60s era Country Gents and rockabilly... can these things come together?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by kpnash, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. kpnash

    kpnash Electromatic

    Hello fellow Gretsch addicts!

    Due to that #§$&% second wave of the virus even band practices are now prohibited in the country, let alone gigs, so all you can do is to stay home and have GAS. So I'm recalling those good old gigging days, particularly the one when our singer told me, 'Don't take your backup guitar, I will bring you something'. That 'something' appeared to be a '67 early Baldwin Country Gent! With backpad, painted f-holes, mute and Electrotone body. We played three sets and after the 1st one I asked, 'Okay, may I actually try out this backup guitar?' 'Yes', was the answer, so I played the whole 2nd set on the Gent. And during the 3rd set I was switching back and forth between the Gent and my Esquire every two-three songs, greatly enjoying both. The Esquire was biting like a crocodile, while the Gent actually kicked like a mule. I'd never heard this kind of polite and clear yet full and powerful sound from my amp before.

    So these days, staying at home and getting back to that gig and I ask myself if I should think about 60s reissue Gents or not? I already have the Esquire, a Duo-Jet with Dynas plus an Electromatic G5127 with DeArmond 2000s, so I don't necessarily need yet one more twangy rocking axe. At the same time, being a rockabilly guy, I dislike the look. I'm not in that orange stain camp either but those curves, upper bout switches in parallel to the neck and twin mute toggles scream 60s/George Harrison, I might even like it a bit but in general it's really not my cup of tea.

    Getting back to that polite, full and powerful sound, tell me what do you think are most important ingredients? Is it resonant properties (or lack of...) of shallow 17" body with closed f-holes and backpad? Zero fret? Or pickups on that particular guitar, likely deviating from 'ideal' specs and having 50 years old magnets? Or is it the gap between pickup and bridge which is there because of the mute, potentially reducing treble response? Considering a hollowbody like 6120 or Anniversary, could it be possible to get somewhat there by replacing pickups to smth else like Powertrons or Supertrons?

    Or show me pics of rockabilly guys playing 60s era/reissue Country Gents or maybe pics of Country Gents bastardized with stuff like dice knobs/cowboy decals/pinup decals etc.? (Yes I know one of the greatest 50s rockabilly guitar playing guys who traded his Duo Jet for Gent in the 60s, guess whom I mean, but are there other examples?)
     
  2. DaddyDog

    DaddyDog Country Gent

    Sep 18, 2011
    Mississauga, Canada
    Calling @db62 and The Draggnetts (sp?)

    Closed f-holes go a very long way to suppressing feedback.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
    db62 likes this.
  3. AllenK

    AllenK Electromatic

    95
    Feb 7, 2019
    UK
    I think rockabilly is more a feeling and way of playing than any particular guitar type. Tele's, Strat's and various Gibson's have all been played by rockabilly artists. If you get that magic when playing a 'Gent, then that's the one for you.
     
    slickfaster likes this.
  4. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    usa
    This one doesn't need to be "bastardized" with stuff to make any type of music that your hands can deliver.

    It's the sum of all the -58 features that makes it sound the way it can.

    2007 G6122-58. From "Hank to Hendrix"

    20200107_161140.jpg 20200625_170113.jpg 20200722_213935.jpg 20200107_154553.jpg
     
    AllenK likes this.
  5. kpnash

    kpnash Electromatic

    @G5422T from your perspective, same probably applies to '59 model? Or is there a noticeable difference?

    If you ask my uneducated opinion, I believe it's the bridge pickup's position contributing for the bigger part of 60s Gent's sound, something you don't get on a guitar without (otherwise useless) mute. Or am I wrong?

    @AllenK you're so damn right! However these days rockabilly is as much about looks as it is about guitar licks, so I do care about how other folks perceive me on stage, and so do some of the band mates. As crazy as it is, but I've been asked a couple of times not to take a guitar to a gig because 'it doesn't look in style'. Especially at pro-line Gretsch's price point you might want to get something that is spot on in every aspect.
     
  6. JC higgy

    JC higgy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    50
    Jun 6, 2008
    Belfast Norn Iron
    If it's good enough for Jackie Lee Cochran ....:cool:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    6124Bassman and AllenK like this.
  7. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    usa
    I've had both at the same time. I kept the -58 and let the -59 go.

    For me it was more because of features, and the feel of the neck. Wider at the nut was fine, but the neck felt thin/flat to my hands, and just not comfortable for me.

    Also prefer the mud switch over the tone pot circuit.

