Questions for the modders

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Yukimajo, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. Yukimajo

    Yukimajo Gretschie

    Age:
    49
    284
    Nov 4, 2018
    Exeter UK
    Are F Holes easy to add binding to? I am going to start upgrading my 2420T Streamliner and one of the things I want to do is to add more definition to the F Holes as they are rather anaemic. I will need to take some sand paper and go slowly but whilst I am at it I figured I may as well look at binding them at the same time. What do you guys think?

    Also replacing the nut; bone or graphite?

    The other upgrades I am planning are:
    Gretsch Strap Locks
    G-Arrow knobs (already got)
    Chrome Switch Tip (already got)
    Wilkinson 19:1 Open Gear Tuners
    Nut replacement
    HS Filter'Trons (I know TV Jones' seem to be the preferred option, but they are also twice the price)
    Pot replacement
    Treble bleed circuit
    New wiring
    I may also make a new scratch plate out of some perspex I have laying around, but I haven't decided if I even want one yet.

    EDIT: I forgot to add
    Jack Plate (thanks @thunder58)
    Tru-Arc Bridge

    By my calculations this should all cost approx £350 and isn't going to happen over night, I have to buy an new organ, PA (or separate amps) and bass first!
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  2. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    61
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    To answer the initial question; not really. You'd have to get the contours flat and finish free and then fiddle with the binding to get it to follow the curves. Also a pain to tape the binding while the glue is drying unless you have very small fingers. Easier option is the 'faux' binding, just paint the inside contours white.

    Nut choice is personal I guess, the graphite tends to work a little better with Bigsby use.

    In my opinion, it's not necessary to replace the pots and wiring unless you're having problems with it.


    Oh, and good luck with the new organ :D
     
    new6659, Merc, hcsterg and 1 other person like this.
  3. thunder58

    thunder58 I Bleed Orange

    Age:
    60
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    And don't forget the jack plate ;)
     
  4. Yukimajo

    Yukimajo Gretschie

    Age:
    49
    284
    Nov 4, 2018
    Exeter UK
    Thanks Eman I kind of figured the pots could do with replacing whilst I was in there as they are pretty crappy, but it wouldn't surprise me if I just swapped like for like, so I may well give that step a miss. I did think about just painting the inside, but if I'm gonna do some upgrades then what the heck why not go the whole hog?

    Hopefully the organ purchase will go smoothly, just having to rely on the finance people...

    I honestly only forgot to add it to the list, there is one on my shopping list, honest!:) The one I had in mind was the bottom one on this page from AxeTec. I think the oval looks much classier than the LP square.

    Another thing I forgot was to mention was a Tru-Arc bridge as well.:oops:
     
    thunder58 likes this.
  5. Far To Many

    Far To Many Gretschie

    Age:
    46
    126
    Dec 31, 2018
    Upstate, NY
    I agree on the binding, just use paint. Usually when F-hole binding is done, it's during the build with the top still off so you have all the access you need. I'm not saying it cant be done on a built guitar, it's just not easy by any means.

    These are crappy old pics, but below is my Schecter 12 string that is a semi-hollow. I just used paint (Rustoleum Almond color to match the cream binding). It made a world of difference in my opinion and I don't regret doing it.

    I started by just doing the side edge, but it didn't look right. So I carefully was able to do just a thin layer on top, (actually did the side and top in one stroke)--it's all in the brush control. You could painfully mask it using thin line tape though.

    SCHEC_2.JPG sch 12.2.JPG
     
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  6. Far To Many

    Far To Many Gretschie

    Age:
    46
    126
    Dec 31, 2018
    Upstate, NY
    Also, make sure you use quality electronic components (CTS and Switchcraft) and wire. I am willing to bet you have sub-par smallish pots in there. I am not sure on the UK pricing, but here in the states, all the electrics (minus pickups) should be less than $50-60. If you have never wired, get a small soldering iron and rosin core solder and practice up. You can ruin electronics with too much heat so brush up on some guitar tech videos I am sure has to be on You Tube.

