The age-old bridge question, from a newbie

Discussion in 'The Great Bigsby forum' started by hooligangorilla, Jan 14, 2022 at 1:11 AM.

  1. hooligangorilla

    hooligangorilla Electromatic

    I’ve read a bunch of threads here on the subject and I apologize in advance as this has been discussed to death.

    I’ve acquired a beautiful g6128t FT Players Edition for a song, and I’m in love with it - my first proper Gretsch and it’s better than I even imagined.

    It has a B7 and an anchored Adjusto-matic bridge bolted to the top, i.e. doesn’t move at all with the Bigsby. I’ve read so much about Gretsch bridges here and like everyone, I want to maximize tone and tuning stability. I’ll probably be staying away from roller bridges based on what I’ve read here. My big question is, it worth it to get a Tru-Arc or a Compton? Or even something like Graph Tech saddles for the existing bridge, as a cheaper option… which would ostensibly help with tuning stability and sustain but would probably be about the same as the steel saddles tone-wise?

    Any advice helps on this helps. Thanks.
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  2. new6659

    new6659 Country Gent

    To access advice, you need to show pictures;). Welcome and congratulations on the 6128! FYI - I have six Jets and the bridges are all still stock.
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  3. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Oct 18, 2015
    Usually all Pro-line Gretsch guitars are great without any mods.
  4. AllenK

    AllenK Gretschie

    With you having a Proline, the Adjusto-matic bridge you currently have should be pretty good. Maybe play it for a while and see how you get on with it.

    If you aren't happy with that, I wouldn't write off roller bridges. The ABM-2400 is excellent and should be a straight drop in replacement.

    If you want to go down the bar bridge route then I think TruArc at least makes versions to fit your kind of mounting.
  5. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
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  6. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on your beautiful Jet!

    The bridge wouldn't be my first suspect when looking for the cause of tuning problems. The culprit is more likely to be the nut or the Bigsby tension roller.

    If the nut slots aren't well cut, the strings can bind there. A good guitar tech can sort the nut out with a few minutes of filing. The last tech who did it for me took care of the problem in under 5 minutes and wouldn't even let me pay him for the work. If you haven't had the nut looked at, it's worth taking it to the shop for a look. Once the nut is sorted out, use a bit of lubricant (even pencil graphite works) and you'll be all set.

    If you're still having tuning problems, the next suspect is the Bigsby front roller. The roller can put too much downward pressure on the strings behind the bridge, causing the strings to bind and preventing them from returning to pitch. To see whether the roller is to blame, try restringing your guitar with the strings bypassing the front roller: just string them overtop of the roller instead of underneath. If your tuning troubles disappear, you'll know the roller was to blame. The solution is to replace the roller with a Brick's BiggsFix, which rotates more smoothly and allows the strings to ride a little higher. The BiggsFix is made by our very own @Setzerhotrod, and it's a great invention.

    While you're at it, pick up one of @Setzerhotrod's Super Squishy Bigsby Springs. It's the best $5 upgrade you can make to any Bigsby.

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  7. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    I just realized that I didn't answer your actual question. Your stock bridge should be just fine, but some people do prefer the tone and sustain from a bar bridge. I'm a bar bridge fan, but I see them as a nice improvement rather than a must-have.

    I believe Tru Arc makes a compensated bridge that will work with your fixed bridge posts. If in doubt, you can email them with your guitar's measurements and they'll take care of you.

    Compton may also be able to do something for you, but I've only ever used a Compton on a guitar with a floating bridge.

    There's also the dBridge, which is a solid bar bridge that's custom made by a fellow forum member in the UK. I've never seen one in person but they get good reviews.

    I have a Gretsch rocking bar bridge mounted on the fixed bridge posts in my 5620. Surprisingly, the intonation is fine despite the lack of compensation.
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  8. Waxhead

    Waxhead Friend of Fred

    Aug 30, 2014
    Hi and welcome - I recommended this forum to you from TGP.

    2 Q's for you

    a) Are there any problems with your existing bridge?
    If yes, what are they.

    b) Exactly what is your existing bridge

    If all you want is a potential tone improvement then you'll get some with either a Tru-Arc, Compton or dBridge.

    These custom made compensated bar bridge will also deliver put on and forget perfect (near perfect) intonation. No adjustment is required once you slip those bridges on.

    My Jet 6131 had a Tru-Arc bar bridge on a floating bridge base when I bought it and the guitar had no issues. But I wanted to try a dBridge. See below pic with a dBridge. Having tried all 3 custom made bridges this is my fav. Intonation was the best of all 3 on my Jet and it looks great.


