Gretsch Streamliner modification project

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Sarah93003
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Re: Gretsch Streamliner modification project

Postby Sarah93003 » Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:54 pm

So, it's been a year! I think I've mentioned before how slow I've been with this project. After the last update I've moved from San Diego to Simi Valley, finally found all of my parts, and with a three day weekend, I've made some progress. Yay!

First up was to finish cutting the bone nut. Since this is a zero fret guitar it's actually a string guider versus a nut. I used my jewelers saw that was used to cut all of the turquoise letters and the fret markers. After making initial cuts with that, I went to my little home made saws and opened up the bigger ones.

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I don't own fret files and a while ago I purchased these "fret saws" on eBay. They aren't really easy to work with by hand as they hurt your fingers and wriggle all over the place. Actually, I would call them round files as opposed to round saws.

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I took the saw blade out of the jewelers saw and was able to clamp the round files in. This proved to be way, way better!

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To make sure the string guide was working properly to the zero fret I needed to test it out with strings. So, I installed the tuners. These are Grover locking tuners.

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Next up was to attached the tailpiece. I used fishing line to "eyeball" from the tuners to the tailpiece.

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As you can see the end of the guitar is a bit of a mess from someone else attaching various things to it.

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Here we go! All tightened up.

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I like this tailpiece and it was the driving theme to create a "lazy S" look. Since it is a Streamliner and my name is Sarah, the S seemed like a natural. It follows with the headstock and the fret markers.

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Much to my surprise, all of the strings sound great on the first go at it.

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So, no fret buzz, I like the action, and it's staying in tune. Sweet!

Headstock.

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Neck and fretboard.

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The whole thing.

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____________________
1965 Mosrite Celebrity Prototype with Vibramute
1972 Mosrite Celebrity-III
1977 Gibson MK-53
1982 Fender Bullet
1994 Gretsch Streamliner G3155 Custom
2005 Gibson Les Paul Standard Plus
2006 Jude Les Paul 12 String

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Sarah93003
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Re: Gretsch Streamliner modification project

Postby Sarah93003 » Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:04 pm

Okay, another little update.

I removed the old strap pins and put on new ones. I've always liked the ones found on the pro line models.

Bass side horn.

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Tail piece end.

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I'm about to tackle the wiring and have to admit it is a bit confusing for me. I've looked at a lot of diagrams and have asked some folks who do this sort of thing. I'm ready to break out the soldering iron.

I think I will end up trying a variety of pickup combinations before I settle on what I like. The first go at it will have two Dyna's and a Gretschbucker.

I downloaded an app called OmniGraffle to my Mac. It allowed me to make a color diagram and that helps a lot. The diagram is from the perspective of inside the guitar and will work for my plywood template.

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I made a plywood template so I can layout the wires and do as much soldering as I can before stuffing it all in the guitar. I think I'll be able to plug the template into an amp and tap the pole pieces to see if sound comes out. That will be the first test.

The front side.

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And the back side.

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The whole wiring business is quite confusing. So, this is wiring job #1. It would be awesome if it worked the very first time. Being realistic, I would not be surprised if I made some mistakes. The solder joints all seem secure and not invading the next terminal.

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So, the next step is to drill some of the missing holes on the guitar top to accommodate the additional switches. The switches are all Switchcraft and the pots are CTS. After that I will stuff it all in the guitar and see what happens. I'll keep a fire extinguisher handy, just in case.

Okay. Another small update. A friend gave me a little tip on tapping the pickups to check the wiring. I've completed my first test and much to my surprise everything functions except for the neck pickup. So, this evening, I'll check my wire runs, solder joints, etc. and it should be easy to figure out. I'm very pleased that I got two out of three! For my first wiring job I am happy with the result.

