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gretschified an aria pro ii (dont know what this is)
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George
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Joined: 03 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:04 pm    Post subject: gretschified an aria pro ii (dont know what this is) Reply with quote



found a very nice playing aria pro ii and decided to gretschify it. came out quite nicely. main things i did:

- installed a fake bigsby
- installed some low output alnico 3 humbuckers (i actually had gfs dynasonic clones in at first but decided against them, too middy and overwound), with 1 meg pots and 50s wiring. what you see on them is just fancy toaster covers bought as extra.
- almost completely chromed out the original gold hardware
- added a pearly pickguard

this is what it originally looked like (not my photo):



the guitar plays well but the bigsby isn't 100% yet, and the humbuckers need some fine tuning. i think the understated tobaccoburst, toaster pickups and witch hats give it a slight earthy and masculine quality, that is perhaps more "junkyard/pawnshop americana" than it is gretsch. i also paid for a nice fret levelling so the action is ridiculously low. on the whole i'm happy with it, but don't think humbuckers are for me. the quest may continue. possibly some rose humbucker sized jazzy pickups..

notice the holes where the tailpiece cups used to be. the exposed wood will need a lick of varnish at some point




ugly bugly headstock
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YuriK
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

really nice. I love the finish. The original burst made the guitar not look so good but you really made it stunning
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theshadowofseattle
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You really sorted that out into a great looking guitar. gjgeorge
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gusman2x wrote:
wizard thickness

George wrote:
Yeah, thickness, nut
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Dave
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really lovely upgrades George - how's the Bigsby clone?
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speedfish
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! She's gorgeous! Cool
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George
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all. The bigsby is okay but it's not holding tune 100% after use. I think that might be because I've not used the stock spring and went for a spare higher tension one that came with the gfs xtrem, so will see if changing it will improve. By the by it's not as good as the gfs xtrem at the moment. That thing is set and forget right out the box. This clone however looks the business and utterly identical to a bigsby, and feels like one, so worth a little effort.

I also sawed the metal nub off so the arm has full rotation (you can just about see in the pics). Took 5 minutes including a little filing

Edit: just put the original spring in. Less overall downward travel but much smoother and better tuning. Feels great actually
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Dave
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So if looks weren't an issue would you suggest this or the equivalent GFS? I quite like the look of the GFS but largely the curvy Bigsby looks better.
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iCEByTes wrote:
5 Most Jizz face maker Solo´s , classic Rock music i ever listened.


iCEByTes wrote:
Blunt a joint , Take the Touch , Listen this.
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George
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll let you know later today about stability after I've spent time with it. Having said that, on functionality alone the gfs has string through tailpiece, 2 different springs and full arm rotation as standard. The bigsby has the looks, and you can saw the nub off anyway. The spring feels very nice though actually, nicer than the gfs maybe. Close race but if this ones tuning holds up I'd take the bigsby but knowing that the peg string holders are a nuisance and there is only one spring.
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dezb1
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice work George... kind of reminds me of Johnny Marr's Gretsch super axe.




Ps: how's the bigsby clone been, still looking for one for the goldtop but don't want to pay more than I did for the guitar so a real one is out...
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George
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i'm not really sure about this trem having spent a bit of time with it. there are tuning stability issues but i think cos of the extreme break angle it's crying out for a roller bridge. the gfs had a very shallow break angle so that's probably why it was more stable. gonna get a roller from axesrus and i'll let you know
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Dave
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you tried a bit of vaseline/pencil graphit mixture doted on each saddle? might help (in the nut too, and the break angle roller too can't hurt)
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iCEByTes wrote:
5 Most Jizz face maker Solo´s , classic Rock music i ever listened.


iCEByTes wrote:
Blunt a joint , Take the Touch , Listen this.
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cur
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might want to dab some of the vaseline graphite mix on to the nut string slots too. make sure that the nut slots are not restrictive. Of the guitars that I have had that had tuning stability problems, tight sticking nuts slots were the problem.
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George
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks, i've already done the old graphite and vaseline trick, although not on the saddles. i think the issue points to the extreme break angle between the bridge and tailpiece coupled with non-roller saddles. i'm getting a few grinding sounds on the low E and A strings at the bridge as well.

the gfs xtrem installed had absolutely no issues with tuning, the main difference being (in my opinion) there was virtually no break angle between the tailpiece and bridge. roller bridge is now in the post, so hopefully that will help things along
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BearBoy
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That looks ace George. Good work. Hope you get the trem issues sorted.
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I'm just going to smash it in with a hammer and hope it works. Tone is all in the fingers anyway.
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Awstin
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That looks rad man!
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cur
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

what did you get for roller bridge? I have the wilkinson roller - it has high mass and is great and adjustable.
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George
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.axesrus.co.uk/mobile/Product.aspx?id=38296

I have a wilko in my parts box but I don't really like it on this guitar. I think cos of the brass saddles and slight radius mismatch. Plus the posts aren't easy to adjust the height on. I love it on my bratomaster though
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Doog
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dezb1 wrote:




LIKE

Guitar looks gr8888, Jorge
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cur
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Joined: 18 Jan 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, that bridge you are getting will fit the looks of your guitar much better than the wilkinson one. good choice.
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Awstin
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's another one that just popped up on eBay.

http://bit.ly/1jG7kJE
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