Gretsch Guitars

petty1818

Member
Messages
3,879
I started this thread as a general discussion about Gretsch guitars! I have recently become very interested in what Gretsch offers but I am fairly new to the differences between models etc. I know that the current quality of Gretsch guitars is extremely good so I don't want to discuss that. However, I have always wondered how versatile these guitars are? They are actually a very easy brand to find in music stores in my area but I haven't really tried many because I always associated them with Brian Setzer/ Chet Atkins style playing. For those of you who own a Gretsch guitar, do you find that it is versatile or more limiting?

I have to admit that I am also confused about the different models. It seems as though the Professional collection is what most people buy but there are so many different models with most of them looking identical other than colour differences. Is it all just about feel when buying a Gretsch or are there models that are more versatile/different in tone?

One of the current models that interests me is the G6112TCB-JR Center-Block 2-Tone guitar. I believe that it was just recently released. I am just not sure how the center-block changes the tone if compared to more classic Gretsch guitars? It also comes with Fliter-tron pickups so I don't know if TV Jones are the way to go?

Anyway, I am just looking for any opinions. Feel free to add any points on Gretsch guitars!!
 
Messages
26
I've also become curious, though mostly about model 5422. No experience with Gretsch at all, but I love Neil Young's tone with CSNY and I believe he used a Gretsch during those days (pre-Old Black).
 

enharmonic

Old Growth
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,999
I've had a few of the mid 90s sparkle jets. Gretsch purists don't always dig them because they have the wrong headstock and inlays, but I thought they were great. In fact, my last one was the inspiration for my current Paul Rhoney Oceana.

I also used a Malcolm Young for a while. That guitar rocked mightily. Still have a jonze for a Silver Falcon.
 

sfarnell

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,082
I'm in the same boat. I've only recently become acquainted with Gretsch. For some reason I thought that the quality was not that great. I then played a Chet Atkins 6120DC and am hooked. I bought that guitar and am now awaiting delivery of a limited edition duo jet with tv jones classics.

If I were you I'd google and do a Youtube search of the Dynasonic pickups vs. the Filtertrons, and then break the Gretsch catalog down into solid body guitars, chambered, semi-hollow with a center block, and hollowbody. Gretsch makes them all, so you need to first decide what you're after.

The 6120DC is a very versatile guitar but because it's hollow it does feedback...not that bad but it happens. So far, it's very controllable. The guitar is made for American roots music. I hear it on so many classic recordings. With a good setup there are no tuning problems with the Bigsby.

The 6128 Duo Jet is chambered, although they have a solid body model that weighs significantly more. I haven't played one yet but I assume that it's more of a rocker/blues guitar than the Chet Atkins model. I'll have to let you know when mine arrives tomorrow. :aok
 

petty1818

Member
Messages
3,879
I'm in the same boat. I've only recently become acquainted with Gretsch. For some reason I thought that the quality was not that great. I then played a Chet Atkins 6120DC and am hooked. I bought that guitar and am now awaiting delivery of a limited edition duo jet with tv jones classics.

If I were you I'd google and do a Youtube search of the Dynasonic pickups vs. the Filtertrons, and then break the Gretsch catalog down into solid body guitars, chambered, semi-hollow with a center block, and hollowbody. Gretsch makes them all, so you need to first decide what you're after.

The 6120DC is a very versatile guitar but because it's hollow it does feedback...not that bad but it happens. So far, it's very controllable. The guitar is made for American roots music. I hear it on so many classic recordings. With a good setup there are no tuning problems with the Bigsby.

The 6128 Duo Jet is chambered, although they have a solid body model that weighs significantly more. I haven't played one yet but I assume that it's more of a rocker/blues guitar than the Chet Atkins model. I'll have to let you know when mine arrives tomorrow. :aok
From what I have read, it seems like the quality is exceptional. I haven't found too many negative opinions on the quality being poor.

That's what I kind of liked about the center-block model that I mentioned. It's supposed to help with that feedback issue.
 

boyce89976

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,299
I have a special edition Duo Jet 6128. Quality is very good as you say... Probably the best playing guitar I have owned. I struggled with the filtertrons at first... Very honky and mid rangy. Thought I need to upgrade them to TVs but everything I read about the Filters was positive. Decided to flatten the pole screws and start from scratch adjusting the individual string balance. WOW, what a difference! Very smooth, even response across the strings... Still mid-heavy response, but that's part of the inherent sound of these guitars and the Duo Jet model.

