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School me on the Gretsch White Penguin

Creepwood

Member
Messages
433
It just seems like the classiest guitar ever. I started out with White Falcon GAS (liking the new Players Edition), but since I'm of a rather small build, I'd probably do better with the Penguin, which even has a shorter scale (huge plus in my book) and offers the same... shall we say striking visuals. It's a markedly different guitar, though - so tell me about it, Penguin owners! What kind of feel does it have with that gorgeous G-tailpiece and the weird floating bridge? How's the tuning stability? Do you guys like the Dynasonic single coils? I'm more of a single coil guy myself, only have one humbucker-equipped guitar coming in, which would probably point towards the Falcon and its Filtertrons.

My concern is that the PE Falcon got a great makeover (improved Bigsby, PIO caps, locking tuners, TUSQ nut, treble bleed, no-load tone pot), whereas the White Penguin seems to feature more modest specs offered at pretty much the same price... Or am I wrong?

Last but not least, how's the fit & finish on these new MIJ Gretsches? Fretwork, binding quality, action and setup from the factory... Anything.

(I'm looking at lefties, by the way).
 

tommygunn1986

Member
Messages
2,854
I'm curious to know too. I like that green penguin though. Easily one of the most beautiful guitars I've ever seen.
 

lkft

Member
Messages
1,293
The Penguin like all Gretsches have a very unique sound all their own, some dig it and some don't. They pair very well with a Vox AC30 or other EL84 amp that does the edge of breakup to clean sound well with the guitar volume. However don't buy based on looks alone and find a place to try before you buy.
 

27sauce

Senior Member
Messages
37,204
Rarest of the rare. When was the last time one came up for sale?

I'd suspect them to be around the $100k range. Good luck on your quest.
 

weintra

Member
Messages
31
Bear in mind that the falcon comes in two formats; fully hollow with a 25.5" scale, and semi hollow with a 24.6" scale and somewhat smaller body. Occasionally, you may see a falcon jr, hollow with a shorter scale. Different types of pickups (dynas vs. filters) can be had too. Penguins are blinged duojets but basically the same guitar, just as a falcon is a blingy country club. If I were you I'd call Rocky at Streetsounds for good info and the best price.

w

ps, i have 3 gretsch, 2 with filters, 1 with dynes. I prefer filters myself.
 

sickboy79

Member
Messages
13,418
Rarest of the rare. When was the last time one came up for sale?

I'd suspect them to be around the $100k range. Good luck on your quest.
Didn't the re-issue the White Penguin? I know the originals are super expensive as you noted.
 

sickboy79

Member
Messages
13,418
Bear in mind that the falcon comes in two formats; fully hollow with a 25.5" scale, and semi hollow with a 24.6" scale and somewhat smaller body. Occasionally, you may see a falcon jr, hollow with a shorter scale. Different types of pickups (dynas vs. filters) can be had too. Penguins are blinged duojets but basically the same guitar, just as a falcon is a blingy country club. If I were you I'd call Rocky at Streetsounds for good info and the best price.

w

ps, i have 3 gretsch, 2 with filters, 1 with dynes. I prefer filters myself.
I need to try a Dyna Gretsch one of these days. I have a few Gretsch guitars myself. Filters, Supertrons, and Hi-Lo trons. All are cool.
 

Creepwood

Member
Messages
433
The Penguin like all Gretsches have a very unique sound all their own, some dig it and some don't. They pair very well with a Vox AC30 or other EL84 amp that does the edge of breakup to clean sound well with the guitar volume. However don't buy based on looks alone and find a place to try before you buy.
You're very right, but since I'm a lefty I usually have to buy without trying... And those Gretsches look sooooo good :D

Thanks for all the info so far, appreciate it. I am of course looking at a reissue Penguin, could never afford vintage. And yeah, the green limited edition is smashing...
 

Creepwood

Member
Messages
433
Penguins are blinged duojets but basically the same guitar, just as a falcon is a blingy country club.
This is very good info, really helps me contextualize the Penguin, because I actually associate something with the Duojet.
 
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krusty1053

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,919
I had a Black Penguin a few years ago and stupidly sold it. Fantastic sounding guitar is all I can say, although the floating bridge caused me a bit of annoyance once or twice. I have my eye on a custom shop Duo Jet, which is essentially the same, but with a Bigsby. I think the lack of a Bigsby was the only reason I decided to sell, and search out a replacement with one.
 

Ilduce

And now for something completely different!
Messages
4,593
I really dig the look of the Penguin, but what's really got me gassing is a Billy Bo Thunderbird! Just something about them gives me butterflies in my stomach!
 

