upgrading bridge on 5420t. advice welcome

patientfrog

Electromatic
Jan 23, 2022
7
Minnesota
hi, first time posting on this forum. i'll keep it short and sweet. I'm upgrading my bridge to a compton bridge. problem is, the bridge sits at an angle on the electromatics. it's not directly perpendicular to the direction of the strings, so my hunch is that this could affect things when ordering the compton. I mean, i think (not sure) that they carve grooves into the metal, but if the bridge sits at an angle then the grooves would have to be angled too, wouldn't they?

SO, is there a way to move the saddle to make it square with the strings? how should i go about thinking about this? thanks much.
 

radd

Friend of Fred
Dec 27, 2017
5,535
Home
The bridge is angled for proper intonation.

Every guitar has its bridge or saddles in positions such as that.

The Compton is designed for that angle and the grooves have no impact on the strings. It is not something to worry about.

If it really worries you, remove the screws and the bridge and buy a floating bridge for about $25.00

Welcome.
 

patientfrog

Electromatic
Jan 23, 2022
7
Minnesota
The bridge is angled for proper intonation.

Every guitar has its bridge or saddles in positions such as that.

The Compton is designed for that angle and the grooves have no impact on the strings. It is not something to worry about.

If it really worries you, remove the screws and the bridge and buy a floating bridge for about $25.00

Welcome.
thanks, you may have just reassured me.
 

emitex

Synchromatic
Aug 21, 2014
889
NYC
hi, first time posting on this forum. i'll keep it short and sweet. I'm upgrading my bridge to a compton bridge. problem is, the bridge sits at an angle on the electromatics. it's not directly perpendicular to the direction of the strings, so my hunch is that this could affect things when ordering the compton. I mean, i think (not sure) that they carve grooves into the metal, but if the bridge sits at an angle then the grooves would have to be angled too, wouldn't they?

SO, is there a way to move the saddle to make it square with the strings? how should i go about thinking about this? thanks much.
The best way I can explain it is that the wooden bridge sits parallel (straight) and the diagonal intonation is achieved by being molded into the top metal part of the Compton at the string breaks. The grooves then are cut straight on that diagonal apex. The bridge stays perpendicular, the Compton itself has the angle built-in. I'm sure others will explain it much better. Hope this helps. compt.jpg
 

patientfrog

Electromatic
Jan 23, 2022
7
Minnesota
The best way I can explain it is that the wooden bridge sits parallel (straight) and the diagonal intonation is achieved by being molded into the top metal part of the Compton at the string breaks. The grooves then are cut straight on that diagonal apex. The bridge stays perpendicular, the Compton itself has the angle built-in. I'm sure others will explain it much better. Hope this helps. View attachment 174249
hi, thanks for the reply. I think i can understand that. one thing though is that on the electromatics 5420t, the saddle too sits at an angle. wouldn't with the compton also being at an angle cause the string to sit at even more of an angle? thanks for the help btw. this forum does seem pretty cool
 

emitex

Synchromatic
Aug 21, 2014
889
NYC
hi, thanks for the reply. I think i can understand that. one thing though is that on the electromatics 5420t, the saddle too sits at an angle. wouldn't with the compton also being at an angle cause the string to sit at even more of an angle? thanks for the help btw. this forum does seem pretty cool
I have a 5420T, and the fixed wooden base shouldn't sit at an angle. It's fixed straight. If your base is diagonal, check under it to see if you’re missing the pins that keep it fixed and in place. Is your 5420 wooden base angled or straight? Here's a pic of my latest 5420 set up (I removed my Compton and returned to the original tune-0-matic saddle). The base is fixed straight, but my saddles intonate diagonally in the same configuration as the Compton would. (FYI... the saddles HAVE to be at a diagonal angle for proper intonation and shouldn't be straight across. The base can be straight.) Hope this helps you.
5420 bridge.jpg
 
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patientfrog

Electromatic
Jan 23, 2022
7
Minnesota
I have a 5420T, and the fixed wooden base shouldn't sit at an angle. It's fixed straight. Is your 5420 wooden base angled or straight? Here's a pic of my latest 5420 set up (I removed my Compton and returned to the original tune-0-matic saddle). The base is fixed straight, but my saddles intonate diagonally in the same configuration as the Compton would. (FYI... the saddles HAVE to be at a diagonal angle for proper intonation and shouldn't be straight across. The base can be straight.) Hope this helps you.
View attachment 174258
hi emitex, thanks for your reply. I think i understand you. i guess i may be a bit confused on terminology here. my wooden base sits diagonally. when i look at other pictures of the 5420t on the internet, all i see is angled wooden bases. is this guitar's wooden base glued to the guitar? if not, my problem is solved. i can just get the compton, and then reset the base to be square with the pickups. would just need tips on how to setup the guitar properly then.

again, thanks
 

emitex

Synchromatic
Aug 21, 2014
889
NYC
The 5420 base isn't glued. It's just secured and held in place by 2 small grub pins that seat in the guitars body and corresponding holes in the base's bottom. Once the pressure of your strings are removed the base just pops off the pins. It's not even screwed on. If your base is diagonal, you might be missing a grub pin. Easily fixable by using even a very small wooden dowel. I’m not up on earlier 5420 models, but if your 5420 did not come with a secured bridge, it might then be a floating bridge. Either way, you can easily straighten out the base and let the Compton's diagonal compensate for the needed intonation. Your solution is correct. Yep. Just get the Compton and make the base square with the pick ups. Setting up the intonation might be for another topic... and for more informed minds than mine in this forum. :- )
 
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radd

Friend of Fred
Dec 27, 2017
5,535
Home
I have a 5420T, and the fixed wooden base shouldn't sit at an angle. It's fixed straight. If your base is diagonal, check under it to see if you’re missing the pins that keep it fixed and in place. Is your 5420 wooden base angled or straight? Here's a pic of my latest 5420 set up (I removed my Compton and returned to the original tune-0-matic saddle). The base is fixed straight, but my saddles intonate diagonally in the same configuration as the Compton would. (FYI... the saddles HAVE to be at a diagonal angle for proper intonation and shouldn't be straight across. The base can be straight.) Hope this helps you.
View attachment 174258


The difference between a pinned Gretsch bridge base and a secured one is often times confused.

