Pinned bridge setup question.

Mikethomas

Electromatic
Nov 3, 2022
12
South Florida
Hello, I had a question regarding setting up one of my made in Japan Hollowbody Gretsch’s with the pinned adjust-o-matic bridges. I’ve been in the music industry for several years and have always done my own setups. I’m originally from New England where the weather can wreak havoc on instruments. Anyhow I moved to a tropical climate about 5 years ago and never really had any major issues with any of my pro level Japanese made Gretsch’s. However this year going from the summer into the autumn months one of my Hollowbody Gretsch’s action became way too high to play comfortably. I tweaked the truss rod a tiny bit, straightening the neck leaving a tiny bit of relief. The action was still very high, so I lowered the bridge’s thumbscrews to pretty much as low as they can go. The action is still way too high. I’m thinking at this point I will probably have to sand down the base of the bridge in order to get the action where I want it. It’s just odd because I have never had this problem with this particular Gretsch. I’m a little reluctant to sand down the bridge as I don’t have a spare. Any thoughts or recommendations? Thank you.
 

Rusty Chops

Gretschie
Gold Supporting Member
Sep 8, 2021
259
Redding, CA
Grind down the bottom of the adjust-o-matic where it rests on the thumb wheels. Easily replaced, and you can leave the bottom part pinned.
 

Randy99CL

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 17, 2020
2,269
Albuquerque
Before you jump into permanently adapting the bridge to a problem figure out exactly what changed.
Either the neck or the guitar top have moved. It is very likely the neck is the culprit and the truss rod should fix it.

This year I have had to adjust a few of the truss rods in my guitars, some as much as about a half turn. I like to make small adjustments (less than 1/4 turn) then let it sit for a while before checking it again.
Before I touched a wrench I was paranoid and watched every setup video I could find, probably a half dozen.

Some have recommended adjusting the neck until you get fret buzz, then backing off from there.
 

Cryin_Caleb_Aaron

Friend of Fred
Gold Supporting Member
Aug 15, 2018
7,655
Auburn, Maine
I agree with @Randy99CL, I wouldn’t sand down the bridge base. You probably don’t need to. Your truss rod needs another lil’ nudge.

I live in Maine, and it’s perfect 2 months out of the year. Other than that, it’s either too hot or too cold. I have to adjust my Gretsch truss rods every spring.
 

Mikethomas

Electromatic
Nov 3, 2022
12
South Florida
Well I figured out why my action has been so high. Stupid me didn’t initially notice after my most recent setup. However the tension from the strings must have made it worse over the past few days. This is a first for me. This made in Japan Gretsch’s neck joint is coming undone! Not happy at all! This like I said is a first for me on any pro level Gretsch I have owned! Last week I did notice a small crack near the neck heal but being it’s a nitro finished body I chalked it up to being a finish crack as it already has quite a few finish checks. Unfortunately it’s a 2008 model and way past any kind of warranty! I’m guessing anywhere from $500 to $700 to have it fixed correctly?
Photo below:
 

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tartanphantom

Friend of Fred
Jul 30, 2008
6,056
Murfreesboro, TN
Well I figured out why my action has been so high. Stupid me didn’t initially notice after my most recent setup. However the tension from the strings must have made it worse over the past few days. This is a first for me. This made in Japan Gretsch’s neck joint is coming undone! Not happy at all! This like I said is a first for me on any pro level Gretsch I have owned! Last week I did notice a small crack near the neck heal but being it’s a nitro finished body I chalked it up to being a finish crack as it already has quite a few finish checks. Unfortunately it’s a 2008 model and way past any kind of warranty! I’m guessing anywhere from $500 to $700 to have it fixed correctly?
Photo below:

If you bought it new in 2008, I believe Gretsch still offered a limited lifetime warranty at that time. Check your warranty certificate.
 

Emergence

Synchromatic
Gold Supporting Member
May 25, 2022
714
New York
Don’t blame the weather. It’s not hot and dry in Florida. Don’t blame yourself. It’s a good idea to lower the pitch a step or two for long term storage but I’ve never bothered for a guitar in the rotation. Personally, I’d have the frets leveled and crowned when the neck is reset. Do the job right and do it once. Maybe someone here can recommend a good luthier near you who can touch up the finish crack too. You can look at this as bad luck or an opportunity to restore a beautiful instrument to like new condition.
 

Mikethomas

Electromatic
Nov 3, 2022
12
South Florida
Contacted Gretsch about the limited lifetime warranty thing from back in the day to see if they would do anything for me. To be continued… I’ll let you know what their response is.
 

Mikethomas

Electromatic
Nov 3, 2022
12
South Florida
Update on my neck joint that is coming undone. After speaking first on the phone and then having to email documentation to Gretsch, I’m told that it can be covered under the old limited lifetime warranty. My next step is to take the guitar to a nearby authorized Gretsch service center after which they will have the ultimate yes or no say regarding if it is indeed a defect that will be covered.
I’m not too concerned about the repair shop being able to match any refinishing that they might have to do after resetting the neck,as that adds character to the guitar. I’m just hoping whatever refinish work they do will be done using nitro as the rest of the guitar is finished in nitro and not poly. According to Gretsch the guitar’s color is their Jaguar tan.
 


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