Waxhead

Member
Messages
6,217
It just seems like the classiest guitar ever. I started out with White Falcon GAS (liking the new Players Edition), but since I'm of a rather small build, I'd probably do better with the Penguin, which even has a shorter scale (huge plus in my book) and offers the same... shall we say striking visuals. It's a markedly different guitar, though - so tell me about it, Penguin owners! What kind of feel does it have with that gorgeous G-tailpiece and the weird floating bridge? How's the tuning stability? Do you guys like the Dynasonic single coils? I'm more of a single coil guy myself, only have one humbucker-equipped guitar coming in, which would probably point towards the Falcon and its Filtertrons.

My concern is that the PE Falcon got a great makeover (improved Bigsby, PIO caps, locking tuners, TUSQ nut, treble bleed, no-load tone pot), whereas the White Penguin seems to feature more modest specs offered at pretty much the same price... Or am I wrong?

Last but not least, how's the fit & finish on these new MIJ Gretsches? Fretwork, binding quality, action and setup from the factory... Anything.

(I'm looking at lefties, by the way).
Penguins are a fancy Jet with more bling is all.
Love or hate the bling but they sound the same as a Jet and are a bit more exy :)
So that means they are super super versatile for any style and always sound, feel and look superlative.

As with all Gretsch guitars Penguins have excellent tuning stability, feel fantastic and a floating bridge is not weird imo - just different. Floating bridges work equally as well as a fixed bridge with no issues unless you smash it hard :)

Pups - I prefer Gretsch or TV Jones filtertrons myself for added versatility and low noise.
They are THE best pups made today imo.
Dynasonics are more like P90s than Fender style single coils.

If you looking at the current Penguin range this one is the best of em imo
http://www.gretschguitars.com/gear/...-with-bigsby-tv-jones-cadillac-green-metallic

Why - cos it's got a rocking bar pinned bridge (better than the space control one), TV Jones Classic Filtertrons and a bigsby.
It will sound same as a Duo Jet with same TV Jones Filtertrons and they are easy to find & test out in stores

There's Penguin owners on Gretsch Talk - better to ask there or do a search.
http://www.gretsch-talk.com/forums/the-gretsch-discussion-forum.2/
 
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Creepwood

Member
Messages
433
Penguins are a fancy Jet with more bling is all.
Love or hate the bling but they sound the same as a Jet and are a bit more exy :)
So that means they are super super versatile for any style and always sound, feel and look superlative.

As with all Gretsch guitars Penguins have excellent tuning stability, feel fantastic and a floating bridge is not weird imo - just different. Floating bridges work equally as well as a fixed bridge with no issues unless you smash it hard :)

Pups - I prefer Gretsch or TV Jones filtertrons myself for added versatility and low noise.
They are THE best pups made today imo.
Dynasonics are more like P90s than Fender style single coils.

If you looking at the current Penguin range this one is the best of em imo
http://www.gretschguitars.com/gear/...-with-bigsby-tv-jones-cadillac-green-metallic

Why - cos it's got a rocking bar pinned bridge (better than the space control one), TV Jones Classic Filtertrons and a bigsby.
It will sound same as a Duo Jet with same TV Jones Filtertrons and they are easy to find & test out in stores

There's Penguin owners on Gretsch Talk - better to ask there or do a search.
http://www.gretsch-talk.com/forums/the-gretsch-discussion-forum.2/
Good post, thank you!
I'd love that caddy green Penguin or the jade green doublecut one, but as a lefty I have to be realistic... ;)
Your post confirms one of my fears, though: that Gretsch are making cool new limited edition and "players edition" guitars with various little improvements and that the current White Penguin, while really cool, isn't really getting in on the action (no pinned bridge, no locking tuners, no PIO caps, no treble bleed / no-load tone).

I already have a P90-equipped guitar, as well as a rocking Tele and a nice Jaguar. Would the Dynas add to this or would they be redundant? The combination of set-neck-construction, 24.6" scale and exotic, but classic pickups strikes me as pretty damn awesome, but maybe I'm wrong and the Penguin would just give me sounds I can already get from my guitars.

EDIT: Also, a general note on Bigsbys/tremolos/vibratos: I'm intrigued by the G-tailpiece, because while I really like vibrato units, I can get by without them (my favorite guitar right now is my Suhr Tele and I'm not at all bothered by its old-school hardtail nature). I have this weird OCD thing about tremolos: I don't really miss them on guitars that don't have them (my Tele being a case in point), but on guitars that do feature them I use them almost compulsively and get incredibly annoyed if they don't stay in tune. So I'm a little apprehensive of the Falcon - I'm sure the Bigsby is cool, but since it's there I'd use it all the time and I'm not sure how much tuning stability to expect... Probably better for my mental health to go with a G-tailpiece :D
 

feet

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,722
penguins aren't exactly just a fancy jet because they have maple necks with ebony boards, while duo jets have hog necks with rosewood boards.

i've wanted a penguin for the longest time. with dynasonics, partially for the aesthetics of the inlays and such (vs the filtertrons and thumbnail inlays) and partially because i already have filtertrons elsewhere. but they are expensive and tend to be north of 8.5 lbs and often more than 9 lbs, where as a jet can often be found just under 8 pounds, but usually just around there. if data posted on wildwood and sweetwater is anything to go on.

