Other Equipment

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

51

Oh! I forgot to mention the sandblaster. Cleans 'em right up.

52

That's OK, I just ran them over a buffing wheel. They shine like a new Tru-Arc!

53

Has anyone plated a brass tru arc?

54

Has anyone plated a brass tru arc?

– Bryan K.

Having access to a friend's plating shop, I had considered doing just that.

However, since the thickness of the plating adds several thousandths of an inch to each of the string slots, I would have needed deeper string slots on the bridge prior to plating to compensate for the loss of depth due to the plating. If not, the strings might be prone to popping out of the slots.

Since turning the bridge on a lathe after it has been bent to a radius would be a problem, I was considering doing it by hand but couldn't bring myself to start grinding on a perfectly fine bridge.

I suppose that one could contact Tim and have the slots cut deeper to compensate prior to bending, but I pretty much dropped the idea before taking that step.

55

So Aluminum is traditional for 10th Anniversaries. I suggest either anodized colors or some fancy engraving. Or both.

56

We have a combination of issues with plating.

Yes, we'd have to find out how thick our plater's plating would be, if it would be the same on all substrates, and if he's confident he can hold that thickness. (From observation of plating on Gretsch bar bridges, I'd say this isn't a given. It varies. That would be a problem.)

Then we'd have to determine accordingly how much to oversize not only string grooves, but mounting holes (to say nothing of the stamped Tru-Arc logo itself) - and execute those changes.

After that it comes down to numbers and logistics. It would be very cost-effective to plate a large quantity of similar bridges. But with 5 metals in two standard radii, two basic styles (Standard and SerpenTune), with significant additional variants and options in size, hole spacing/diameter, SerpenTune profile detail, undercuts - a series for 2nd-gen 5400s, a series for 2nd-gen Electromatic solids, Low Riders, Synchro-base versions, Bigsby-compensated-base versions, wound-G compensation, ETC - and presumably two different platings (chrome & gold)...

how would I ever decide what quantity of each variety to plate in what color?

For Gretsch (or name your manufacturer), it's easy: they have ONE design of each bridge type, ONE substrate, and two plating colors.

To get any economy of scale, a plater would work in batches of at least the same metal, in the same color. I could presumably mix any combination of bridges of that metal. That makes the conundrum slightly less daunting, but still significant.

Nother words, the more same-metal/same-plating-color bridges I can have done in a single batch, the cheaper per bridge - but with so many SKUs (or, thinking of it differently, options), I don't sell a LOT of any one bridge model. The kind of quantity that would make plating reasonable (for the buyer) would be ruinous to me if I guessed wrong.

(For the record, I have a 100% perfect record for guessing wrong when making stock orders of bridges.)

We're technically willing to have a bridge plated for a customer - do the math for the dimensional differences, etc - but it always looks like it's going to add 80.00 to the cost of the bridge (the last quote I had for a "batch" of plating). And so far, no one has been 80.00 worth of interested in a plated bridge.

And since plating corrodes, wears, or flakes over time - whereas the bare-metal bridges can always be polished back to as-new - there just doesn't seem to be a compelling argument for it.

Guys want to get together and pool their orders of a particular material (any model) with a particular color of plating, we might could get to critical mass for an order that would bring plating in at a reasonable cost per. And THEN, if everyone pre-paid and was patient, we could do it.

57

I'm with you on that, Bax.

58

No plating necessary. There is beauty in simplicity.

59

I have four or five stainless tru arcs that look close enough to chrome & nickel. Id like to try gold plating a brass tru arc for my gent.

60

I agree with all that everyone has said, and no doubt Tim deserves all this praise. I’ll even add some more: I’ve bought a number of Tru Arcs, some directly from Tim, some came on the guitar I bought. The one that first comes to mind is the brass Tru Arc that came on a pre-FMIC 6120DE (in Deed’s favorite color, silver burst) that I bought from Stan Ridgway (I didn’t buy it directly from him, it was on consignment at TrueTone). I had to sell that guitar shortly after I bought it, but kept the Tru Arc (it seemed like the right thing to to; the guitar came with 3 bridges), and the first Tru Arc miracle happened when I bought a G100CE. Its bridge base is beautiful, I just wasn’t getting any great sound out of it. On a lark, I put that brass Tru Arc on it, and as if by resurrection, that guitar came to life. The Tru Arc is still there,

What I still haven’t figured out, though, is how Tim pulled off the Christmas Tru Arc Miracle. I think it was 2010, I had bought a bamboo/copper Country Club from Rocky, and it arrived shortly before Christmas. Wonderful guitar, but that Stinkrosonic bridge, arghh. I ordered a stainless Tru Arc, and was dismayed, though not surprised, when it didn’t arrive before Christmas. So, Christmas Day, I went with my family to my brother-in-law’s house for the holiday festivities, tempered somewhat by the fact that the present I wanted most, that Tru Arc, didn’t arrive. Later that evening, we came home, and something told me “Look in the mailbox.” Why?, I thought. The Postal Service doesn’t deliver on Christmas Day. But I looked anyway. And it was there. Now Tim and I may share some German ancestry, but we don’t live anywhere near each other. So I don’t know how he did it. Sure, the USPS could have delivered it to the wrong house, and one of my neighbors might have, in a rare moment of Christmas generosity, opted to re-deliver it to where it was supposed to go. But I think it was Tru Arc magic. And for that, I will always be grateful. Keep up the magic, looking forward to seeing what an Iridium bridge looks like.


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