Modern Gretsch Guitars

Slotted bridge base?

1

My new 1959 Vintage Select has a pinned bridge which I really like. I noticed on another thread here that this bridge has slots instead of the standard holes for pinning. I checked my bridge and it does have the slots. I want to pin my other 6120 but I can't find this bridge anywhere? I really like the fact that the bridge is pinned but has some room for adjustment. Is this bridge available for purchase or is this some special order item from Gretsch? Does anyone here know this bridge is available?

Thanks

UD (Uncle Don)

2

I buy Gretsch bases direct from FMIC, and lately they've just had two holes in the bottom, one on each side.

3

Hello Proteus,

I read that some have intonation issues with pinned guitars when changing string gauges. The slotted version may give a little room for better intonation? I'm having my guitar pinned but i still want to find this bridge base if it's available?

UD (Uncle Don)

4

Proteus,

I forgot to say thanks. My new Serpentune bridge works great on my DSV,

UD ( Uncle Don )

5

The slotted version may give a little room for better intonation? I'm having my guitar pinned but i still want to find this bridge base if it's available?

Yes, the slots allow for some latitude in placing the base perfectly - and I think they're a great idea. Some may be agin'em because they fear the bridge will skate around through the travel permitted by the slots, but methinks they worry too much. By far most of the whacking about that can cause bridge skate is at a right angle to the strings (as in our over-vigorous strumming and picking), and the slots resist that travel. If someone is whacking back and forth on the strings...you know, why?, and certainly they're going to chew their hands up running into the bridge and pickups.

You also have all the downpressure from the strings holding the bridge in place...so I believe the slots suffice. Shame that configuration is not the most common. I guess if I was looking for such bases (and I probably should, given the above), I'd ask the inventory guy at FMIC about it (and I will!), then check with Darren Riley, who may have some. (Though I doubt it; I think he buys from the same FMIC inventory I do.)

Glad the Serp is working out! I love a happy ending.

6

On my 2002 6120N the bridge base has larger-than-the-pins holes instead of slots, so there's a a bit of side to side adjustment as well as forward and back.

7

I called Street Sounds Tuesday where I bought my 59VS. I asked if they were familiar with the slotted bridge base. They got back to me and said they don't believe this base is from Gretsch or Fender? I contacted my local Gretsch dealer and they are going to talk with their sales rep and see what happens.

Thanks

UD ( Uncle Don)

8

Not sure I like the idea of slotted pins; kinda defeats the purpose of pinning IMO, to the extent that I'm not sure I would call this a pinned bridge ("slotted" seems like an apt enough name). Sure, side-to-side movement is more likely, but both directions of movement do happen. And the direction of movement that the slots allow is far more detrimental to the whole guitar-playing experience. Y'know, staying in tune and all that. If I'm going to go through the trouble of putting holes in the top of my guitar, I want to get the most good out of it.

You're supposed to get the intonation right before you pin it, not after.

9

You're supposed to get the intonation right before you pin it, not after.

Oh, I agree. But sometimes the owner doesn't get the chance, because "the factory" - or someone - has pinned a bridge in a place where a new bridge won't intonate properly.

This creates complications.

10

I first got a "slotted" bridge base on my Coolant Green Stezer Hot Rod. The top is SO slick and shiny the bridge still skated around a bit. I had to use thin double-sided sticky tape on it. I've had the same roll for 30 years, always using it on my Gretsches. On the old ones, they still move a bit over time, but I can slide them back between gigs.

I've seen sandpaper glued to the bottom of a bridge base (barbaric) and have heard of guys cutting strips from a balloon. (isn't latex bad for lacquer?). I don't have the heart to "pin" my vintage ones. But maybe I'm being silly.

11

The barbaric option has worked great for me for more than 25 years!

12

My 53RI Duo-Jet has a pinned bridge. The hole on the treble side wasn't in the right place for my Thomastik-Infeld flats. First I took out the pins, but eventually I put them back in, measured carefully, and enlarged the hole on one side. In theory, it can move out of position, but it hasn't yet. If it does and I need to put it back, the pin will stop it in the right place; the new edge is within a couple thousandths of an inch of perfection. I cut it with an X-acto blade and smoothed it with files because my Dremel's battery was dead.