    The pickups sounded good, but honestly liked the sound of the -58's HS Filters over the Classic + bridge, and the Supertron neck.

    I just bonded with the -58, and as hard as I tried to bond with the -59, it just wasn't happening.

    The -59's are great instruments. Many love them, but it just wasn't right for me.

    Since then, I did add a set of TV's Ray Butts to the -58, and I'm loving it even more.

    I'm sure that each guitar's feature add to the total tone, whatever the model is.
     
  8. lathoto

    lathoto Gretschie

    375
    Apr 23, 2020
    Ohio
    Rockabilly is a unique genre. The guitar tone is natural with slapback echo at around 100 milliseconds. After that, it's all attitude. The quickest way to nail down the proper attitude is to cover "Twenty Flight Rock (once a day for at least a month)." A hollow body Gretsch is preferred by many. F holes are optional.
     
    Duo Slinger likes this.
  9. Duo Slinger

    Duo Slinger Gretschie

    130
    Sep 11, 2020
    California, USA
    Heck dude, you don't even need to do that. Just have a clean (preferably Fender) amp, and just about anything else. Any Gretsch, Teles, Strats, hell, you use an SG like the Delta Bombers. It's all in the hands dude. And some slapback delay. That too. But that's bout it!
     
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  10. kpnash

    kpnash Electromatic

    @JC higgy that's a cool pic, thanks, although it is from the 80s I think. We need more such stuff!

    In the meantime, I've figured out '59 Gent has 2.25" deep body while '58 is 2.75", these are 2007 specs. Various sources say the latter was not historically correct and the original '58 Gent was only 2", just like its '62 version! There was also a special model of Tennessee Rose, 6119-62FT, that has very similar specs to '62 Gent but in 16" body and although simulated f-holes have simulated binding which doesn't appeal aesthetically, it's at least single cutaway...
     
  11. AllenK

    AllenK Electromatic

    95
    Feb 7, 2019
    UK
    If modern rockabilly means conforming to some preconceived stereotype of what rockabilly should look like, it's no longer rockabilly! As a couple of the other posts have said, it's in the sound and the feeling of the music.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
  12. Gretschmen65

    Gretschmen65 Synchromatic

    958
    May 20, 2016
    QLD Australia
    Carl Perkins, one of the greats, played a Peavey T60 if I recall correctly.

    He must have been a strong man, :D
     
    SAguitar likes this.
  13. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Age:
    55
    Oct 18, 2015
    Germany
    If you like it get an exact backup. Done.
     
    SAguitar likes this.
  14. db62

    db62 Synchromatic

    776
    Apr 6, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    A bit late to this thread, however, as @DaddyDog noted, my '67 Country Gent played across Western Canada and the US in the early 80s in The Draggnetts.
    The Gent = rockabilly and did everything it had to and more.
    A few pics, with apologies for the mediocre scans from original prints.

    IMG_0142.jpeg


    Draggnetts _ MUB_ Dec 11.JPG
     
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  15. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    This guy was pretty friggin rockabilly imo.
    Screenshot_2020-10-30-03-07-34-1.png
     
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  16. AllenK

    AllenK Electromatic

    95
    Feb 7, 2019
    UK
    Great pictures. They sure capture the spirit of rockabilly.
     
    db62 likes this.
  17. JC higgy

    JC higgy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    50
    Jun 6, 2008
    Belfast Norn Iron
    Boz Boorer used a double cut too,I know it's a 6120 and it's the 80's ,but still...[​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  18. kpnash

    kpnash Electromatic

    Wow cool pics guys, show me more!

    Here's my personal hero, however it is post-Blue Caps time:
    [​IMG]

    Are there any modern bands using 60s Gents? Would be interesting to see some Bopflix movie where guitarist plays a Gent, or someone wearing a bad-ass Marlon Brando cap in style of Nick Curran with a Gent in his hands. I'm just trying to break a link I have in my head connecting Gents with British Invasion...
     
    JC higgy likes this.
  19. kpnash

    kpnash Electromatic

    Argh by the way, how could I forget!

    As a shameless self-promotion, here's a vid of me playing... okay, on the vid it's a hand-painted/reliced Ibanez Artcore however the sound is from a studio recording where I played a Yamaha Pacifica (upgraded with cool Strat pickups but still a Yamaha):



    So I absolutely agree you don't need a big shiny orange pro-line Gretsch to play this music. Still, for whatever reasons, we're all here, staring at big shiny pro-line Gretsches :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2020
    JC higgy likes this.
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