G2655 Upgrade Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Streamliner Gretsch Forum' started by section2, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Hi all,

    Longtime lurker; first time poster. Nice to meet you!

    Here's my story: I've been drumming for 25 years (on a vintage Gretsch kit, of course), but a couple of years ago I finally decided to branch out and start learning to play guitar. Given my lifelong love for Gretsch drums, it was only a matter of time before I got myself a Gretsch guitar. I took the plunge yesterday when I picked up a G2655 Streamliner Center Block Jr. with what I'd thought was a lowball Best Offer on eBay. Lo and behold, the seller accepted, and the guitar is on its way.

    Here's my question: any recommendations on mods that will help this guitar play at its best? I'm particularly wondering about the electronics, bridge, and tuners. I recently tried out a G2655 and found that the bridge pickup was a little muddy, though this might have been because I had the master volume backed off quite a bit. I wonder if I should consider replacing the pots and/or adding a treble bleed. Or maybe I just need to turn up.

    I'd like to spend some of my Christmas holidays tinkering with the guitar, so I'm hoping to order any new parts soon. I've got a Bigsby B3 and a Towner bar to add already, and I'd welcome any recommendations for more upgrades.

    Thanks!
     
    cjtowner likes this.
  2. Aymara

    Aymara Friend of Fred

    Jul 6, 2013
    Germany
    The first thing I would do is order a set of G-Arrow knobs :D

    Second ... most TOM bridges on Gretsches, even on my Panther, are cheap China crap. The best option, especially if you have a Bigsby, is an ABM 2400 roller bridge, which is CNC-cut from bell brass and high end quality, or a Compton or True-Arc bar bridge. But the later can introduce intonation issues with a pinned or secured bridge. On my Falcon with a pinned True-Arc .10-.46 strings are spot on, .11s are slightly off.

    Other than that ... keep in mind, that heavily modding an entry level guitar is a waste of money, if you decide to get a higher end model later. If you want to keep it, a wiring harness and pickups by TV Jones might be worth a thought.
     
    Waxhead and section2 like this.
  3. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    61
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    Firstly, welcome!!

    It's entirely possible you'll be happy with the components that comes with the guitar. Most pickups get a little muddy when you roll off the volume without a treble bleed, but that's an easy mod (other than accessing the pot). I haven't personally heard the broad'tron pickup so I have no idea of the properties but I'd say give it a couple of weeks at least before you start hacking it up :)
     
  4. TSims1

    TSims1 Friend of Fred

    Jun 18, 2013
    Atlanta
    Yep - I also would just wait and see how you like the guitar. I've had Gretsches I've had to do all kinds of small stuff to in order to make them feel and play good, and then I've had Gretsches that I assumed would need mods(my Pro Jet)but played and sounded so dang good that I've just left it bone stock! The guitar will tell YOU what it needs. :)

    Enjoy and welcome!!
     
    MarkyMac, doctorSlo and section2 like this.
  5. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Thanks for the tips! I appreciate the advice. I'll give it a spin when it arrives and see what, if anything, it wants me to do. I'll add the Bigsby and make a couple of cosmetic changes—I've bought a white pearl pickguard that I'll be modding to fit the Junior, and I might swap out the knobs for G arrows—but I'll save the rest of the tinkering until I've seen how I like the stock parts. If I do make more changes, they'll be small-budget ones. Like Aymara said, there's not much point in sinking a lot of money into an inexpensive guitar.

    Merry Christmas, all!
     
    englishman and Aymara like this.
  6. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    69
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Howdy! Consider a Compton or Tru-Arc bridge. One piece, no moving parts, materials to suit your personal tastes. Losing the rattle-o-matic stock bridge is probably one of the best things you can do. Treble bleed and/or pot replacement is another good idea. Pick guard and knobs are cosmetic and don't affect the sound. You might consider different strings---lots of us use flat wounds. Gretsches seem to like ..011s. Amp choice can be important---Fender and VOX tube amps seem to be a good starting point. Most importantly, have fun!
     
    section2 likes this.
  7. Pine Apple Slim

    Pine Apple Slim Country Gent

    Dec 14, 2011
    North Alabama
    I love my Compton but be aware if you change to a bar bridge it may intonate satisfactorily or not. If not you will have to unpinned the bridge bass so that it is moveable.
    For this reason you may want to put on a high quality roller bridge, or even a better tunomatic instead.
    First thing I would do after installing the Bigsby is make sure the nut slots are cut really well to allow for the angled strings going to the tuners. Get a pro tech to do it if your not comfortable working on nuts.
     
    section2 likes this.
  8. Trash Kidd

    Trash Kidd Country Gent

    Age:
    53
    Dec 14, 2015
    London U.K.
    Allo & welcome!
     
    section2 likes this.
  9. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    61
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    Just as a reminder, this model has bridge posts.

