How to Repair Gretsch Electromatic Guitars

Written by simon foden Google
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How to Repair Gretsch Electromatic Guitars
Tighten up all of the hardware to eliminate buzzing and rattling sounds. (guitar head image by Adkok from

Gretsch is an American musical instrument manufacturer. The brand is associated with premium quality guitars and drums kits. Brian Setzer and Chet Atkins are both well known for their association with Gretsch guitars. The Electromatic collection contains mid-priced guitars that retain the distinct visual characteristics of iconic Gretsch guitars. Guitars in the Electromatic collection are made with cheaper parts and are more affordable as a result. Like all guitars, Gretsch Electromatic guitars occasionally require maintenance and repair to ensure optimum sound and playability.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Cotton cloth
  • Contact cleaner spray
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Soldering iron

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  1. 1

    Troubleshoot the guitar. Plug your Gretsch Electromatic into an amp and listen for any odd sounds. If there is crackling or buzzing, you should examine the pots and wiring for loose connections. If there are certain notes on the fretboard that sound bad, this is likely to be because of a poor bridge set-up.

  2. 2

    Change the strings and tighten up the screws and bolts. A lot of annoying sounds can be caused by a loosefitting machine head or dirty strings. Many people mistake the buzzing of a loose screw for the sound of fret buzz. Eliminate these easy to fix problems first.

  3. 3

    Adjust the bridge. If your fretboard has any dead spots where notes sound dull or out of tune, use a screwdriver to raise the bridge to move the strings and improve intonation. Loosen the strings before doing this, and then tune them and test for dead notes. It may take a few attempts to get it right. The G5125, G5126, G5127, G5128 and G5129 models in the Electromatic series have a Bigsby model floating bridge with tremolo arm. On these models, remove the tremolo arm before adjusting the bridge for easier access to the screws.

  4. 4

    Reattach the wiring. Inspect the wiring that connects the pickups to the pots and input jack. If you spot any loose connections, melt the solder and reattach it. If you identify any solder blobs near the wiring, melt those off with the soldering iron and brush away the remaining solder dust. Solder blobs can create circuit bridges by diverting the signal away from the correct wire.

  5. 5

    Clean the pots. Dust and debris can collect in the volume and tone pots which can lead to intermittent crackling. Remove the small panel on the back of your guitar with a screwdriver and use a dry cloth to wipe away any visible grime. Use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of the rest. Spray a plastic-safe contact cleaner into the pot and turn the dial a few times to distribute the solution around the pot. This cleans and lubricates the pot.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a new cable when troubleshooting the Gretsch Electromatic guitar. Old cables can create a buzz that you might mistake for a wiring problem.
  • Only resolder the wires if you're confident in your soldering ability. If not, have a qualified professional do it for you.

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