Modern Gretsch Guitars

Looking for sanity, and help with upgrading my G5126 - specifically…

1

So, I kind of ended up adopting a G5126. It was sitting all alone in this local music shop in Texas, this place that is leaky, and drafty, and literally lets their guitars rot. It was all alone, by itself, just looking sad, so I adopted it and took it home.

I love this guitar. I realize it's not top-of-the-line; I plan on getting one of those, too, but after testing this guitar against every current top-of-the-line Gretsch, it has a very, very unique sound, halfway between jazz and surf, to my ear. Anyhow, I want to upgrade the Bigsby and the whole Bigsby powertrain. It's not very tuning stable on this guitar.

The process, from reading every TGP thread I could get my hands on, what I understand is;

-Swap B60 for B6 or B6C, drill 1 extra screwhole for the 3-hole base -Change bridge out for a rolling or rocking bar bridge - are there any that fit the existing postholes, or would I have to change to a floating? -Change to locking tuners - optional -Change out the nut or lube the nut - when I got it set up, it got a new bone nut cut. Probably just needs lube. -Get a custom pickguard from Paul Setzer - highly necessary

Am I missing anything? Am I crazy for wanting to invest about $600 into this guitar, rather than just trading it in for a Falcon or something?

2

Not crazy. You're right that the 512x series retains its own tonally compelling identity, no matter what you compare it against. I hadn't thought of it in those terms, but an intersection between jazz and surf well describes what I hear as well.

I think its no-frills straightforward appearance also suits it. It can be an elegant ride.

No opinions about changing the Bigsby. For me that's an aesthetic choice, because I'm happy to route strings over the tension bar and either remove or ignore it. I highly recommend trying that - and swapping the spring out for the 10.00 Reverend Soft Spring, which can wholly transform the feel of the thing. That would save a couple hundred bucks, and is worth trying before changing the whole thing out.

I wouldn't ever put money into tuners until I'd done everything else. Tuning issues (if you're having them) are almost never the tuners. Absolutely dress the nut to perfection before proceeding in that direction.

I (Tru-Arc) can do a bridge to fit the existing post holes - or provide a floating base if preferred. Choice of 5 metals, straight or compensated. I think my only unhappy customers are the ones who are patiently waiting for bridges I can't deliver as quickly as we'd all like.

3

I have a 5129 (just like yours, but red). I have a stainless steel tru-arc and it was the single best modification to that guitar. It made the dearmond 2000’s come alive! It’s a supernatural balance of twang and sustain. I don’t say this lightly, but I think it’s as close to alchemy as I’ve experienced in my waking life.

Also, could we see a picture of your new guitar?

7

@Proteus,

appreciated. I'll give both of those a go - if the soft touch spring is the same that's in the Bigsby on the Reverend Pete Anderson, I'd be all about that. I haven't tried routing over the Bigsby, so I'll try that.

From a visual inspection, I don't see any issue with the nut, but I can use some abrasive cord or some graphite. The bridge, I can see that the slot for the G is too deep in the saddle, and my string gauge shows me similar.

I contacted, you, I guess? via the contact form on your website about getting a tru-arc bridge to replace my existing bridge, so I intend to make that swap. IMO the bridge is probably the biggest issue the guitar has. Other than that, the volume pots aren't even scratchy.

8

Beautiful! I love the sparkle! My 5129 was set up just like yours at birth with a b70 bigsby. Now mine has a b60 without the tension bar. There was a problem with not having a good enough break angle and my strings would jump out of the bridge saddles. Proteus made my stainless steel tru-arc custom with deeper string grooves. It eliminated that problem. If you choose to replace your b70 bigsby with a b6, you may want to look into that. If you choose to keep the b70, you won’t have that problem.

9

Interesting. I like the look without the pickguard - I play wif ma' fingers, so the pickguard only serves the purpose of looking good or getting in the way, although sometimes I'll use one for a pinky anchor, depending on the piece and the guitar. Is that G custom painted, or did it come with that?

Ah, I see; your tru-arc just fits on the existing bridge posts, it looks like? That's cool. From looking at the tru-arc website, I thought that was an option, but couldn't find any evidence to reflect that. Also, I did notice that I could just take the roller off. I might try that.

10

Interesting. I like the look without the pickguard - I play wif ma' fingers, so the pickguard only serves the purpose of looking good or getting in the way, although sometimes I'll use one for a pinky anchor, depending on the piece and the guitar. Is that G custom painted, or did it come with that?

Ah, I see; your tru-arc just fits on the existing bridge posts, it looks like? That's cool. From looking at the tru-arc website, I thought that was an option, but couldn't find any evidence to reflect that. Also, I did notice that I could just take the roller off. I might try that.

– Witch Doctor Willy

The mock G brand is a decal I ordered from Gretsch Gear.