    Then I put a Compton on my G5422.
    This guitar has a fixed bridge base.
    Again I had no issues with the stock bridge.
    But Compton significantly improved both the tone and intonation.

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  9. wabash slim

    wabash slim I Bleed Orange

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    I went with Tru-Arc bridges. One piece means no rattles whatsoever, and solid bars mean better tonal transfer. Works for me.
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  10. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    I prefer a bar bridge on a Gretsch.

    With Dynas, really hard to beat the tone/vibe that Aluminum offers.

    I tried brass, stainless steel and aluminum. The aluminum won over my ears on a Dyna equipped Gretsch with a little extra "pop" and "snap" on a note attack.

    Best of luck
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  11. new6659

    new6659 Country Gent

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  12. Setzerhotrod

    Setzerhotrod Country Gent

    Oct 26, 2011
    Anchorage Alaska
  13. hooligangorilla

    hooligangorilla Electromatic

    Thank you! Great to be here and already so much great advice. To answer those questions:

    - The existing bridge is a factory stock anchored Adjusto-matic that originally came with the guitar… which I think might be made Gotoh?

    - I haven’t done any setup work at all on it yet, and it plays really well. It has 10s on it currently. Tuning stability is okay but I want to improve it, so that’s the main thing.

    Honestly, I am over the moon about how it sounds… the tone is amazing, to me as a Gretsch newbie. However, as I’ve read up a bit on tuning stability, I just see a number of Gretsch players rave about the bar bridges and the tonal improvements they offer, and I wanted some opinions if that would apply to my Gretsch with it’s anchored bridge.

    A little story here… I have a Tele as well, that originally came with a Strat-style saddles. I tried swapping that out for a traditional Tele bridge and the difference was really noticeable, with better twang and sustain. So I wondered if a Tru-Arc or Compton or D-Bridge much really do the same in bringing out the “Gretschy-ness” if that makes sense, while improving tuning too… or if it’s an expense that isn’t very noticeable.
  14. Waxhead

    Waxhead Friend of Fred

    Aug 30, 2014
    Ok improved tuning stability is your no 1 objective and a bonus if you get improved tone also.

    To improve tuning stability 1st thing I'd look at is your nut.
    Are the slots cut smoothly? - might need a file down.
    And also put some graphite powder in them.

    Improved tone - I've not had a Jet with fixed adjust-o-matic bridge so can't say for sure whether any of the 3 custom bar bridges will improve tone or not. A Compton certainly improved tone, and sustain, on my Electromatic 5422 that had a stock adjust-o-matic. Likely it will on yours also but no guarantee.

    Another option is to upgrade the saddles on your adjust-o-matic.
    I recently put graph tech string saver saddles in my SG and they made significant improvement in warmer general tone plus better sustain :)

    Close up of the dBridge on my Jet

    Last edited: Jan 15, 2022 at 8:01 PM
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  15. Marv666

    Marv666 Gretschie

    Jul 26, 2020
    The d bridge looks great!
    Might be worth a try someday
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  16. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    Welcome to the forum
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  17. hooligangorilla

    hooligangorilla Electromatic

    I’d be interested… the website seems to say he’s not taking orders at the moment though.
  18. hooligangorilla

    hooligangorilla Electromatic

    Thanks for this. I do plan to touch up the nut a tiny bit… just trying to decide first on 10s or 11s. I know it’s hotly debated but I’ve found 11s to help ever so slightly with tuning stability in personal experience. The nut on the guitar is Graph Tech so that’s a plus, and I also grabbed some Nut Sauce on the advice of a Bigsby enthusiast friend (been using pencils for graphite up till now).

    That last bridge option you mentioned is one I was seriously thinking about. I actually live quite close to Graph Tech’s main operation, so their stuff is easier to get my hands on. They’re a relatively inexpensive choice and I know they’re a great product - I’ve had a set of their saddles on my Strat for 15+ years and they improved both the sustain and the tuning stability. Still like the idea of the bar bridge though… the physics just make sense.
  19. Ashley1983

    Ashley1983 Gretschie

    Aug 9, 2020
    hi mate congrats on the new Jet

    so are you actually suffering from tuning stability issues or are you just trying to improve on the current guitar?

    My advise is before you start looking at changes I’d get it set up put a new set of D'Addario NYXL strings and then think about changes.

    As with anything on the internet don’t believe what you read Roller bridges are brilliant. I have a floating roller bridge and I am a heavy handed guitarist and I hardly tune up and there’s nothing wrong with the sustain from mine
    hooligangorilla likes this.
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