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Gretsch output jack repair


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The Gretsch Electromatic is a hollow body electric with laminated back, sides and tops (like many Gibsons and other guitars). The output jack is simply drilled thru the side at the lower bout. The owner of this particular guitar managed to push the entire jack thru the side and into the guitar.

 

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When I first saw it I didn't want to take on the repair - there was extensive damage to the wood inside as well as cracks in the finish and I couldn't see an easy way to reinforce the broken area. However after some thought I decided to tackle it - I had a nice Les Paul jack plate and if I could reinforce the side I figured I could use that. I found a scrap piece of 1/8" birch plywood - I had never bent plywood but I figured what the heck, lets see what happens. Fired up the old hot pipe

 

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and used the ES-335 form as a bending jig (they are pretty much the same shape here).

 

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Plywood bent fine, now the problem was how to hold and clamp my little piece inside the guitar. I drilled a hole thru the middle of it and ran a piece of heavy line (actually weed-wacker line) thru the hole, tied knots on either side. Threaded the line through the jack hole and I could pull it in and out thru the f-hole.

 

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I cleaned up the shards of wood inside with one of those little tools your dentist uses (called an "explorer"). Did a couple of trial fitments - when it looked good I coated it liberally with Titebond and pulled it in place. "Clamped" it by taking a couple of wraps around a round piece of plastic and tied off the line (there was a convenient tremolo LOL).

 

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Next day I wicked some thin CA into those finish cracks to try to stabilize them - there is no way I can "fix" that. Drilled out the side and my new piece to 7/8 so the jack would fit, fished it into place and screwed down the LP cover.

 

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Frankly this might be a better way for the factory to build them - I know that if I ever have to put a jack in a thin side I'll do it this way.

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I have never understood who thought just running the jack out through the wooden side of the guitar was a great idea...I have put jack plates on a number of semi and hollow body guitars of my own...well worth the time and minor effort. I mean really, they don't cost much, and drilling a few screw starter holes? Sheesh...

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I have never understood who thought just running the jack out through the wooden side of the guitar was a great idea...I have put jack plates on a number of semi and hollow body guitars of my own...well worth the time and minor effort. I mean really' date=' they don't cost much, and drilling a few screw starter holes? Sheesh...[/quote']

 

There are two problems with just putting a plate over the existing hole - first many jacks are not long enough to go thru both the side and plate so you really should hog the hole out, and second, the sides on most guitars are only 1/8 inch or thinner and that isn't much wood for the screws to hold. Putting in the back-up piece or at least reinforcing the inside makes a lot of sense.

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haven't seen this at first, but nice work

and yes i will be careful with the es335,

i will have a look for a new guitar stand. cause the ones i have are for right handed guitars, and the right side pipe is longer and it is exactly were the controls and the plug are for a lefty, which makes them not easily fit

 

for a righty it is a protection, for a lefty its annoying and could make some damage, especially if the cable is plugged in

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  • 4 years later...
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Wow...Freeman! There's someone I remember from way back! 😁

First off, that repair looks great! And secondly, hearing stuff like this makes it seem so much more natural to actually tinker with things on my guitars (that may NEED a bit of tinkering).

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