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What, besides the “real thing” at $2,800 USD, will get me a Gretsch Country Gentleman sound?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Ronzo, Dec 31, 2020.

  1. wawood

    wawood TDPRI Member

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    “Country Gentleman” was a trademark belonging to Chet Atkins. It still belongs to his heirs, I believe. A Gretsch Country Classic II is very similar to the CG. The F holes are real and has true hollow body construction. I had a 2002. Didn’t like the floating bridge. Great sound.
     
  2. Deaf Eddie

    Deaf Eddie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Here's what I did, maybe, twenty years ago...

    bigsby-1.jpg

    Epi Sheraton II, swapped the gold for chrome hardware, added a Bigsby and a roller bridge, and a set of GFS Nashville Retro-trons (same as Artec MVH6, I'm sure).

    ARTEC.jpg

    The pickups came with humbucker-sized mounting rings that made them practically a drop-in replacement for the Epi humbuckers. Easy-peasy, no weird adapters needed.

    Those pickups were dropped from the GFS line and not available for many years, but they have a new version out now - looks similar, don't know about the sound.

    At that time, I also had a Baldwin-era Double Anniversary with Hilotrons. Comparing the two, when I ran the GFS pickups in coil shunt (installed on p/p when I did the swap), the tone was quite similar - couldn't pick one or the other out in the mix.

    I guess this doesn't answer your Country Gentleman quest, but it does illustrate that some swaps can be easily done. Just for giggles, I call this my "Urban Ruffian."

    One more note: I have a customer with a mid-sixties Country Gentleman that I have worked on a few times. In response to his request for more usable tonal variations, I replaced the "mud switch" cap values with a .0046 and a .022, and he's much happier. HOWEVER, his guitar is suffering from the binding deterioration that plagues so many of these guitars. SO! If you find an oldie but a goodie, be sure that you examine the binding, it's a common issue.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2021
    Archtop Bill and Ronzo like this.
  3. Yuro

    Yuro Tele-Meister

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    archtop: Lucille is semi-hollow...with solid center. CG is hollow. Lucille may actually be better, but not authentic.


     
  4. El Marin

    El Marin Friend of Leo's

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    I must disagree too... I also did that and while you can get near, no, is not the same. Epiphone Emperor, an ES-335, even a Guild X-160... Not only the pickups, the braces also do their thing, I believe

    But at the end is like everything, the feeling is not the same en any guitar so... I have my 1990's 6120 and I always compare to that specific one...
     
  5. El Marin

    El Marin Friend of Leo's

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    If you pull out the screws (or poles...) of that pickups, a la Wide Range, you can get them sound much better, even like wicked Dynasonics or weak filtertrons, to me is an improvement
     
  6. Deaf Eddie

    Deaf Eddie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    "If you pull out the screws (or poles...) of that pickups, a la Wide Range, you can get them sound much better, even like wicked Dynasonics or weak filtertrons, to me is an improvement"

    YES, indeed, adjust the pole pieces! Not quite the way you suggested, though... For me, since both coils have adjustable pole pieces, I shunt them so that the "inside" coils (the two coils closest to each other) remain active and shunt the "outside" coils of both pickups - I believe this gives you a better "quack" when playing them together. I run the active coil polepieces UP (hotter) and the shunted coil polepieces DOWN, "unbalancing" the two coils. It makes the humbucker tone a little sweeter (as you suggested), and the coil-shunts don't have as big of a drop off. Works for me.

    FWIW, I try to "unbalance" the coils on all my HB guitars. By shunting the series pair to HOT on the neck pickup, you can shunt the slug coil, leaving the screw coil active, lower the pickup (if necessary) and then raise the polepieces. On the bridge pickup, I shunt to ground (as usual), and lower the screw coil's polepieces. I have often read that the sweetness of PAFs was due at least in part to unbalanced coils, so that is what I am shooting for. A nice side effect, shunting one pickup to ground and one to hot leaves me with a noise cancelling pair in coil shunt, when played together.
     
  7. MoHump

    MoHump TDPRI Member

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  8. RicoC3PO

    RicoC3PO TDPRI Member

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  9. PaGlock

    PaGlock NEW MEMBER!

