Super Chet!

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Re: Super Chet!

Postby Gene1000 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:29 pm

Mike Nye wrote:Gene,

Consider yourself extremely lucky ! ! !

SuperChets are either the BEST of THE BEST, or WORST of THE WORST . . .

I've re-set (re-attached) more necks on SCs than I can remember . . .

Congratulations,
Mike

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Mike, well looks like it happened and looks like you may be right.

One of the Super Chets now has a bowed back neck to the point where it's buzzing badly. The bow is very visible looking down the neck. It wasn't there before, but I changed strings and also there has been a significant change in humidity levels recently, going into Springtime.

I removed the cover under the guitar where the neck joins the body to make adjustments. However, there doesn't seem to be any resistance in the turn screw, no matter which way I turn.

Do I assume correctly that by turning it clockwise, you tighten back the neck and by turning it counter clockwise, you loosen or bow-forward the neck?

Shouldn't there be resistance when the adjustment is being made? It does not seem like I'm getting any adjustment in the neck no matter how much I turn either way.
Thanks for your help.
Gene
Gene1000
 
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Re: Super Chet!

Postby Mike Nye » Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:59 pm

Gene,

Are you sure that the key is fully engaging the Double-D nub on the gearbox? As I mentioned in a previous post, over-applied glue at the factory might be blocking the key from engaging the nub. There should be resistance as with any other trussrod adjustment. I'd first look to see if there's visible signs of glue in the keyhole as this was a common issue.

Depending on where you live, the combination of change in the relative humidity and string tension might be your problem.

If you are able to get the adjustment to work DO NOT force it with BRUTE-FORCE, as you can do serious damage. Work the key back and forth gradually until it begins to free up, applying a few drops of sewing machine or 3-in-One oil. DO NOT use penetrating oil, as it can dissolve the glue in the mortise and tenon joint connecting the neck to the body.

Good luck,
Mike
If BRUTE-FORCE isn't working, you're just not applying enough of it ! ! !
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Re: Super Chet!

Postby Gene1000 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:34 pm

Thanks, Mike. Your expertise is very much appreciated.

I wound up changing the strings. I went with chrome 10s. I think it had 11s on it before. Then I went back to the adjustment slot and discovered that it is indeed working, but does not have much resistance for some reason (My other SC has much more resistance when adjusting the neck). Turning it clockwise does indeed "tighten" the neck and turning it counter-clockwise brings the neck back, albeit ever so slowly.

It turns out that there is indeed, a small "bow back" at about the 20th fret, approximately where the neck joins the body. This is what is causing the buzzing. I was able to get most of this out by loosening the neck. While it's not quite straight up there, the buzzing is now pretty much gone.

It's interesting that I'm able to straighten the neck perfectly by just applying forward pressure manually. Once I let go of the neck, the "overstress" re-appears, but much less than before. My guess is that if I had gone with chrome 11s, this may have corrected the problem entirely.

I think all of this may have started when I recently put the instrument in storage....and did so by loosening the strings to a "D" tuning so as to relieve pressure on the neck. I'm guessing that this is when the "bowback" may have started.

Anyway, it plays fine now. I've learned a good deal here by reading your comments and by "winging" it!

By the way, if I remove the large Phillips screw (located near the adjustment nut) that seems to hold the neck in place, will the entire neck come off? Just curious.

Thanks again for your help. Very much appreciated.
Gene1000
 
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Re: Super Chet!

Postby Mike Nye » Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:15 pm

Gene,

It's highly likely that someone might have over-tightened the adjuster and either stripped the teeth off the gears in the key-wind, or broke the trussrod itself. This holds especially true if you're NOT the first owner of the instrument when it was new.

As far as the neck to body attachment is concerned, the neck heel is attached to the body using a simple glue joint. The reason that SC necks seem to separate from the body is due to the overly sloppy fit that relies on the glue to fill the void between the mortise and tenon. The enormous amount of glue needed is responsible for it often working it's way into the trussrod key cavity and either obstructing the key from the Double-D nub or glue entering the gearbox itself locking it tight.

Mike
If BRUTE-FORCE isn't working, you're just not applying enough of it ! ! !
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Re: Super Chet!

