Mods: Bigsby B3; custom laser-engraved pickguard; Towner down tension bar; nickel pickup rings, switch tip, jack plate, and G-Arrow knobs.

section2, Jun 12, 2018
Fom Tooley and dannyboyee82 like this.
    • Fom Tooley
      What model is this? A G2655 Center Block Jr.?

      I’m just curious - but why did you decide on replacing the B50? with the B3? And excluding the tension bar mod, what is the difference in feel, tone, etc..? Would you say that it was the money and time? And why didn’t you use a B5? And how did you know that the Jr. model was going to have enough room for the B3, and where to put the bridge? and is the tension bar necessary?
    • section2
      @Fom Tooley I just saw your post now—sorry for the delayed reply!

      This is a 2655.

      I didn't replace the B50. This model came with a stoptail; it didn't have a Bigsby originally. A B3 is actually a much better Bigsby for this guitar: the B5 was designed for flattop guitars, and really doesn't perform well on archtops. The B50 on the 2655T can cause tuning problems. Because it has a tension roller and it's placed quite close to the bridge, it creates a steep break angle behind the bridge, leading to a lot of downward pressure on the bridge and a lot of upward pressure on the tension roller. This can cause the strings to bind, preventing them from returning to pitch after the Bigsby is used.

      The B3 with a Towner bar works much better. The Towner bar allows you to dial in the ideal amount of tension behind the bridge. It's possible to use a B3 on this guitar without a Towner bar, but the bar adds a bit of extra tension, which increases sustain and keeps the strings from popping out of the bridge with heavy strumming. The Towner bar installs into the holes left by the stoptail bridge, so it's an easy and reversible mod.

      I knew that the B3 would fit based on the dimensions of the guitar.

      The bridge is mounted into holes drilled at the factory, so I didn't have to decide where to place it.

      For anyone shopping for a new 2655, I'd recommend buying the stoptail model and adding a B3 and a Towner bar instead of buying one with a B50. If you've already got a B50 model, I wouldn't replace the Bigsby; that would leave unsightly holes. Instead, I'd suggest replacing the Bigsby tension roller with a Brick's BiggsFix, which solves the tuning issues nicely.

      Hope that helps!
      Fom Tooley likes this.
    • Fom Tooley
      @section2 Thanks for the reply!! And it's kinda funny as I just saw this, and despite the amount of time lapsed, I'm still not finished with my fix / mod for the problem. However, I went ahead and stripped mine down to the wood (excluding paint). 100% new top of the line electronics, wiring, jacks, switches, caps, everything. Spared no cost on ANY mods. Replaced pickups with TV Jones T-90 DeArmond (neck) and "Classic" Filtertron (bridge). Shielded the entire area of the centerblock where pickups are with solid copper sheet metal and 5x layered copper foil. Made a custom wiring harness from copper tubing and copper foil. Installed a solid copper ground wire to EVERYTHING, TWICE. Leveled and recrowned frets. Sanded down fretboard so finely it has shine and glare without any treatment except lemon oil. Sanded down back of neck to the wood, sanded wet with soap 5x, sealed with sanding sealer. Installed SCHERTLER TUNERS (100% SWISS MADE BY HAND. OPEN BACK) Installed a Fender ROLLER NUT. Took Bigsby B50 off and sandblasted it, removing all "leftovers" (seams and such) from the casting, and making it as smooth as silk. And added a B-Bender to the Bigsby. Replaced both rollers of the Bigsby (after way too much research!) with a custom cast design that I filed for a patent for. As these rollers ring like a soft warm bell, WITH THE STRINGS ON. Both rollers mounted with a total of 16 bearings. Problem with those tiny string posts eliminated when rollers + B-blender dictated design by necessity. (freebie!) Problem with tension roller break angle solved as well. 100% redesigned and custom cast bridge pinning - completely new type of bushings with new type of threading similar to worm gear, with solid bell brass rods attaching on top to locking bridge and threaded through middle of adjustment worm, then threaded into solid bell brass inserts mounted into center block, with rod protruding further down into center block wood, almost to back of guitar. The pickups and rings were switched to "English style" (pickups thread directly into center block and rings are not attached to pickups, only the top). And same method used for bridge pinning was used to anchor pickups deep into center block. On top is a vintage 1950's original Gretsch tune-o-matic style roller bridge from a 50's Tennessean. Solid stainess steel, locking set screws grab onto brass rods, and brass rollers for EADG (the 4 wound) strings, and stainless steel rollers for the BE strings. All rollers gauged perfectly for each string diameter. Adjustable just like tune-o-matic for correcting intonation. Matches radius 12 of neck. 100% OF ALL HARDWARE REPLACED with stainless steel, nickel, or brass metric hex drive or slotted drive Filister heads. EVERYTHING METRIC CONVERTED. ABSOLUTELY NO PHILLIPS HEAD HARDWARE (I have put a personal blockade on all Philips / + / Cross head hardware, but the elimination process continues...) Most of all my hardware and holes I made with tap and die.. Nickel G-logo pot knobs. Custom nickel switch tips.. Moved to wiring schematic for
      Tone Switch design plus standby switch by TV Jones, adding 2 switches. Handmade nickel jack plate. Handmade nickel custom strap buttons. F-holes "finished" by sanding and painting. Purchased an original sheet of vintage celluloid from the 1960s with a beautiful red-brown-amber tortoise shell that looks like smooth psychedelic fire. And this is where I am at.. I have to cut a new pickguard and bevel it with my router table, sand out the band saw marks from when the sheet was cut from the slab, drill the holes, and etch the Gretsch text logo into it, as laser cutting would likely cause ignition and/or explosion of celluloid. I'm even a bit concerned about cutting the stuff.. But if the bandsaw didn't cause fire, then I suppose it will be ok. Gonna use some cutting oil I think. I looked into the differences between the Bigsby B5 and the B50, and into the B3 as well. And actually got someone selling a B5 to weigh it accurately for me, and upon comparison, they B5 and B50 are identical in composition, only difference is the "Bigsby Licensed" and the degree of cleanup/finishing after the casting. I fixed the seating of the B50 on the top by making some thin shims of persimmon wood. There's a bunch more little things.. But these are the main mods.