There are no pins under a 5420 bridge, it is a secured bridge base. It is secured by the treaded posts the bridge itself sits on. The treaded shafts thread through the bridge base and thread into the guitar body.

Pinned is just two small pins that stick up out of the guitar body and the bridge base sets over them. The base is not secured to the top.

Minor note for new folks. A floating bridge is not secured or pinned, it sets on the top held in place by string pressure. Many of us use rosin to help hold it in place. My 6119-62’ is floating. My 5420 was secured but I bought a pinned bridge base and it is now floating, no pins used.

Secured

FF04FAC7-C3D9-4DF4-B049-C82257CE1FBB.jpeg

Pinned

Sometimes the pinned bridge base is slotted to allow some adjustment, this one is not.

277ED8B4-670C-4F44-9CA4-31596D8C9E5E.jpeg
 
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BackRoomPicker

Electromatic
Jan 21, 2022
18
USA
I have an early 5420t. 2013 model. It has a floating bridge, but I can't speak highly enough about the Compton bridges. It's fantastic on mine.
 

Cdb1961

Gretschie
May 5, 2018
159
Orange Park, Fl
I replaced my stock bridge with a StewMac Golden Age roller bridge and removed the bolts from the base. I also installed a Zero Fret at the same time. Tonally and tuning stability had remarkable improvement!
 

section2

Country Gent
Dec 21, 2016
2,555
Toronto
i guess i may be a bit confused on terminology here. my wooden base sits diagonally. when i look at other pictures of the 5420t on the internet, all i see is angled wooden bases. is this guitar's wooden base glued to the guitar? if not, my problem is solved. i can just get the compton, and then reset the base to be square with the pickups. would just need tips on how to setup the guitar properly then.

again, thanks

Welcome to the forum!

To clarify the terminology:

On this type of bridge, the saddles are the little metal parts that the strings sit on.

The bridge is the big metal piece that the saddles sit on.

The bridge base is the wooden piece that the bridge sits on.

When was your 5420 made? The early ones had floating bridges, meaning that they weren't secured to the guitar. They just sit on top, held in place by the string tension. You can adjust the angle of the bridge as you see fit.

In late 2013, Gretsch started using secured bridges on 5420s. These are screwed into the body of the guitar. On these models, the bridge base should be perpendicular to the strings, so a Compton should work fine without any adjustments. If you find that you need to adjust the bridge angle, you can buy a floating bridge base.

If your bridge base is angled, you probably have a floating bridge. You can check by loosening your strings and seeing whether the wooden base moves when you wiggle it. Before you try this, I'd suggest using low-tack painter's tape to mark the location of the bridge base so that you can return it to the right location after you move it.
 

patientfrog

Electromatic
Jan 23, 2022
7
Minnesota
Welcome to the forum!

To clarify the terminology:

On this type of bridge, the saddles are the little metal parts that the strings sit on.

The bridge is the big metal piece that the saddles sit on.

The bridge base is the wooden piece that the bridge sits on.

When was your 5420 made? The early ones had floating bridges, meaning that they weren't secured to the guitar. They just sit on top, held in place by the string tension. You can adjust the angle of the bridge as you see fit.

In late 2013, Gretsch started using secured bridges on 5420s. These are screwed into the body of the guitar. On these models, the bridge base should be perpendicular to the strings, so a Compton should work fine without any adjustments. If you find that you need to adjust the bridge angle, you can buy a floating bridge base.

If your bridge base is angled, you probably have a floating bridge. You can check by loosening your strings and seeing whether the wooden base moves when you wiggle it. Before you try this, I'd suggest using low-tack painter's tape to mark the location of the bridge base so that you can return it to the right location after you move it.
solid advice about taping it up. it's a 2020 5420t model, so from what i've heard i'm pretty sure that means it is secured, but i guess i won't know till i have a look at it. the compton arrives later this week, so i'll tinker around with it when it comes.

Thanks
 

radd

Friend of Fred
Dec 27, 2017
5,535
Home
solid advice about taping it up. it's a 2020 5420t model, so from what i've heard i'm pretty sure that means it is secured, but i guess i won't know till i have a look at it. the compton arrives later this week, so i'll tinker around with it when it comes.

Thanks

You should be fine with the Compton and the Secured 5420 bridge base. If for some not likely to happen reason you need move the base for better intonation you can buy a Gretsch floating bridge base for about $25.00 new.

Most important with a Bigsby, watch a few videos on doing a good locking string wrap with 1-2 wraps max. Lube the nut that has been dressed properly particularly in regards to the D and G strings because of their angle from the nut to the tuner and your tuning should stay solid with that Compton.

Good luck, post some pictures with the new bridge.
 


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