Necessary mods/setup tips for a 6120?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by BohemianLikeMe, Aug 28, 2020.

  1. BohemianLikeMe

    BohemianLikeMe Gretschie

    Apr 18, 2020
    Prague, CZ
    Hi everyone, I know it's been a while, but things have been busy back home. So, I finally pulled the trigger a few months ago on a used-but-in-a-good-way 2008 6120-1959 LTV and I'm in love with it. It's easily everything I always wanted from a guitar, especially for recording or playing around the house. The floating bridge took a bit to get used to, but since I got it intonated properly, it hardly ever even goes out of tune.

    But the question I have isn't about that-- it's about what to do to get the guitar gig-worthy. I know some people advocate a jack plate-- is that really something that's necessary, and if so, will it kill the value of the guitar? I've heard other people advocate a treble bleed on the tone switch, or removing it all together, but I gotta say, I kind of like the mud switch. Are TV Jones' wiring changes for it worth looking into?

    Also, what do people use for straplocks on theirs? The Gretsch strap pins keep loosening themselves when I'm playing and it's giving me a bit of anxiety.

    And I've got to say, for all the negative things I've read about the bar bridge, I have zero problems with mine at all.
  2. BohemianLikeMe

    BohemianLikeMe Gretschie

    Apr 18, 2020
    Prague, CZ
    And just because the shop's photographer was much better than I am, here's a pic of my 6120, albeit under studio conditions. :D

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  3. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Congratulations on your beautiful guitar!

    When your strap knobs work themselves loose, are the screws coming out of the wood, or are the gold knobs unscrewing themselves from the mounting screws? If it's the latter, a dab of blue LocTite will keep the knobs from coming loose while you're playing. (Make sure it's blue LocTite. The red kind will bond them permanently.)

    The treble bleed goes on the master volume, not the tone switch. You may find that as you turn down the master volume, your tone gets muddy. If so, a treble bleed on the master volume will take care of that problem. I'm a fan of treble bleeds, but it's a matter of taste. Some people like having the ability to darken the tone with the master volume.

    As for the tone switch: in earlier years, Gretsch used large capacitor values on the tone switch, and many people felt that they made the sound far too muddy. More recently, Gretsch started using smaller cap values which don't darken the sound as much. I don't know whether your guitar would have the old cap values or the new ones. If you like the sounds you're getting from your tone switch, there's no need to change them. If you find that the switch leaves things too muddy, you can swap out the caps for lower values.

    I think jack plates make a lot of sense, especially for gigging guitars. You don't want to step on your cable and rip a hole in the side of the guitar. But I'm not a collector, so I can't say whether a jack plate would affect resale value.

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  4. BohemianLikeMe

    BohemianLikeMe Gretschie

    Apr 18, 2020
    Prague, CZ
    Thanks, section! The pic doesn't show the fair amount of road wear the guitar has (which I like and helped me get it for a discount)-- the gold plating is about half gone off of the pickups and knobs, and there's some chips in the clear coat-- nothing super serious, but enough to drop the price from 2500 EUR to under 2k. :cool: It's clear that someone played the heck out of this guitar before it came to me, which I love.

    The problem I'm having with the strap knobs, it's that the screw is coming loose, primarily on the upper horn. The lower one though the bigsby is a bit more secure. So I'm not sure if I should have my guitar guy look at that one in particular or just chuck 'em in the case and put in some Schallers or something else.
    section2 likes this.
  5. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    If your guitar is already looking beautifully road-worn, then I say go ahead and add the jack plate. @thunder58 is with me on this.

    When the screw started coming loose from the upper bout of my G3900, the problem was that the upper bout had no reinforcement, so the screw didn't have much to bite into.

    I reinforced it by glueing a 1" x 1" x 1" piece of hardwood to the inside of the upper bout. I drilled a very small hole in the piece of hardwood. Then I fished a wire through the screw hole in the upper bout and pulled the wire out through the bass-side f-hole. I strung the wire through the hole in the chunk of hardwood and secured it by tying a knot at the end farthest from the upper bout. Then I coated the near end of the hardwood with wood glue, and pulled the wire to carefully fish the hardwood back through the f-hole and into the guitar. This brought the glued end of the hardwood into contact with the inside of the upper bout. I pulled the wire taut and tied it to the top of a chair so that it would squeeze the hardwood against the inside of the upper bout, and I left it overnight for the glue to dry.

    The next day, I cut the wire and removed it from the guitar. Then I drilled a pilot hole for the strap knob through the existing upper bout hole and into the hardwood. I screwed the strap knob back in, and it's been solid as a rock since then.

    If you do this, be sure to tape around your f-hole with painter's tape so that you don't accidentally smear the f-hole with glue when you're pulling the hardwood into the guitar.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2020
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  6. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    I should add: some people don't bother with the hardwood reinforcement trick. Instead, they just coat the screw with wood glue and screw it back into the existing hole. This could work, but I'd worry that it would permanently bond the screw to the guitar. If you ever need to remove the screw in the future—for example, if the threads that hold the gold knob ever get stripped, or if you decide to switch to Schallers later on—you might not be able to remove the screw without damaging the guitar.
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  7. sanhozay

    sanhozay Electromatic

    Mar 17, 2014
    stunning guitar! love those 59 ltv's! haven't done the treble bleed to my sslvo {yet} but have on other gretsch's i've owned. mostly compensating at the amp & don't wanna feck with how glorious the tv jones bridge sounds with the tone switches & a smidge of high end rolled off.
    section2 likes this.
  8. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    Oh yea , get that jack plate on . Strap locks are another added upgrade . I have strap locks on all my guitars including my 6120-1959 ( not / no LTV )
    BohemianLikeMe and capnhiho like this.
  9. Scott

    Scott Country Gent

    Jun 27, 2008
    Winston-Salem, NC
    After I bought a Duane Eddy model with Dunlop strap locks as standard equipment, I started putting them on most of my Gretsches. Nothing wrong with the original hardware, the Dunlop lockers are just easier to work with.