      I would love to post some photos, but I am superstitious, and think if I post before 100% done, it will bring bad luck. But I will post (if anyone is interested?) as soon as it's finished.

      Questions or Comments ?
      (Highly Appreciated!)


      Patrick Scheidegger
    • section2
      Wow! That's an amazing project. I'd love to see pics when it's done.
      Fom Tooley likes this.
    • Fom Tooley
      @section2 I really like those metal pickup rings you have on yours! Are they nickel, chrome, or mystery metal? And where did you find them? Or did you make them? Also, on your custom pickguard, do you have a laser cutter, or did you have it done by someone? And is that acrylic? And was it cut via laser as well? Looks a lot better than the original! I am thinking of possibly ditching mine alltogether, as I rarely ever use a pick, and when I do it's a stubby for lead which I highly doubt I've ever touched the pickguard with. But in the past I used to "anchor" a pinky finger down. But I can't remember why at all anymore. I guess it was for using a pick? I just never seemed to have one handy (lol) when I needed it, and over time I kinda borrowed classical guitar picking techniques and slightly adapted them for the closer and thinner strings on acoustic and electric. I can't really see from your pics, but wondering if you use a wound 3rd/g? I read somewhere a long time ago about Gretsch ideal strings, and tried it out; the result being not that different at all, yet preferable because of feel. And D'addario (does anyone know how it's supposed to be pronounced? different in every store.) makes a few string sets of nickel with a wound 3rd, which I find to be near ideal for both my gretsch and my rickenbacker. There are some I like more, but they have to be ordered, whereas GC always has them in stock for cheap w/o shipping. I'm tangenting all over the place here.. Anyways, back to the pickguard... If I want to leave it off, I have 2 holes to fill. Which is not a huge deal. My concern is the Bigsby arm - which wouldn't really ever hit unless I slammed it or something. Which then the pickguards height would offer a safer non-string breaking height, plus a "landing" that isn't gonna leave a rut. Seems like more trouble to ditch the thing than keep it..? I have a real celluloid "version" i cut myself via router, but i kinda doubt anyone would laser cut it for me cause celluloid is so flammable. And it doesn't look much different than black as not enough light is reflected under it to even see thru it. I thought about putting some copper shielding tape on the underside to see if it would reflect the light passing thru it back out, but never tried it cause i can never find that tape when i need it, or am out when i think of it. Any idears? I'm running out of steam on this guitar but don't wanna slop the last of it together as Ive invested too much into it all around... But really realky like the look of those rings you got. Would like to get some, but I don't use the 2 pickup hanging screws, as I mounted into center block instead. Asked TV Jones bout the difference in mounts, and they recommended mounting into center block if I desired a lil bit more sustain. Probably doesn't make any difference until I want some metal rings that they probably don't make with only the 4 corner holes. Wouldn't be too hard to make some, but probably worth the money to save the time. Although I think they would look even better if they were super thin except for around the screw holes. I'm beat. Any thoughts, ideas, and/or links greatly appreciated!
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