Help a potential new Gretsch Owner!

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Camuel, Mar 2, 2019.

  1. Camuel

    Camuel Electromatic

    Mar 2, 2019
    Hi folks, well, what a wonderful resource this is! I don't know how many times my Google searches have brought me here!

    It all started when I saw an Instagram post:

    I'd only ever seen KT Tunstall's playing her White Falcon and never paid much attention, but this one? I dunno. Maybe I was just ready. I was in love.

    Back Story: I'm an acoustic guitar nerd with a few high-ends, all single-luthier built apart from my SCGC. I owned a B&G Little Sister Crossroads for about a year but never played it. Other than that, I'm a complete n00b when it comes to electric.

    Now, to Gretsch.

    That Instagram post kick-started over two weeks of research. There was so much new vocabulary to learn - Filter'Tron, DynaSonic, T-Armond, Tune-o-Matic etc. I made a spreadsheet and started figuring out models and years and appointments.

    So, what conclusions have I drawn? Good question.

    Firstly, I want fingerboard inlay, not just the Neo-Classic thumbnails, but humps and feathers or cowboys or blocks. That narrows down the field by a large margin. I would also like a Bigsby tremolo. Doesn't matter which one. I'm not too bothered about pickups; I'll be playing at home mostly, possibly using for teaching too in a classroom (my side hustle at the moment). If I *do* gig with it, it'll be in small restaurants with not much volume and no stage monitors or anything like that.

    So, inlay narrows it down to these as I understand it:
    • G6136-55 Vintage Select Edition (no Bigsby but I could add one?)
    • G7593 Billy Duffy (I prefer gold trim, but chrome is okay)
    • G7593 2003 model (I've found a used one for £2200)
    • G6120-55 Vintage Select Edition Chet Atkins
    These are the ones I've found so far that are within budget and that are available to order. Bear in mind that it was the White Falcon that caught my attention and has been giving me sleepless nights, but I really do like the inlay and orange colour of the G6120-55. Now, not only have I never played a Gretsch, I've never even seen one in real life.

    The used G7593 looks in good condition but there's tarnishing around the pickups and that puts me off a little. Well, it is 16 years old after all! I'm not bothered about the smaller f holes. The Billy Duffy model is the same, right?

    Would gold trim on a NEW Falcon tarnish more readily than the chrome trim on the Duffy? I think I *could* get used to the chrome trim, and I know from the year with the B&G that the humidity in my home causes tarnishing.

    But that Chet Atkins with its cowboy inlay is just lovely! Hmmmm. The supplier that has one of these available for order has a new one discounted AND they've given me a 15% coupon to use by the end of March so it's actually coming in at £2390. They also have the G6136-55 and the G7593 Billy Duffy without discount, but there's still the 15% coupon.

    So, that's what I've come up with after just over two weeks of research. I don't expect the used G7593 will hang around for long...

    Any thoughts? Anything obvious that I've overlooked?

  2. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    I must admit I’m in love with looks of the Chet 55; however, I learned the hard way that looks is now the last thing I base my guitar selection on. It’s not that looks don’t matter to me it is just that if I don’t bond with the neck or the tone there is no use owning it.

    To that end I would ask, have you played a Pro Line Gretsch? The reason I ask is because you are an acoustic player, 14” to 16” radius fingerboards I bet. How do you do with thinner necks and 12” radius?

    As for a Pro Line in general, no question any one of them would stack up well against your high end acoustics in regard to quality, fit and finish.

    I love a 12” radius and the I think Gretschs have the best necks in the industry so I would jump all over that 55.

