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 Post subject: Gretsch tuning stability
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:18 pm 
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Mahogany
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My brother-in-law gave me his Gretsch G5655T to set up. The most noticable thing about this guitar is the second you touch the Bigsby, it goes out of tune. Any suggestions for setup that will help it stay in tune better when using the tremelo?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:02 pm 
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Tell me about the bridge, the nut, and the tuners.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:03 pm 
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Koa
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What Chris says, but specifically, if it has the Ajusto-Matic bridge consider replacing it with a roller bridge.

I worked on some model of Gretsch semi hollow with a Bigsby a couple of weeks ago. I had the stock tuners and nut (whatever that slightly off white synthetic stuff is), I took a couple of swipes with the nut files so I know the slots were sized to the strings. Most importantly it had a roller bridge and the owner is probably over zealous with lubricating the bridge and trem - there was a bit of a film on the guitar, but everything worked smoothly and it definitely returned to tune. We put 10's on it, other people I know who play Bigsby's seem to like 11's.

You know you can put little disc shims under the spring but that's mainly to adjust the position of the arm. It might have some effect on the return tension of the spring however.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:24 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Welcome to the wonderful world of never ready for prime time tremlos....... They ALL suck!

From Bigsby to Floyd not excluding PRS and Fender there is not a trem on the market that always.... returns to neutral reliably...

We can improve them by polishing contact points (Fender, Floyd, etc) and removing s****, cheap plating that tends to get plowed and removed anyway. Roller bridges can help too.

In the Fender world most don't use the trem so setting flat is a good option that many enjoy once it's done.

We service a lot of trems and improve them all but we never guarantee perfect return to neutral because.... after all..... all current trem designs suck.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:11 am 
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Mahogany
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Chris Pile wrote:
Tell me about the bridge, the nut, and the tuners.


The guitar in question is this one:
http://www.gretschguitars.com/gear/build/center-block/g5655t-cb-electromatic-center-block-jr-double-cut-with-bigsby-super-hilotron-black-top-filter-tron-pickups-black

It has all stock parts. The one thing I will be doing for sure is lowering the nut slots because the strings are so high at the nut currently that any chords on the first 3 or 4 frets are out of tune and harder to play then they should be. I guess this is to be expected from a quick and dirty factory "setup". I'll lubricate the slots while I'm at it which should help a bit.

The main problem seems to be that the arm doesn't return to the same spot all the time. I don't think my brother in law wants to go to 11s but maybe I'll look into shimming the spring as Freeman suggested.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:16 am 
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Mahogany
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Hesh wrote:
Welcome to the wonderful world of never ready for prime time tremlos....... They ALL suck!

From Bigsby to Floyd not excluding PRS and Fender there is not a trem on the market that always.... returns to neutral reliably...

We can improve them by polishing contact points (Fender, Floyd, etc) and removing s****, cheap plating that tends to get plowed and removed anyway. Roller bridges can help too.

In the Fender world most don't use the trem so setting flat is a good option that many enjoy once it's done.

We service a lot of trems and improve them all but we never guarantee perfect return to neutral because.... after all..... all current trem designs suck.


On my Strats I do use the trem a bit but I still set my bridge flat against the body, much more stable that way. As long as I'm not doing dive bombs with the trem it stays in tune quite well.

I should consider myself lucky that I have never worked on a Floyd, I hear they are a pain to work on. This is my first time working with any kind of Bigsby.



These users thanked the author Phil J for the post: Hesh (Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:13 pm)
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:32 am 
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Quote:
The guitar in question is this one:


OK, great - suggest you install a Schaller roller bridge, usually about $50...
Like so:

Image

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These users thanked the author Chris Pile for the post: Hesh (Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:16 pm)
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:14 am 
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Koa
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Another vote for replacing the bridge - there are a number of roller bridges on the market that fit basic ToM studs but measure yours (diameter of the posts and spacing) to make sure. The nice thing is that you can keep the old knife blade bridge if the owner wants to keep it "stock" in the future. I don't have a lot of experience with Bigsby's but the ones I have built all have rollers and all return to pitch without problems.

There are also some tricks as to how you load the spring but frankly I'm not an expert on Bigsby's - you might want to search for some videos on the process.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:16 pm 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
First name: Hesh
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Phil J wrote:
Hesh wrote:
Welcome to the wonderful world of never ready for prime time tremlos....... They ALL suck!

From Bigsby to Floyd not excluding PRS and Fender there is not a trem on the market that always.... returns to neutral reliably...

We can improve them by polishing contact points (Fender, Floyd, etc) and removing s****, cheap plating that tends to get plowed and removed anyway. Roller bridges can help too.

In the Fender world most don't use the trem so setting flat is a good option that many enjoy once it's done.

We service a lot of trems and improve them all but we never guarantee perfect return to neutral because.... after all..... all current trem designs suck.


On my Strats I do use the trem a bit but I still set my bridge flat against the body, much more stable that way. As long as I'm not doing dive bombs with the trem it stays in tune quite well.

I should consider myself lucky that I have never worked on a Floyd, I hear they are a pain to work on. This is my first time working with any kind of Bigsby.


Cool! Floyds are horrible pains for two reasons. The REAL, German ones Are well made and will perform pretty well but most of them are licensed copies with lousy metal and plating and they don't perform well.

We charge a premium to work on a Floyd equipped instrument and so too do many shops if that tells you something.... Where they shine is with shredders who want to tune to low C for their heavy metal vomit music.... Me I'm not an old,. opinionated fart now am I...;)

PS: I just refretted my own personal Strat this morning and I set my trem flat too.


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