Modern Gretsch Guitars

Bridge problem

1

I have a 2000 Gretsch 6120. The bridge is not attached to the body of the guitar. Is this normal? If not, what do you recommend.

2

You can either have it "pinned", or screwed in, or...what I had done to a Country Gent years ago, My Luthier marked the correct spot and put on double sided tape (just a thin strip under the Bridge so it couldn't be seen). What I personally do with my Jet is just change one string at a time, so the Bridge doesn't move between string changes after its been properly positioned. Bridge intonation has never been one of my strong suits. You are bound to get much more advice from people here far more knowledgeable than me very shortly.

3

You can use violin rosin, applied to the bridge base any you'll be fine without any invasive actions.

4

I recommend leaving it alone and changing your strings one at a time...as long as it's staying put. Otherwise, bow rosin is a great solution.

5

It's perfectly normal. It's a floating bridge.

6

If you're really picky about your intonation and you don't change your strings very often, you will notice that moving the bridge in or back may help, because the strings are no longer of uniform thickness.

I think people mistake that for the bridge slipping, since it's not nailed down and there may not be a visible reference to where the bridge was.

But I've only noticed the bridge having moved on my guitars a couple of times.

Some right-hand techniques like palm muting, or factors like low break angle over the bridge or light strings [not enough downward force keeping the bridge in place] might be more likely to have the bridge move around.

7

I'm in the double sided tape club. Get the "e's" intonated and stick it down.

8

What nobody has addressed yet is the most important factor regarding the floating bridge moving on the top.....before any considerations of how to permanently or semi-permanently affix it to the top and that's that the base is most likely not contoured to match the contour of the top!! This has come up numerous times in the past and there's also one other reason, properly contoured or not that may be responsible and that's that the Bigsby is not lined up dead accurately with the neck. If it's slightly off to one side or the other, the string tension will try to pull the base in that direction to try and line up properly, which will pull the base off dead center with the neck.

Aside from having the proper contour which may be all you need, there are 3 methods to stop the base from moving: pin it, apply a bit of bow resin or use double sided tape. I pin all my bridges....AFTER I've contoured them to fit the top, if they aren't already. Bow resin is favored as it isn't a permanent change as is involved in putting small holes in the top to pin it. I don't like using double sided tape because regardless of how thin it is, it will have an effect on sound being transferred from the bridge/base to the guitar's body.

To find out if the base has the proper contour, try fitting the corner of a thin sheet of paper under the feet of the bridge while it's under tension from the strings! If it's properly contoured the paper should not fit even slightly, under the feet anywhere around their perimeter.

Contouring it yourself is very easy. Tape a piece of very fine sandpaper to the top where the base sits and while applying a decent amount of pressure, to simulate the downward pressure the strings exert under tension, move the bridge/base toward and away from the neck. Measure a few times and this should get you the needed results. You can then string up and see if this has solved the moving problem. If it hasn't, choose one of the options I mentioned.

9

Thanks to all who responded, very helpful!

10

I have a 1964 Country Gentleman. When I bend the strings up high, it will push the bridge toward the low strings. Funny, I played this guitar for years in clubs back in the 60s and 70s and never noticed this. So I'm not sure if something has changed or if I just wasn't paying attention back then. Just tried violin rosin, does not hold it; continues to slip. Any suggestions are welcome. Don't want to put any holes in the guitar body. Is it possible the top needs wax removed or something like that? I have polished the guitar in the past but don't remember polishing it (certainly not recently) with the bridge off.

11

Funny, I played this guitar for years in clubs back in the 60s and 70s and never noticed this. So I'm not sure if something has changed or if I just wasn't paying attention back then.

Are you using lighter strings today than you did 40-50 years ago? Because that would allow the bridge to move more easily, without the higher tension of heavier strings pushing down on it.

I've usually gone the double sided tape route and been fine. Just a little strip on each "foot" will do the trick. I've never tried rosin, but some people swear by it, while others say it didn't work for them.

12

I sanded the bottom of the bridge by putting a piece of sandpaper on the guitar top and then moved the bridge base back and forth over the sandpaper until the bottom of the base sat flush on the top of the guitar. I don't pin or tape my bridge down. I like having the flexibility to adjust the bridge base for the best possible intonation.

On my Duo Jet I start with the two E's playing the open strings and then the 12 fret octave and harmonic. Then I make sure the 3rd fret notes (G on the low E, C on the A, etc.) are in tune and fine tune the adjustment on the base for these notes. I am more concerned with exact intonation on the lower register where most of the chords are played than on the upper frets.

While I prefer stationary bridges on most guitars I like floating bridges specifically on Gretsch guitars because from my experience tuneomatic or adjustomatic style bridges tend to rattle more on Gretsch guitars than other guitars. Bar bridges and specifically a Tru-Arc Serpentune for me go great with Gretsch guitars.

13

My violin playing friend says rosin is made from turpentine and would negatively affect the finish. Yes/No?

14

given that it is literally made to stick bridges in place on instruments with sensitive lacquer and shellac finishes, I'd be inclined to say, "No".

Then again, I've never stuck any of my bridges at all. I think I may have one or two that are factory stuck, and I've got one I'm pondering sticking, but so far I've never felt the need to stick down a bridge at all.

15

given that it is literally made to stick bridges in place on instruments with sensitive lacquer and shellac finishes, I'd be inclined to say, "No".

Although many here recommend violin rosin to help hold a floating archtop bridge, that's not what it's used for on a violin. It's used on a violin bow to make it “catch” the strings and produce vibrations. Without rosin it will produce virtually no sound when drawn across the strings

16

There goes charlie, showing how little I know about violins.

17

There's something else called mastic, not the stuff you putty your bathroom with, that looks like boogers that a guy from Yamaha Canada said is used to attach pickups to violins.

I think you would want the clear version.

I can't find any reference to mastic being used for attaching pickups to violins.

18

Railroad spikes.

Be careful not to nail the guitar to your workbench when pre-locating them - save the last few blows for when you have the guitar strapped on in playing position. With the spikes driven into your kneecaps, gonads, kidneys, spleen, or lungs (depending on whether you sling your guitar like a cotton sack or wear it like a bow tie), the extra positional stability of the instrument will make you a better player.

19

NOTE: above post is hyperbolic parody. Do NOT try this at home. All risks with this procedure lie with you. Always have your bridges railroad-spiked by a trained professional with medical personnel standing by. Some drive the spikes after firing them to a red-hot glow for self-cauterizing action. If using this method, be advised YOUR GUITAR MAY BURST INTO FLAMES. This is normal. Have a bucket of water at the ready.

Use ONLY distilled water.

20

I tried cello wax and it is not sticky enough. On my 6119TR I used a very small dab of Bison Polymax and that worked wonderful. Did not like double sided tape.

21

Did not like double sided tape.

Why? I didn't notice any tone sucking, but quite honestly, I wasn't paying careful attention to before and after when I did it.

22

3M makes double sided tape that is super thin, its almost like a thin film once you remove the backing from both sides. its perfect for this.

23

Don't listen to Proteus on the railroad spikes. They're overkill. There's no problem that can't be solved with the judicious use of duct tape and bungee cords.


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