I hate B50s! - Pro Jet B70 mod, is it worth it?

YaDaddy

Synchromatic
Mar 16, 2020
543
Marietta, GA
So I've had this project on the back burner for several years now after I managed to acquire a pretty nice G5435T LTD in Black and Gold. Needs a bit of work, but it's a solid axe. I love the overall looks, feel and play, but I really don't like the look of a B50 on these guitars. Too bad I have like 4 of them rockin' the ole stinky B50. Those things belong on guitars like Teles that are too short to hold a legit full size Bigsby. One day while cruising the web I found this YouTube video and I knew I had to do a B70 on it.



After much distraction I decided to put a good chunk of the tax return towards getting some long standing guitar projects towards completion and got a B70 in the house to wrestle with the reality of pulling this off. Today I discovered that a B70 doesn't fit any of the holes already there if I use the optimal position on the guitar. I would need to fill the two Bigsby holes by the bridge and possibly the rear strap pin hole. Three new holes will need to be drilled for those same screws. Blugh, not a simple endeavor. I'm struggling with whether it's worth it. I have 3 other jets in the same configuration that I was going to do this with. I considered The towner bar and Bigsby thing, but it would leave holes exposed. I considered selling all 4 and buying a Players G6128T, but I want filtertrons and humpblocks. Gretsch doesn't offer that right now. Selling 4 and buying would be a lot of work too. I also fear having a high end Gretsch in the midst of my Electromatic collection poisoning the cheaper guitar experience for me.

So I'm looking for advice and any experience anyone has had in this area.

I love the way this looks and the idea of having a guitar like this. What do you think? Is it worth it? Got any better ideas?

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YaDaddy

Synchromatic
Mar 16, 2020
543
Marietta, GA
Took it to the Luthier, and made it real. Due to the body not being shaped for a B-70 it’s got a bit of a cant to it in line with the top of the body, but it was worth it and I’m glad I did it. Only thing left is to replace the bridge pick up to solve the damaged gold finish issue and this product can come off the list.

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YaDaddy

Synchromatic
Mar 16, 2020
543
Marietta, GA
Yup, much better looking with the B70... I don't know why they put those B50's on these.
Well, distinguishing the lines probably has a lot to do with it, but the B50 is cheaper and easier to mount and as I found out the hard way, the top of the body doesn’t have to be as precisely shaped for it to fit properly. All of that adds up to lower production costs, so Gretsch do some EJs with B70 for a bit more money.
 
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Back in Black

Country Gent
Double Platinum Member
Jun 22, 2020
1,718
Ontario Canada
Well, distinguishing the lines probably has a lot to do with it, but the B50 is cheaper and easier to mount and as I found out the hard way, the top of the body doesn’t have to be as precisely shaped for it to fit properly. All of that adds up to lower production costs, so Gretsch do some EJs with B70 for a bit more money.
YD,

Looks great!

Having said that, you haven't done anything to improve the break angle, between the roller bar and the bridge.

Is the tuning affected following use of the Bigsby?

I'd take your mod a step further, and install a good quality roller bridge, as it will work in conjunction with the tail-piece much better than the knife-blade saddles on the exiting T-O-M bridge.

Best,

BIB.
 

Back in Black

Country Gent
Double Platinum Member
Jun 22, 2020
1,718
Ontario Canada
That looks great. Have you considered a wooden bridge base and a low riding bridge?
Ric,

With the low neck height off the top of the body, you cannot get the action low enough by using a wood based bridge with these Electromatic models.

First photo shows neck height off the body on a Pro model Jet.

Second photo shows the neck height off the body with an Electromatic. Less than half the height.

I did make a wood based bridge work, but in this case, the bridge has been trimmed down, and the height adjustment wheels eliminated.

The action is still higher than I would like.

The trials and tribulations of tinkering with Electromatics.

Best,

BIB,



DSCF1327.JPG DSCF1258.JPG
 

Shadowy_Man

Synchromatic
May 18, 2020
642
Chicago
B70 definitely looks better. But tension bars are of the devil and I wish Gretsch would just use enough neck angle on all their models to do away with them.
 

Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Gold Supporting Member
Nov 13, 2009
22,728
Monkey Island
With the low neck height off the top of the body, you cannot get the action low enough by using a wood based bridge with these Electromatic models.
I did make a wood based bridge work, but in this case, the bridge has been trimmed down, and the height adjustment wheels eliminated.

The action is still higher than I would like.

BIB, on my Pro jet I used a lower profile base from a German archtop(Höfner iirc). Also the Low rider Compton Wayne custom made for me sits lower than the Space control I used originally. Maybe I lucked out?
 

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hcsterg

Friend of Fred
Silver Member
Feb 13, 2012
6,848
France
Well, an Electromatic G5220 (and possibly a G5435) can be nonetheless fitted successfully with a modified Bigsby B3 to obtain a correct string break angle at 7-8° :

tHIEJb-beforeafter.jpg


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But it's me, OK ? 😁

A+!
 


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