Vintage Gretsch Guitars

It’s ALIVE! 1954 ELFCTROMATIC-SNAG Fixed

1

Awhile ago I bought this old husk. I thought it high time I finish putting this together but I hit a snag...

When I stuck my camera phone into the pickup cavity I discovered a possible project spoiler. One of the braces is missing.

How big a deal is fixing this? Crap.

2

Oh geez.

It's on the bass side too. The pressed tops are very sturdy and I'd like to think that this would work without the brace, but I wouldn't try anything until I've talked to Curt. I would think that you could make a brace and glue it in, since the original fell out. You could fit clamps in easily enough through the holes.

Up through '57 the top braces were rounded as seen in your photo. In 1958 - to accomodate the new trestle bracing -- these braces were left flat. There is no difference in the acoustic response: my '57 Clipper with the rounded braces sounds almost identical acoustically to my '58 Clipper with the flat braces. This should also make it easier to clamp into place.

This is just a temporary setback. Long live the Elf!

3

Thanks lx. I feel better, I think. We’ll see what Curt says.

4

Well it doesn't have to be a huge deal Two routes,(which is probably the proper route) take the back off build new spruce brace (cope existing one) glue on, you need a go bar table above the guitar to use go bars (thin, 1/8" thick strips of wood) to hold the brace down.

Doing in situ is probably possible but likely requires more guesswork ,ingenuity and probably a lot of swearing. Likely the new brace might have to be short to allow you to get it into the guitar...this is all guess work by the way, Try this part first haha Make a copy of the exiting brace as closely as you can (take measurements and do it by eye. Make sure the mating surface matches the curvature of the top. (you could make a cardboard template of the top curvature and match your brace to it as your plywood top is probably consistently thick) vMake a 2"x2" softwood block (or two) that you can insert into the guitar to wedge up on the underside of the brace towards the butt of the guitar(and maybe one at the bridge).You could probably line one side with high density foam to get some squish/push. Do a dry fitting of everything. brace, wedge block in, clamp at pickup hole. Insert brace, use white'glue carpenters glue. insert brace. insert block, push towards butt(use stick if necessary) so brace is pushed up against the top, clamp at pickup hole with little squeeze clamp(use a caul with cork or high density foam on it on the top) cross fingers!!!

No doubt some of the pros here have a more viable method

5

I hope it works out. Looks like a great project.

6

I would prefer Titebond original to "white carpenter's glue". Best would be hot hide glue, but if you try to do that through the soundhole, you likely may not have time to get it positioned and clamped before hot hide glue gels.

8

I would prefer Titebond original to "white carpenter's glue". Best would be hot hide glue, but if you try to do that through the soundhole, you likely may not have time to get it positioned and clamped before hot hide glue gels.

– Bill Raymond

I actually meant white/carpenters glue They're all strong water soluble glues taht will more than do the trick for this job.

Normal Elmers carpenters glue is a PVA just like tightbond original They'll all work fine. Unless he has the back off and easy access I think hot hide glue would be problematic.

9

Thanks for the advice guys. I’m not quite handy enough to do a good job, I think. Let’s see what Curt says.

10

Why not just a post on where the bass side of the bridge sits? Replacing the brace seems almost like more trouble than it’s worth if all you need it’s to sturdy the top under the bridge

11

Paul, you are a genius! An elegant solution. Thanks. I’m going dowel shopping.

12

How’s this? Spruce dowel from stewmac. This ought to work fine. Thanks for the advice, folks.

13

Well there ya go! Nice fix.

14

Great quick fix. Can anyone please speculate on how that Dowel would effect the Guitar long term?

15

Great work Bob!! We Canadians are pretty good at McGyvering!!

16

My question is how did the previous owner get the bass bar out when it came loose??? Not easy threading it out an f hole!!!!

17

Thanks again, Paul. I’ll keep that in mind.

18

Great quick fix. Can anyone please speculate on how that Dowel would effect the Guitar long term?

– 949Norm

I'm sort of curious about this, as well. Would it push the back out, over time?

19

Maybe angled through the pup cavity.

20

If you like the post (I'm not a post guy myself, guitars aren't violins but many people love them) I'd be inclined to want something on either end of that dowel, or at least the top/spruce laminate side. Like a little foot. Maybe a 1/2" by 1/2" by 1.5" length of spruce, or a little piece of thin ply. Something to spread the pressure out a little. It shouldn't be too hard to do, you can glue it on prior and then slip it in. Just an opinion Whatever gets the guitar working and you having fun ultimately.

21

Nice work but I’d keep an eye on the back of the guitar where you’re point loading. If it stays in tune and you don’t develop a crack then you’re good but I’m thinking there’s some tone loss.

22

Thanks, Curt. I’ll keep an eye on it. It may be looking at a visit to the Schoolhouse.

23

If there’s any movement or u would like to see if you can get more out of it I would suggest adding a “foot” to both ends of the post. That should do the trick


Register Sign in to join the conversation