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Help, please, with a 1959T vintage select 6120

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Btr6120, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Btr6120

    Btr6120 Electromatic

    63
    Feb 19, 2016
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    One year after deciding not to trade in my SSLVO for a Chet Atkins 6120 for several reasons, I have fallen back into my old ways and am once again considering it (I just never got over my 55-year attraction to things Chet). Don't get me wrong -- I love the SSLVO. But it ain't a Chet Atkins model. I just tried a 1959T and am going back with my SSLVO for a side-by-side comparison, but have a couple of questions I hope G-T members can help me with. Thanks in advance.

    1. The one I tried at the store wouldn't stay in tune (same thing I noticed last year at a different store), whereas my SSLVO is unbelievably stable, due to the locking tuners maybe? The 1959T has 18:1 Grover Sta-tite tuners rather than locking ones. Is there a locking tuner that fits seamlessly into the 1959T without drilling new holes? So far I haven't seen one with the right specs so I'm thinking not. I won't put any new holes into such a beautiful guitar.

    2. And anyone else have tuning stability problems with the 1959T? Maybe the one I tried didn't have a "trapped string" winding or whatever that's called -- I can't remember. If the Grovers are generally terrific then maybe I shouldn't worry about keeping them if I get the guitar.

    3. The intonation was off on several strings. Is this even fixable with a rocking bar bridge? There are no length adjustment screws and it has a pinned base, so can this be corrected?
     
  2. DaddyDog

    DaddyDog Country Gent

    Sep 18, 2011
    Mississauga, Canada
    Staying in tune tends to have more to do with the nut and/or the strings. Sometimes cured by nut grease, a change in string gauge, filing the nut, or replacing the nut (often best left to a good guitar tech to do).

    Can you describe how far off the intonation was? Note the rocking bar bridge is known to not match the radius of the fretboard. Many forum members have had great results (self included) replacing stock bridges with a Tru Arc, or a Compton.
     
  3. DaddyDog

    DaddyDog Country Gent

    Sep 18, 2011
    Mississauga, Canada
    PS I've dropped a Tru Arc and a Compton on to a pinned bridge base, and the intonation is spot on, or off by a cent or two.
     
  4. wildeman

    wildeman Friend of Fred

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    An SSLVO aint a Chet????
     
  5. Btr6120

    Btr6120 Electromatic

    63
    Feb 19, 2016
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    DaddyDog, the clip-on tuner they gave me at the demo showed the G and B strings were 1 bar sharp -- not horrendous but certainly noticeable. By 1 bar I mean the gauge showed the first bar sharp of neutral. Now, I know the guitar is just out of the box and hasn't been set up, so I don't expect it to be as good now as it would if I buy it after they set it up properly, but still, can intonation be altered without an adjustment-screw bridge? BTW, I have a Compton on my SSLVO and it too doesn't intonate perfectly, but it's not as pronounced as the 1959T.

    The 1959T has a zero fret, so I assume it would be relatively easy for a tech to ensure no sticking.

    And Wildman: Don't get me wrong. I love my SSLVO. It's a 2005, a time when Gretsch/Fender hadn't secured the rights to the Chet Atkins name, so I couldn't fulfill my Chetness craving. Now that I can, I'm looking at doing just that. The 1959T meets all my basic feature requirements. Others may well prefer the SSLVO.
     
  6. afire

    afire Country Gent

    It can be altered by moving the bridge to get the best intonation you can get, though it's always a compromise with a straight bar bridge. I guess if it's pinned, that would require unpinning (don't really know much about Gretsch's pinned bridges and whether they can be moved at all)? Also, changing string gauge can change intonation. Finally, there's the Tru-Arc Serpentune. If the G and B were going sharp up the fretboard, one of these might get it nearly just right.
    [​IMG]
     
    audept likes this.
  7. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    60
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    The only time locking tuners help with stability is if you habitually put a bunch of winds onto the peg when replacing strings. Multiple windings will settle over time, flattening the string note.
     
  8. BuddyHollywood

    BuddyHollywood Gretschie

    128
    Sep 11, 2009
    Venice, CA
    Your SSLVO is a 6120 which is a Chet Atkins model. Without Chet Atkins Brian Setzer would not be playing a 6120. I would move on and enjoy your guitar which you say you love. Sometimes your guitar picks you and it sounds like this may be the case. Do not ever sell a guitar you love.
     
    paddycarroll likes this.
  9. StJohn

    StJohn Country Gent

    Jun 5, 2008
    North Louisiana
    Sounds like a nut slot is pinching a string, as others have said. As far as the bridge goes, if you try it again, move the bridge back and forth to intonate the 2 E strings. Then see if your other strings are close enough to be tolerable. The rocking bar has no intonation built into like a lot of solid bar bridges do, as well as acoustic bridge pieces. It's a Gretsch quirk. There are, however, many replacement bridges that have this built in-I have a Compton. I know it's tough to pay that much for a guitar and then have to buy a replacement. All that being said, there isn't much difference in that 59 and your SSLVO. Both are lacquer, and both have TVJ Classic pickups. I'm pretty sure the 59 is Trestle braced as your SSLVO is. The only differences that I can recall is the rocking bridge of the 59 vs the pinned tune o matic of the SSLVO, and the tuners. I'd say if you love your SSLVO now, there's not much different in that 59. Just IMHO though, so best of luck whatever you do.
     
