Floating Bridges

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by mike k, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. mike k

    mike k Newbie

    Mar 25, 2011
    Navarre Ohio
    I've always played acustic tried solid body elecric and did not care for it, then I tried a gretsch 5120 and really liked it but I was told I would not like the floating bridge. How much of a problem will it be?
  2. S Macp

    S Macp Country Gent

    Sep 6, 2009
    Glasgow, UK
    That depends entirely on how comfortable you are making adjustments to your guitar's setup. (It's not a big deal, in truth.)

    The floating bridge can take a bit of getting used to, but it offers a great deal of flexibility. Once I've got mine where I want it, I help it stay put with some rosin. I don't even think about it.
  3. rockabilly-rebel

    rockabilly-rebel Country Gent

    Jul 21, 2009
    Derbyshire, England
    + 1 to Sandy - I set mine for correct intonation and keep it there with rosin - on some of my Gretschs I dont even need to bother - they just stay put on their own - and I do like to go to town on my Bigsbys!

    In short there is no problem at all - get it bought! - You've already said you like it - don't listen to people telling you you won't like
  4. MF_Dearmond

    MF_Dearmond Gretschie

    Sep 8, 2010
    Floating bridges are cool. My main gripe is that when you set a vintage one up properly, there are usually permanent marks on the body from years of incorrect positioning/placement.
  5. NeilSt

    NeilSt Country Gent

    Oct 26, 2010
    Lynnwood, WA
    Well....I live in Seattle where we have a floating bridge (520) and I have two Gretsches with floating bridges...so clearly I love 'em! I wouldn't worry about it at all.
  6. the_undecided_one

    the_undecided_one Electromatic

    Mar 4, 2010
    Sandpoint, ID
    hmmm, I'm pretty sure there's two floating bridges over the lake...;)
  7. 68GuitarPlayer

    68GuitarPlayer Country Gent

    Mar 20, 2010
    Clinton, Tn
    Hello Mike and welcome to the forum. Your bridge should be fine. It's the nut that gives trouble on the 512x guitars.
  8. araT

    araT Gretschified

    Mar 24, 2009
    Berlin, Germany
    Welcome abaord Mike!

    I actually prefer floating bridges to be honest, as Sandy said, it's really not a big deal once you get past the initial shock, and you can easily effectively 'pin' it down with violin rosin if you're having issues with it moving!
  9. baddog

    baddog Gretschie

    Mar 20, 2011
    atex, USA
    Welcome to GT

    Haven't had any trouble with floating bridges.
  10. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    Sandy Eggo
    no worries!!
    3M double sided poster tape...super thin and compresses too. I put one small square under each side of my SSU bridge and it never moves or should say hasnt moved for a bazillion yrs.
    Every guitarist needs this in their tool kit.
  11. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Today Tara just converted my pinned bridge PowerJet to a floating bridge, so I could have better intonation. I haven't had any problems, even though I initially found the thought scary, it has been great for me.
  12. Big Burly

    Big Burly Synchromatic

    Jul 23, 2009
    The issues with floating bridges comes from several places.

    <1>You are, or play like, Pete Townshend. Really aggressive playing will cause a floating bridge to move.

    <2>You like 9-gauge strings. Light strings don't have enough down-force to keep the floating bridge securely in place. A set of skinny-top/heavy-bottom 10s is minimum for keeping the floater in place. I use 11-49s.

    <3>You use the Bigsby for EVH dive-bombs. This also causes some floating bridge movement. This really causes issues if your nut slots aren't sized to match your strings and the slots aren't lubed.

    Pinning can be mechanical with physical pins placed in the bridge base or guitar. This still allows some tilt with Bigsby use, but no physical shifting. You can also secure the bridge base with violin bow rosin or the killer Scotch poster tape as Tavo mentioned.

    Personally, Joel at Shanghai did the thin 2-sided tape thing to secure my bridge at my request. I never had tuning issues, but I do take my guitar strings off all at once, so I asked for my floater to be secure.

    I never experienced any loss of tone or sustain. I definitely could see that happening with the thick 2-sided carpet tape, but the thin stuff used causes no issues. I hear the rosin is even better, and if I ever do it again I'll be going that route.
  13. D. Spree

    D. Spree Synchromatic

    Sep 10, 2010
    new york city
    I had never played on a guitar with a floating bridge until I bought a 5120 - I now have a couple of archtops with floating bridges. I now love the floating bridge - its made me learn how to really work on the intonation and not be be afraid to learn to work with the guitar. I think the floating bridge is great - never had a problem with it shifting and it allows me to intonate my guitar really perfectly and easily. Guess it made me less "afraid" of the guitar.
  14. top_shelf33

    top_shelf33 Electromatic

    Dec 18, 2009
    I have a bridge base on my G5125 with a distance of 3 1/16" between the centers of each post hole. I want a compton bridge but they don't offer that sizing so I must buy a new base to accommodate. Is there any advantage to ebony or rosewood, or is the difference purely appearance? They both cost 20 bucks. Thanks in advance.

    PS- My string spacing is 2 1/16. Would I notice a big difference if I changed it to 2"? I'll take opinions on that too please :)
  15. dazzajl

    dazzajl Country Gent

    Apr 18, 2010
    One of the first things I did with my power jet was to unpin the bridge. I had too to ge the intonation right with the Compton but I'd have probably done it anyway. Just knowing it was pinned under the string tension felt wrong to me.
  16. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    I wasn't expecting to have to move it, because my Billy-Bo has a pinned bridge, but the BB's intonation was still good when I changed to a Compton!
    The PowerJet was quite a way out, same as yours.
  17. araT

    araT Gretschified

    Mar 24, 2009
    Berlin, Germany
    Glad to hear it's suiting you well audept! you're light-handed like I am so you shouldn't have any issues with it moving around.. besides, you're used to it with your CGJet! ...you can easily put the set screws back in the body, make new holes in the bridge base feet & re-pin it if you ever feel the urge!
  18. Savage Henry

    Savage Henry Gretschie

    Sep 12, 2008
    New York

    You just stated that you played a 5120 with a floating bridge and "really liked it". Don't let other people tell you what you're going to like or not going to like. If you tried it, and liked it, that's all that counts.

    Buy one from a place like Guitar Center that will give you 30 days to try the guitar out. If you decide that you don't like it, you can just bring it back.
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