Other Equipment

The oldest Tru-Arc™ is now 11 years old. No, OK, TEN years old.

1

Because I'm otherly-abled in math, I was thinking 2018 would be the 10th anniversary of something that started in 2008. Thus last July (if I can recall, and I can't), I didn't make any fuss about Tru-Arc's 10th birthday.

Turns out 2018 is actually the 11th go-round. I hereby make a big deal of it.

The prototypes of the bridges were shown at the first Nashville Roundup, in June 2008, where they were well received. I then announced the bridges here on the GDP and "opened for business."


The original impetus for the development of the product (which had begun the previous July) was persistent whining and bitching here on the GDP from guys who had 9.5" fingerboards and much flatter bridges - up to 20" radius - on their guitars. It seemed to me (and other posters) that the obvious solution would be to file the string slots on the bridges so the bottoms of the slots matched the radius of the fingerboard, even if the saddles or bridges themselves didn't.

But few seemed to go to that effort.

So. My brother had a tube-bending business, of all things, where he did (and does) precise fabrication work for all manner of industries - and I figured, "the rocking bar bridges sure look like tubes, maybe it's in his bailiwick." And it was, and he (and his staff) did all the development work - some of which involved some non-obvious engineering that ended up improving on the basic design of the Gretsch rocking bar bridge (which was our starting point).

At that June 2008 Roundup, I checked with both Fred Gretsch and Joe Carducci to see if my basing my product on their existing bridge violated any intellectual property, and they agreed it did not.

Thus, production proceeded. I assumed there would be a worldwide lifetime market of 50 guys who had 9.5" radius fingerboards and mismatching bridge radii - and who cared - so it was pretty low key.

But at the last minute, out of curiosity (and more intuition than I should take credit for), I asked the shop to use three different metals. Because, you know. What if they sounded different?

And they did - and that was the basis for most sales in the beginning, though the radius match was a big deal as well (as it remains for some buyers who are aware of it).

ANYway. It's a product line that grew directly out of my involvement on the GDP, and the critical nature of many posters at that time. (Something that has changed, it seems.) To the extent I've ever had marketing, it's been word-of-mouth here on the GDP. So I have the GDP - and all of you - to thank for what has become a steady business for me.

So...thanks!

According to my records, Troy Dering (troy6120) got the first Tru-Arc shipped, an AL-120 - though the first to pay for a bridge was either Shawn Roux (sroux) or one Adrian McKenna (then known as shuie, now as Ade). That all happened during the second week of July, 2008. Troy's bridge was shipped on 7/22, and the rest of the first batch on 8/7. (Then, as always and still, shipping sometimes lags behind orders.)

Other early adopters - of the first 10 bridges - were Shawn Bragg (Reverb11), Mark Joss (RPC), an Alexander Beck (fudongshi), Sergi Romero (sergi), and Martijn Vink (Vinkie). All were GDP members.

Oddly, of the first 10 bridges, only two went to the US, both to Louisiana. The others went to the UK, Canada, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands. Through the years, about a third of the business has been international, with bridges going to 44 countries including Russia and Tibet.

Besides trying to make multiple solutions for every Gretsch model - which has included various string spacings, hole diameters and spacings, bridge height, and bridge width - we've done bass and baritone bridges, and one for a 12-string (which Cam bought).

The most interesting developments, from my perspective, were the Hole Tone options for drilled and lightened bridges; the fully (and truly) compensated SerpenTune series (development name: TruComp); and the glass bridges.

But I realize all those materials (5 metals and glass) and Tru-Arc versions make the product line confusing. It's just been the only way to assure a bridge for almost any Gretsch - and lots of other brands as well.

In 2010, Duane Eddy endorsed Tru-Arc™ for inclusion on his signature model 6120, and he's mentioned it in several interviews and articles - and used it at gigs and on recordings. I'm a little proud, of course - but mostly, just forever grateful. Duane took the selection process very seriously, trying every material for months at a time, before settling on Stainless - which does provide masterful punch on his sig model - because aluminum was "too twangy!" (But when you're the Titan, the twang comes from within.)

I'm not a guy who likes thrills and excitement - but after waiting through a series of great acts at the Guitar Geek Festival (2010, I believe) for Duane to take the headliner stage, when he stepped on after midnight, plugged into a pair (I think) of 2-15 Showmans, and hit the first note on his sig 6120...well, when I heard and felt the impact of that tone, on those iconic riffs...it was just pretty cool to know I'd had been privileged to have the teeniest tiniest part in its production.

Thanks again, Duane.

There have been many other well-known and "celebrity" adopters over the years, but a list would surely leave someone out, and raise questions about who's "famous" enough to be mentioned. I guess I can't help but mention Paul Yandell, however, whose interest, enthusiasm, and friendship in the later years of his life meant so much to me.

And, of course, Joe Carducci and Fred Gretsch have been very supportive from the beginning. Without Joe, there's no way I could have penetrated FMIC. I owe the man worlds of gratitude.

I was also informed that Tru-Arc™ is the "official bar bridge" of the Gretsch Custom Shop. I can't help but find that gratifying.


So there you go. It's been an amazing 11 years. I've learned a lot, forgotten a lot, and keep learning more.

