Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Need help with truss rod, ‘54 Electro II

1

This is a pre-Country Club 6192, so the truss rod nut is by the heel and is accessed by removing the neck pickup. Anybody have experience with these and know how to get the proper tool? Thanks

2

The vintage truss rods located at the headstock (roughly, pre-'55-ish) were square-shaped and typically worked in reverse to standard practice. A vintage square cut key - sometimes a drum key - is what was usually used. You may be the first on the Gretschpages to describe the process for this particular truss rod. Feel free to post pics. Maybe Curt Wilson has experience with these?

3

The one I had used a square drumkit size key as well and worked in reverse. I made a tool myself by welding a longer piece of metal to a key that size.

4

The one I had used a square drumkit size key as well and worked in reverse. I made a tool myself by welding a longer piece of metal to a key that size.

– Danman

Is a drum key 1/4"? I don't mind cutting and welding, but it's quite a bit of work if I'm going to experiment with sizes. I'd prefer to do it once. I tried the drive end of a 1/4" socket extension and the outer diameter is too big to fit in the space. I'd turn it down but there isn't much extra meat on it, leading me to believe the square inside may be smaller than 1/4. I have a dulcimer tuning key that is 3/16, which is/was a pretty standard size for some instruments....

5

Is a drum key 1/4"? I don't mind cutting and welding, but it's quite a bit of work if I'm going to experiment with sizes. I'd prefer to do it once. I tried the drive end of a 1/4" socket extension and the outer diameter is too big to fit in the space. I'd turn it down but there isn't much extra meat on it, leading me to believe the square inside may be smaller than 1/4. I have a dulcimer tuning key that is 3/16, which is/was a pretty standard size for some instruments....

– charlie chitlins

I really don't know anymore. People here have always referred to it as drum key size so I assumed that that was what it was. I didn't use a drum key but happened to find something that fit and made it in to a trussrod tool. Unfortunately I don't have it anymore.

6

I have a vague memory of using a 1/4" square nutdriver when I had one of these. Or depending on how deep you need to go, maybe you could get by with a right angle drum key?

https://reverb.com/item/168...

7

I ground the OD of a 1/4" extension down to 3/8" so it would fit in the channel. Turns out the adjuster is smaller than 1/4". Hadda get in there to find out. Here's a pic of a drum key I have compared to the 1/4" drive. Next is to weld on an extension. It has to reach the length of the fretboard extension over the body...about 3".

8

Here's a cool shot, too. I've had these pickups out, but I don't recall seeing this... They seem to be full of some sort of hard resin and the company logos are cast right into the resin. Can you see it?

10

What a pain. Glad you have the skill and patience to get in there and sort it out

11

Ooooh, Charlie...nice over-the-binding fret job. Did you do it yourself?

12

What a pain. Glad you have the skill and patience to get in there and sort it out

– spike

I'm taking good care of your old girl, amigo.

13

Dynasonics with clear bottom bobbins seem to be on all the earliest electric Gretsches. Nice fretwork btw.

14

A drum key should work that's what I used on my electro two though admittedly it was re-necked with a later 54 neck. At the local music store they had one that fit in a drill which could also be used with a driver. I think my electro 2 had the clear resin DeArmonds.

15

As a point of interest...this guitar came ALIVE in a way that I've never experienced with a truss rod adjustment (I did finally get it done). I switched to 9s awhile ago due to some nerve damage in my arms and hands which may eventually end my ability to play (I'm not too good, anyway), and I still had a tiny hair of relief, but I just felt like I wanted to try more. When I got her strung up...BWAAAA....it was so alive and LOUD. Then I remembered I had put a sound post under the bridge which made it better behaved onstage, but neutered acoustically. I assumed the sound post had dropped when I slacked the strings. Nope! Still there. So much nuance in these machines.

16

Glad to hear that you got it done! And that the guitar came alive! Great!

17

Wow that's outstanding! Way to keep that old piece running!

18

Wow that's outstanding! Way to keep that old piece running!

– spike

She's in semi-retirement, but still sees a handful of gigs a year...when it's not too cold out.

19

I switched to 9s awhile ago due to some nerve damage in my arms and hands which may eventually end my ability to play (I'm not too good, anyway), and I still had a tiny hair of relief, but I just felt like I wanted to try more.


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