Gretsch guitars...tell me about them

archtop_fjk

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Here’s my 6120 DSW in black with a G brand and cowboy inlays. I switched the pickups from the original Dynasonics to TV Jones T’Armonds. Plays beautifully and, though it’s a hollowbody, it’s surprisingly feedback resistant at stage volume. With an overdrive you get a very crunchy tone that’s perfect for classic 60s rock and roll.
 

Wildeman

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View attachment 935441 Here’s my 6120 DSW in black with a G brand and cowboy inlays. I switched the pickups from the original Dynasonics to TV Jones T’Armonds. Plays beautifully and, though it’s a hollowbody, it’s surprisingly feedback resistant at stage volume. With an overdrive you get a very crunchy tone that’s perfect for classic 60s rock and roll.
Now that's just badass!
 

jfgesquire

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I'm late to the party, but here's my '67. This was built almost exactly during the sale/move of Gretsch.

I've owned it since '87 when I bought it for $680. I gigged it for years, still bring it out once in a while. People think it's a reissue. The new ones just don't sound the same.

30 years apart:

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brookdalebill

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Here’s my Chet.
It is easily the best sounding electric guitar I have ever owned, bar none.
I’ve had a perhaps sinful number of electric guitars.
I’ve been fascinated with them I saw a double feature of Hard Day’s Night/Help, in 1966.
My Chet sounds clear and full, and stays in tune beautifully.
It’s not perfect, it’s cumbersome and not fun to play past the 14th fret.
The newer MIJ Gretsch guitars are the best ever, IMO.
The TV Jones pickups are inspiring, and I now have them in 5 of my guitars.
Lastly, pic #2 is not my guitar.
It serves as a “before” pic.
It’s stock/original.
I took the bling-ey gold parts off mine, and put a different bridge and base on it.
Officially, it’s a 2003 MIJ 1959 Nashville Classic.
I love it!
 
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arlum

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Only two problems here with Gretsch.

1). Control Knobs not really needed. I guess it's nice to have masters for this or that but I prefer a simpler look.

2). Glitzy head stocks that are just too over the top. I love the White Falcon except for the Royal Crown looking head stock. Everything else is wonderful. Stephen Stills used to look like he was feeling up the queen.
 

Vocalion

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I found this to be the best resource for understanding that Gretsch sound. My personal opinion is that Filter'Trons are the most versatile of all pickups from chimey highs to killer crunch.

 

Henry Mars

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Had this for 55+ years .... It got a lot of use and still sounds good. It is a shame they don't build them like the used to, because they are all I would play probably. T%his guy has had a lot of road time.
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BorderRadio

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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?

As several already said, these are Jet-style guitars, which include the Silver Jet, Firebird, and Roundup. The single-cut variety first appeared in ‘53, the “Scripty” version of which only 150 were made. The chambering varied over the years, but the first significant routing pattern changed with the introduction of Filtertron pickups. The Jet-style guitars made by Gretsch in the mid- to late-50s that had DeArmond 2000 pickups were heavily routed. The guitar in the lower right is a mid-50s style, but the first Scripty Jets had a little more wood on the sides. As mentioned, the thin pressed maple ply top only made contact with the back under the bridge (the two square maple shims). This makes them completely different than weight relieved Les Pauls, as the top is allowed to vibrate more than a ‘carved’ maple top.

The guitars on the lower left and top are the routing style for Filtertron Jet-style guitars. The two ‘rails’ are what the pickups screw into. The top is glued in more places.

Through the years this chambering style changed. In general there was less chambering over time, so a more solid body response ensued. By the time FMIC partnered with Fred Gretsch III, the Electromatic Jets were solid, but by late 2000s the Pro Jet and Electromatic both have larger chambers, but no pressed ply top. The MIJ Jets stayed more true to the originals, but they also vary by years and model number. The most true to mid-50s Dynasonic Jets came about with Billy Zoom’s model, which contributed to the ‘53 reissue model.

Funny enough, the ‘53 Scripty reissue doesn’t follow one other significant factor that make Jets unique—the drum cover glued on the top. Most vintage Duo Jets and Firebirds had black and red Nitron tops glued to the maple ply. The Silver Jet obviously had the sparkle drum wrap glued on as well. So while the top is more free to absorb the strings vibrations, its damped by the plastic top. I think only the Roundup was just wood on top, but I’m not sure about it’s chambering/top construction style.


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takauya

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I never could understand their numbering system. What does the 6120 mean? So difficult to identify each model.
 

JL_LI

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It would interesting to convert the mud switch into a boost switch by adding an active circuit. You would then be able to boost your solos by activating a switch on the guitar rather than a pedal.
Tell me about this. By PM if you prefer. The individual volume controls double as tone controls. I manage quite well with that. But I lose fullness and volume higher than the 7th fret.
 

kLyon

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I love my Japanese made Firejet; it's impeccable. I don't have it with me right now, but I believe it is missing something else that sets Gretsch apart: a zero fret. I like zero frets, but they cut the nut perfectly on mine so I don't care.
It came with Dynasonics, which are really great pickups. I had to put a TV Jones Filtertron in the bridge because any overdrive would make the Dynasonics howl. But the neck Dynasonic is beautiful sounding, one of the classic single coil sounds.
 

Nick Fanis

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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.

70s Gretsches (Baldwin era) were HORRIBLE guitars with ceramic pickups sounding like crap.
50s and 60s Gretsches sounded great but built quality ranged from7 mediocre to....just good.
The MIJ Gretsches are definitely the best ones ever made (especially the ones after 2004 when Fender took over ). The recent MIK ones are awesome too and amazing value for money.
Here's my 2007 MIJ White Falcon ,untouchable guitar built and sound wise

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