Next goal: computerized accounting and a real website

Who knows what might happen then!

Thanks, everyone.

2

It has been more than gratifying watching this from the get-go. Darn proud. Good on you, Tim.

3

Congratulations! It's an achievement that anything in today's world survives a decade (times are a changin' fast).

I am tickled to discover I was one of the first ten purchasers. I still have that bridge (and have bought a couple more since then.)

Way to go Tru Arc!

4

Congratulations Tim! Great history and great story. I love the Hole Tone and still plan to put a glass bridge on my Streamliner project. :)

6

Tim, you have done a wonderful job, and indeed have provided an idea, and a product, to cover what now seems to be a no-brainer. My plunking efforts have been greatly enhanced by your products, and your patience in helping to work out a few wrinkles of my own areas have not gone unnoticed.

My salute to you, Sir, for providing a high quality product. Here's to another eleven, then a'nuther, and a'nuther, and maybe a'nuther, and...that ought to just about do it.

Congratulations.

7

So Tru-Arcs are now officially "vintage" ?

8

Tim,

Your Tru-Arcs just make the world a better place! Thanks for my stainless steel Tru-Arc. It makes people think I sound better than I do.

9

Well done sir. Best mod I've ever done to a guitar! Proud owner of a Low Rider SS

10

i have said it here before but I've tried 5 different bridges on my Duo Jet before settling on an aluminum Tru-Arc Serpentune. I remember how excited I was when you announced them. It is by far the best sounding and functioning bridge for my Duo Jet.

Congratulations!

11

Congrats! You have me now thinking about a Serpentune for my Falcon.

12

Thanks! And thanks for all the options. I've got three different bridges and three different guitars and swapping some around helped me find the right material for each guitar.

13

I’m honored to have mine on the falcon and synchroclub!!! They sound fantastic!!

14

No, thank you, Tim.

In much the same vein as the quote by Charles Dudley Warner, "Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.", everybody knew about the bridge mismatch issue but nobody had done anything meaningful about it.

For many (most?) players, it's not an issue. Even for those who do notice the mismatch, most adjust quickly. Then there are those of us who can't stop noticing.

When I purchased my first Gretsch in early 2008, I knew quickly that the 9.5 inch radius and the Adjust-O-Matic bridge weren't going to work for me. Rattling/buzzing issues aside, the radius mismatch really affected my playing, particularly above the seventh fret.

After going through two Gretsch bar bridges (of two different radii, oddly), I had settled for a Nashville-style TOM that I had cut the saddles as deeply as I dared to get as close as I could to the fretboard radius.

Having delved into the GDP archives, and seen many discussions on the subject, I knew that this was an issue that bothered others to varying degrees. I was even considering trading for something with a 12 inch radius, just to be done with the issue.

I know my first Tru-Arc order was fairly early, as the AL-95 and ST-95 that I purchased first do not have the Tru-Arc name stamped into them as my later ones do. I also know that, for me, they've completely resolved the bridge mismatch issue.

So, thank you for doing something, instead of just talking about it, and doing it very, very well.

Now, about the weather....

15

I love things that are well designed, and have nothing but respect for their parents. Tru-Arc bridges are at the top of the list, along with my JW Young fly reels (60+ years on rivers and rocks and still no sign of wear beyond the paint) and of course, the Gretsch guitars that adorn them; Tru-Arcs that is. An excellent bit of engineering Tim; congratulations and many, many thanks.

16

Congratulations! I have a SS serpentune on my 2012 Anniversary and a regular SS TruArc on my 53 es175 and that’s where they’ll stay as long as I own these instruments.

18

As the UK supplier of Tru -Arc I too am proud of the small part I play in getting ‘em to the people who want ‘em. Thanks for a great product, and long may we collectively and truly ROCK!

And I make your sums correct; 10 years from July ‘08 is July ‘18.

19

Its been exciting rooting for this enterprise, witnessing it sprout from the ground and grow eyes, Cheers!! Especially spectating from the warm glow of the GDP screen, all the spudtacular convos around it. It's tuberd the melt down of the website fried so many wonder stories, demos, etc. But ehhh, youre back around and you spuddenly came up w the serpentune that silenced that emma'tater so my trestle braces SSU is finally fat brass happy & my gib es-285 is aluminated from its starchy darkness! I'm ready tuber another one soon! Thanks a laktes, Tim!

20

It's a great idea you brought to life, Tim. Fun, too, in that we get to experiment with different types and share our results.

Serpentune took it to pinnacle.

21

Congrats and thanks for 11 years of TruArc adventures.

22

Happy birthday Tru-Arc! This is the AL120 #2 or #3, as described above in Tim's post. Photographed this morning, ten years of valiant service and counting.

23

This bridge has travelled many miles and glinted under the hot lights of innumerable stages. I believed in you and this product from day one, Tim. Neither the bridge nor you has ever let me down.

24

Serpintune makes my Jet perfect.

A glass TruArc sounds as good as it looks, crystal clear.

And I’ve got 5 more.

25

Love me some TRU-ARC. I have them on all of my guitars ( 2 Gretsch, 1 Rickenbacker). Thanks Tim!


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