I'm pretty aggressive about shaping the aluminum bridge to get the intonation right, too. It's very soft, so it isn't difficult. If you run out of room on either side, you can just take the whole bridge down a bit, since it gets wider as it gets lower.

13

I think most of the movement players see when the bridge isn't fixed is perpendicular to the strings, but it's really on a slight diagonal: the treble side tends to move closer to the headstock too, while the bass side sometimes moves away. That's what has happened to me, and it seems to be from resting my hand on the bridge for muting, not from hitting the strings hard.

14

I tried a base with the single pin hole on each side on my 1959 Vintage Select and the intonation was way off! I'm thinking the bridge bases were slotted at the factory because the pins were placed incorrectly and gave some room to adjust intonation. I re-installed my slotted bridge base and was able to correctly adjust the intonation. The (slotted) base is a great idea just not available right now?

UD (Uncle Don)

15

What string gauge are you guys using to get all this bridge movement? I've been playing guitars with floating bridges for 50 years and the only times that I've had the bridge slipping was fixed with either a string gauge increase or by sanding the feet of the bridge to match the contour of the guitars' top.

A 6128T-53 Duo Jet arrived this week with a pinned bridge with slots. The stock 10-46 string gauge for this guitar is too light although I haven't had the bridge move yet apart from, like Seadevil, when I moved it in the slots to correctly intonate the guitar. I haven't had the lack of travel problem experienced by Seadevil either but if you've changed strings to TI flats, I doubt that your bridge will intonate correctly anyway, since it's an aluminum Bigsby bridge configured for a plain 3rd string. In that case you'd be well served with a Bigsby bridge intonated for a wound 3rd string or, better, a Tru Arc from Proteus.

16

I don't understand the fuss about pinned bridges in the first place. Except for two of my Gretsches, all of my full-size hollowbody archtops have had floating bridges, and I've never had a problem with bridge movement on any of 'em.

17

I've got the right bridge for a wound G!

18

My original question was about the bridge base that’s slotted underneath the feet of the bridge base itself. Not about bridge movement or sliding around on the top of the guitar. I have a 6120 DSV I would like to have pinned and I want to buy the same slotted bridge base so if I want change string gages l have more flexibility with the slotted base if needed. So far I have unable to find this particular base?

UD (Uncle Don)

19

Seadevil, That’s a nice guitar!

UD (Uncle Don)

20

Yes it is. And it has the proper bridge for the strings used.

21

They got back to me and said they don't believe this base is from Gretsch or Fender?

I've been buying bases from FMIC for 12 years; I have occasionally gotten slotted bases, but not often. And there's no rhyme nor reason: there certainly aren't separate part numbers, and powers that be have been unaware of what holes (if any) the bases in any given inventory lot may have.

I don't think I have any slotted bases in my current inventory - but they come from FMIC wrapped individually and taped up, then stuck with their partno/barcode label. I used to unwrap every one to test-fit post spacing when shipping it out with a bridge, but I no longer do that religiously. Their post spacing has been so consistent it hasn't been necessary.

Meaning I don't know if I might have shipped some slotted bases over the past several years - but every base I have occasion to look at has holes and not slots.

All of which is to say that slotting may have been something that happened for period of time, and no longer does. Whether Gretsch or Tokiwa (who I think supplies the bases) made the decision to slot...and/or then stop slotting...I don't know.


If it's crucial, I would suggest doing it yourself. Clamp the base securely (like in a table vise), find the diameter of the current hole, then use a router bit in something like a Dremel or other roto-tool - carefully marking hole depth on the bit. Start in the existing hole and extend it a little both forward and aft. Take it slow and easy, watch what you're doing, and it shouldn't be a very dangerous flirtation with disaster.

22

Proteus, That was my next move was to buy a rosewood base and use a Dremel and do it myself. If you ever come across one of these in your inventory please let me know I will definitely buy one from you.

UD (Uncle Don)

23

I like the slotted bridges because of the little extra bit of adjustment they give. That's what came on my 6120T '55 VS

24

A 6128T-53 Duo Jet arrived here last week. Made by Terada in October this year and shipped by Fender at the end of November.

It has a slotted bridge.

25

Yup my 53 Vintage Select DJ has the slotted base. Currently awaiting a Tru Arc.


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