Success! It turns out that one of the wires from the neck pickup to the switch did not have a good solder joint. I found the loose wire, resoldered it and BINGO! Everything works as it should. Next up, drill the holes for the switches and prepare to put the electronics into the guitar. I have two of the Stellartone Tonestyler pots and think I'll trade them now for the standard pots.
____________________
1965 Mosrite Celebrity Prototype with Vibramute
1972 Mosrite Celebrity-III
1977 Gibson MK-53
1982 Fender Bullet
1994 Gretsch Streamliner G3155 Custom
2005 Gibson Les Paul Standard Plus
2006 Jude Les Paul 12 String

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Sarah93003
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Re: Gretsch Streamliner modification project

Postby Sarah93003 » Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:18 pm

A little more progress. Tonight I cleaned up some less than pretty solder joints and took the next step necessary to stuff the innards into this guitar. I experimented with various spacing for the three toggle switches. 1 1/2 inches seemed to look the best to my eye. I taped off the horn and made a little template to get the spacing perfect.

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I decided to take a step approach to drilling through the top of the guitar. I went in the following order; 1/16, 5/64, 7/64, 1/8, 5/32, 7/32, 5/16, 3/8, 1/2.

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Crossing my fingers I removed the tape and voilà!

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I decided I wanted some bracing under the pickups. The little strip of real estate between the pickups is about 1/2 inches and I am concerned if it took a direct hit that it might cave in. I'm not rough with my guitars, just being cautious. Secondly, the type of pickups I've decided to start with don't need the holes to be as large as they were cut in when I had planned to put in dog ear P90's. Although the pickup rings will cover the holes it didn't leave enough room for the screws to catch enough wood. So, I put in my own little version of trestle bracing.

Both sides.

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I then ran my tubes to prepare to install the wiring.

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As I started thinking about where to lay the ground wire I decided I didn't want to run it back to the tail piece. That didn't look too easy anyway. I decided to do what many guitars have, such as LP's, and that was to drill a diagonal hole through the wood of the bridge post hole. To make sure I didn't scratch the guitar top with the drill, I took a piece of cardboard like material (this came from the divider in a box of cat food) and taped it to the top.

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I drilled a 1/16 hole with the drill and then opened it to 5/64 by hand.

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That worked like a charm and Ta-da! Ground wire is in.

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I finally got the wiring harness stuffed into the guitar. I can't believe it took about five hours to do so.

I got the pickups soldered into the circuit, mounted to the body, etc. and plugged her in. Much to my surprise, everything worked! It is pretty awesome to hear this guitar make music. There is still much to be done. The Dynasonics sound very weak. Before I start messing with pole heights I'm going to put some shims under both of them to get a bit closer to the strings.

The Filtertron sounded great, albeit quite a bit louder than the Dyna's. Some tweaking will be in order over the next couple of days. I need to start thinking about knobs, etc.

The two Dyna's each have a tone pot and currently the Filtertron does not have a tone pot. I'm still deciding on that.

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Now you can get a sense of how it will end up looking.

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I'm making a couple of spacers to get the Dyna's closer to the strings before I start adjusting pole heights. These are the original Dyna's that came in these guitars. I'll try these for a while to see if I'm happy with them. Next will be binding the two additional cat eyes and looking for knobs. I have a couple of ToneStyler pots and may put one in this guitar. Paint will be the last thing I do and I'll have to decide if I want to tackle that myself or go professional. Perhaps both.

I decided to put a jack plate on, just to be safe.

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A little update, but then again, a major update in my eyes! I experimented all day Saturday on the best way to do the binding on the extra cat eye sound holes. I used .060 binding instead of the .090 that I had originally purchased. The first go at it was with a heat gun. It didn't work out too well as the binding would just lay there and then instantly get too pliable. It was difficult to get it to stay in the same plane, if that makes sense. Next I tried boiling water. That didn't work at all. Then I noticed my heat gun had adjustable settings. Before you spew your drink keep in mind I've never used a heat gun other than full blast so it did not occur to me to turn it down a bit. Blondesheimers, I recon.

