Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Converting a convertible

126

Put an old Mosrite pick up I had where that crap filter was--WOW. I love Mosrite pick ups. I was so taken I was motivated to make a pocket camera video. Slight problem was my apartment was so cavernous (old Europe) that it's a lot of reverb--and that's before the reverb unit is turned on.

Again, your thread--but I love mods and don't regret a single one. There is a reason no one ever played a Convertible live. Indeed--I have story there. My brother had our Convertible advertised in the Recycler back in LA in 1993 and this guy calls him. "Yeah I would like to check out the Convertible. My name is Brian".

So Brian Setzer shows up at my brother's house. He was looking for something Gretsch but different to introducer the Orchestra with. He didn't buy the guitar. And we still have the damn thing. But it is original. And this is the point.

127

Not sure how "vintage" this B6 is.... no screws behind the string pins? Maybe 70's? I guess that's still "vintage".

– kc_eddie_b

I thought he was being a bit cheeky Ed, meaning a modern version of the 55-59 Bigsby style, Pre V-cut.

Sorry I am going againt the grain here - I know you don't like oldies being cut up :)

128

Aiiie an abomintion!! Burn him!! Burn him!!

– Toxophilite

Oh yeah. I so wanted to do that with my G400C but was afraid of doing something bad to the x-braced top. Gretsch did make the filter version with Bigsby and that's what Brian Setzer was using for some of the early BSO shows and it was on the cover of the first BSO album. I tried one and it didn't have nearly the acoustic response of mine. I did want to make mine a convertible too but couldn't figure out how to do a bridge pickup without cutting the x-brace. Rattlecat brilliantly solved that problem by cutting the polepieces on the first and sixth positions. I bet that sounds fantastic twanging the Bigsby.

129

I thought he was being a bit cheeky Ed, meaning a modern version of the 55-59 Bigsby style, Pre V-cut.

Sorry I am going againt the grain here - I know you don't like oldies being cut up :)

– knavel

I'm pretty sure Bernie meant the vintage 'look', meaning the non-V-cut version either with black enamel or all [faded for his tastes!] gold. In other words the look of the mid '50's Bigsbies without having to lay out a small fortune for a real one.

130

Not sure how "vintage" this B6 is.... no screws behind the string pins? Maybe 70's? I guess that's still "vintage".

– kc_eddie_b

It's a new one I aged. A bit of time being shaken up with nuts and bolts. some strategic beating with spoon and drill bit, and then aging with draino to get that dull whitish look. Of course neutralized with vinegar after and rinsed etc etc. That's why I had 'vintage' in quotes. I'm not a stickler for the actual age, more the function and the look.., and It was fun! The new one as is was way too shiny and somehow the old gold V-cut looked a little wrong.

131

Put an old Mosrite pick up I had where that crap filter was--WOW. I love Mosrite pick ups. I was so taken I was motivated to make a pocket camera video. Slight problem was my apartment was so cavernous (old Europe) that it's a lot of reverb--and that's before the reverb unit is turned on.

Again, your thread--but I love mods and don't regret a single one. There is a reason no one ever played a Convertible live. Indeed--I have story there. My brother had our Convertible advertised in the Recycler back in LA in 1993 and this guy calls him. "Yeah I would like to check out the Convertible. My name is Brian".

So Brian Setzer shows up at my brother's house. He was looking for something Gretsch but different to introducer the Orchestra with. He didn't buy the guitar. And we still have the damn thing. But it is original. And this is the point.

– knavel

I'm not sure i understand. Do you mean that you couldn't sell the guitar, because it isn't practical in it's original format?? Feel free to give me your un-loadable convertible! I wouldn't mind having a brace of them, like dueling pistols, or sixguns!! how much are you selling it for? Looks like you really went to town on that anniversary, you probably had fun doing it and really seem to be enjoying the results. Excellent! Personally I don't know if buy into the magnet thing, gauss is gauss after all. Strength of magnet yes, composition not so much, but that's just my opinion. As far as the 'old stuff' goes, i write music , heavily influenced by music history it's true. Go here: https://thecolorifics.bandc...

listening is free

132

It will howl or runaway a note at certain levels, freq. and position on the fretboard...at least mine does.