    [​IMG]
     
    section2 likes this.
  10. Pine Apple Slim

    Pine Apple Slim Country Gent

    Dec 14, 2011
    North Alabama
    Oh yea, I'd go with a good roller then.
     
    section2 likes this.
  11. Aymara

    Aymara Friend of Fred

    Jul 6, 2013
    Germany
    As long as no Bigsby is installed, a high quality TOM is sufficient. And installing a Bigsby will lead to cosmetic issues, right?
     
  12. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    61
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    I would point out that the OP said he's going to add a B3 and Towner tension bar.
     
  13. Aymara

    Aymara Friend of Fred

    Jul 6, 2013
    Germany
    Yes, I remember, but will that cover the existing tailpiece holes?
     
    cjtowner likes this.
  14. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    61
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    If he can get the Towner to work with those posts there will be no holes.
     
  15. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Thanks for the continuing feedback, all. I'm definitely going to stick with a TOM or roller bridge—I don't want to be stuck with poor intonation if a bar bridge doesn't quite work with the dimensions on this guitar. The Towner will fill the tailpiece holes, so aesthetics aren't a problem here.

    I've heard mixed reports on whether a TOM or a roller bridge is best for a Bigsby setup: some people claim that a TOM sounds better with just as much tuning stability. I'm not sure this guitar (or my playing!) will allow anyone to hear a difference tonally, but I'd love to know whether anyone has done a side-by-side comparison.
     
  16. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Good point on the nut slots. I bought a PRS SE 245 a couple of years ago that wouldn't stay in tune for love nor money, and that was without a vibrato system. The previous owner had switched to a Schaller wraparound bridge and installed locking tuners, and after I got the guitar I realized that he had probably been trying to solve the tuning issues and sold the guitar when he couldn't sort it out. All it took was five minutes with a nut file. (I took it to a trusted luthier. I'm reasonably handy, but I get the impression that nut work is delicate and easy to get wrong.)
     
  17. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Welcome Section2! I agree with the idea of letting things settle a bit, but by all means, install the Bigsby!

    I can only suggest what I'd do. First, a possible new bridge: I'm partial to quality TOMs (ABM, Faber), Comptons, Tru-arcs, and Bigsby bridges--sounds like a TOM is in the works for you. With a well cut nut and saddles, you might not have a problem, so you may not need a change up so soon.

    Pickups next. On the high end, get some TV Jones of your choice but get ready for some light DIY. On the low, how about GFS Surf 90s? They drop right in and are great pickups that get you over half way to a Dynasonic.

    Nut next, bone or fancy plastic. Cosmetics as you wish--G-knobs, G-switch, pots, caps, jacks, treble bleed, I usually group that stuff in with the pickup swap.

    I'd keep all my old parts, should you need to part ways. One can get more money back by selling as used stock, and selling any higher end parts here :)
     
    section2 likes this.
  18. fender62custom

    fender62custom Gretschified

    Age:
    54
    Mar 3, 2012
    Helidon, Australia
  19. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Update: I had a meeting down the street from the music store today, so I stopped by afterwards and took their G2655 for a spin. (I couldn't help myself. Can't wait for mine to arrive.) Second impressions:

    - It feels even better than I remembered. Low action, thin neck, easy to play, very comfortable, nicely balanced on the knee. (I've heard that they have neck dive issues when strapped on, but I don't play gigs on guitar—that's what my drums are for!)

    - No complaints about the hardware. No rattle on the bridge; tuners felt smooth and stable.

    - Nut looks pretty good but could be cleaner. If the nut work on mine is of similar quality out of the box, it'll have a date with the luthier soon.

    - ...Yeah, I'm not in love with those black plastic knobs. There may be a G Arrow knob order in my future.

    - I put the guitar through a Fender Twin Reverb and played it clean, with all tone and volume knobs on the guitar at 10. The neck pickup was warm but muddy. The middle position was beautiful, with a really nice mid-range scoop. The bridge had some bite to it, but I wanted a bit more, so I fiddled with the amp a bit (treble at 6, midrange and bass at 3 or 4). That got me most of the way there. Further amp tweaking probably could have gotten me all the bite I'd need.

    Things got very muddy as soon as I rolled off any of the knobs on the guitar, though, and I'd like the knobs to be usable for tone adjustment. I play through a Zoom G5 modeling pedal at home, so I'll try out a bunch of settings over the next few weeks to see if I can dial in a great tone. If things are still not crisp enough, I'll think about adding a treble bleed, new pots, and/or new pickups.

    FWIW, Gretsch advertises these Broad'Trons as sounding partway between a PAF and a Filter'Tron, which in theory is exactly the sound I'd like to hear.

    For now, the guitar feels great, and I'm confident that it'll give me the tone I'm looking for without needing much modding, if any.
     
  20. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Gretschie

    131
    Apr 25, 2016
    Maryland, USA
    I had the Streamliner Centerblock Jr for a few days (returned it due to a faulty 3-way switch). The only thing I would have done immediately would have been to replace the knobs for something more chromey. I agree with others above, that heavy modding may not be worth the cost. However, if you enjoy modding guitars and are not under the illusion that modding an entry-level guitar increases its value, then go ahead.
     
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