    Good luck, and there really is no wrong answer.
  3. Lockupyourfatdog

    Lockupyourfatdog Gretschie

    Aug 8, 2016
    Everett wa
    DC391FA4-8706-47A7-8135-BB0E88EBB8EF.jpeg I own a 6120 55 vintage select. Absolutely wonderful guitar. Not just the inlay and the big G brand, but the flame maple really makes it pop. The Pickups are warm and give a nice spank with a little slap back added. The aluminum bridge and nut gives it a sparkle in the tone that none of my other guitars have. The only thing to think about...the bigsby arm is a cast aluminum that starts out thin and widens out. Maybe mine had a weak spot-but it broke during shipping. They only make these arms for manufacturing. They don’t have replacements. I settled on a Duane Eddie arm. It looks and works fine and is comfortable but it isn’t the arm that the 55 had. I’ve been trying since July to get the proper replacement for it (and actually the customer support had been really helpful and believe they’ve finally found one and are sending it out). NOt trying to discourage you. It really is a great guitar
    new6659 likes this.
  4. Camuel

    Camuel Electromatic

    Mar 2, 2019
    Interesting what you said about looks vs tone and playability. One of my favourite acoustics was a guitar that was a million miles away from what I like to look at, but once I played it I knew it was coming home.

    I've never played any Gretsch guitars at all, and barely any electrics of any sort either, so as far as the radius and width, I really don't know to be honest. My acoustics are all quite different neck profiles and nut widths and string spacing and it does take time to adjust when going from one to another, but once I've played it a while it's fine. Like when I used to switch from left-hand to right-hand drive going between mainland Europe and the UK ha ha. I used to be back and forth a lot.
  5. Camuel

    Camuel Electromatic

    Mar 2, 2019
    Thanks for the feedback. I don't really feel ready to make a decision, but the used one and the expiry date on my 15% coupon are two things that are making me feel a little pressure! If only I could go and take a look at some in a shop somewhere. I live on an island so it's challenging to get to guitar shops!
  6. Camuel

    Camuel Electromatic

    Mar 2, 2019
    What are y'alls thoughts on the 2003 G7593? Have there been many improvements since then that would make it more worthwhile looking at something more recent?
  7. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    The older 5420's have humptop inlays and are excellent guitars, check'em out, could save you some serious coin if you like them. Screenshot_2019-03-02-09-21-32-1.png Screenshot_2019-03-02-09-21-46-1.png
  8. Camuel

    Camuel Electromatic

    Mar 2, 2019
  9. Camuel

    Camuel Electromatic

    Mar 2, 2019
    How about the White Falcon 55 Vintage Select. I'm curious what the solid spruce top gives you over the laminated maple tops, and also how easy would it be to swap out the tailpiece for a Bigsby? And is it the case that the bridge on that one isn't pinned down to the soundboard?
  10. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    If I where you I would check this guitars out in person before I would order anything.
    The overall feel, sound and size of the body (falcons are bigger than 6120 models) should be experienced before any buying-decision.
    A 15% discount is very nice but this alone will not buy you the perfect Gretsch for your needs.

    And yes, you can swap the Cadillac tailpiece on the Falcon for a Bigsby.
    As I heard the bridgebase is pinned on this model but you can pull the pins very easily and adjust it to your needs (fix it with some violin rosin when you`re done).
  11. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Welcome to the forum, Camuel!
    welcome mat loch ness.jpg
  12. MikeyUK

    MikeyUK Synchromatic

    Dec 15, 2016
    Rochdale, GB
    Not too sure about pick ups? You probably should be. So you should try before you buy? Or maybe go for the filtertron ? I’m passing on advice that was given to me really. I also think you should consider the appearance. If you’re spending £2000+ it needs to be a piece of art that looks awesome hanging on the wall ? Please don’t tell me it’s gonna live in a case. My Tennessee rose looks awesome just hanging there.
  13. 86runner

    86runner Electromatic

    May 6, 2015
    I just picked up a 6120-55 a couple of weeks ago. It's a 2016, I believe and is an absolutely killer guitar. The TArmonds in this particular model are just so open and alive with a beautiful bark to them. I would highly recommend that one. However, with that said, I agree that you should try the 17" (Falcon) vs the 16" (6120) sizes for yourself before you make a decision. If the white Falcon is what turned you on to these, it's likely you won't be happy with anything but. You can usually find them used at pretty good prices. You might want to do some research into pre-FMIC (2003 and before, I believe) and FMIC (2004 and later) Gretsches. There are differences which are important to some, but not so much to others. Reviews of and experiences with pre-FMIC are mixed. 2004 and later are generally glowingly reviewed. Anyway, welcome!
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