New Bridge for 5420

adauria

Gretschie
Dec 22, 2016
139
Wake Forest, NC
Well, she's in the hands of a very good luthier now. I'll give the stew mac bridge a go. Worst case, I don't like it and I'll get the Compton and sell a few bridges (or put them on my other guitars). If I can't sell them, I'm only out $100 anyway.

I took it to him mainly because it needed some nut work. I've had him work on some of my other guitars before and I am always VERY happy with the results. I am one of those guys who believes every new guitar needs at least a basic setup (which I can do) and maybe more - i.e. nut work or fret work, which I don't do. The Gretsch needed at least some nut work, but while it's there I'm having him use his judgement to get that sucker to stay in tune with moderate Bigsby use (nut, bridge, maybe locking tuners). That sweet shimmer is so seductive that I expect I'll be using it lots.

On a related note, since the Gretsch is in the shop I'll be playing my strat tonight at worship team rehearsal in preparation for my Sunday church gig. In the past, I almost never used the strat trem, but since getting the Gretsch I am all over it. While it's no Bigsby, I miss that shimmer so much I'm making do with Leo's design. It's not so bad either :)

-Andrew
 

moisan

Newbie
May 20, 2022
1
Rome
Did you get the metric version or standard? I'm guessing the standard, since it has the smaller holes. Two options: file the bridge to accommodate the stock post spacing (or ream); the other is to try your hand at the metric version, which has larger holes, and hope the locking mechanism will hold it steady.

OR, take it back...and get the ABM :) I know, it's pricey...but it's gonna work, lots of people here use 'em, including myself. Remember, I was saying the risk with the TP was it could end up not giving ya what you need, and that's still a possibility once you get this first issue resolved. I mean just look at it, it's well-made...and get the chrome, nobody will notice....the brass kinda matches....:D

View attachment 75517 View attachment 75516
So, which ABM NO-roller bridge could perfectly fit a 2017 G5420? 2500, 2504, other ..?
 

Jim85IROC

Electromatic
May 16, 2022
11
Vermont
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.
The Gotoh bridges are excellent. Too many people dismiss them because they're so inexpensive, but since I'm a cheap bastard, I'm happy to use them!
 

Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Nov 13, 2009
21,897
Monkey Island
The Gotoh bridges are excellent. Too many people dismiss them because they're so inexpensive, but since I'm a cheap bastard, I'm happy to use them!

Gotoh stuff is my favourite hardware. Something to be aware of is they make similar looking stuff at vastly different price-points. But all you see advertised is the cheap stuff.
They own PW(Ping Works) in China as well.
 

Jim85IROC

Electromatic
May 16, 2022
11
Vermont
Gotoh stuff is my favourite hardware. Something to be aware of is they make similar looking stuff at vastly different price-points. But all you see advertised is the cheap stuff.
They own PW(Ping Works) in China as well.
I've put their $20 Japanese-made TOM bridges and their similarly priced tailpieces on a few guitars and they're fantastic. Likewise, their lower priced tuners have been excellent too. I haven't used their higher-end stuff yet.
 

TobyB

Electromatic
Nov 22, 2021
76
UK
I have put ABM roller bridge and a Nashville TOM on my Gretch's with excellent tuning stability and tone as a result. Lovely bits of engineering. The idea of rattling is laughable once you've got one in your hands. Richer tone to my ears too.
Well worth the €'s!
 

AllenK

Synchromatic
Feb 7, 2019
530
Staffordshire Moorlands, UK
I put an ABM-2400 on a 5622. Improved tone, no rattles and less string breakage. For me, certainly worth the cost. It's a quality item. I've kept the original bridge so if I sell/px the 5622 I can keep the ABM-2400. It'll drop straight onto your existing bridge pins on a 5420 as it has a good degree of adjustability and you can set it up to give you exactly the intonation you want.

That said, I'm happy with the stock Gretsch bar bridge on my Annie and prefer the feel of it.
 

ThePluckedString

Electromatic
Apr 27, 2022
35
Centralia, WA
Here’s the Compton bridge on my 5420. I was not prepared for the change to the sound because I thought it would be very subtle. The electric tone was much brighter and sharper. So much so that I had to roll treble and presence back on Helix presets for this guitar. This guitar has TV Jones Classics installed.
 

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FiveAces

Gretschie
Mar 1, 2009
257
San Diego, CA
Even though this thread was originally started several years ago, it may be woth adding to it for reference....

The "Secured Bridge" versions of the 5420 (and may be other model, too) is truely at a disadvantage by design. It does prevent the wood base from really transmitting all the good vides from the strings to the guitar top because all the downward force is only via the bridge thumbscrews. The wooden bridge base has little to no pressure on the guitar top and is almost useless in transmitting any sound at it was intended! I could easily see someone spending good money on a Compton or TruArc bridge (actually, any bridge!) and still not getting the full sound benefit.

Simply replace the original thumbscrew studs with shorter ones so they just thread into the bridge base only (and not through the base and into the guitar top) making it a true floating bridge. And take the time to sand the base to contour it and match the top of the guitar surface. No matter what bridge becomes your final choice, you will hear a definate improvement in the sound!

If you're not in love with the floating bridge idea, screw in a 1/2" setscrew (x2) into the guitar top existing holes and just leave about 1/8" protruding above the surface. Then ream out the underside existing holes of the bridge base just a tad so that it can slip over the top of the screws but the bridge will seat and locate exactly in the position in belongs. As long as the thumbscrew studs on the bridge base aren't threaded all the way through the base (in other words, allow enough clearance so the thumbscrew studs in the base doesn't rest on the small setscrews in the guitar top), you will have a proper pinned bridge.
 