I took the pickguard off because I just thought the flat black plastic was kinda ugly. I had some hip zebra stripe duct tape on it I got at a craft store, and I thought that looked boss, but it started getting gross and brown.

Yes, you’ll want a tru-arc that fits on your existing posts. Because of shallower neck angle on these weird peerless factory 512x’s, you won’t be able to fit a floating bridge without having your strings about 1/2” too high off of the neck.

They made these style guitars at a different factory with b6’s and floating bridges as well.

11

Well, a stock Tru-Arc (of either the Standard or SerpenTune series) fits on the existing posts if they're 2-29/32" on center. If not, we customize to suit actual spacing - or you can switch to a floater.

My "website" is a sad no-longer-joke that shames me every time I think of it. That involves a whole navel-gazing dissertation delving into deep-seated psychological reasons for my negligence, a discussion that disgusts and bores even me.

In any case, there are so many what-ifs, codicils, and random variances that can affect bridge choice that it's unlikely I could ever address all of them even in pages of FAQs or compatibility charts (that would glaze most guys over). So it's safest to have a direct dialog with the customer to be sure he/she gets what is needed.

In your case, for instance, it would seem cut-and-dried: if you have that model, with that fixed bridge, I should know what you need. But in fact the post spacing was known to vary, probably between production runs. But no one knows how to predict that, so I have to advise a guy to measure, and he has to do so, and then we know what goes on THAT guitar.

It happens that I'm a week behind on Tru-Arc emails at the moment (said week burned off in an intense out-of-town project for my day job), and today is no good either till I get wife and grandkids delivered to the airport. All is chaos and bustle at the moment, and I'm hiding for relief right now.

13

Well, a stock Tru-Arc (of either the Standard or SerpenTune series) fits on the existing posts if they're 2-29/32" on center. If not, we customize to suit actual spacing - or you can switch to a floater.

My "website" is a sad no-longer-joke that shames me every time I think of it. That involves a whole navel-gazing dissertation delving into deep-seated psychological reasons for my negligence, a discussion that disgusts and bores even me.

In any case, there are so many what-ifs, codicils, and random variances that can affect bridge choice that it's unlikely I could ever address all of them even in pages of FAQs or compatibility charts (that would glaze most guys over). So it's safest to have a direct dialog with the customer to be sure he/she gets what is needed.

In your case, for instance, it would seem cut-and-dried: if you have that model, with that fixed bridge, I should know what you need. But in fact the post spacing was known to vary, probably between production runs. But no one knows how to predict that, so I have to advise a guy to measure, and he has to do so, and then we know what goes on THAT guitar.

It happens that I'm a week behind on Tru-Arc emails at the moment (said week burned off in an intense out-of-town project for my day job), and today is no good either till I get wife and grandkids delivered to the airport. All is chaos and bustle at the moment, and I'm hiding for relief right now.

– Proteus

No worries. I'm a web developer and barely touch my own site. Some proverb about the plumber's plumbing never being fixed.

However, I'll definitely follow up at some point. I'll try to caliper my bridge this weekend to get the measurements spot on.

15

Mine.

– Bob Howard

Heya Bob, Just curious, where did TVJ set the height for those T-Armonds? Specifically the neck pickup?

16

Lovely! Congrats and welcome to our addiction. Soon, you'll own more Gretsch.

17

Heya Bob, Just curious, where did TVJ set the height for those T-Armonds? Specifically the neck pickup?

– Calebaaron666

Bridge.

20

Lovely! Congrats and welcome to our addiction. Soon, you'll own more Gretsch.

– Suprdave

Funny you say that, I apparently bought a G6118T-135 online while I was drunk last weekend, and only remembered it yesterday when I got an email from the guitar shop. Sooooo I guess I have that to look forward to.

My wife just laughed, and told me that I owed her a few pedals for her bass, various odd jobs around the house, a date or two - she was pretty mild-mannered about the whole thing.

21

Looks like your wife’s a keeper as well. Congrats

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Looks like your wife’s a keeper as well. Congrats

– Baba Joe

So true! She bought me this Reverend Charger limited edition with sparkly paint job, too. We met at a concert, so it makes sense that she'd be a music fan.

I gather that it's common to just keep one gretsch and buy another, rather than trading one for the other? I find myself reluctant to trade either of mine. Oh, I have a New Yorker re-issue as my other Gretsch, so I guess I'll have 3 soon. The New Yorker frustrates me sometimes because of that baseball bat neck, but I can get some really dark syrupy tones out of it with a Vox and an OD or preamp pedal, so I'm kinda reluctant to get rid of it.

23

can get some really dark syrupy tones out of it with a Vox and an OD or preamp pedal,

I know those tones. They can be harder to get than the crispy crunchy ones. They go with the kind of playing a fat neck promotes too. Keep it.


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