Modern Gretsch Guitars

Seeking direct contact info for anyone at the Gretsch Custom Shop…

3

Maybe if you give a reason someone might pass along whatever that reason is and then someone might contact you.

4

Thanks for that suggestion, Curt, and -- given your building and restoration skills -- I'm sure you, in particular, will appreciate the reason:

I'm sure we've all noticed that the type of chrome armrest the Gretsch Custom Shop installs on Penguins and Jets follows the curve of, and thus fits along the edge of, those guitars' bodies perfectly, as opposed to the (other) armrest used on production line Gretsch guitars, which have a different radius that leaves both ends of that type of armrest raised a significant distance off the body edge. Assuming the armrest used by the Custom Shop is not fabricated in house -- and I don't know, maybe they are -- I'm hoping to discover a vendor name and contact info, and maybe even a part number, for that better-fitting armrest.

5

I'm sure we've all noticed that the type of chrome armrest the Gretsch Custom Shop installs on Penguins and Jets follows the curve of, and thus fits along the edge of, those guitars' bodies perfectly

1) Haven't myself noticed this discrepancy, but I've only played a handful of CS guitars, and maybe one had the armrest feature. Not busting on you, but this seems like a fairly esoteric item to even notice.

2) What seems odd is that a part this specific/esoteric would be made by two different manufacturers to two different measurement standards (pro line vs. custom shop).

— Are you sure what you think is a radius mismatch wasn't just poor installation?

(just using Occam's razor here)

6

Those are sourced out from the custom shop, it is from a different vendor than the ones used on the MIJ'S. I can personally tell you those are exclusives for Gretsch, Those specs come direct for them, and they cannot be purchased. I've already had that discussion with them.

7

Those are sourced out from the custom shop, it is from a different vendor than the ones used on the MIJ'S. I can personally tell you those are exclusives for Gretsch, Those specs come direct for them, and they cannot be purchased. I've already had that discussion with them.

– rocky streetsounds

Pretty sure that this gentleman knows what he's talking about.

8

Yes those are custom shop only. You want that kind of coolness, you're gonna have to buck up for the whole package. The other day I noticed that Fender's custom shop is now making a really cool bridge for their offsets, and same deal, you can't buy it either. Fortunately some boutique mfds are building cool offset bridges!

9

Haven't myself noticed this discrepancy, but I've only played a handful of CS guitars, and maybe one had the armrest feature. Not busting on you, but this seems like a fairly esoteric item to even notice.

As Rocky says, it’s true. The miserable stupid armrest on the 57VS is of larger radius than the body, and is pulled into conformity with the body’s curve by the two round-head phillips screws with which it is affixed. And because those screws have to hold the thing to a tighter radius than its fabricators intended - against the considerable spring resistance you might imagine a chunk of metal incorporating a 90-degree bend might have - the screws are about 3 feet long.

And because the screws are 3 feet long, but have tiny heads with a delicate phillips cross, by the time the installer executes the several million rotations of a screwdriver necessary to drive them home, said slots are naturally somewhat boogered up by the tool.

And since these round-head screws with boogered-up slots don’t countersink flush into the un-beveled holes on the miserable stupid armrest itself, and instead stand sharp and proud of its top surface, THEY DIG INTO YOUR ARM when playing the guitar, thus entirely mooting the ostensible point of an armrest in the first place (which I can only assume would be to make the guitar more - and not less - comfortable to play).

I get the purpose of an armrest on the banjos from which it was borrowed - to create a smooth surface for the arm, away from the tight-radiused edge of the rim and the series of tension lugs arrayed around it. But a guitar doesn’t need that (any more than it needs a genuine naugahyde pad fastened with snaps to the back of the guitar to "protect the wood"). We know the only reason for the armrest on a Gretsch Jetpenguin is to make it look fancier.

But at least the custom shop’s armrest is formed to the correct radius, and is affixed so that it doesn’t CUT UP the arm when playing, rendering the perfectly pointless slice of gingerbread at least functionally innocuous, rather than an actual impediment to the guitar’s purpose. (If, in fact, guitars are made to be played.)

The armrest on non-CS guitars is a pointless idea stupidly - or at least thoughtlessly - implemented.

Are you sure what you think is a radius mismatch wasn't just poor installation?

Well, it is poor installation. It's designed poorly, to be poorly installed.

I knew before I got my 57VS that I’d be yanking off the armrest, and only learned in the process of doing so how badly it’s done.

If such a spurious bit of extraneous ornamentation just has to be stuck on a new guitar (because history or geewhiz eyepop)...then let the damn thing actually fit the guitar so it doesn’t require silly long screws (and all the above rantable deficiencies). If it actually fit, it could be adequately affixed with a couple short pieces of doublestick foam tape - and not leave ugly holes in the side of the guitar if a buyer happened to despise the friggin’ thing and wished to remove it.

