Brain Setzer Smoke

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by bopcat, Sep 15, 2021.

  1. bopcat

    bopcat Electromatic

    Sep 9, 2010
    After too many years Ive reformed my old rockabilly band Jelly Bean. For many years I used an Antoria Jazzstar which must have played 800 gigs but required lots of tlc ..I then bought a used Red G5129 with De Armands (see avatar) which was a fantastic sounding guitar for the money. After the band split I sold the G5129 which in hindsight was a huge mistake . A couple of years later I got the Gretsch bug again and eventualy bought an immaculate used G5420T a beautiful Black and silver maxhine . Sadly I couldnt get on with the sound of the 'Blacktop' pickups,, sold it to my son , borrowed it again , still didnt like the sound and gave it back.
    Two years later annd I have some money from a divorce and decided to treat myself to a proline Gretsch.
    I tried an Eddie Cochran model which was not looked after, and had really brittle rusty strings etc which felt lifeless and sounded dull. I played it for an hour but there was no magic.
    Ive just come across a Brian Setzer Smoke less than a year old which Im going to check out in a couple of days,, very excited after reading the reviews but as it will be a working guitar I will be looking at the playability , feel and obviously sound. If its not the one then the search continues,.I did consider the player series but Im not sure how Gretchy sounding they will be ? So its the Smoke for now , fingers crossed its the one and any advice or comments welcome !!
    glad to be back on the site.
    T Bone, pmac11, NJDevil and 6 others like this.
  2. mbkri

    mbkri Country Gent

    Sep 22, 2012
    Havent got my hands on a smoke (probably just as well), but ive been playing my 6120RHH tonight and blimey, its amazing every time i play it. Never ceases to amaze me and ive had it for two years now. If the smoke dont blow your mind then maybe the Rev can do it for you? Best of luck with the hunt
    T Bone and NJDevil like this.
  3. sgarnett

    sgarnett Synchromatic

    Apr 14, 2020
    My Smoke is as close to what I would order custom as I will ever get.

    I changed the bridge to a Serpentune, but the stock TOM is high-quality and rattle-free, with nicely-filed slots.

    I usually leave the mud switch in the center (bypass) position, keep the pickup selector in the middle also, and use the reverse-wired pickup volume pots (turning down one doesn’t kill volume on the other) sort of like bass and treble knobs.

    I love the warm but airy sound of the unpotted Ray Butts pickups.
  4. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa Cruz
    I have never played one but I think it is one of the most beautiful guitars Gretsch has ever made.
  5. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Best of luck. I would love to have a Smoke myself. Every report I have heard is that it among the best made production Gretsch, surpassed only by the custom shop.
    Craig Encinitas likes this.
  6. Gretschzilla

    Gretschzilla Gretschie

    Apr 20, 2021
    Saint Paul, MN USA
    My Smoke is everything I hoped it would be. And I had high hopes. Sweetwater set it up and it is perfect. I, too, leave both switches in middle position for that one-of-a-kind Gretsch jangly twang.
    I primarily play it through my Fender Tone Master Twin Reverb. However, I can turn it into a ferocious beast when I plug it into my Marshall DSL40CR. That sound inspired my user name on this forum.
    I will be really interested in your impression of this guitar.
    bhatta and Craig Encinitas like this.
  7. slickfaster

    slickfaster Country Gent

    Dec 29, 2009
    I wouldn’t count the Cochran out just cuz of bad set up or old strings..
    But the Smoke is an amazing guitar..
  8. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    Sandy Eggo
  9. Gretschzilla

    Gretschzilla Gretschie

    Apr 20, 2021
    Saint Paul, MN USA
    Hey bopcat! Wondering if you've had a chance to play the Smoke and am interested in your impressions. Let us hear when you get a chance, please!
  10. Londoner

    Londoner Gretschie

    Dec 18, 2020
    "I tried an Eddie Cochran model which was not looked after, and had really brittle rusty strings etc which felt lifeless and sounded dull. I played it for an hour but there was no magic".
    I'm not surprised!
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2021
    new6659 likes this.
  11. knavel

    knavel Country Gent

    Dec 26, 2009
    London, England
    We have 5 vintage 6120s in the family of varying spec's and body shapes, as well as a 1960 6119 that is very good. The benchmark reference Gretsch for me had always been my brother's 1959 6120.

