Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Converting a convertible


Dremel for routing? I certainly have one. I have another dyna lite coming in the mail. I'm going to try a pair of them out on this guitar for fun.


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.

– Toxophilite

Well, I refer to the hole as "big and ugly" because it's roughly done and the pup doesn't sit and cover it up, it hovers over the Gretsch did them. True, it's smaller than a filter rout.

I say hog out another hole and drop in a second pup. There really isn't any acoustic property that's going to be ruined with a second "big ugly hole". If down the road you want to sell it, it should sell quicker with a second pup as single pup guitars aren't as popular. I consider it an upgrade to this model. The wonderful two-tone paint is already an upgrade from say a Streamliner, no?


Right now there isn't another pickup (that I have)other than a modern Gretsch Dynasonic to drop in as another pup, which would of course require another hole. The guitar actually does have acoustic properties. It's the loudest of my hollowbody electric archtops and sounds decent, just not amazing. I would go with a surface mount pickup in the bridge position before I blew $400 Can on a vintage Dearmond that I might not even like the sound of . I'll try combinations of surface mount pickups before I do anything more drastic. If I was to go full conversion it would be to mount a master volume on the cutaway and a switch up top. That's all I really need. Right now with the hilotrons, bigsby and controls the guitar is very nice and light and actually retains a lot of it's acoustic properties which makes it fun for walking around the house and or neighbourhood. Just for the record Streamliners come in the exact same finish as well.


Welll The hilotrons sounded quite dandy but I got another Dearmond 2000 (dyna-lite) in the mail and it was hotter than the first one I got , so by having the pickup close to the strings and raising the pole pieces, and completely sinking the pole pieces on the vintage dearmond I got a decent balance. I'm not sure if i think they sound better than the hilotrons. they do have that classic 50s country club look though, despite the newish look of the 2000. In a way I think Gretsch had something going with the Streamliners and the newer bamboo yellow country clubs. The silver hardware looked pretty nice on those.


My one man thread! I rocked the convertible tonight with a pair of hilotrons on it, the bridge pickup mounted temporarily with two sided tape to the top It sound great and was pleasing to play. We have a variety of original tunes in this rock trio Some bossa Novas. some country, some rockabilly, some full on distorted alternative heavy rock, some lighter melodic pop, some classic sounding hard rock. I was playing clean and very distorted, work well for both and when I wanted it to it produced very pleasing feedback (got right up on the amp) otherwise it wasn't feeding back at all. I think I'm going to stick with my favourite pickup on this guitar. I have a clear 50s style falcon sized pickguard coming from Paul (Thanks Paul!) as well as a couple of clear bezels so I can back paint them with a copper colour.


Pics or it never happened ....


Now we know why Sal never had a problem with the HiLoTron.


I can't believe I read the whole thing - quite diverting, in a verse-chorus-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-verse-chorus sort of way.

A consultant is someone who's paid to advise you why it's wise to do the thing you wanted to do anyway. I think you should put your favorite pickups - HiloTrons - on that guitar and be happy.


Pics or it never happened ....

– Doppler

No shots of me playing but a few posts back there's pictures of it with the hilotrons mounted in the exact same way I had it set up for rehearsal. Interestingly in my fiddling around I noticed the guitar is actually about 25.25" scale not 25.5". Also I was having fun trying out for most people what would be heavy top, light bottom strings. 12 16 24w 28 38 49


No Affiliation with Seller.

This '61 Sal just popped up at Cream City Music. Look at the bracket holding the HiLo on the pups left side. I think it may be mod as the poles have been flipped upside down. I'm not sure if the guard is original either. The sellers are saying it's a solid carved top. But they also say the scale length is 24.6". Anyone in that area?

It looks like a 25+" scale and with a bookmatched spruce top. A minute with a mechanics mirror would confirm things.


A mechanic's mirror, unfortunately as Bernie pointed out earlier in this thread and on my CC thread regarding carved tops, won't be the proof of a solid, carved top. He's seen a laminate top that has spruce as the outside and inside layers being spruced and lined up with the grain running in the same direction but with the center a soft hardwood such as poplar or aspen. We need a close-up pic of the edge of the top at the pup cut-out hole to prove a solid top.

And going back to the catalogue price issue, when the Convertible was renamed the Sal Salvador model, there was no increase in price commensurate with the newly re-named guitar now having a carved top. It's a laminate till proven otherwise.


Aieeee the top debate rears it's head again!


Aieeee the top debate rears it's head again! I like the hilotron, the thumbnail markers and the zero fret! i think the extra bracket on teh hilotron is a great idea. The dearmond arrangement on the convertible's is less than ideal. The pickguard could be original but bound on the outside edgesw Have a look at this one with a gold hilotron (cute!)


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

– Toxophilite

Hey Toxophilite, I just checked out your link, and wanted to give you some props. "Love Again" (my personal favorite) is a gem of a song, and what a perfect take.


Why thank you! If you didn't notice and have a bit of time there are a total of 4 Colorifics albums up on bandcamp with quite a variety of our/my music. Just look to the right on that first page. Here's the Convertible with the reproduction synchromatic bridge I just built our of Brazilian rosewood, This one , like all my bridges, has a compensated bone saddle to help with smoother bigsby action and wear. It also provides a bit more crispness to the top end.


Bought some 1/4" plastic and made some 57 style surrounds as per lx's suggestion. the taller profile but significantly smaller footprint suit the pickups and the guitar in my opinion. Still might contour the bottoms of the surrounds to match the top


side view. The bridge pickup surround will probably be notched to accommodate the wiring. It is currently sitting on top of the coaxial cable as I check out the look. Paint department at work is matching the copper mist paint for me for the pickguard.


Looking good! Which blank are you going to use?


Probably the big one. It's pretty sweet how much the super experienced scenic painters are getting into mixing up the right colour!


Spot on! That's exactly how mine looks. They look so much better than the molded ones. As far as color, you could make a third one without the beveling and contour, paint half silver and half copper as a color check. Just a thought. Any way you go they just look cool - especially with that bridge. Eventually I want a serpentune for the 'liner and I was thinking of painting the base copper. It's ridiculous how much fun it is to customize.

I really enjoyed working with the lucite/whatever on my pickguard project; it carves a lot like ebony. Martin actually made clear lucite compensated bridges and bases for their slim electrics (M-somethings), the ones with DeArmonds. They sounded a lot like ebony too.

I'd go with the pickguard mount as those were so distinctive. There was a '57 Constellation that was for sale in England that had a large oversize guard, but it was shaped more like a shark fin - just blew me away when I saw it. It may still be on reverb, gorgeous custom color too. Yes yes yes. Looks like the tailfin on Peter Gunn's '58 DeSoto. That is a little different from the 6199 I think.

Here's a '58 Annie with one of the flat (ick) surrounds.


ooo that's a slick constellation! I have a 50s falcon style thick pickguard that Paul sent me. I'm going to try that first , but that abbreviated convertible/constellation on is cool too.


I've still got these guards in my stash

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