as an interesting aside, i played a few proline and custom shop penguins and jets unplugged while shopping for an acoustic. the custom shop ones were a little louder acoustically and a little more complex and open, like a vintage acoustic, while the prolines were a little more straightforward, like a new acoustic. for what that is worth. i also prefer the older, kind of v shaped necks to the newer u shape. and the sparkle blue penguins are incredible to behold in person.

since you touched on it, i'd probably rather grab an older one for less and then do the mods i think are needed, than getting a new players edition or whatever. but that's me. i've done most of those mods on my other gretsch anyway- its more to spread the cost of parts and labor around instead of taking a bigger hit all at once.

i eventually decided that, in a cost cutting move, i'd forgo the penguin for a green jet (or a sonic blue one), but i scapped the idea altogether when i had to buy a new computer and recording stuff instead. now i my have to "settle" for something tele-ish, and pop in some filters or dynasonics later, if need be.
 

Creepwood

Member
Messages
433
penguins aren't exactly just a fancy jet because they have maple necks with ebony boards, while duo jets have hog necks with rosewood boards.

i've wanted a penguin for the longest time. with dynasonics, partially for the aesthetics of the inlays and such (vs the filtertrons and thumbnail inlays) and partially because i already have filtertrons elsewhere. but they are expensive and tend to be north of 8.5 lbs and often more than 9 lbs, where as a jet can often be found just under 8 pounds, but usually just around there. if data posted on wildwood and sweetwater is anything to go on.

as an interesting aside, i played a few proline and custom shop penguins and jets unplugged while shopping for an acoustic. the custom shop ones were a little louder acoustically and a little more complex and open, like a vintage acoustic, while the prolines were a little more straightforward, like a new acoustic. for what that is worth. i also prefer the older, kind of v shaped necks to the newer u shape. and the sparkle blue penguins are incredible to behold in person.

since you touched on it, i'd probably rather grab an older one for less and then do the mods i think are needed, than getting a new players edition or whatever. but that's me. i've done most of those mods on my other gretsch anyway- its more to spread the cost of parts and labor around instead of taking a bigger hit all at once.

i eventually decided that, in a cost cutting move, i'd forgo the penguin for a green jet (or a sonic blue one), but i scapped the idea altogether when i had to buy a new computer and recording stuff instead. now i my have to "settle" for something tele-ish, and pop in some filters or dynasonics later, if need be.
Good info, thanks. The one I'm looking at is about 8.8 pounds...
And yeah, if I were right-handed and rich I might just go for one of those insanely cool custom-colored ones :)
I was also looking at a black Duojet on leftyguitarsonly.com, but someone already snagged it.
 
Messages
2,631
Good info, thanks. The one I'm looking at is about 8.8 pounds...
And yeah, if I were right-handed and rich I might just go for one of those insanely cool custom-colored ones :)
I was also looking at a black Duojet on leftyguitarsonly.com, but someone already snagged it.
Creepwood about a year ago I inquired about ordering a custom duo jet with a short scale neck. I figured they would quote me something way out there like $10,000 but I went ahead and asked. The price was more like the masterbuilt instruments you see at places like Wildwood, i.e. $4,000-5,000. The point being, you could inquire about a lefty white penguin and the price would probably be in the same neighborhood. Obviously, that's a helluva lot of money but for a lifetime keeper, not so bad. And, still cheaper than a new R9!
 

Creepwood

Member
Messages
433
Creepwood about a year ago I inquired about ordering a custom duo jet with a short scale neck. I figured they would quote me something way out there like $10,000 but I went ahead and asked. The price was more like the masterbuilt instruments you see at places like Wildwood, i.e. $4,000-5,000. The point being, you could inquire about a lefty white penguin and the price would probably be in the same neighborhood. Obviously, that's a helluva lot of money but for a lifetime keeper, not so bad. And, still cheaper than a new R9!
Thanks! I really shouldn't have looked at the Wildwood site... That Ocean Turquoise Penguin, holy mackerel!
 
Messages
2,631
Thanks! I really shouldn't have looked at the Wildwood site... That Ocean Turquoise Penguin, holy mackerel!
I concur!

I sent you a PM as follow up on the custom order stuff, pricing etc. As far as Gretsch quality goes, it's top notch on new the ones, anything made after the Gretsch-Fender quasi-merger. I think that was 2003. (?) I've never played a custom shop Gretsch but I have a MIJ gold sparkle duo jet and my brother owns 3 MIJ gretsches. All of them are super nice. I was just at the Guitar Emporium in Louisville this week and got to play several new Gretsches in their store and they were all superb.

For another view of current Gretsch quality see Jimmy Vivino's comments on his George Harrison model Duo jet at about 41:00 into this video:
 






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