  10. jklotz

    jklotz Gretschie

    442
    Mar 24, 2013
    Atlanta
    Yea, my Players Anni I just got wouldn't stay in tune when using the bigsby either. Mine was an easy fix. Order up some abrasive cord from stew mac

    http://www.stewmac.com/Materials_an..._Finishing_Papers/Mitchell_Abrasive_Cord.html

    And gently run it through the nut slots. You don't want to change the interior of the slot, just polish out any burrs or imperfections. 93.75% chance that will fix the problem. You'll notice it tunes up much smoother when you do this as well. IMHO, it should be part of any guitar setup. If you don't want to go through the trouble, I'm sure any local luthier would probably do it in less than 5 minutes.
     
    Henry likes this.
  11. jklotz

    jklotz Gretschie

    442
    Mar 24, 2013
    Atlanta
    That and the Setzer has a 9.5" radius vs the 12" on the 59. And those silly dice knobs, plus, and I could be wrong here, but I don't think the SSLVO has a zero fret.
     
  12. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Country Gent

    Jan 19, 2012
    Maldon UK
    Just change the truss rod cover for a plain one, hey pesto, instant Chet model
     
  13. StJohn

    StJohn Country Gent

    Jun 5, 2008
    North Louisiana
    I knew I'd forget something! Thanks. I could be wrong, but I thought Setzer sigs with the dice knobs also shipped with G knobs if it wasn't your thing.
     
  14. StJohn

    StJohn Country Gent

    Jun 5, 2008
    North Louisiana
    Where has this been all my life? Thanks for the info. For most strings, I take the extra I trim off and gently go through the slots. Not the best, especially for the higher strings, but it works ok.

    I think we talked a little on the Beat Buddy forum, right? If so, mine just came in today. Can't wait to get up to speed on it.
     
  15. jklotz

    jklotz Gretschie

    442
    Mar 24, 2013
    Atlanta
    No, sorry. I know some things but nothing about a beat buddy, however I did look it up, and it looks cool. Prob be a lot more fun to practice with that a metronome!
     
  16. Btr6120

    Btr6120 Electromatic

    63
    Feb 19, 2016
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Thanks for the above comments.

    My SSLVO came with both sets of knobs; the dice lasted about 30 seconds when I got it home. And to make it a "Chet" in name I'd have to change both the truss rod cover and the pick guard, but that would sure be cheaper than a new guitar! Not sure I'd bother, though. If I'm going to keep the SSLVO, I would also keep its name intact.

    As to tuning stability, a slight smoothing of the nut slots would be very very easy, since the 1959 has a zero fret.

    I'm going back to try a side-by-side comparison on Monday or Tuesday, and I'll try adjusting the bridge position by hand (but carefully). Since the tuning stability issue probably isn't related to the tuners, I'm not going to worry much about that and instead focus on the intonation ... and of course what it will cost me to trade in the SSLVO. Price issues might dwarf the others.

    I'll report back.
     
  17. jklotz

    jklotz Gretschie

    442
    Mar 24, 2013
    Atlanta

    Good luck with it. They are both very nice guitars!

    Before you do it, make sure you like the flatter 12" radius of the fretboard first. I can play 12" radius bf's, but prefer 9.5", which is why my Setzer hotrod is my #1
     
  18. Henry

    Henry Friend of Fred

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    I did this just using the old set of roundwound strings, using the wound G for the B and high Energy.
     
  19. Btr6120

    Btr6120 Electromatic

    63
    Feb 19, 2016
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    UPDATE: Well, my GAS attack didn't last long. I played the 1959T along side my SSLVO and in the end just can't justify trading in (or selling) the old and getting the new. I do really like the Setzer fretboard, the sound, the locking tuners, etc. It would cost $$$ to trade for a "Chet Atkins" name, and without some meaningful gains in quality, playability, intonation and sound -- and I don't see much of that -- it's just not attractive enough for me. So I have survived the GAS attack yet again. For the time being. It seems to come annually, so maybe next year I can be better prepared to avoid it.

    As a side note, this has reminded me once again what a fine guitar the SSLVO is.
     
  20. wizard_23

    wizard_23 Gretschie

    281
    Jul 18, 2012
    Melbourne, Australia
    It's obviously subjective, but specs wise the SSLVO is the best 6120 in the line up IMO.

    I don't think it would be wrong to stick a Chet guard on it if you are so inclined though. If that makes you happy, do it!