonation cleaned up.

When I got it back, something was amiss. Yes, the tuning was easier (mostly on the G pair), and the intonation was pretty darn good (not perfect) 'way farther up than I was likely to ever be playing the thing, but to my ears, something was missing in the jangle. It sounded almost too... well, sterile. Reminded me of the first few times I heard then-new tech CD's converted from analogue. The all-but intangible "life" had been taken out of the sound. If anything, it was too clean for my ears.

I persisted for a bit, but after a few months, I simply removed the 12-saddle and put the 6 back in its place.

NOW it sounds like a Ric 12 string. And the 12-saddle is in it's plastic ziplock bag, inside the case where it belongs. Maybe, if/when I sell it (or more likely my estate does), the new owner will be happier with a 12-saddle.

(Please note- your experience may vary. I have spent a lot of years in the acoustic 12-string world, which may have altered my judgement, so this is just me and my perceptions of the way the sound is altered.)


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