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New Bridge for 5420

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by adauria, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. adauria

    adauria Electromatic

    35
    Dec 22, 2016
    Wake Forest, NC
    Hey folks,

    This forum has already provided me with great advice, so I'll see what else you've got! If you remember from my other thread, I have a new G5420TG in white with gold hardware. After a few weeks I've decided that the stock bridge is driving me crazy with rattling noises. So I'm in the market for a new one.

    Here's the deal:
    1) I want something that's gold plated or at least will look like gold enough to match the current hardware
    2) I do not want to unpin the bridge
    3) I want to ensure good string length intonation (see #2)
    4) It should let me use the Bigsby without causing tuning issues.

    I'm considering:
    - Compton in Brass (chambered?)
    http://www.comptonbridges.com/brassbridges
    - TonePros (TP6R roller? Or maybe a non-roller version?)
    http://store.tonepros.com/p/tp6r-tonepros-standard-tuneomatic-small-posts-roller-saddles
    - ABM 2400-G (but really, $216?)
    https://www.allparts.com/GB-0545-002-ABM-2400-G-Gold-Roller-Tunematic_p_1577.html
    - Pinnacle TOM (not sure of material or correct size)
    http://www.philadelphialuthiertools...om-guitar-bridge-for-gibson-les-paul-sg-gold/
    - Other options???

    Given the love of the Compton here, I've been back and forth with Wayne on some questions. My real concern is that I get it cut for 11-49s, drop it in the pinned base position, and discover that intonation sucks and there's nothing I can do about it (no returns) short of unpinning or trying to sell it (can people actually re-sell these successfully?).

    ABM 2400-G seems to be a great second choice if I need to adjust intonation, but I can't justify that kind of money for a bridge on an $800 guitar. Feels crazy.

    So what sage advice, additional recommendations, or warnings do you folks have for me?

    Thanks!

    -Andrew
     
  2. Dead Roman

    Dead Roman Country Gent

    Dec 22, 2015
    Texas
    Compton is great.

    That being said, I am probably going to go with the tone pros role and pin the bridge.
     
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  4. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Friend of Fred

    Age:
    60
    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    Hi Andrew, welcome to GT. As you note there is tremendous love for the Compton and for good reason. I have a couple of Wayne's brass creations on my gold hardware Gretsch's and they look great. More importantly they sound great. If your intonation is way out you may have to unpin and move the bridge a tiny bit but seriously, don't worry about it. It really is no big deal to have the bridge floating.
     
  5. Dave-B

    Dave-B Gretschie

    299
    May 23, 2016
    Scotland
    I tried a Compton bridge on my G5422, and while it improved tone, the intonation wasn't accurate enough for my liking. Like you, I didn't want to float the secured bridge.

    Following advice from the fine people here, I ended up fitting a Gotoh Nashville Tune-O-Matic (with small posts). Sounds great, no rattles, and works fine with moderate Bigsby use. The wooden bridge base and posts flex sufficiently that there's really little need for a roller bridge, unless you work the Bigsby hard.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
  6. Dave-B

    Dave-B Gretschie

    299
    May 23, 2016
    Scotland
    It's no big deal with a pinned bridge, where the base rests on two tiny pins in the guitar top. Remove the pins and you're good (with a bit of violin rosin or tape to hold the bridge in place)

    Annoyingly, the Electromatic 'secured bridge' uses long threaded posts that screw right through the bridge base, deep into the guitar top. The bridge rigidity relies entirely on those threaded posts, not the wooden base. Look closely at most Electromatics, and you'll see the bridge base isn't actually touching the guitar top. To float an Electromatic bridge, you first need to fit replacement threaded posts, or cut the existing posts. Then, you will most likely need to sand the base to match the contour of the top - not a job everyone would want to tackle.
     
  7. Waxhead

    Waxhead Synchromatic

    858
    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia

    yeah Andrew but the Compton intonation will be excellent provided you give him accuate measurements. That's why they're hand made - cause they fit great.

    Another great bridge option is the Tru-Arc.
    But the biggest advantage of both Compton & Tru-Arc is the improvement in tone quality they deliver imo.
     
  8. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Country Gent

    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    I strongly recommend a non-rocking, radiused, TruArc bar bridge:

    truarc.jpg
     
    Waxhead, BorderRadio and thunder58 like this.
  9. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Friend of Fred

    Age:
    60
    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    Interesting, none of mine are like that and I have several Electromatics, including two 5420s. On mine, the bridges are held in place by two little pins that fit into corresponding dimples in the bridge base.

    Must have been some changes.
     
  10. Dave-B

    Dave-B Gretschie

    299
    May 23, 2016
    Scotland
    A bar bridge with a straight line from E-E, however that line is angled, will rarely offer excellent intonation. The G string will usually be sharp. It's even more noticeable on a shorter scale 24.6" instrument like the 5420. Something like the Tru-Arc Serpentune bridge gets closer to good intonation, but I don't know if Wayne offers anything like that.