    And I agree there is absolutely nothing wrong with a properly set up bar bridge.
    BohemianLikeMe likes this.
  10. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    Put on the Schaller SLocks and you'll be set. Easy install, gig worthy upgrade.

    20200826_113748.jpg 20200826_113631.jpg

    Congrats on getting one of my favorite Gretsch models. Outstanding guitars.

    If the bridge shifts around, use fiddle rosin on the base. Easy fix and it works very well.


    Enjoy that beauty.
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  11. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Oct 18, 2015
    All the mods that you stated will make the guitar "more useful". They will devalue it a bit but I guess that modern Gretsch guitars will not necessarily end up as collector`s items.
    section2 likes this.
  12. YourBlueRoom

    YourBlueRoom Gretschie

    Jan 25, 2017
    Nashville, TN
    What exactly do you mean by gig worthy? It seems you love playing the guitar and it stays in tune... that sounds gig worthy in my book.

    For the sake of discussion... no a jack plate is not necessary and a treble bleed is typically something you add to the volume pot, not the tone switch. Some people do disconnect or modify their mud switch but that is all personal preference; there is nothing wrong with the stock mud switch especially if you're enjoying it. If you're happy with the current wiring it doesn't make much sense to change anything.
    Wjensen likes this.
  13. HypotenusLuvTriangle

    HypotenusLuvTriangle Country Gent

    Oct 27, 2010
    Whittier, Ca
    I've always wanted to get the 6120-59 LTV. So hot.

    1. Schaller or any knock of version of their straplocks
    2. Jack plate - I still don't understand why people think thats needed.
    3. Treble bleed is entirely personal preference.
    4. Mud switch - again, personal preference. I love it.

    Pretty sure that guitar is good to go for gigging right out of the box. Maybe put a compton on it.
    MKunie likes this.
  14. Rock Lajoint

    Rock Lajoint Synchromatic

    Nov 16, 2014
    Sussex, England
    There are no mods necessary, only for preference. The 6120 range are pro quality guitars.
    MKunie likes this.
  15. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Synchromatic

    Feb 17, 2020
    Of course you don't have to modify anything.

    I don't think a jack plate will lower the value of the guitar but I know a crack (or worse) will.
    Worst case scenario; I can imagine a loose strap button letting go and the jack getting punched into the guitar. How would you fix this??
    (pic stolen from another thread)
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  16. BohemianLikeMe

    BohemianLikeMe Gretschie

    Apr 18, 2020
    Prague, CZ
    A fair question, but I mean the very practical aspects of live performance. I don't want to worry about straps coming lose, or smashing a jack in, but also need to make sure that the usual maintenance any guitar needs (intonation, cleaning pots, etc.) takes place. And lastly, I'm also just asking to see if there's any major quality-of-life improvements people do to their Gretsches, even the pro-lines, the way people replace bridges, etc. with Fenders, for example.
  17. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Friend of Fred

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    Beautiful guitar!
    Back before the pandemic I would gig regularly with both my 6120 and my White Falcon.

    All I needed to do to make them stage ready was put some rosin under the bridge base and install strap locks (for peace of mind.... or is it piece of mind?).

    I gigged my White Falcon without strap locks once, and I had to keep checking the screw-on strap buttons constantly because they kept loosening up on me. Not a fun feeling when you have a cadillac hanging off of you that could drop at any time.

    I put jack plates on both guitars. I’m not worried about any loss in $ value, but if you are you can just add a plate without screwing it in. The jack nut will keep it in place.

    I keep my master volume wide open 98% of the time so I never bother with a treble bleed, and when/if I turn it down I’m not bothered with any treble loss.

    The tone switch is great if you never use a tone control like me. Just keep the switch in the middle and the circuit is bypassed.
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  18. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Friend of Fred

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    Oh, and stock rocking bar bridges are great.
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  19. Lockupyourfatdog

    Lockupyourfatdog Synchromatic

    Aug 8, 2016
    Everett wa
    You don’t have to screw your jack plate I if you don’t want. It will act as a big washer and stay in place. I’ve cut the heads off of screws and super glued them to the plate then installed it so it looks screwed in but if you ever want to sell it just take it off. No problem. I also use oversized washers sometimes. Bend them a little to match the curve of the guitar and it works great and looks awesome. The last two guitars though I haven’t done anything. Just been using cords that are at a 90% angle so I can’t bump them on anything put your cord through your strap like you’re supposed to and it won’t tear out if you step on it
    calebaaron666 likes this.
  20. slickfaster

    slickfaster Synchromatic

    Dec 29, 2009
    I’d remove the strings, polish the frets, lemon oil the fret board, install new stings with the overwrap lock, stretch strings, rosin bridge feet if not pinned, clean pots and toggle, polish guitar...Don’t forget to string your cord through and over your strap you step on it...
    Get a box of face masks and hand sanitizer..
    Have two shots of Jack and get a large IPA and set it within reach...
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