    I disagree with Englishman, Pots can make a significant difference. I know it clearly did on a couple of guitars I did (although may not on every instrument). I Honestly was expecting no change but was pleasantly surprised. Also, I am not sure if he ships world wide, But I am a big fan of an Ebay seller : TheArtOfTone1 https://www.ebay.com/str/The-Art-Of-Tone?_trksid=p2047675.l2563 He has pots of slightly different values that can tweak the sound. I really like his 525-550 value pots.

    Pickup choice is definitely another factor, but when wiring a semi or hollow body, it really is best to sit down and do it all at once due to fishing pots and parts in an out of the body. A big pain in the rear!

    And lastly, think long and hard. Modding is fun, but is it worth the investment, OR worth trading it in on a better guitar. Understand going in your going to loose approx half of all your value on the instrument and parts. Selling modded instruments is really a crapshoot. Sometimes you get lucky and do ok, other times your going to practically give it away. Something to think about, even if you don't think your going to sell in the near future--- because we always seem to sell or trade our gear at some point in our lives.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  7. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    61
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    It was a generalization, some of the cheap pots are toast from day one and of course it helps to replace them. It's also a good idea to make sure the full size pots will go through the F holes.
     
    Far To Many likes this.
  8. Far To Many

    Far To Many Gretschie

    Age:
    46
    126
    Dec 31, 2018
    Upstate, NY
    @englishman Oooo, great point on making sure the posts fit. Something I did not think about.

    Actually, in re-reading your post, you never actually said it would or would not make a difference. I am sorry for misreading that.
     
  9. Merc

    Merc Country Gent

    May 6, 2017
    Florida
    As Far to Many said about when it comes time to sell or trade... I would also suggest keeping the original wiring and pickups. It’ll be a little work, but if no buyers want to pay for you upgrades you can keep them and swap the originals back in. You could then sell the upgrades separately or install in another guitar.

    Later in the year I plan on swapping the power’trons out of my 125th Anny and going with a neck Super and Classic + bridge. But I’m setting the Power’s aside.
     
    Yukimajo and sh4rkbyt3 like this.
  10. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    I am going to start upgrading my 2420T Streamliner.

    Why not Yukimajo ? Like most of us... ;)

    Are F Holes easy to add binding to?

    I'll second Eman : it's a pain to do, and difficult make neat. I discussed about this with my pal luthiers : same advice about doing it afterwards.

    Also replacing the nut; bone or graphite?
    Nut replacement

    TUSQ-XL is the way I go (PQL-6060-L0 for Lefty Gretsch) as they are friction-less.

    The other upgrades I am planning are:
    Gretsch Strap Locks

    I don't find them practical o_O... But it's me.

    G-Arrow knobs (already got)
    Chrome Switch Tip (already got)

    Fine, not to say compulsory.;)

    Wilkinson 19:1 Open Gear Tuners

    They should be fine (UK : available on eBay / seller Vanson Guitars, IIRC), I hesitated and finally took Grover Sta-Tite 18:1 for my Proline Gretsch G400.

    HS Filter'Trons (I know TV Jones' seem to be the preferred option, but they are also twice the price)

    HS FT are very good pickups. I have them on many of my guitars. If you are wondering how to install them, ask me, I'll send you pics.;)

    Pot replacement
    Treble bleed circuit
    New wiring

    I have a schematic that works well - I posted several times. Again, ask me if needed. ;)

    I may also make a new scratch plate out of some perspex I have laying around, but I haven't decided if I even want one yet.

    I don't know if a Jet scratchplate would fit ? Even with minor mods ?

    By my calculations this should all cost approx £350 and isn't going to happen over night, I have to buy an new organ, PA (or separate amps) and bass first!

    It may be costy too...

