Gretsch – Setup

I do love a big semi-acoustic. For a Chinese made guitar these are excellent value.  This one’s been fiddled around with a little though, so it needs a setup.

It’s fairly new so doesn’t really need any cleaning as such, but a splash of lemon oil never goes amiss.

A little polish on the top before fitting new strings.  The bridge is pinned on this one so there’s no problem in getting the position right.

So with a new set of strings fitted a 5 point setup is al that’s needed.

  1.  The neck relief..

2.  The action at the 12th fret.

3.  The action at the first fret.

4.  The intonation.

5.  The pickup heights.

There it is, ideal for a bit of rockabilly action.

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Gretsch – Bone nut

I love these, some great guitars coming out Gretsch these days.  Great value an very well made.  This one just has a slight problem, staying in tune.

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It’s probably the nut.  I’m not much a fan of these new fanged materials, I don’t think you can beat good old fashioned bone.

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Unfortunately I can’t find a pre-shaped nut to fit so I’ll have to cut one from a blank.

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1st job then, off with the strings and out with the old nut.

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Using the old nut as a guide it’s just a case of cutting and grinding the blank to the same size and shape.

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The basic length..

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It’s about 0.7mm too thick..

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so carefully grind it down.

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Once it fits nicely in the slot get the ends clean and flat.

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Then the curve of the top..

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That’s the basic shape.

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All it needs now are the string slots.

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I’ve left the slots quite shallow, I’ll cut them to the right depth as a part of the setup.  It’s essential to get the neck set and bridge height correct first.

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So a full setup, then neck set…

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Action height at the 12th fret

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Back to the action at the 1st fret.

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Time to cut the slots down to depth.

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Lastly a check on the pickup heights.

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An there it is, ready now for a life of Rock ‘n Roll.

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Gretsch Double Jet – Setup

Nothing much wrong with this one realy, I think this range of guitars are excellent value for money, it just needs a little tweek here and there to optimise its setup.

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While the strings are off (It’s always worth fitting new strings before completing a setup) I gave the fretboard a clean and oil.

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The neck had a little too much set in it…..

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so I tightened up the truss-rod a little.

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The action up at the 12th fret was also just a little high..

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so I dropped the bridge down a turn.

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The action back at the first fret was fine so no work needed there.

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Next the intonation, vital if it’s to play in tune all along the neck.

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Lastly the pickup heights.  Starting with a basic setting then adjusting them by ear.

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So there it is.  Sadly very few guitars come properly set-up out of the box.  They can always do with a bit of fine-tuning to get the most out of them.

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Gretsch Black Falcon – Fret Dress and Setup

Wow, another big bodied Semi-Acoustic to play with!  This one needs a lot more work to get it playing properly mind you.

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Some of the frets are very uneven so they’ll need levelling if it’s ever going to play nicely.

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Before removing the strings it’s always a good idea to mark exactly where the floating bridge sits.  As it happens I needn’t have bothered as it was in the wrong place anyway.

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Before attacking the frets I first made sure the neck’s completely flat and then tape it up to protect it while I’m working.

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So on with the dressing.  Using a calibrated beam and sandpaper until the fret tops are all level…

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You can see here the 2nd fret has hardly been touched yet the others have had quite a bit removed.

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Once the tops are level now each fret needs to be rounded off again.

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With the frets the right shape each one has to be re-polished with 4 grades of micro-mesh.

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Before fitting the new strings I gave the fretboard a clean and oil…

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With that done all that’s left is a standard setup, starting with the neck set…

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It was a little high so I tightened the truss-rod a little.

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Next the bridge height, measuring at the 12th fret.  A little high….

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so drop the bridge down a little.

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Next the action at the 1st fret.   Way too high…

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so cut the slots in the nut deeper…

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Lastly the intonation, which is when it became apparent the bridge was misplaced.

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There we go, now it’s ready to Rock……

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Problematic Gretsch

Had a bit of a problem with a Gretsch this week.  The owner wanted a setup to cure some fret buzzing, sadly it needed a bit more than just that.  The frets were quite uneven so they needed dressing to get the most out of it.e-01

Rather uneven frets….e-02Grinding the frets to level the tops…e-03Once the frets were level and the tops re-crowned and polished all it needed was a standard 5 point setup.  That should’ve been quite easy apart from the A and D strings, there wasn’t enough adjustment in the bridge saddles.  You can see here they’re both at then end of their adjustment.e-04So I turned the saddles around on the 1st three strings which just about gave me just enough movement.e-05Job done…e-06