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  10. IMadeYouReadThis

    IMadeYouReadThis Tele-Meister

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    I didn't read through to see if anybody already suggested this, and at 5 pages not very many will read this post, but the DiMarzio EJ Customs were specifically designed to sound like a Gretsch Country Gentleman. The story goes that Eric Johnson got a Les Paul and thought it sounded too muddy. DiMarzio made him a low output, jangly humbucker with the goal of sounding like his old Gretsch. I don't know how closely they imitate 'trons, but they sound great and can wake up any dark sounding guitar.

    https://www.dimarzio.com/pickups/vintage-output/ej-custom-bridge
     
    StevesBoogie likes this.
  11. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    In a plywood hollow or semi-hollow, the pick-ups will establish if that instrument sounds like some example of a Gretsch like a C.G. I defy anyone to tell what model Gretsch hollow-body or other brand with Gretsch (or Gretsch copy) pick ups is being played ... blindfolded. Put the pickups from a Country Gentleman in any hollow or semi, you'll have what you want. Whether you can get those pick ups or find some that sound exactly like them is the rub.
     
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  12. PC_Hater

    PC_Hater Tele-Meister

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    Have you ever played a real Gretsch Country Gentleman?
    If you haven't then you should.
    If you like playing a genuine Gretsch Country Gentleman and like the sound then just go and buy one!
    I'm a tight-fisted Yorkshireman and am happy to choose cheaper options for many things. 'That'll do nicely'.
    But some things - you just have to bite the bullet and pay the money to do it right!

    Did your car cost you more than $2500? Bet it did. Only 2 cars in 40 years have cost me more than $2500, and usually less.
    Just go and buy the Country Gentleman, your wife can sell it at a profit when you die.
     
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  13. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    You are correct and in addition has a 16” body versus a 17”. However, with different pickups it could potentially sound close to a country gent.

    I suppose if you wanted fully hollow you could get an Epiphone Casino and plug the f holes. :D
     
  14. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Friend of Leo's

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    The OP wants a Gretsch sound, yet doesn't want a Gretsch.

    An exercise in futility...
     
  15. Edgar Allan Presley

    Edgar Allan Presley Friend of Leo's

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    You have 22 guitars and you're still shopping?! You don't need a cheap fake Country Gentleman. You need rehab. The next one isn't going to make you happier.
     
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  16. Ronzo

    Ronzo Tele-Afflicted

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    I’m the OP. I wanted to know if any of the 22 guitars I own could get the “Gretsch sound”. Long story short.

    Apparently, nothing I currently own can accurately cop the Gretsch sound. The pickups, plus the scale length, plus the maple hollow body with no actual f-holes and maple neck, all appear to contribute to a unique sound that is unable to be obtained with a different guitar.

    Thanks to all who offered their help. Now my decision is whether or not to buy a Gretsch model of some sort.

    I plan, when the opportunity presents itself, to try a variety of Gretsch hollow bodies to see if what sounds appropriate to me is something I wish to purchase. No guarantee either way.
     
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  17. Ronzo

    Ronzo Tele-Afflicted

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    You may be right. I may be crazy.

    I’m also a bassist. Add 10 electric basses to that.
     
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  18. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    Sez you.
     
  19. beep.click

    beep.click Poster Extraordinaire

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    I own a Country Gent. Also a 6120 and a Tennessee Rose, all with FilterTrons.

    They sound very, very similar. In fact, I don't think I'd be able to tell them apart.

    So the recipe is: hollow body and FilterTrons. The rest is details.
     
  20. detour

    detour TDPRI Member

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    I may be confused by the term Country Gentleman, but I’ve assumed OP meant a 6120. I’m in a similar boat. I bought (and later sold) the Epiphone Swingster. I really liked it for some things but the flat thin neck and bridge were deal breakers, one or the other ok, but not both.
    I haven’t seen anyone suggest a 6118 Anniversary. It’s basically the same guitar as a 6120 with different cosmetics (unless I’m mistaken). I see them used for around $1600 or less all the time. I'd also considered the Reverend Pete Anderson hollow body. It looks and sounds great
     
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