I played with some scrap material and found that the heat gun performed best on a setting of 7. I also ended up having to make another plywood template to get the shape before trying to glue. I used a disc sander to carefully make the ends meet up nicely. I bought the binding from Stew Mac and as well as the binding cement and binding tape. It says to let it set for 24 hours, but I'll let it go a bit longer before I get the Dremel and shape it all.

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The tape came off at lunchtime and ta da! Now I need to shape it a bit. The binding in the original cat eyes are shaped in a curve rather than squared off. I want to match that. Then I have to figure out how to stain it to match the original. Even though I bought cream binding the original binding is yellowed from age and the colors don't match. I'll have to think about this for a while.

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Okay, a little bitty update. This was actually more difficult than one might think. I struggled back and forth on what knobs to put on this guitar. There are a lot of cool knobs on eBay, but at the end of the day I decided to stick with my original mission of making this guitar as Gretsch like as possible. So, today the Gretsch G Arrow knobs arrived. I think they look pretty good on here and helps keep it looking like something Gretsch may have built. Oh, it now tips the scales at 7.2 pounds.

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____________________
1965 Mosrite Celebrity Prototype with Vibramute
1972 Mosrite Celebrity-III
1977 Gibson MK-53
1982 Fender Bullet
1994 Gretsch Streamliner G3155 Custom
2005 Gibson Les Paul Standard Plus
2006 Jude Les Paul 12 String

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Sarah93003
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Re: Gretsch Streamliner modification project

Postby Sarah93003 » Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:21 pm

Okay. As of this moment this thread is now up to date. I have minor tweaking to do yet. When that has past I will think about paint and color.
____________________
1965 Mosrite Celebrity Prototype with Vibramute
1972 Mosrite Celebrity-III
1977 Gibson MK-53
1982 Fender Bullet
1994 Gretsch Streamliner G3155 Custom
2005 Gibson Les Paul Standard Plus
2006 Jude Les Paul 12 String

dubtrub
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Re: Gretsch Streamliner modification project

Postby dubtrub » Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:09 pm

Great job Sarah!
Danny Ellison

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Re: Gretsch Streamliner modification project

Postby GattonFan » Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:01 pm

A very nice job on everything! Looks great!
So many guitars; So little time ..

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Re: Gretsch Streamliner modification project

Postby Scoot » Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:16 pm

Wow just read the whole thread
Congrats Sarah
You have officially got mad skills :twisted:

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Sarah93003
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Re: Gretsch Streamliner modification project

Postby Sarah93003 » Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:29 pm

Thanks guys!

It has been a labor of love. I spent the weekend playing it and tweaking the pickup poles. It is getting close. I may change out one of the Dyna's for a different single coil. I like a very smooth neck so I also spent three sheets of 600 grit yesterday and its getting close.

I also think I need to remake the wiring harness. I don't like some of the stiff wire that I used and I want to make the leads longer for more flexibility.

Originally I had intended to paint it white on top and turquoise back and sides. This red is starting to grow on me so now I'm considering keeping the red on top with matching headstock and the turquoise on the sides and back. Any thoughts on that?

I'm still going to do the glass bridge. It will either be turquoise or white frost.
____________________
1965 Mosrite Celebrity Prototype with Vibramute
1972 Mosrite Celebrity-III
1977 Gibson MK-53
1982 Fender Bullet
1994 Gretsch Streamliner G3155 Custom
2005 Gibson Les Paul Standard Plus
2006 Jude Les Paul 12 String

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panther
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Re: Gretsch Streamliner modification project

Postby panther » Mon Sep 19, 2016 8:50 am

Beautiful work.
Dan
"The More People I Meet, The More I Miss My Dog"

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Re: Gretsch Streamliner modification project

Postby BRRanger » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:50 am

Sarah,
I'm impressed! My hat's off to you. I just got back from a "memorial" celebration for a friend that succumbed to cancer several months ago in Poway, I stayed at a friends condo in Solana Beach for a couple of days. Wish I could have met you when I was down there. We were all members of the Kaiser and Edsel car clubs and I appreciate your eye for taking styling to a higher level! Can't wait to see what you come up with next.
Scott


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