133

Mosrite pickups are great. Similar sonic territory to a Dynasonic. For those not wanting to mod an old archtop, the DeArmond rhythm chief is a great pickup. In fact two of them are even better!

135

Mosrite pickups are great. Similar sonic territory to a Dynasonic. For those not wanting to mod an old archtop, the DeArmond rhythm chief is a great pickup. In fact two of them are even better!

– Mel Waldorf

I haven't decided yet on whether I want to go the Rhythm Chief route - it would be dual if I do - for my Fleetwood. I'll need to hear how it sounds acoustically first. If I do go that route, I'll have to get a pickguard made for it so I can install the controls on the underside and have minimally visual wheels on the edge - ala the Super Chet, only new and dependable!! Personally I can't abide the look of the controls hanging off the tailpiece. They're just fugly and this is going to be a gorgeous guitar when the restoration is complete. I'd consider it insulting to the guitar to mount that control contraption.

BTW Mel, what guitar is that you're showing? Controls aside, it's just lovely!

136

I like the control unit, part of the whole deal and truly convertible. Those are both very handsome guitars! I like to be able to adjust the pole pieces on my pickups so I prefer the 1100. they've reissued it in gold..supposedly successfully. I had a couple I was trying on a hofner. I sold the hofner, sold one pickup to a friend. and the other went kaput on me. Still it could look sharp .(I had to manufacture a standard monkey on a stick arrangement as the new ones only come in neck mount) The old rhythm chiefs while cool just command too much money. I will NEVER pay that much for a guitar pickup.

137

I've been pondering pickups. My Dearmond 2000 arrives in the next day or so. and I will be wiring it in and trying it out to see if I like the sound of these pickups with this guitar. I did have a 50s annniversary that I added anther vintage dearmond too and I never could get into the sound, either too dark or too thin. A litlle thick and too spiky in the high mids. I regret selling the guitar but mostly because it looked so cool! I've been pondering this set of 60s hiltron pickups I have. Hilotrons are my all time favourite gretsch guitar pickup. They can be full and warm but still retain the articulation and pretty top end that you usually only find on nice acoustic guitars. That's why I like them. They're never muddy. I've recently come to like filtertrons too as they share some of the same qualitys albeit somewhat rounded off.

Anyway the point of this is too devise a way to surface mount hilotrons without having to drill the two holes necessary to hold the pickups together and on the guitar. Some sort of way to solidify the loose conglomeration of parts(like filtertrons too) and provide a flat bottom surface to hold enough two sided tape. I have enough clearance for both. Maybe a nylon bottom plate I can use shorter mounting screws to screw into to hold the pickup together. hmmm

138

Test rig for trying the dyna-lite, notice the switch mounted in the F-hole with a nylon washer. Sadly, lx was right about the volume incompatability but I had to try for myself. The Dearmond 2000 was right up by the strings and I even tried it loser to the neck. The vintage Dearmond had the poles sunken right down into the pickup. vintage dearmond around 9.3k Dearmond 2000 8k

I was contemplating winding the dynalite hotter.

Thinking of options. I still don't want to cut a hole for a another vintage dearmond

139

Most double-stick tape is not acid free; and the nature of old lacquer is such that it may be pulled off by the tape when you remove the pickups. Rather than having a metal support under the floating pickups, you could use a "surround" of clear plastic over the pickup mounts and attach to the pickguard; you may need to fabricate a new pickguard.

If you want two Dynas, I'd make it into a double convertible. Three mini-pots with the small knobs: master/neck volume, bridge volume, and tone. Mini-toggle for the pickup selector all on a repro of the original pickguard. Yeah, you'd have to cut into the top, but you'd lose little to nothing in terms of tone if you made the hole only big enough to just accommodate the pole-pieces. Or use two Dynalites and not cut.

