Gretsch guitars...tell me about them

'64 Tele

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Watching live music show from Nashville on NYE.
Several using single cutaway solid body Gretsch.
What are they like/similar to?

Filtertron pickups? Sound like?

Are they solid bodies or just no f holes?

I notice a single knob on lower bout/cutaway and then three control knobs in usual location. What are the various knobs?
 

Cali Dude

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Nothing really sounds like a Gretsch but a Gretsch. Filtertrons are clear and have great chime. They have a unique timber. Kinda difficult to describe. The knob on the lower bout, by the cutaway is the master volume. The other three knobs are a master tone, and volume for each pickup. I have had three Gretsch guitars in my life. They are unique. My only beef with a some Gretsch guitars is the bigsby knocking things out of tune.
 

gtroates

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You can get most of your sound related answers by going to a Gretsch dealership guitar store and trying many out. There are many models available and they don’t all sound similar to each other. The Gretsch guitars with filtertrons often have different knob configurations than the ones with Dynasonic single coils or the Hi Lo Trons which are also single coil. There are also a lot of YouTube videos with demonstrations of the many different models available, go to Gretsch’s web page to see the model names first if you don’t know what they are called. I have four Gretsch guitars and they are all different sizes with different types of pickups. The knob on the cutaway bout is often a master volume control, the three knobs on the lower bout near the bridge are usually two volumes and a master tone, the idea was to set the pickup volume balance you like and then use the master volume to turn the guitar louder or quieter while maintaining the preset balance between the pickups. If an older Gretsch electric guitar has three knobs on the bout near the bridge it usually only has a single switch to select pickups, if there are two switches then one of them is a selector for three different tone presets, and that is used in place of a tone potentiometer.
 

JamesAM

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Gretsches are so good and I wish I had room for one. Nothing else sounds like one. They offer three types of pickups on their guitars:

- dynasonic, a single coil with big exposed pole pieces. Think ghost riders in the sky, sumertime blues. Twang for days that rivals a tele bridge pickup.

- filtertrons, which are very low resistance humbuckers. Chimey, clear, sparkly. Think brian setzer and the living end. Sounds incredible with lots of gain.

- hilotron single coils, which are super low output. Not sure of an example of this, but very 60s-ish jangley things.


These are all offered in hollow bodies (with various bracing stiffness, the most stiff being 59 trestle bracing which is setzers favorite), semi hollow center block (the panther is an incredible guitar), and chambered solid body. More wood means more sustain with similar gretsch sound.

I had an anniversary players edition that was an absolute monster. I sold it for an es-335 for better upper fret access, but miss it like crazy.

get one. The Japanese made prolines are incredible guitars that are pretty much flawless.
 

'64 Tele

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Thanks....one of old college band mates had one of the hollow body f hole single cutaway gretsch and I played a couple times, but wasn't my cup of tea.
 

teleman1

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My feeling about Gretsch are that if you are a fairly accomplished player, you will be surprised. Whatever it is, you just play differently and inspirationally to certain degrees with a Gretsch. No other guitar seems to do it like that.
 

Tsteleplayer

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The old gretsch back in the 70’s were good. A friend of mine has a naewer fancy silver hollow body mij that sounds like crap.
 

johnnylaw

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The other twang…
CAF1672A-5950-4803-902C-063A6BC15ED5.jpeg
 

unfamous

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The old gretsch back in the 70’s were good. A friend of mine has a naewer fancy silver hollow body mij that sounds like crap.

There are a lot of luthiers that have a different opinion. General consensus (from players who need and expect them to be functional on a gig, not hobbyists) is the new crop is better built, sturdier, all around better.
 

JamesAM

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The old gretsch back in the 70’s were good. A friend of mine has a naewer fancy silver hollow body mij that sounds like crap.

congrats to you and your friend on finding the one good 70s Baldwin gretsch. It’s hard to find a specimen whose binding hasn’t rotted away, so good on ya.

I won’t deny that there are dogs in any population of guitars, but general consensus is that the ones built since fender took over in 2005 are top notch.
 




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