    Bar bridges of any sort are a compromise on intonation. It depends how much perfect intonation matters to you and your style of playing.
     
  11. Dave-B

    Dave-B Gretschie

    299
    May 23, 2016
    Scotland
    Late 2013 apparently.
     
  12. Dave-B

    Dave-B Gretschie

    299
    May 23, 2016
    Scotland
    adauria likes this.
  13. thunder58

    thunder58 Friend of Fred

    Age:
    58
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    That's exactly what I was thinking too ......and stay away from those TOM bridges ( tuning / Bigsby issues ) round strings over a blade just doesn't work
     
    ZackyDog likes this.
  14. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Based on your requirements, the TonePros roller looks like your best bet in gold: curious to know your experience if you go that way. The ABM at 200 is a little crazy, that's not worth it just for the finish--but that definitely would work well. The risk here is the TP will rattle as bad as the others.

    Second place, not listed, is the Serpentrune Tru-Arc, but you are also taking a risk that the secured bridge posts are exactly in the right place for your strings. It's also up there price-wise with the ABM.

    How much you use the Bigsby is important too. If you just shimmer chords, then a typical TOM can work (check out Setzer, he's no slouch on the Bigs). You might need some play in the TOM posts though, the string will just lock onto the saddle, the whole bridge moves when you hit the arm.

    Good luck--in the meantime while you decide, drop some lacquer or clear nail polish on your TOM screws, even around the contact of saddle to bridge--this will stop many rattles pretty well.
     
  15. adauria

    adauria Electromatic

    35
    Dec 22, 2016
    Wake Forest, NC
    Wow, thanks for all the great responses. I'm not sure I'm any closer to deciding, but lots of more ideas!

    I am not super heavy on the Bigsby - shimmery stuff, really - that's it. I am a bit of a stickler for good intonation, though, so while I like everything else about a bar bridge, that aspect makes me nervous. I also really want to keep that base pinned.

    Perhaps with the Gotoh or TonePros, I could return them (unlike the Compton) if they are rattling or cause problems with the Bigsby.

    Open for more opinions and ideas!

    -Andrew
     
  16. Salsg

    Salsg Electromatic

    70
    Nov 9, 2016
    Southern California
    I highly recommend the tru arc Serpentune in brass.
    I have the same guitar you do, in white with gold hardware. The brass is pretty close in color.
    The sound improvement was quite noticeable too.
    And the intonation is spot on.

    Well worth the price, easy to order, and easy to install.
     
    Waxhead likes this.
  17. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Hi adauria,

    I had to pin the bridge on my G5420TLH that was not (early G5420 models) because it moved - see the 2 small brass nails counterdrilled on the wood base extrems :

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And did the same on my G6119LH too for the same reason :

    [​IMG]

    I replaced the TOM-like bridges for Gretsch (new and genuire) Rocking Bar Bridges (as shown on pics above) because I wanted That Great Gretsch Look and wanted to use the Bigsby deeply, and also replaced the nut with TUSQ XL no-friction model (a PQL-6060-L0 fit to shape) for a correct tuning stability.

    [​IMG]

    But then I experienced buzzing on the center strings or too high action on the extreme strings... I checked the radius of the RBB at 16" and the fret boards at 12" (G5420TLH) and 10" (G6119LH), so I re-radiused these RBB with the help of a metalworker vise, screws and shims to eliminate that radius problem - not rare on RBB it seems, therefore making the Comptons and Tru-Arc bridges so desirable :

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Once the convenient position found and pinned, I don't experiment intonation issues with 10-52 Ernie Ball or Dean Markley set of strings.

    A+!
     
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  18. MTurner

    MTurner Friend of Fred

    Age:
    60
    Aug 17, 2010
    Clayton, North Carolina, USA
    Andrew, I can't recall ever knowing a Compton bridge offered for sale on this forum to last long. They absolutely can be re-sold. You won't get the full price you paid, but then, you wouldn't expect to. The difference, in my Compton-loving opinion, if that the risk is worth the potential benefit.
     
    TSims1 and Waxhead like this.
  19. Waxhead

    Waxhead Synchromatic

    858
    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    yeah again I've never heard of either a Compton or Tru-Arc rattling or causing any problems.
    Has anyone else?
    There's nothing on them that can rattle.
    And if you don't like it you can easy sell one here for a 5420

    I've got one of each and my Tru-Arc has slightly better intonation than the Compton but really....... I've found the accuracy on both to be so close to perfect it doesn't matter unless you're a total perfectionist.

    And the other bridge options probably wouldn't achieve any better intonation anyway
     
    ZackyDog likes this.
  20. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    I love Tru-Arcs and Comptons, but the only 'problems' they cause are less than ideal intonation (I understand its a choice, no need to go down that well-beaten path) and (for me) increased behind the bridge 'wolf tones'. Put some dampers on the strings, get a wound G string and it's on, however.