Vintage Gretsch Guitars

1959 Single Anniversary Conversion Question

1

I might, maybe, perhaps, if I dare, have a 1959 or early 60 single Anniversary coming. It is just a tad over 6 lbs. with 21 frets and a serial number starting with 347, so I'm assuming it has the 'light trestle' bracing. What potential problems can I expect in converting it to a double pickup guitar. My primary concern is routing for the bridge pickup and whether or not I'd have to remove wood from the braces. The plan is to move the current neck PAF Filter'tron to the bridge and mount a Dearmond 2000 (Fender) in the neck using a riser.

2

No issues. Especially if it’s trestle braced. The route only goes through the top. Not into any of the bracing. Here is one I just did.

3

That's a relief JD. How did the guitar turn out as far as sound and response?

4

Still in the process, so not sure yet. But...it’s trestle braced, so I don’t expect any difference in overall sound or performance. Non trestle braced would certainly change a bit.

5

I did one about 23 years ago For some reason it had a Dearmond. Smoke green. I bought it in LA, found another vintage Dearmond in San Francisco and installed it at an engineer friend of my dads who had a shop in California. It worked great, I ended up selling the guitar but not because of any difficulties relating to the pickup addition. I just didn't like the DeArmonds at the time.. The single Anniversaries are the same guitars but just with one pickup, I can't see there being a significant difference between a modded one and a stock double anniversary. If it has normal archtop braces, just don't cut into them. I'm not a big single pickup guitar guy myself.

6

It'll be fine.

The trestles are glued onto the braces on the underside. So long as you're not planning to rout an inch deep, cutting 1/8" or 1/4" into the brace won't do any harm.

Depending on the neck angle, you may not need to go that deep - or even rout into the braces at all.

I'd suggest routing it shallow, dropping the pickup in there and measuring the gap between the pole screws and the strings. If, you can be bothered try connecting the pickup and see what it sounds like to decide if you need to go deeper.

Doesn't seem to be much point in cutting the recess too deep and then placing foam/chopped up mouse mat under the pickup to raise it up. If you can end up with your bridge pickup sitting right on top of the wood, I consider that the optimal outcome.

Some opinions might differ, but that's what I'd shoot for and it's what I did when I converted my 1960 Anniversary.

Good luck!

7

Yep, what Shuggie said.

8

Thanks for the info guys. I ordered it today and will have it in about a month, as it is being sent to my friend's address in Buffalo along with some other components from other companies. With all the border complications these days, tariffs, etc., it's easier and less expensive for me to drive over, pick it up, and pay the Canadian taxes when I come back across. They were a little flexible on the price too.

It has had a neck reset and was refretted with medium jumbo sized frets; they assured me that the neck job was done right. Gotoh has some vintage style open back tuners that fit into the Grover Rotomatic holes, and I'll try and find a V cut B6. The PAF Filter'tron will go to the bridge position and a Fender made Dearmond 2000 in the neck. I'll need to do something with the pickguard; no point in preserving it as is once there are two pickups in the guitar. And.....no binding rot. Here is a link to the store's listing. https://williesguitars.com/...

Wha-da-ya-think?

9

Loverly!

That should be a very cool sounding and very functional Anniversary guitar!

I went another route with my '59 single pickup Annie. I decided to replace one of the 'mud switch' caps with an inductor coil to roll off bass rather than rolling off treble. I now have a 'rhythm' position, a 'twang' position and a 'full' pickup position. Obviously not quite the same sound as a bridge pickup, but very functional in its own way.

10

Loverly!

That should be a very cool sounding and very functional Anniversary guitar!

I went another route with my '59 single pickup Annie. I decided to replace one of the 'mud switch' caps with an inductor coil to roll off bass rather than rolling off treble. I now have a 'rhythm' position, a 'twang' position and a 'full' pickup position. Obviously not quite the same sound as a bridge pickup, but very functional in its own way.

– Doppler

that's pretty cool. I'm still thinking about the circuit configuration; it will almost certainly have some kind of tone pot.

11

It's pretty easy to adapt the pickguard Journeyman.

Just fix it onto a straight edged piece of wood leaving an overhang the depth you require for the rear pickup recess. Then use a bearing guide router bit on a router table to cut it out.

Very easy and only takes a few seconds.

BTW here's a link showing how I located cut out the hole for the back pickup on my Annie conversion.

https://guitar.com/guides/d...


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