Postby Gene1000 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:00 pm

Mike, I think you may have a valid point about teeth being stripped off of the gear(s). I say this because as I turned the adjuster with the special wrench, I'd feel resistance for a second and then no resistance. Then again, resistance as I continued to turn and subsequently no resistance. It's like the gear was in contact for only part of a full turn. This seems to indicate stripped gears or perhaps a gear that is not aligned properly?

I believe I'm the third owner of the instrument. The previous owner, who passed away, lived in Indiana and used to jam with Chet occasionally with this guitar. Coincidentally, the original owner purchased the instrument here in New Jersey. So, it's made a return to its original place of sale.

Do I assume correctly that replacing the truss rod and/or gearing would be a HUGE undertaking....and only if the parts are available? Wouldn't this involve removing the neck and the fret board? Would anyone even attempt to do this work? If so, who do you think might take a crack at it? I'm not looking to do anything at this point, but if the neck can no longer be adjusted, I may not have a choice.

Thanks again for your expertise and help.
Gene1000
 
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Re: Super Chet!

Postby Mike Nye » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:31 pm

Unfortunately Gretsch's Duke Kreamer isn't still around, as he'd be able to provide you with anything Gretsch partswise, and even some Baldwin. That no longer being an option, the only way you'd be able to obtain the parts you need to repair the instrument back to it's original configuration is to find a salvageable SC for parts.

If it were me on the east coast and I was willing to spend whatever it costs to properly repair the instrument, I'd contact Dan Erlewine in Ohio through his website http://www.danerlewine.com or Mandolin Brothers in Staten Island, NY at their website http://mandoweb.com. They're both "THE BOMB" as far as major repairs are concerned, as Dan Erlewine is Stewart-MacDonald's contributing resident luthier, and Mandolin Bros. had re-fretted, and replaced the trussrod in Paul McCartney's Hofner 500-1 Violin Bass that's insured for $1M. If you can work under that kinda pressure, I'm sure repairing your SC is a piece o' cake to them ! ! !

Mike
If BRUTE-FORCE isn't working, you're just not applying enough of it ! ! !
Mike Nye
 
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Re: Super Chet!

Postby Gene1000 » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:11 am

Hopefully I will still be able to adjust the neck for many years to come and won't have to worry about a repair. Hopefully. As of now, it plays fine and the neck adjustment works. Maybe not perfect, but it works.

I'm very familiar with Mandolin Brothers. Purchased a number of fine instruments there and had a couple of guitars worked on over the years. Dealt with Stan Jay for years and had him appraise a couple of my guitars. He is very knowledgeable. But it never occurred to me to consider them for any future repair to the SC. I'm glad that you reminded me, because I haven't been up there for a long time.

I think it may be time for a revisit. They have always had some very fine instruments. And when I go up there, I'll bring the SC. And I'll send Dan in Ohio an email also.

Thanks again, Mike. You have been very helpful.
Gene1000
 
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Re: Super Chet!

Postby Mike Nye » Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:22 am

Gene, I've been re-reading your posts -try this . . .

1. Remove the trussrod adjustment covers from both SCs
2. Insert the key into the guitar that the adjuster works fine, so it fully engages the Double-D nub.
3. Pinch your thumb and forefinger around the key at the surface of the guitar back.
4. While still pinching the key, remove it and insert and twist to engage the Double-D nub of the suspect guitar.
If your thumb and finger are a 1/4" or more from the surface of the back of the guitar, you probably have a wad of glue restricting the engagement of the key and nub. If so, you have some serious pickin' 2 do, and not the musical kind either . . .

Good luck,
Mike
If BRUTE-FORCE isn't working, you're just not applying enough of it ! ! !
Mike Nye
 
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Re: Super Chet!

Postby PhilHunt » Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:19 am

I'm really surprised that Gretsch hasn't started making these again as well as the Super Axe. Remember also that there was another model like the Super Chet called the Deluxe Chet. I think it had controls on the top instead of on the pickguard and it had a Bigbsy.....I might be wrong though. I wonder if there was issues with the controls on the pickguard, does anyone know if they were famous for having issues? Other than a 1958 Country Gent, I think the Super Chet was one of the nicest looking guitars.
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Re: Super Chet!

Postby LMark » Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:04 am

Gretsch made some "Super Gretsch" reissues in the 90s.: http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/member- ... issue.html LMark
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