New bridge bay Tru-Arc Serpentune for 5420TG

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by Cyclebilly, Oct 17, 2020 at 7:03 AM.

  1. Cyclebilly

    Cyclebilly Electromatic

    Sep 3, 2019
    Bristol, UK
    After a couple of months wait my brass Tru-Arc Serpentune bridge has arrived in England.

    We, Tim and I, ascertained that I had a 73mm 'Korean' spacing on my recent 5420TG so that required a custom part. I went for brass for a vintage sort of sound and to match up better with the guitar's gold hardware.

    As my strings were pretty fresh I loosened them and pushed them to one side, simply popping the bridge on. The previous original bridge was at exactly the right height and intonation was perfect (well, as perfect as I ever get it). So I popped in the new one with trepidation... would it fit... would the intonation be good... would the sound be significantly improved?


    1. The bridge fitted very, very well. The screws felt a little looser in the holes but the bridge seemed tight with the strings on so guess this is normal.

    2. Amazingly, the height of the bridge was perfect, exactly the same as the perfectly-set original bridge. I assumed I'd have to do SOMETHING with the height. It was bang on.

    3. The intonation with the 'secured' 5420TG bridge is 100% perfect--as good as the original bridge properly set no question. This was a slight anxiety for me. What would I do if it had been shonky? But intonation is amazing. Well done, Tim.

    4. The sustain is a much bigger improvement than I anticipated. I was thinking it would be noticeable. It's more than that. It's like sustain has trebled at least, although I didn't do any scientific tests.

    5. All the tune‑o‑matic buzz and rattle has gone, of course. Bye-bye 'rattle percussion' accompaniment.

    6. The sound is, I dunno, more 'sophisticated'. Unamplified it almost sounds more like a good acoustic guitar. The brass seems to give a decent balance of frequencies. There's plenty of spank, however, it's probably warmer overall than I expected. But I like it. It's good. It sounds like a much higher-end Gretsch now.

    7. Amplified it sounds more sparkly than the unamplified sound might suggest. I noticed really lovely note separation and, with the mad sustain, it's far less plinky-plonky that before. Again, seems more like a higher-end guitar.

    8. Bigsby use can now be aggressive! The 5420TG benefitted from immaculate string winding and heavy nut lubrication and, as a gigging guitar, was 'alright' for tuning stability but nothing like a hardtail with good tuners, especially with heavy Bigsby use. The Tru-Arc clearly reduces friction so tuning is much improved. In fact, I can now use the Bigsby how I want to with confidence.

    In conclusion, the 5420TG is a fantastic guitar with flawless fit and finish that's let down by some stingy cheap hardware (the original bridge looks no different to a 50 cent part on a £100 guitar). A Tru-Arc is a worthy upgrade that unleashes a lot of hidden potential.

    If buying again I might try stainless for more zing but I'm more than happy with the sound of brass.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020 at 7:57 AM
  2. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Great to hear! I'm a great fan of Tru-Arc SerpenTune bridges. They solved all the intonation compromises with the plain-G version in my case. Action is lower & faster and sustain has noticeably increased. I prefer the brass and titanium versions.
    MyGirlGretta likes this.
  3. MyGirlGretta

    MyGirlGretta Electromatic

    Jul 23, 2012

    Got mine yesterday too. Gorgeous!

    Tim was great to work with as well. I had ordered the wrong bridge, I wanted the style you have because I think that style looks super cool. We got that sorted and I ended up getting a new base that will be floating and the more stylish(imo) bridge.

    Haven't had a chance to play with it yet as Glenda Gretsch is pretty much stripped to a husk for modding.
    audept likes this.
  4. chris_b

    chris_b Electromatic

    Sep 30, 2020
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Just had the same questions... worried it won't intonate on my fixed 5420t. How did you go about measuring it all out?
  5. MyGirlGretta

    MyGirlGretta Electromatic

    Jul 23, 2012
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