5420T fixes (Bridge/Pickup height)

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by HandyAndy, Sep 9, 2020.

  1. HandyAndy

    HandyAndy Electromatic

    15
    Sep 9, 2020
    Earth
    Hi All. First post here for me.
    I bought a 5420T years ago and never played it much because it didn't sound great. I love the look of the guitar and finally decided to try to make it better. With pickup height change, I am inspired to play it now. I now want to make it even better.
    I scoured youtube trying to find fixes for the following issues but didn't find too much, so thought it might be useful to share and get input from the know how here.

    First up, The bridge was rattling. Took some waxed thread and wove it around the bolt heads. It works great. It put pressure in just the way you need it. The waxed thread had five separate strands. I removed 3 strands and wove the remain two. This gave the perfect interference for that space. It felt like flossing tight teeth. Give it a try and let me know if it worked for you. The wax thread is the type in camping repair kits. IMG_0637.jpg


    Pickup height: My pickups were 6mm away from the bottom of string to cover. This is with the screws cranked down. My bridge has to be really tall for proper action. I think this is the root cause. Neck at too high of an angle. Anyways I designed and 3d printed some pickup spacers in white pla material. Then painted them with silver sharpie marker. They work great. Spacer added 3mm. Shown in picture is early failure. I needed to cutout the area marked in pencil so the tab could reach to underside of original cover. you live you learn.
    IMG_0636.jpg IMG_0638.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2020
  2. capnhiho

    capnhiho Synchromatic

    658
    Feb 16, 2013
    California
    Andy - great creative solutions!
    I don’t have a 3D printer, but I did fix the rattling bridge on my Double Jet with judicious application of clear nail polish.

    And welcome!!
     
    MyGirlGretta and HandyAndy like this.
  3. HandyAndy

    HandyAndy Electromatic

    15
    Sep 9, 2020
    Earth
    Hello Capnhiho,
    I like the nail polish idea, I was just about to pour super glue over the whole thing.
    Its amazing that they let these bridges out the door rattling like that. I don't like the design of the pinned bridge either, that is my next project....
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2020
    capnhiho likes this.
  4. HandyAndy

    HandyAndy Electromatic

    15
    Sep 9, 2020
    Earth
    upload_2020-9-9_19-45-15.png This what the final spacer looks like. I am willing to share the cad file in fusion 3d or just STL ready to print format for anybody interested.
     
    BorderRadio and section2 like this.
  5. HandyAndy

    HandyAndy Electromatic

    15
    Sep 9, 2020
    Earth
    This what a 5420 bridge cross section looks like. On my guitar there is gaps between the bridge wood and the soundboard caused by the threaded bolts.
    The design does not allow the wooden bridge to compress against the soundboard. It's like trying to screw two 2x4 tight together without making clearance hole in first board. The thread wants to push them apart not allowing them to clamp together.

    I probably have about .010"gap in some spots. Anybody know of fixes for this issue?

    In my estimation the wooden portion of bridge assy could be removed completely with maybe positive results. it would be like a les paul then. Is that called a stop tail piece?

    I was thinking about creating clearance on the bridge and adding another set of nuts to sandwich the wood down to the top. Could do the sanding the bridge to top trick too to create a better vibration path. see next page

    IMG_0640.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2020
  6. HandyAndy

    HandyAndy Electromatic

    15
    Sep 9, 2020
    Earth
    This is what I want to try but don't want to drill a clearance in the original wooden portion of the bridge. I might try to find one for sale on ebay.
    so many people probably have these laying around after upgrading. Or could make a new piece. I do have some ebony and rosewood.

    IMG_0641.jpg
     
    rockinforJesus likes this.
  7. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Age:
    72
    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Welcome to the forum, HandyAndy!
    welcome mat 19.jpg
     
  8. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz

    If you pull out the studs and put on the strings and tune to pitch the bridge will most likely sit down flat, mine did.

    So, I installed the bridge with studs, tuned to pitch, carefully backed the studs out keeping the adjusting wheel in place so the bridge did not raise up. . When the bridge sat down flat I carefully threaded the studs back in and the string tension held the bridge flat.

    I now change one string at a time on that guitar
     
    HandyAndy and section2 like this.
  9. HandyAndy

    HandyAndy Electromatic

    15
    Sep 9, 2020
    Earth
    That is super smart. The time spent on this thread has already been worth it.
    Thank you.
    100$ question: Did you see any change in sound?
     
  10. Shadowy_Man

    Shadowy_Man Gretschie

    251
    May 18, 2020
    Chicago
    I just replaced the stock bridge with an OEM floating Gretsch bar bridge. Much less hassle, seems to sit perfectly. The holes from the bolts are not visible.
     
  11. HandyAndy

    HandyAndy Electromatic

    15
    Sep 9, 2020
    Earth
    Hi Shadowy_Man,
    Thank you for the response. I am going to look that bridge up. How much do they cost.
    Was that on 5420 t or different model. So the bridge is free floating now.
     
  12. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    Me? I’m the wrong guy to ask. I rarely here tone differences that other folks claim, bone nut vs not bone, Rosewood board vs Maple, etc.
     
  13. Shadowy_Man

    Shadowy_Man Gretschie

    251
    May 18, 2020
    Chicago
    This is where I got mine:

    https://darrenriley.com/store/gretsch-rocking-bar-bidge-nickel-with-ebony-base-0062844000/

    $70

    This was for the G5420t in my avatar. The bridge is free floating now, yes.

    I'm not opposed to TOM bridges in general, but I found the one on 5420 to be cheap, and I just wanted something simple that would work. Also the range of adjustment on the saddles isn't always sufficient to properly intonate with that fixed bridge.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2020
    rake_ether likes this.
  14. Fasteddie42

    Fasteddie42 Electromatic

    91
    Sep 18, 2018
    tip of the mitt
    A common solution is to sand the right "radius" to the bridge using the top of the guitar body.
     
  15. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    I did that, my bridge base was perfectly shaped to the guitar top...... but on my 5420, as you screw in the studs the bridge raises up.
     
  16. HandyAndy

    HandyAndy Electromatic

    15
    Sep 9, 2020
    Earth
    T
    That is exactly right
     
  17. HandyAndy

    HandyAndy Electromatic

    15
    Sep 9, 2020
    Earth
    How many models have this bridge? Anybody know? It looks like they are even on the more expensive models.
     
  18. HandyAndy

    HandyAndy Electromatic

    15
    Sep 9, 2020
    Earth
    That looks like a nice one.
     
  19. Shadowy_Man

    Shadowy_Man Gretschie

    251
    May 18, 2020
    Chicago
    I'm happy with it. Lots of people around here get Compton or Tru Arc bridges, but so far I've been very happy with this one. I like the black base better than the stock color too.
     
  20. HandyAndy

    HandyAndy Electromatic

    15
    Sep 9, 2020
    Earth
    audept likes this.
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