Better yet, just tuck the armrest and tape pads into the compartment in the case, so a buyer can put it on or ignore it as suits his taste.

I mean, not that I care or anything.

If Rocky can’t get one of the Custom Shoppers...I don’t know if any of us can.

I also can’t buy a cool Reverend or Duesenberg jackplate for a guitar I think needs one, and I’m still annoyed about that. And I had to get clear to a product manager at Hagstrom in Sweden to get their H-embossed chrome knobs for a new Hag which came with ugly black plastic witch hats.

I tell you whut now. Hmph!

10

Ever tried getting an "R" tailpiece out of Rickenbacker??? Talk about playing hard to get.

And it dawns on me that I am now 2 for 2 when it comes to mentioning Ricks in my posts.. Think I'd best get out the 370 and noodle some until it goes away.

11

i never found a source for gold harp tail pieces, like on my g400, since we are airing out grievances.

12

Ever tried getting an "R" tailpiece out of Rickenbacker?

I succeeded! For a period in the 90s, Rick put black hardware on some guitars. In the fullness of time (or a few years later) the blackhearted cheese metal tailpiece on my 360-12 snapped while in the case. I had to send Ricketypoker the broken one - along with some money - and got a chromed replacement. (They’d stopped with the blackout bit.)

I think it’s still in one piece, but maybe I should go check.

13

Oh, Ric 'R' tailpieces -- tricky things, especially if you're in the UK. Pal of mine who really looks after his guitars (hardly surprising at that price) has a 12-string and the tailpiece cracked -- the thing actually remained playable (carefully!) but the future didn't look too healthy. The UK distributors couldn't help so he contacted Rickenbacker in the US. They said send us the original and we'll test it. Test it? It had a damn great crack in it! The issue of how he was supposed to gig the guitar for however long this palava was going to take (and gigwise he's a busy boy) remained unresolved.

He took the offending piece (what are they made of, zinc or something?) to a small metalworking/plating shop. They took a mold on the spot and a few days later he had a new chromed brass tailpiece. Not expensive either.

Sorry for the diversion -- back to banjo rests.

14

Ever tried getting an "R" tailpiece out of Rickenbacker??? Talk about playing hard to get.

And it dawns on me that I am now 2 for 2 when it comes to mentioning Ricks in my posts.. Think I'd best get out the 370 and noodle some until it goes away.

– Kevin Frye

With newer Rickenbacker models...

Just leave it in the case... eventually the whole tailpiece will "explode" on its own, then you can contact Rickenbacker and they'll tell you that it's "not covered under warranty", and there are none to be had for replacement.... Boom-- Hall's got your money for the guitar, and you're left with a piece of fine "wall art". Honestly, speaking only from a 3rd party standpoint on what I've researched online, I've never seen a company whelch on warranties like Rickenbacker. I mean, the 5-year warranty clock starts "when the guitar is built"??? And the average person has to wait... how long?... to even source a new one? I'm guessing that Ric warranty repairmen are as lonely as the Maytag Man because the warranty is likely half-expired by the time the guitar reaches the buyer's hands.

However, this situation doesn't just affect the "little guys"...this fellow couldn't get any replacements for his either...

15

As Rocky says, it’s true. The miserable stupid armrests on the 57VS is of larger radius than the body, and is pulled into conformity with the body’s curve by the two flathead straight-slot screws with which it is affixed.

Boy, that sure is some boogered-up design! I guess Occam's razor loses the day on this one.

16

Heartfelt frustrations, Tim. Elegantly expressed. It's time for another radius-corrected metal accessory which improves on factory-installed original equipment.

It's time for Tru-Arm.

17

"...I think it’s still in one piece, but maybe I should go check."

Me, too. Have not had it out in about 13 months...

18

guess Occam's razor loses the day on this one.

Not entirely. Once the decision had been made to afflict Terada-made guitars with the Pointless Thing, everything that followed is sliced neatly by Occam. It had to be less expensive than the CS was using, even if it didn’t quite fit (or the cost of the better fitment would push the price of the guitar to a point where it depressed sales).

From there on, it was a matter of getting the damn thing on there as cheaply and simply as possible - making the armrest a rare example of a feature on a bespoke premium product which actually cheapens it, revealing compromises made for expediency (and, presumably, ducats).

Lest I seem to be too hard on FMIC, I suppose I should attest that, otherwise, I love the guitar. It lives up to its stature, and embodies Terada’s typically fine work. I just hate the armrest (in principle) - but especially its implementation on this guitar.

19

It's time for Tru-Arm.

Now that’s some funny right’ere! Alas, it’s unlikely, as the shop doesn’t work with flat metal fabrication, and we don’t believe in plating. And I like bridges, which I’ve observed guitars have to have, whereas I wouldn’t want to be party to the proliferation of useless banjo parts on instruments which don’t need them.

