I need help changing the bridge on a White Falcon!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by opiate, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. opiate

    opiate Silver Supporting Member

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    Hey Everyone,

    I hope I can explain my problem well, so please bear with me a little bit...

    I have a recent Custom Shop Gretsch 6136CST White Falcon which was masterbuilt by Stephen Stern at the Fender Custom Shop. Its really an awesome instrument and I absolutely love it. The only thing that prevents me from using it more is the fact that I absolutely have the bridge on this thing, which is a bulky Synchro-Sonic.

    So now I'd like to change from the Synchro-Sonic to a more conventional Adjusto-Matic or any sort of TunoMatic clone. Naturally I'd like to do so with absolute minimum of work donwe to the guitar. The mod has to be copletely reverseable.

    I didn't think this was gonna be much of a problem and I took the guitar dowto my tech (this Falcon is a little too nice for my limited DIY skills). Well, as it turns out no other bridge seems to want to fit into the holes drilled into the ebony bridge base. To make matters worse all ebony bases for other bridge types seem to have a slightly different 'footprint' size from my original base. This means that over time they would inevitably damage the finish of the guitar and leave a visible mark in case I ever restored the guitar to the original bridge.

    So now i need some serious help!!!!! Any advice is much appreciated. My first instinct is to try to find a new and undrilled base which is identical to the original Synchro-Sonic one and then have it drilled for the new bridge. But i honestly don't even know where to begin searching for this.

    thanx in advance!
    Ian
     
  2. Tinman

    Tinman Member

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    Are you saying that Gretsch replacement ebony bases that you've tried have a different contour than the original, or that the replacements are a different size and cover more surface area? I think I can help you here if I'm clear on the situation. The synchrosonic has the bakelite or plastic base, right?
     
  3. opiate

    opiate Silver Supporting Member

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  4. Tinman

    Tinman Member

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    Wow! I just saw the suggested retail on that axe. I'm not comfortable giving advice on an instrument that valuable. I make my own guitar bodies and do alot of my own tech/repair stuff, but I've never touched an instument like that. I think that base is bakelite or melita or some man-made material.
     
  5. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    Not sure if I understand the problem, are you saying the the ebony bridge base is pinned or glued to the top and can't be removed? The old white falcons I think would have a base not pinned or glued so a replacement would only be swapping out for a new archtop bridge and base. Sorry but it's been about 25 years since I've seen an original.
     
  6. Tinman

    Tinman Member

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    I think he is concerned that other Gretsch bridges have a larger footprint, and that using such a bridge might cause wear marks outside of the footprint of the original bridge, thereby reducing the value of this very expensive guitar.
     
  7. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    Well if that's the only concern then all he has to do is shape the new base to have a equal or slightly smaller footprint than the original, not that big of a job.
     
  8. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    If you want something that perfectly matches the original footprint, it's not really that big of a deal to make a custom ebony base. Pick the bridge style you want most, then have a base made with the original footprint. You could have it made a one piece ebony double-foot bridge to match the original profile, or make it with the Gretsch style steel center though I think solid ebony may be a bit simpler. Or if you could find a cheap replacement version of the Synchro Sonic bridge, you could even set the post spacing by pulling one end, cutting the center bar and reinstalling the ends.

    I think there's plenty of options, and it just means a custom or customized base.
     
  9. Tommy Tourbus

    Tommy Tourbus Senior Member

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    the obvious solution is to keep the syncro sonic on there
     
  10. Tinman

    Tinman Member

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    Well, that's no fun!
     
  11. opiate

    opiate Silver Supporting Member

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    Hey Guys,
    thanx for all the suggestions....
    I'd really like to get rid of that Synchro bridge for now, it makes the guitar a much worse player then it could be.

    I like the ideas regarding getting a custom base made (and yes as someone pointed out its basically a classic archtop stylejob, not pinned or glued), but I don't know where I could find someone who could do a good job with this. I'm in NYC, any suggestions? Or perhaps there is someone online who does this sort of thing.

    ian
     

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