Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Advice on 1962 6120, New Bridge Base

1

Hi there I have had a 1962 6120 for quite some time and I like it a lot. I have all the original parts but I changed the bridge to a Compton when I got it, the original was not in a good shape. Therefore I also changed the bridge base and everything was fine but....I am starting to wonder if I am loosing some clarity because of the base, it may not have full contact. I can't tell by looking at it but my 2004 Duo Jet has a lot more "air" acoustically. How do I deal with this, especially the wound strings sound slightly muted.

All the best Henrik

2

Try a Tru-Arc. I hear they have a better tone to them and you can choose several different materials.

3

I recently put tru arcs on three of my 6120s. All vintage 50s 6120's

You WILL hear a significant improvement.

Tru Arc: Highly recommended

4

Barring changing the bridge & base, you can try sanding the base on the guitar's top. Might not completely change what you hear but it should improve things if you currently don't have a tight fit.

5

One thing you might try...remove strings and bridge and tape sandpaper, rough side up, to the top of the 6120. Then sand the bridge base to match the curve of the Archtop. Then, get a Tru-Arc. They deliver the best tone, they match the radius and they rock slightly back and forth so the strings don’t have to slide across the bridge when using the Bigsby, decreasing potential tuning problems. I’ve tried Compton’s and I much prefer the Tru-Arc.

6

I recently put tru arcs on three of my 6120s. All vintage 50s 6120's

You WILL hear a significant improvement.

Tru Arc: Highly recommended

– Gasmoney

What kind of material do you spec your Tru-Arc bridges with for your 6120’s?

7

Doesn't that depend upon what tone you're looking for?

8

Doesn't that depend upon what tone you're looking for?

– Suprdave

Exactly... which is why I’m curious which material Gasmoney thinks is best for a classic 50s 6120 tone.

10

What material is your 50's bridge?

– J(ust an old Cowboy)D

Not sure who your question is directed at JD... but the 50s Chet models came with aluminum (Bigsby) bridge, with wooden base. Later 50s models had chrome over brass bar bridges.

11

Barring changing the bridge & base, you can try sanding the base on the guitar's top. Might not completely change what you hear but it should improve things if you currently don't have a tight fit.

– Windsordave

Being a Stew Mac video, they're hawking a tool (which admittedly looks handy if you were doing this a lot), but it gives you the general idea.

12

Not sure who your question is directed at JD... but the 50s Chet models came with aluminum (Bigsby) bridge, with wooden base. Later 50s models had chrome over brass bar bridges.

– kc_eddie_b

My mistake, didn't say @KCEDDIE.

I would say that if one knows what was on their year 6120 originally, stay with the same material for keeping it as close to the original tone.

If the esthetics of raw brass are an issue, get it chrome plated if one has the bucks.

My experience on modern 6120's has been that aluminum will really add some pop and snap to the single coils.

SS will give more high end, in a smooth way.

Brass will be right in the middle with just a nice rich tone.

Pretty much the same with Filters, depending on the model.

If one isn't concerned about a different looking modern bar bridge on a vintage Gretsch, it's hard to beat the Serpentune.

Guess that it's all about where one's head is, and what one's ears really hears with the different materials.

Everyone is a little different on what they like, and what they hear.

13

The bridge brings a great clarity to each string. Simply sounds a whole lot better. And they all sounded good before hand.

I don’t have a definition for classic 50s tone. I have my ears that know when it’s sweet music and when it’s not.

These bridges are a major improvement to both original bridges and the tuneamatic I was using on the others.

14

Broadly agree with JD.

I feel that aluminium had a tad less sustain but I hear a woody and airy quality that I really like.

Titanium is another great sounding material for bar bridges. Seems to combine the fullness and sustain of brass with a more open treble response.

15

The bridge brings a great clarity to each string. Simply sounds a whole lot better. And they all sounded good before hand.

I don’t have a definition for classic 50s tone. I have my ears that know when it’s sweet music and when it’s not.

These bridges are a major improvement to both original bridges and the tuneamatic I was using on the others.

– Gasmoney

Good old aluminum Serpentune. Very hard to beat that combination with Dynas on a 6120.

16

And, glass is an option. With the glass I just hear more string definition and a solid tone.

17

Hmm you drifted a bit from the subject It's not the bridge, it's something else. I am aware that there's a Compton versus Tru-Arc thing going on but this is a little more than that. I mentioned that I also have a Duo Jet and it doesn't have that issue if I use the bridge there. I think the sandpaper is probably the way to go. Thanks for the replies so far, and just keep the material debate going

All the best Henrik

18

Henrik - with the guitar tuned can you slip a thin piece of paper anywhere under the bridge? In either case, just protect the top and sanding will be simple.

19

The bridge brings a great clarity to each string. Simply sounds a whole lot better. And they all sounded good before hand.

I don’t have a definition for classic 50s tone. I have my ears that know when it’s sweet music and when it’s not.

These bridges are a major improvement to both original bridges and the tuneamatic I was using on the others.

– Gasmoney

Gasmoney, is that the Chet prototype with the white strips glued to the pickguard? Can you post more pictures of that? That is such a cool story and guitar!

20

Gasmoney, is that the Chet prototype with the white strips glued to the pickguard? Can you post more pictures of that? That is such a cool story and guitar!

– Powertronman

Sure.

I’ll start a separate thread in the next day.

Thanks

Fred

21

Afire has the answer above with Dan's video, if that's the case. Sorry, I misunderstood.

22

Sure.

I’ll start a separate thread in the next day.

Thanks

Fred

– Gasmoney

Thanks! Looking forward to it!

23

Henrik, as said before in this thread, a bridge base needs to be custom fitted the the instrument.

I'd take it to an experienced luthier to have it done, it's worth it


Register Sign in to join the conversation