Also, I wouldn’t be part of arms manufacture.

20

Ok, all well.

Tim, too bad you don't work in flat metal. There's a small but possibly growing market for replacement tailpieces out there. Just imagine- the "Tru-Tail"?

Maybe not...

21

Ok, all well.

Tim, too bad you don't work in flat metal. There's a small but possibly growing market for replacement tailpieces out there. Just imagine- the "Tru-Tail"?

Maybe not...

– Kevin Frye

I don't know which would sound more cringe-worthy... "Tru-Tail" or "Tru-Piece"?

22

Well, Rickety tailpieces do fairly frequently spontaneously de-cohere, and clearly disappointed owners would welcome a machined-and-durable rather than cast-and-cheesoid replacement which has the same self-destructive tendencies as the original. I'm not sure how John Hall's legal department would feel about it, though.

But hmm. I was also forced to pay a machinist to supplement and fortify the tailpiece on my White Falcon bass, which comes apart when strung with the bullet-shaped ball ends on RotoSound piano-type strings. AND I need a specific tailpiece for a project I've got going too. But these are all very low-volume projects, and - considering what I paid for the modifications to the WF tailpiece - a retail customer would have to absolutely despise his money to buy one. So possibly no profitable joy down that avenue.


But that doesn't mean Tru-Arc might not expand into other goods and services - or that everyone is aware of under-the-radar divisions we might already be operating.

Frinstance, there's the division that repairs and modifies vintage synthesizers, Tru-Arp, with a sideline in developing and authenticating exotic chordal arpeggios, both for automated use with synthesizers and in score and tab form for more conventional instrumentalists.

For a time, we considered going into modern hatchetry with Tru-Axe, but after considering less literal connotations of the term, thought we might develop a vintage-guitar authentication service under that name instead.

Our one venture in applied behavioral psychology, currently in experimental and prototyping phase, is designed to optimize annoying behavior both on-line and off. Easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions, in both text and video form, enable anyone (even nice people) to become strategically obnoxious - either to manipulate friends and influence enemies, or simply to become generally odious. Look for Tru-Irk self-help products soon in intrusive social media feeds near you - and never again wonder if you're truly projecting your worst possible self.

Other ventures under consideration fall under the heading of authentication services. Authentication is such a profitable field! It requires no manufacture, material inventory, product development, or capital expense beyond a web presence. It's pure consulting, buttressed by minimal self-promotion to inspire (or at least not suppress) credibility as an "influencer." (And I think we can all agree that credibility, at this point in our media-saturated environment, has only the lowest of bars to clear: you don't have to really know anything, you just have to convince people you do. And if it turns you don't after all, just set up shop in the Alternative Fact marketplace.)

Our authentication services would be available across a wide variety of fields:

Tru-Orc - because it's so embarrassing when you don't know if your movie extras have a true bloodline.

Tru-Arrgh - a simple service to create, optimize, and vet pirate language, whether in movie scripts, advertising, fear-and-intimidation schemes, or to negotiate with actual pirates. Paste in piratese from any source to see if it climbs the riggings or should be keel-hauled - or paste in English and get back perfect piratese.

Tru-Art - well, this one's self-explanatory, I should think. Is it art or science? Is it art or trash? Sometimes "I know when I see it" just isn't good enough. Now you can tell without even seeing it!

Tru-Arse - is it real, or is it surgically modified? Is he a true jerk, or just pretending?

Tru-Ark - Mount Ararat, here we come!

Tru-Are - Only the best scientifically-tested, proven-effective, reality-testing protocols to help you answer the really big questions. To be, or not to be? Never again stand alone and unprotected against the slings and arrows.

23

Hahaha! Proteus, these expanded Tru-Line products have made me laugh! My little Robert Newton icon, an actor famous as perhaps the most vivid Long John Silver, heartily approves of the new 'Tru-Aargh' pirate linguistic services you now offer.

The arms dealer riff is an especially splendid parry of my earlier broadside.

Very well played. Tricorn hat doffed.

24

Tim, I absolutely agree re the CS armrest vs the non-CS. I first noticed it on the powder blue CS that Cam had at one of the NAMM shows. That guitar so captured me I nearly memorized its every detail. Then and there, I was bound to a CS White Penguin wish as I just have to have that perfectly matched armrest. Yes, for me it is all about the bling.

Sure do miss Cam. Coolest good Dude, for sure.

25

Those are sourced out from the custom shop, it is from a different vendor than the ones used on the MIJ'S. I can personally tell you those are exclusives for Gretsch, Those specs come direct for them, and they cannot be purchased. I've already had that discussion with them.

– rocky streetsounds

Thanks the heads up, Rocky, I appreciate the info (however disappointing it may be).


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