Lockupyourfatdog

Synchromatic
Aug 8, 2016
948
Everett wa
I’ve had comptons and tru arcs, they’re great but really I don’t have any issu with a good ol Gretsch rocking bar. I’ve had 2 electromatics now (a 5420, and a 5410) that I dropped a bar bridge on and the intonation has been magically spot on. Maybe I’ve just been lucky
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Noparadise

Electromatic
Jan 29, 2017
21
UK
Does the Gotoh steal any tone?
I put a Gotoh GE103B-C on my 5420. The hardest part was reversing the saddle for the G string, which may not be necessary on all guitars, then it required a few careful rakes of a rat-tailed file to cut the string slots in each saddle. While it's dimensionally a drop in replacement for the original, it is engineered much better. Intonation is precise and the bridge is above all reasonably cheap.

I always loved the sound of the original bridge buzzing and rattling, I believed it was seminal to that Great Gretsch Sound. After fitting the Gotoh ALL that magic tone was stolen. Yeah, it plays fine, the bigsby works better, it sounds clean and clear as you'd expect, but the TONE has been taken as if by a thief in the night. Obviously any of these solid compensated bridges won't be able to rattle like a bag of spanners, so they are out of the question, so I guess it's going to be back to the original.
 

FiveAces

Gretschie
Mar 1, 2009
257
San Diego, CA
...I always loved the sound of the original bridge buzzing and rattling, I believed it was seminal to that Great Gretsch Sound. After fitting the Gotoh ALL that magic tone was stolen. Yeah, it plays fine, the bigsby works better, it sounds clean and clear as you'd expect, but the TONE has been taken as if by a thief in the night. Obviously any of these solid compensated bridges won't be able to rattle like a bag of spanners, so they are out of the question, so I guess it's going to be back to the original.

Not to take that response too seriously, but I guess it's "to each their own". But, in all reality, bridge rattles are more heard acoustically, but unless your pickups are extremely microphonic, that sound will never be heard through the amp! Hey.... just sayin'
 

Noparadise

Electromatic
Jan 29, 2017
21
UK
Not to take that response too seriously, but I guess it's "to each their own". But, in all reality, bridge rattles are more heard acoustically, but unless your pickups are extremely microphonic, that sound will never be heard through the amp! Hey.... just sayin'
I think you're broadly correct - I never noticed it coming through the amp, but a rattle at the bridge is unwanted vibration at the contact point of the string, which may well travel up the string and register as undesirable input at the pickups.

In truth, of course I'm keeping the Gotoh on there. It works so much better than the original, I'm not in search of the tone mojo from boutique hardware, and I like adjustable intonation. I think that mojo may come from one's technique.
 

FiveAces

Gretschie
Mar 1, 2009
257
San Diego, CA
I think you're broadly correct - I never noticed it coming through the amp, but a rattle at the bridge is unwanted vibration at the contact point of the string, which may well travel up the string and register as undesirable input at the pickups.

In truth, of course I'm keeping the Gotoh on there. It works so much better than the original, I'm not in search of the tone mojo from boutique hardware, and I like adjustable intonation. I think that mojo may come from one's technique.

I probably should have followed up with that.....
...But if you ever practice with your hollowbody guitar unplugged with a buzzing bridge, it can be the most god awful, annoying and disturbing thing to listen to!!!! (LOL)

Play on, my friend!
 

BuddyHollywood

Gretschie
Sep 11, 2009
489
Venice, CA
I have tried 6 different bridges on my Duo Jet. It came stock with the Melita Syncro-Sonic reissue bridge. I liked it overall but The plastic saddles dampened too much high end. Next was a Gotoh Nashville style. This was a good bridge but I noticed some rattling that started to grow annoying when I couldn’t unhear it. It’s now on my Gretsch Corvette. Third was an aluminum Bigsby bowtie bridge. It had a nice clanky upper midrange but there was some piercing high end overtone that I couldn’t deal with. Fourth was a stainless steel Tru-Arc Serpentune. This sounded great but I was missing the clanky mids of the aluminum so I swapped it for #5, an aluminum Tru-Arc Serpentune. This bridge stayed on there for years. I thought it was the perfect bridge for a Gretsch guitar with a floating bridge base until I went into a recording studio. The almost perfect intonation ended up being not perfect enough when placed under the audio microscope of a recording studio.

My Epiphone Casino came with Wilkinson tuners and a buzzing wire retaining ABR-1 style bridge. I decided to replace the bridge with a no wire Wilkinson ABR-1 since the tuners were already the same brand. They cost about $25. It is great. I liked it so much I bought a Nashville style for another guitar and bought another ABR-1 to try on my Duo Jet. It’s still on there and I have since sold the Tru-Arc.

The Wilkinson ABR-1 bridge works, sounds and feels great to me. The Tru-Arc Serpentune is a fantastic bar bridge and is in my experience the best bar bridge ever made. My inability to make it work is more about my limits as a player to compensate than anything having to do with the engineering of the Tru-Arc Serpentune bridge itself.
 

L Robbins

Gretschie
May 3, 2017
325
USA
I’ve had comptons and tru arcs, they’re great but really I don’t have any issu with a good ol Gretsch rocking bar. I’ve had 2 electromatics now (a 5420, and a 5410) that I dropped a bar bridge on and the intonation has been magically spot on. Maybe I’ve just been lucky
View attachment 181265
Yup, I use a Rocking Bar bridge on my 5420 and 5422. Love them. Mr. Atkins seemed to do pretty well with one as well ;)
 


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