    [​IMG]

    OK, I go...:D

    A+!
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
    Bertotti, j.s.c, new6659 and 2 others like this.
  11. Rock Lajoint

    Rock Lajoint Gretschie

    415
    Nov 16, 2014
    Sussex, England
    Worth bearing in mind that you will have spent £750 on a guitar with upgrades that you'd only get £350 for if you sold it.
     
    reverb11 likes this.
  12. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    69
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Gretsch doesn't have Straplocks, just those knurled posts that unscrew when you least expect it. They're iconic, but having been burnt once, I went with Schallers. YMMV. Like others have said---don't fix it if it isn't broken. You won't get your money out of upgrades when you want to sell.

    PA. I've got a bit of experience. Separate mixer and powered bins are the way to go. It's the most versatile system, and the easiest to upgrade and add on to. I went with Mackie bins and a Peavey mixer, but there are many others. I'd avoid Bose due to cost, and Behringer due to lack of ruggedness. Peavey gear has NEVER let me down.

    Organ and piano are my prime instruments, guitar second. What are you considering? I love a Hammond, and have owned a few, but would recommend a Korg, Nord, or Hammond Suzuki before I'd get another B. The cost ($5K+ US) and the need for a crew to move it and a large van to haul it in can be seriously prohibitive. I went with Korg and Roland, and run them directly thru my PA.

    Have fun with it all, tho. Enjoy yourself.
     
    section2 and Yukimajo like this.
  13. Yukimajo

    Yukimajo Gretschie

    Age:
    49
    284
    Nov 4, 2018
    Exeter UK
    Thanks for the feedback. I already have my eye on some CTS pots, but a good idea to make sure they will go though the F-Hole (thanks @englishman for the timely reminder!).

    I checked out the ebay link but it shows no items here in the UK so I'm guessing they ship to the US only.

    My soldering skills are fine and I just can't watch any more videos from the US where people refer to it as soddering, sorry guys there is an L in there as well!;)

    I am in a curious position with this guitar in that I have no intention of upgrading it to a better model, because I am not a guitarist. As I alluded to in my first post, I am an organist/bassist and have the guitar for a bit of fun and to work out some tunes, but I don't play seriously and feel no need for a big 6 string collection (I'll get my coat).
     
    new6659 likes this.
  14. Yukimajo

    Yukimajo Gretschie

    Age:
    49
    284
    Nov 4, 2018
    Exeter UK
    @hcsterg Merci mon ami!

    I am starting to see a common theme here; don't bind F-Holes on a built guitar! OK I can take a hint. Anything that will reduce my anguish in doing this is always welcome.

    I would love a copy of your wiring schematic and how to install the Filter'Trons please, that would be most helpful as I haven't ever switched pickups before.

    Thanks also for the idea of the Tusq nut, I had forgotten about those.

    Changing the strap pins to the knurled Gretsch ones is purely cosmetic, I just prefer the way they look over any other strap lock. If it comes out and the guitar goes for a burton, then I'll let the forum know and you can all tell me that you told me so.

    You are correct about Vanson being the place I will get the tuners, again it's mostly cosmetic but I have managed to convince my self that the 19:1 ratio will make all the difference (and they're only £28 a set).

    I don't know if a Jet scratch plate will work or not, but I just don't think it looks good on a hollowbody, so if I do make one it will be more of a 6120 style one.

    That is one hell of an organ, I would love to get my paws on that!
     
    hcsterg likes this.
  15. Yukimajo

    Yukimajo Gretschie

    Age:
    49
    284
    Nov 4, 2018
    Exeter UK
    I stand corrected @wabash slim I just prefer the way they look, I could always Gorilla Glue the buggers in I suppose!;)

    For the PA, I was looking at the Yamaha Stagepas, what's your opinion of them? I have been told to avoid anything over 10" for the speakers as this makes the bass far too boomy, would you agree?