The 6199-S Double Convertible. I'd buy it.

140

Yer right i forgot a friend had told me that most foam tape isn't archival It was fine on the bulletproof poly finish my Aria had No harm done in the short term. i wish I hadn't sold the pair of dearmand mustache pickups I had as they were super low profile, light and could easilly be mounted low on a pickguard!

141

Ahhhh hilotrons! Alll guitars must be the SAME!! They actually look pretty good. Nice little round pickups and I've had good luck with them on bigger long scale archtops. Even better they fit very nicely. The only surrounds I have are gold...come to think of it I have gold cases too from some modern blacktop filtertrons..If I want to got the gold route. Or I could make custom surrounds

142

Looks good like that.

Or copper guard, surrounds and Hilo inserts?

143

Looks good like that.

Or copper guard, surrounds and Hilo inserts?

– Setzer

Oh, I think that's a terrific suggestion!! Copper mist to match up with the back and sides. That definitely would be unique and perfect!

144

Yessiree! If one went with the hilotrons one would definitely need the copper mist surrounds and guard. I tried both a gold surround and a silver surround and neither provides enough contrast though the silver looks a little better. Gretsch now calls the colour on the new two tone anniversary guards "bronze"

Oh and I tried the hilotrons. As usual they sound great. Always a pretty sound and they can rock too. I might have another gold 'dyna-lite' on the way .If I can't get them to fit I discovered that hilotrons fit in their covers which is cool. With a new black plastic top to fit the dearmond shell and maybe fake dearmond pole pieces (because that's a big part of what makes dearmonds look cool) it could be neat an aesthetic choice. One thing cool about hilotrons though is that they only need two screws to surface mount. The original hole in the top is wide enough that I glued two small maple blocks(1/4" by 3/8" to the braces, just under the level of the top and pre drilled some holes in them so the neck hilotron mounts easily with no invasive holes. If I decided to go that route 2 small screw holes in the bridge position would not be toooo bad. For the bridge hilotron I made some shorter poles(saving the originals) allowing it to be truly surface mounted.

145

I was trying to think of another 'non-invasive' way to mount a bridge pickup but the only thing I could think of is a dirty big magnet under the top of the guitar holding the pickup in place! I might go back to sleep and dream up more ridiculous things now ...

146

Yeah it's a conundrum, especially if one rules out 2 sided foam tape as being to acidic/non-archoval.

147

Never one to ignore the obvious, it already has a big ugly hole in the top; what's a couple more small screw holes here or there.?

148

Yeah since it's a laminated top, and the acoustic properties aren't really very good on these guitars, it almost begs to be turned into a country club. If it's a player, I say go for what you want, they aren't easy to sell from a collectible standpoint even if clean and original. The one I had wasn't great acoustically or electric, if you are thinking these are on the level of say a Gibson Johnny Smith it ain't happening. IMO of course.

149

That's funny I've been flirting with the full conversion idea as well. I know they're not Johnny Smith material.That was my rational all along. I think a well done conversion would probably be just as valuable as a stock one and likely easier to sell. The acoustic sound isn't amazing, but it's actually enjoyable and better than I remembered and I have some NICE acoustics Electrically it's pleasing though I'm not sure if I'm a Dearmond fan in general. I've been enjoying the Hilotrons, they really capture the body sound pretty good. The difference between my 64-ish slender country club with hilotrons and this guitar is pretty dramatic .Even my girlfriend noticed it. This one sounds ..well deeper and bigger. Interestingly, the lower bout of this guitar is actually 16 3/4" I noticed when it was beside the country club that the country club's 17' lower bout looked wider .

150

Yeah it's a conundrum, especially if one rules out 2 sided foam tape as being to acidic/non-archoval.

– Toxophilite

Dave you really have to stop saying 'big ugly hole'

All electric Gretsch's have big ugly holes in them! MIne only has one so far This particular BIG UGLY HOLE is only about 2 3/8" by 7/8" Smaller than a filtertron pickup rout.


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