As far as versatility, I would characterize the Filters as similar in output to P90s, which are, IMO, the most versatile pickups made. That have no trouble driving ODs and Distortion pedals and amps into searing overdrive, and also love to live at the edge of breakup. You can also get some very passable jangly cleans out of them.

Hope that helps.
 

Inspector 71

Member
Messages
100
I've also become curious, though mostly about model 5422. No experience with Gretsch at all, but I love Neil Young's tone with CSNY and I believe he used a Gretsch during those days (pre-Old Black).
I tried a 5422TDC last weekend. It was great. Most Gretsches I try out have had weak low end action. This one snapped back great and my "quick" chord picking was tight. It sounded great with the Orange AD30 head I was using on the clean and crunch channels.
 

Semitone

Member
Messages
899
Gretsch makes some of the coolest looking guitars...I think we can all agree on that. They also have a sound all there own. It's nice to have a couple to break from the Gibson/Fender tones occasionally.

I have two currently. One is a 6130KPW Roundup RI... can't beat that cactus and steer bling...also has some nice twang. The other is a G400jv arch top with the cat eye sound holes. Very snappy sounding acoustic. Both are a blast to play.

( Edit: I don't find them very versatile. More a specialty item. I find myself playing a strat or custom 24 most of the time)
 

Axis29

Member
Messages
3,566
I have two Gretsches. I play Blues and a little Rockabilly. Very little. But, not a huge load of high gain stuff... Dirty, sure. Use of Fuzz? All the time. But, not really heavy dark stuff.

One is an Electromatic 5127. It's a hollowbody guitar, with a sound post and single coil Dearmond 2000 pickups. Tone is similar to P-90's only a little different. I love P-90's.... But I REALLY love these Dearmond 2000's just a touch more. It can feedback if I'm playing loud and am right on top of my amp. But, I've learned to deal with it and it's pretty much a non-issue. It growls, it twangs, it plays smooth and creamy, clear single coil stuff.

The other is a ProLine 6129 TLS. It's a chambered Jet, with HS Filters. It's a bit more growly, but can twang like a Tele. Filters have more grunt than typical GIbson Humbuckers. They are a little more scooped. This guitar is one of the finest sounding and playing guitars I've ever put my paws on!

Sfarnell is right... The first big difference really is single coil (Dynas) vs. humbuckers (Filters). There are some other pickups, but these are the starting points with Gretsch Pickups. Then, construction. It seems like you are interested in the center block, filtered model. Probably a great intro to the Great Gretsch sound! I've heard nothing but good things about them, but haven't gotten the chance to compare one with either of my Gretsches.

I never got the chance to try a Gretsch until I had been playing for years. I never thought I would be able to afford one, or even be a decent enough player to play one... Now, I am not sure what I was think waiting so long!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

pbmw

Member
Messages
6,628
I've got a Duo Jet with Magnatrons in it.
Monster Monster guitar.
The Magnatrons are the most articulate pickups I've ever played I think. But they can ROCK.
Compared to HB's of just about any variety...they make the HB's sound really muddy.
Mine has a smaller neck than I'd really prefer, but I can work around that.
 

smiert spionam

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,666
Gretsches are their own animals -- you'll find comparisons to teles, and to hollow Gibsons, and to Guild... but ultimately Gretsches have their own vibe. You'll find a lot of discussion on www.gretschpages.com and www.gretsch-talk.com, both of which have some great people (and some overlap). Very briefly:

Gretsch full-depth archtops (6120, Annie, etc.) are mostly short scale, with fully hollow bodies that are in some cases supported by a small sound post/trestle, but no center block. All generally have floating bridges, with either a trapeze or a non-tension-bar Bigsby. Thinline archtops are based on models from the '60s, and have a bit more internal structure than an ES-330, but far less than a 335. Duo Jets are heavily chambered, and still have a floating archtop-style bridge and a Bigsby or trapeze, so they keep more of the big open sound of an archtop than you'd expect from a small guitar that looks superficially like a Les Paul.

Pickups can be Dynasonics (beefy, snappy single coil, like a tele/P90 mix), Filter'trons (a bright humbucker), or HiloTrons (a low output single coil that is like half Filter'Tron, used on only a few models).