    I am looking to get either the new Vox Continental, or the Nord Electro 6D, depending on what I prefer the feel of. At the moment, however, I am leaning heavily towards the Nord, but I have to get hands on with them both first before making the decision. I will be going to have a go on both on Monday the 18th.
     
  16. Lockupyourfatdog

    Lockupyourfatdog Gretschie

    171
    Aug 8, 2016
    Everett wa
    I had a 5120 I put a fake binding on. I used an exacting knife to score the urethane then a fine file to reshape the holes to match the 6120 better (the 5120 had those squared off tips). Then a mixture of Estes model paint. Added yellow to white with an eye dropper to get a perfect cream color. Tapped off the f home and painted it with a q tip. End result was great. You couldn’t tell it was fake binding at all. Unfortunately I’ve since given that guitar away and don’t have pics on hand.
     
    Yukimajo likes this.
  17. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    You're welcome Yukimajo ! ;)

    The schematic :

    [​IMG]

    The installation tip for HS FT that doesn't have English Mount (here on a pair of BT FT, but it's exactly the same) :

    [​IMG]

    I think you got it all, but if you need more detailed infos, you can send me a PM, of course. ;)

    A+!
     
    j.s.c likes this.
  18. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    69
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    I'd stay away from mixer/amp combos myself, but they'll work. Price on that isn't
    The Yamaha set up is a good bargain. They're advertised as 680 watts, but I'd check the RMS wattage rating to be sure. That's a lot of juice thru a pair of 10's. I'd prefer powered bins and a separate mixer myself as it's more versatile---easier to add on to, easier to upgrade. One problem with a powered head and you're out of luck. I've got 15" speakers---Mackey Th-15 bins. I use mine primarily for keyboards, so I need the bottom end. As there's a HF horn and an EQ in the head, any boominess can be easily dealt with. 10"will work fine for vocals and guitar, but not as well for keys. I wouldn't go with anything smaller than a 12".

    For keys, I'd go with the Nord. I think they're far more versatile. Nothing wrong with the Vox, tho. Having started back in the '60s with a Farfisa (the calliope from Hell) I view anything as an improvement. I currently use a Korg BX-2, an older unit, for Hammond sounds, and a Korg SV-1 for every vintage keyboard sound I could imagine. I've an old Roland EP, and my trusty Wurlitzer 140B (early '60s vintage), that'll be with me all of my days. Added thought---Vox is made by Korg these days, tight?

    Guys have added faux binding with a carefully applied paint pen, or a fine flexible tape.

    Shop around, try out as much gear as you can, look and see what others are using. Have fun in the hunt!
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  19. Yukimajo

    Yukimajo Gretschie

    Age:
    49
    284
    Nov 4, 2018
    Exeter UK
    I have also been toying with the Yamaha DBR range as well, but I'll see what I think in the music store next week. But good to know that I should not go lower than 12". I don't know why I go to other forums, all of the answers are right here!

    It is most likely that I will go for the Nord, it does everything I want, and has a few fundamentals that the Vox doesn't have. You are correct that Korg have owned Vox since the '90s, but for some reason best known to themsleves they have left out a few things on the Connie; splits (so no Doors emulation and there isn't enough room for a Rhodes bass piano or MIDI board on the top left!) and although they take great pains to make people aware that it's not a B3 emulation but a Korg CX3, which I'm sure is accurate, but doesn't have any of the percussion options of the B3, Farfisa vibrato is either on or off, no, heavy or light, or fast and slow options and quite a few more. Funnily enough it's the Farfisa emulation that is going to be the real acid test for me as I am doing psych/garage and love the aggression of the Farfisa.

    It is looking like I will be painting the binding if I decide I can be bothered after all of the other bits and bobs!
     
    wabash slim likes this.
  20. Yukimajo

    Yukimajo Gretschie

    Age:
    49
    284
    Nov 4, 2018
    Exeter UK
    Thanks again for this, it is going to be very helpful. I may well take you up on your offer of more help when the time comes.
     
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