    Last summer I bought the Smoke and within seconds I knew it was my best Gretsch. I could play solos I never could play before and had those early Stray Cats sounds effortlessly. I immediately sold a VS 1957 Duo Jet that I never played.

    Def try one if you can. See Tavo's video above for more info.
  12. bopcat

    bopcat Electromatic

    Sep 9, 2010
    Trying it out today...trying to be cool and indifferent but between me and you Im very excited...
    thanks Knavel.. yes I have watched Tavos video, really helpful and informative in an interesting way... not the usual 10 minutes of metal guitar licks,,, great video.
  13. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Friend of Fred

    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
  14. Marv666

    Marv666 Gretschie

    Jul 26, 2020
    From all the Demo Videos they Sound really good!
    ZackyDog and Craig Encinitas like this.
  15. bopcat

    bopcat Electromatic

    Sep 9, 2010
    Hello all!! well I bought The 'Smoke' !!!! It is only 9 months old , with factory strings still attached and not a great but playable action and what a beautiful looking guitar , with its burnt orange non gloss ? finish which is perfect for me looks old already !
    Yes its all very new to me ...just been playing it for a couple of hours, The strings are a bit too big /tight for me but Ive played it hard soft and in between on two different Peavey Blues Classic and Fender Champ and its fine ... The neck is different to play you don’t realise at first until you look at it but its just under 1cm wider (and flattens out) around the 12th fret . I wouldn’t say its a super fast neck but this may change once the action and strings are changed but it is very easy and comfortable even without a set up to play and Im very happy with it.. Ive ordered some D Addario 10 – 46 thin bottoms to try instead of my usual 10 – 52 Ive used for years !!.. we’ll know what its like...try this try that !!!
    There is a buzz coming from the bridge (no surprise) where the G string looks like its been replaced by a B so may be rattling in the groove so to speak,,not a problem.
    I have got a stainless steel TRu Arc I bought about 10 years ago which for my G5129 . Im not sure how the radius matches or not.. just curious really as Im happy with original bridge ..once buzz is sorted.
    The guitar is well made, feels solid and not too light,, I like a heavier guitar the finish is fantastic..

    The pick ups are good ,,,plenty of twang without that harshness but the chme is there if you need it...and a lovely Bluesy mellow sound the other end of the spectrum. Lots of different sounds are obtainable and it will sound good with various genre's of music
    Its also got locking strap nuts fitted which I fit on all my guitars ..great !

    Ive replaced the scratch plate ..Brians signature is not in your face..just a black squiggle so I don’t mind... Id like a customised one later
    The Dice knobs remain in the bag,, not for me .
    So these are my first random impressions , any advice welcome. Ive been playing and gigging for decades but still willing to listen and learn. Ill give you an update once its been ttweaked and restrung , but its made me smile and has huge potential . View attachment 168426 my gretsch 3 jpg.jpg

    So far so good.... View attachment 168426
  16. bopcat

    bopcat Electromatic

    Sep 9, 2010
    a few more my gretsch 1.jpg quick pix

    Attached Files:

  17. Gretschzilla

    Gretschzilla Gretschie

    Apr 20, 2021
    Saint Paul, MN USA
    Yay! Congratulations on your new guitar. Good luck dialing it in; setup makes the heart grow fonder. I bought mine new from Sweetwater; they set it up perfectly for me. FWIW I had them put on D'Addario NYXL - 10-46 Regular Lights. Like you described, I get that nice Gretsch twang and can easily coax that chime as well. I have experienced the guitar as highly versatile, as you also pointed out. And it is easy on the eyes. Great Big Happy New Guitar Day to you!
    T Bone and Craig Encinitas like this.
  18. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    Congrats and enjoy.
  19. bopcat

    bopcat Electromatic

    Sep 9, 2010
    many thanks . Ill write an update in a while
  20. new6659

    new6659 Country Gent

    Congratulations on that!
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