The 5xxx series is their lower cost Korean/Chinese line, and most people feel they offer a lot of the Gretsch vibe at a lower cost that compares very favorably with Gibsons better Epiphone imports.

The newest stuff, with center blocks, stray the farthest from the classic Gretsch designs and sounds. If you want something that says Gretsch, but which is more like an ES-335, go for it -- but otherwise, you'll get a much more distinctive instrument by trying something more traditional.

If you can stretch beyond the 5xxx series, there are some good deals to be found on used Duos, Annies, 6120s, etc. Stick to post 2005 (when Fender took over), and your chances of getting a superior instrument are very high.

I play vintage Gibson and Guild archtops, and have owned a number of Gretsches, both recent and vintage. I absolutely love my 6128t-DSV Duo Jet, with a Bigsby and Dynasonics. Fantastic guitar, and amazingly flexible.
 

Chicago Slim

Member
Messages
4,345
I have mixed feelings, about Gretsch guitars. I love looks and sound. Owning Gretsch guitars, helped me find my sound. On the down side, I could never bond with the thin necks. But at the time, I was playing professionally, 4 to 8 hours a day. The fit and finish is very good. But, some of their hollow bodies sound dead. I question some of the vintage designs. I feel like they could make a better Gretsch, if they weren't trying to copy '50's models. My advice to to play a guitar before buying. Although the physical appearance is consistent, the sound and play-ability, varies.
 

jklotz

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,821
Some of the electromatics are pretty good. Especially IMHO the 5140's. It may be a good option to find one used and see if you bond. That way you could easily sell it and not be out anything if it didm't turn out to be your thing.
 

petty1818

Member
Messages
3,879
I think that the best thing to do is to get my hands on a few and try them out. I definitely love the look of Gretsch guitars and whenever I hear them live, I am blown away by the tone. I will say that I was originally interested in Duesenberg but was a little put off by the controversy surrounding the company and the somewhat cheap feel of the models that I tried. Gretsch guitars just seem like a great alternative although they do seem to be a lot less versatile.
 

RockDC

Member
Messages
1,469
I had an itch for a big body Gretsch with a Bigsby. After playing a half dozen higher-end models and 3 or 4 lower end models I realized how different they all can be. The only one I liked was the White Falcon.
 

Groberts

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,711
That is a beautiful guitar! Nice!

I had an itch for a big body Gretsch with a Bigsby. After playing a half dozen higher-end models and 3 or 4 lower end models I realized how different they all can be. The only one I liked was the White Falcon.
 

the_Chris

It's All Been Done Before
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,686
Out of all the electrics I've gone through, I settled on one - a 50's style Black Falcon with Dynasonics.



It's got everything I could want in an electric and it has completely killed GAS for me. I liked it so much that I sold off the best guitar I had had up to that point - a '63 RI Relic Fender CS Tele that was downright magical.

The Gretsch thing is all its own and that's the wonder of it. It's got the clarity of Fender, but with some of the b***s of Gibson. The looks are hit or miss I realize, but to me it's absolutely stunning. It's like an upscale version of a Les Paul Custom Black Beauty.

The bridge straddles the line between twang and rocking out, the middle jangles so clearly it's almost like you've got an acoustic plugged in and the neck has such a clear richness it can do jazz with the tone rolled back or deliver solid lead tones. Along with the '63 relic I had, those (2) guitars did more than any other guitar I've ever owned did (even my PRS with coil splitting options).

Downsides for me is that the frets were loose necessitating a luthier to hammer them down, crown and polish them. Also, since the bridge is floating, I would knock it out of tune all the time. I eventually got it pinned and now it still vibrates with the top, but doesn't slide over the place requiring re-intonation. Not impeccable quality out the door, but really, the fit and finish is light years ahead of the Gibsons I've owned (and yes, I've owned quite a few custom shop pieces). This is the first guitar I really felt was worth getting a luthier to setup just right and now I'm confident I'm keeping this thing until I'm buried in the ground.

If you're looking for a guitar that covers all, but hard rock and metal, look no further.
 

serial

Member
Messages
2,252

Just say 'YES!'
I've owned @200 guitars over the years (still have around fifty or so) and my 6129T is one of the most fun guitars I've ever owned and it sounds fantastic.
 






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