Modern Gretsch Guitars

Tru-Arc first impressions

1

Holy cats!! What a difference.

Got a 1992 6121 "Roundup" with the roller bridge a week or so ago and sounded good but.... Got the Tru-Arc this week and couldn't wait so just loosened the strings and swapped in the Tru-Arc. What a difference. It was like a blanket was lifted off the sound. The Tru-Arc came with a new bridge base curved for an archtop, I'd guess, so it was sitting on it's tiptoes and not making full contact with the top. Today I pulled it out and sanded the bridge base to the curve of the Roundup and....yowza!! It just chimes. I wouldn't have thought that given the Filtertrons (this being my first humbucker guitar) but it's dang twangy and chimey.

Bottom line - happy customer.

2

Congratulations. I noticed the same things when I put a Tru-Arc Serpentune on my Duo Jet.

3

Bottom line - happy customer.

I'll add:

Bottom line - Good investment

4

Welcome to the Club! ALL my electric guitars (including a Gibson ES335) now have Tru-Arcs. For me, it is now automatic -- new guitar, new Tru-Arc.

5

Yes! Very happy Tru Arc user as well.

6

Yup. I have copper, stainless, brass and aluminum. They rock my boat.

7

What I found was amazingly good intonation and fantastic ability to stay in tune. Great product. So good to see something which takes over from the best attributes of what went before and improves it in a very clever and useful way.

8

Always great (and a little humbling) to hear good reports. I thank you, and my brother thanks you, and Re-Rob thanks you.

10

I'm thinking maybe I should try a titanium serpentune for my SSLVO. After all, titanium is named after titans so it must be good, right? How does the sound of titanium compare with SS?

11

I have a Tru-Arc installed since 2012. Lots of chime, clarity and sustain since then. One of those 'musts' for a Gretsch. Cheers!

12

I'm thinking maybe I should try a titanium serpentune for my SSLVO. After all, titanium is named after titans so it must be good, right? How does the sound of titanium compare with SS?

– JimmyR

I just put a stainless on my SSLVO, big improvement and as the descriptions have said, its pretty neutral in tone, keeps what's there, but fixes the rattle and radius mis-match.

13

I only have the one, glass, on my Falcon. I love how it brings out each string with better clarity.

15

Oh I have a SS Serpentune - that's why it would be my point of comparison.

16

Mine is copper with a natural patina now.

17

I dont understand how the bridge or top of a guitar that is using electric signals from the strings disturbing magnetic fields will be altered by vibration transfer,unless the pickups are microphonic. Im not trolling or trying to be a jerk. I feel dumb asking. I understand an acoustic differance, not electric.

18

The pickups are picking up the movement of the strings. How the strings vibrate is affected by how every other part of the guitar vibrates (or doesn't).

If that wasn't the case, every guitar with the same scale, strings and pickups would sound identical. And obviously, that is not the case.

19

I dont understand how the bridge or top of a guitar that is using electric signals from the strings disturbing magnetic fields will be altered by vibration transfer,unless the pickups are microphonic. Im not trolling or trying to be a jerk. I feel dumb asking. I understand an acoustic differance, not electric.

– munman

When we were putting the final touches on the 6186-GDP Clipper project, I had the great fortune of being able to sit down with Tim at the Nashville Roundup that year and try out most everything he had at the time in the Tru-Arc line, along with a custom Ebony bridge that Hyde at BlueBelly had made.

We tried them all out back-to-back, through the same amp, only pausing long enough to loosen the strings, slide a new bridge in, retune and go.

There were pretty huge and readily noticeable differences, and I really wish we'd recorded it. Just hugely noticeable.

At the time, either NjBob or Bob Howard (one of the Bobs) had told me that Dynas like Stainless and Filters like Aluminum. That seems a bit counterintuitive, but I believe it's true, at least as a starting point.

Of course, there are plenty of other flavors to try, too.

20

The pickups are picking up the movement of the strings. How the strings vibrate is affected by how every other part of the guitar vibrates (or doesn't).

Also, the pickups themSELVES vibrate (or not so much) - but in any case, that's also a component of the tone. The extent to which these components vibrate, and in what way, affect the tonal spectra - the frequency response graph, if you like - the pickups "read" and turn into an electromagnetic pulse. The set of variables is both enormously complex and very subtle, and it's not easy to predict exactly how the moving pieces will interact.

Nonetheless, my meatball dissection:

• String alloy, design, gauge, and liveliness/deadness matter, because that's where (after the player's hand) the tone begins. If the string doesn't produce a particular spectrum of fundamentals and overtones, the various components of the guitar can't emphasize some and minimize others, nor can the pickups detect and filter them further.

• The "suspension system" is one set of the components which act on the string's action like filters in subtractive synthesis. By "suspension system," I mean the nut, the bridge, and the tailpiece. Out of this group, the nut and the bridge have the most impact as they create the "live" portion of the string. Leaving aside pinching and binding (which create plink-plunk and we'll assume are eliminated in a competent setup), their material and density can (and always will) impose a particular pattern of "filters" on the energy output of the strings. Some frequencies will be absorbed, some transmitted, in varying proportions on their way "through" these components.

Each material imparts its own character in both tone and response - in complex ways I've learned to generalize about, but which remain as much art as science. (Or at least any science I have practical access too.) But if a bridge (or a nut) simply doesn't respond to a frequency, or if absorbs energy at a particular frequency, that freq can't get to the guitar's top to resonate there. If it's a good "transmitter" of energy, more gets through to the top. But no material is perfectly "flat," with even response through all registers: all have some kind of pattern. That's what creates their individual character.

• Next come the guitar top & body and everything attached to it, which act - again - as physical filters for the energy from the strings. Various woods in various combinations and build configurations from solid to routed-and-pickguarded to center-blocked to chambered to hollowbody...each of the endless combinations along this continuum responds uniquely to string vibration, resonating to accentuate some frequencies, relatively deadening others. Everything attached to the body has its effect in damping or preserving - from the neck and its balance to the hardware to the player's arm and hand resting on the body.

• And once those components begin to wiggle in response to the energy input of the struck string, they "feed" their input back through the bridge and nut to the strings, affecting the strings' vibration - which frequencies are enhanced, which are weakened. Of course this all happens in milliseconds, almost instantly.

• AND, as the pickups are attached to the guitar as well, they vibrate - and their motion relative to the strings (however great or slight it might be) also becomes part of the sonic stew, and affects exactly what the electromagnet gets from the string and converts to electricity.

Which brings me to the pickups. I guess it doesn't even bear repeating that their design matters to the final tonal product as well: type of magnets, strength of magnets, type and gauge of wire, how many winds, how tight the winds, polepiece material, bobbin material, case material, ad infinitum. All interact to determine the pickup's pattern of response to what the strings are doing.


Shorter answer: everything affects what the strings are doing at any given time, and thus what the pickups...pick up.

It's fascinating stuff, and the physical complexity of electric guitar tone is part of what keeps us coming back.

21

Id love to try a compensated Tru-Arc in place of the ABR1 on my Les Paul, do they exist? And has anyone ever tried that?

22

That's the SerpenTune. Works fine on a Lester. It has been tried and approved. (This pic shows one on a Gretsch with fixed posts.)

24

My Off Kiltertrons are dying to play with a Serpentune.

25

It's coming! Before Christmas, I practically promise.


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