Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Country gent mod question

1

My grandpa gave me a 66 gent. When both volumes are up it goes out of phase. As soon as you roll one back it goes back in phase again. Ever heard of this. Is it original? My grandpa doesn't remember. Sounds great plays great. No binding issues. It is a Dec 1966

2

Dang, that's a nice old girl! Congrats!

3

From what I know of these guitars they are normally wired as most gretsch's are.So that would not be normal. Didn't I see this Gent in another post mentioned in reference to bridge mutes? (This one has one, between the bridge pickup and bridge) However it kind of looks like there is an electrical toggle switch where the mute toggle used to be (right beside the bigsby arm attachment point). Is it? and if so what does it do?? Is it a phase switch?

4

From what I know of these guitars they are normally wired as most gretsch's are.So that would not be normal. Didn't I see this Gent in another post mentioned in reference to bridge mutes? (This one has one, between the bridge pickup and bridge) However it kind of looks like there is an electrical toggle switch where the mute toggle used to be (right beside the bigsby arm attachment point). Is it? and if so what does it do?? Is it a phase switch?

– Toxophilite

Nope that's just the mute. No switch. I like the mod but never have read anything about it. My granddad did work at a guitar store in the 60's maybe they did it.

5

Nope that's just the mute. No switch. I like the mod but never have read anything about it. My granddad did work at a guitar store in the 60's maybe they did it.

– Nick6120

There is a kill switch. It Does not change the phase. But that would be cool.

6

Ah I was mistaken, my apologies. Does the mud switch work as it should? it seems strange to wore the pickups out of phase together unless you had a way to switch between that and normal operation. Maybe the pickups were taken out and reinstalled wrong?

7

Ah I was mistaken, my apologies. Does the mud switch work as it should? it seems strange to wore the pickups out of phase together unless you had a way to switch between that and normal operation. Maybe the pickups were taken out and reinstalled wrong?

– Toxophilite

When roll down one of the 2 volume knobs it disengaged the out of phase sound and sounds like normal. It's got to be a mod. I just don't believe I have never heard of it. Thanks for your inquiry.

8

One of the pickups is simply wired out of phase. It’s not noticeable till both pickups are nearly at full output - because until they’re evenly matched, there’s not enough of the in-phase pickup present for the backwards pickup to be out of phase WITH.

The effect comes in dramatically at the very top of the volume knob’s travel because, on a Gretsch, the pots simply have a very fast taper. (On another guitar similarly wired, the out-of-phaseness would come in more gradually over more of the knob’s travel.)

If you like the effect, leave it alone. If not, just reverse the leads from one of the pickups on the pot it’s wired to.

It’s possible such a mod was intentional, but it’s equally likely it was the inadvertent by-product of a hasty or uninformed repair - like a pot or switch replacement. Look for a pot that seems nor to match the others visually; if there is one, it’s probably associated with the out-of-phase pickup.

9

Does it do the out of phase thing with either pickup volume knob?

Or just one of them?

I would suspect what I said before and what Proteus reiterated.

However are both pickups fully functioning when you roll the volume back to achieve this out of phase sound? Can you switch between the pickups in phase and out and still hear both?

Is that what's going on ?

If so that would be more like some sort of nutty phase mod. Strange they would use a volume control when there's about 25 extra switches on those guitars (I have a few similar year ones. I like the funny switches)

It's not immediately clear from your initial post

10

When roll down one of the 2 volume knobs it disengaged the out of phase sound and sounds like normal. It's got to be a mod. I just don't believe I have never heard of it. Thanks for your inquiry.

– Nick6120

That's consistent with how two pickups that are out of phase behave. It's probable that it's not even a modification - not uncommon for vintage guitars to come this way, it can be a factory oversight, if a pickup is assembled with the magnet facing the wrong way, that's what happens. Chet's D'Angelico was wired out of phase until someone pointed it out to him. It's a very easy fix.

Like Proteus says above, you want to flip the wires coming out of the pickup, hot becomes ground and ground becomes hot - BUT : you can only do that if the coil wires are isolated from the pickup's baseplate. On most vintage pickups, the ground side of the coil is connected to the baseplate to ground it, so the pickup doesn't need a third wire (baseplate/cover ground)

IF you have a two-wire pickup with one coil wire connected to the baseplate/cover, you can either :

-isolate said wire from the baseplate and attach a third wire to the baseplate and run that to ground (back of one of the pots, tailpiece ground, etc..) That allows you to flip the wires at the control (potentiometer) end with no grounding funny business.

  • take the pickup apart and flip the magnet 180° (really the easiest way to phase reverse a pickup, because it doesn't involve soldering) If you just flip the magnet, you can leave the wiring as is.

If all of this is completely alien to you, take the guitar to a tech and have him do it. It's fairly easy to ruin a pickup if you don't know what you're doing.

11

IIRC these came with push-in connectors, so it may be a simple task to connect it correctly. Congrats on getting a fine rare guitar; not just an old '60's Gretsch, but one without binding rot!

12

Does it do the out of phase thing with either pickup volume knob?

Or just one of them?

I would suspect what I said before and what Proteus reiterated.

However are both pickups fully functioning when you roll the volume back to achieve this out of phase sound? Can you switch between the pickups in phase and out and still hear both?

Is that what's going on ?

If so that would be more like some sort of nutty phase mod. Strange they would use a volume control when there's about 25 extra switches on those guitars (I have a few similar year ones. I like the funny switches)

It's not immediately clear from your initial post

– Toxophilite

Yes both volume knobs. The pickups function normally at same volumes. Yes you think they would have put it where the kill switch is. Nice to have another opinion. Thanks

13

One of the pickups is out of phase. Fix it.

14

Yes you think they would have put it where the kill switch is. Nice to have another opinion.

If it was an intentional mod, you might think that. You can also choose to think that intentionally wiring a pickup backwards was an exceptionally clever and non-invasive way to implement a phase reversal option.

But the likelihood is that connecting a pickup backwards was unintentional.

In any case, if you like it as is, don't fix it.

15

Yes both volume knobs. The pickups function normally at same volumes. Yes you think they would have put it where the kill switch is. Nice to have another opinion. Thanks

– Nick6120

These means one pickup is simply wired out of phase. I can't see it being an intentional mod. More likely it is a mistake that robs you of the sound of both pickups in phase. If you want the out of phase sound, wire the guitar properly and then wire the kill switch as a phase switch.

16

These means one pickup is simply wired out of phase.

Of course it does. What else could it mean?

17

These means one pickup is simply wired out of phase.

Of course it does. What else could it mean?

– WB

Yes.

I did suggest that almost right off the bat but the original poster was claiming it was just ONE volume control that put the guitar out of phase so I was giving him the benefit of the doubt and asking further questions to clarify. He was also asking if it was stock or factory.

18

Flip the magnet in one pickup! In the last 40 years of fixing guitars & amps ( on & off)I've seen a number of Gretsch's with pickups out of phase and it's almost always been a flipped magnet in on pickup. Extremely rare is it being wired wrong. Start with the magnet in one pickup.


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