Synchromatic tailpiece repair

Discussion in 'Vintage Gretsch Discussion' started by paddycarroll, Mar 17, 2019.

  1. paddycarroll

    paddycarroll Electromatic

    Hi all,
    I have a Synchromatic 160 circa 1940 I'm restoring however the tailpiece has snapped under string tension and it looks like its happened before and been repaired, I'd ideally like to repair it but Im concerned that it will likely need to be reinforced with a more durable metal.
    Does anyone know what material this is made of or have an idea on how it should be repaired?
    thanks in anticipation....
    fyi the other Gretches are 67 Tennessean, 54 Streamliner and late 6120LTV
    DSCF6290.JPG DSCF5383.jpg DSCF6283.jpg
  2. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    Hello paddycarroll,

    First, you have here a superb Synchromatic 160 indeed ! :cool::)

    Second, that tailpiece is available new, because it is the same as the one found on the RIs G100 (nickel), New-Yorker (nickel) and G400 (gold). I make an immediate search on and found this, for example :

    Third, the material is probably brass, but it maybe steel, both gold plated. On my G100 and G400 RI, the triangle trapeze, the bottom attachment are mad from steel, the string anchor is made from brass. You can check easily on your 1940 one by using a magnet ;) : attraction = steel, otherwise brass. Our Gretsch history specialist, member Wayne Gretschzky, has certainly an answer about this.

    Fourth, it can be repaired with silver solder (brass) or TIG solder (steel) but I'm not sure o_O that it would resist the string tension, being the solder or likely the soldered part around the joint itself. Plus there would be certainly discolouration or de-plating due to the heat and soldering job. IMHO, you should ask a precision metalworker or a jeweller workshop for advice, parts in hands.

    Good luck !
    paddycarroll and loudnlousy like this.
  3. Wayne Gretschzky

    Wayne Gretschzky Country Gent

    Aug 27, 2008
    East Coast
    I've seen these repaired in the past. I think soldering my be too weak... maybe a weld instead. I dunno... I'm not a metal expert. But I would be in favor of repairing the original as opposed to getting a reproduction.
    paddycarroll likes this.
  4. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    Yes, indeed. But it's not an easy task to achieve properly.

    If I had that case, still working in a previous company, I would call my precision welding specialists, that were aces for high grade pharmacy, medical and nuclear piping manufacturing and repairs, welding noble metals, mirror polishing etc...

    paddycarroll likes this.
  5. paddycarroll

    paddycarroll Electromatic

    Thanks guys appreciate the responses!

    I think a specialist metal guy is a great idea, I’m aware that new tail pieces are available and it’s a great option provided they are an authentic match but I have been warned that new parts on old Gretches sometimes don’t fit. Ideally I want to repair if possible.
    Now where’s my magnet......

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  6. Jelly Roll Horton

    Jelly Roll Horton Country Gent

    Nov 10, 2017
    Portland, OR
    As an antique auto restorer, I always try to find and use original parts. New parts just aren’t as good, in most cases. There are some dedicated artisans who make excellent repro parts, but you really have to search them out. But best case is to truly restore the original, if it is available and at all possible. I’m sure this applies to vintage guitars as well.
    paddycarroll likes this.
  7. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Friend of Fred

    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    I have a 1942 tailpiece and it is brass through and through. I recently took it to a band instrument repair person, who was going to try silver solder, but he just couldn't get it hot enough. However, my next move will be to take it to a radiator repair place to see if they can properly braze it. Mine has a very clean break and mates perfectly.

  8. Jelly Roll Horton

    Jelly Roll Horton Country Gent

    Nov 10, 2017
    Portland, OR
    Here’s another thought: you could buy (or borrow) a reproduction talipiece and compare it with your original with the idea of replacing only the broken part, and keeping the parts that are good, if the repro matches.

    Tartan’s suggestion of brazing also seems like a more likely fix than solder or welding.
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