Gretsch G2202 Junior Jet: Should I Chamber It?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by teej, Mar 6, 2020.


  1. YES... I love seeing perfectly good instruments ripped open!

    9 vote(s)
    60.0%
  2. NO... Keep your hands off that magnificent short-scale beast!

    6 vote(s)
    40.0%
  1. teej

    teej Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Wow, it's been a long time since I posted in the corner! :woot:

    So I've got this Gretsch Junior Jet -- one of the early pre-Fender Korean-made ones with the coveted TV Jones-designed pickup. I love the size, it fits in a guitar case, and sounds great but what I don't love is the weight -- 8 pounds, 3.8 ounces. I've thought about chambering the body but I wanted to get some feedback first.

    Now, this isn't a question about difficulty or method. I've built instruments before, most of them chambered because I prefer lightweight bodies, so I know I'm capable. What I want to know is simply what everyone's opinion is. Surely some will say "you'll destroy it's value so leave it as is!" Others will probably say "it's your bass, do what you want" or "why not buy a lighter bass or build a chambered replica body?"

    1) I have a lighter bass -- a vintage Gallan violin bass and a P-bass with a basswood body.
    2) I understand the value concerns, however I don't plan on selling this bass and even if I did, once finished, you wouldn't even know it's chambered unless you're familiar with Junior Jets.
    3) Yeah, I could build a new body but frankly I don't want to.

    In the past, many moons ago, I had a solid alder-bodied Jazz clone that felt like it weighed a ton compared to my basswood P-bass. Took the body to a local cabinet shop and had them run it through a planer, finish and all, to remove 1/4" off the top. Then I chambered it, applied a spruce top, rerouted the pickup and control cavities, refinished, and voila. With the Gretsch, however, I'd plane the back instead because I want to keep the top's original burst finish intact. The back is solid black - much easier to refinish.

    I'm still thinking about what wood to cap it with. Something lightweight yet strong. Ash perhaps?

    Anyway, that's my rambling. Let me know what you think and we'll see if this thread becomes a progress thread or not. :thumbsup:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2020
    tbrannon likes this.
  2. Slidlow

    Slidlow Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oshawa, Canada
    My only concern on a instrument with low resale value is if you will create an imbalance and have issue with it being neck heavy. As for valuable or collector instruments...never.
     
    TomB likes this.
  3. teej

    teej Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Neck dive was thought about but not really a concern to me. It's short scale for one thing but it's also one of the early Junior Jets with the bridge set a couple of inches closer to the edge of the body which brings the neck further in than the newer ones. Additionally, it's got Gotoh Resolites - the lightest tuners that would fit this bass.
     
  4. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Chamber it and cap it with 1/4" hard maple - no one will know :thumbsup:
     
    teej likes this.
  5. teej

    teej Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    That's pretty much what I was thinking, too. Now to source a cheap maple top (or in this case a back). I don't mind putting work into something but I'm trying to keep costs at a minimum. Seems like most of what I'm finding if figured maple but since I would be going over it with solid gloss black there's no need for fancy pants maple.

    I used to source pretty much everything from Larry @ Gallery Hardwoods. Always SUPER, super helpful. Is he still around?
     
    Beej likes this.
  6. Slidlow

    Slidlow Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oshawa, Canada
    Then have at it!
     
  7. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Retired... :(

    Do you have capacity to resaw a 1×8?
     
  8. teej

    teej Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    I don't unfortunately. When I started building years ago, I was living in an apartment. My "shop" was a 3' x 5' storage closet off the patio that left me with just enough room to stand inside after I got the drill press, tool chest, and router table inside. So everything had to arrive ready to glue. That still applies. :meh:
     
  9. teej

    teej Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    The old "shop." :bag:

    shop_layout.JPG
     
    Gilmourisgod, Beej and Matt Liebenau like this.
  10. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Man, I totally remember that now. :D

    Then you know what, I'd suggest seeing if Home Depot or something similar has some "craft poplar" in 1/4" x 8" - they have had it here in 4' lengths. Poplar is plenty strong for that job - it just needs lots of sanding and grain raising steps to get it as smooth as maple. :thumbsup: I'm sure Woodcraft, Rockler and places like that will have some pieces that will do the job :)
     
  11. dwizum

    dwizum

    Dec 21, 2018
    Good thought, my local Home Depots have maple, poplar, and oak in 1/4" thicknesses.
     
    Beej likes this.
  12. teej

    teej Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    I've used Lowe's poplar before in builds. Poplar is actually one of my favorite woods to work with -- carves well, lightweight, good strength-to-weight ratio, simple but beautiful grain (especially the pieces with a lot of mineral streaking). I built a pair of travel instruments, guitar and bass, with poplar bodies made by sandwiching together two 1" x 12" boards bought from Lowe's.
     
    Beej likes this.
  13. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Huh? I’m confused. It sounds like you want to chamber a somewhat hard to find single pup JJ just to chamber it. And you’ve already made up your mind to do so. So why are you soliciting opinions about whether to or not?

    You need to add a ‘carrots’ button to your poll.
     
  14. Scoops

    Scoops Why do we use base 10 when we only have 8 fingers Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sugar Creek, Wisc
    If you are going to chamber it, I would recommend chambering it from the backside
     
    teej likes this.
  15. teej

    teej Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    That was the plan. With previous bodies I've gone in from the top but with this one I'd go in from the back because I want to keep the original burst finish. Also because the back is solid black which would be easy to refinish.
     
  16. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Vermont
    I doesn't matter to me if you chamber it or not. I do agree though that these single pickup Jets are hard to find, whereas the dual pickup ones are everywhere. I'd also share the concern about headstock weight, even with lightweight tuners & short scale, but it sounds like you've worked that out. ...just sharing thoughts as requested.
     
  17. teej

    teej Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    That's what I was thinking, too. If it was the Chinese-made Jet I wouldn't be hesitant.

    I could kick myself, though, because at one time I had a spare body I got on eBay for cheap. The neck pocket was a little oversized but it would have been perfect for modding. I accidentally threw it away when cleaning out boxes in the shed.

    But I'm not really leaning one way or another yet. Would I like the body to be lighter? Yes, absolutely, but I'm just floating the chambering idea around.
     
  18. 7615

    7615 Guest

    Nov 19, 2015
    Buy a Thunderjet - its chambered
     
  19. teej

    teej Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    And also $1700.
     
  20. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Details! The devil’s always in the details! :laugh:
     
    teej likes this.
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