Brain Setzer Smoke

knavel

Country Gent
Dec 26, 2009
1,101
London, England
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 ?

That's great congratulations! Yes, non gloss. That's something else I liked about Smoke: The finish looks exactly like my brother's 1959, not too heavy on the depth of the orange and more of a matte finish. It's great that you got a used one. I got a used one that was called scratch and dent--someone had actually changed the tuners to sperzels and pock marked the headstock faceplate. But I just liked it so much I couldn't send it back.
 

bopcat

Electromatic
Sep 9, 2010
36
uk
Hello folks !
Well after a week or so I took my Smoke to my tame luthier Dave Winters. I explained that the guitar was about 5 months old, factory strings and untouched since unboxed. I asked him to give it a general look over and set up,sort out the noisy grinding Bigsby arm and replace the jack socket with a cats eye jack socket . Ive seen some horrendous damage on Gretsches and other semi acoustics where the woodpecker effect of a jack plug. wears through the body. I also spoke to him about the buzzing rattling adjustomatic bridge . We spoke of Tru Arc and Compton bridges but as the bridge is pinned he said there could be intonations issues. He said from a luthiers view the angle of the strings was wrong and creating tension. We agreed to fit graph tec saddles and I asked for 10 to 46 slinkys. A week later and I picked the guitar up. My luthier said that the original bridge did not work properly with the compound neck . it did not quite line up but this was rectified by adjusting the bridge and tweaking the Graph Tec saddles. He also said that some of the higher fretwork above the 12th fret required work. The Bigsby creaking noise was metal on metal so this was easily rectified with a washer . Just a lack of attention to small detail in the finished product by Gretsch.He said he was happy with the guitar in the end and often had high end guitars of all makes requiring quite a bit of set up work.. Once I was home I was nervous about playing it but wow!!!! it was fantastic. A totally different guitar , with a fast neck that played like butter. It sounded great and I feel I could play with confidence and reallly hear the sound of this guitar . I had been struggling before the set up . not much , the odd missed fret etc which I initially thought was the unique compound neck so I was sooo relieved when it was simply the lack of set up. The pick ups are great , as Ive said before ,ringing chime to gretsch bite without those piercing highs .. and lots of sound variation between the PU selectors . SO thats my initial view of this guitar, beautiful ,understated, great sound and wonderful playability and one Im very proud to own . It makes me smile .Gigs start in November so that should be interesting . Hope this helps folks .
 

WannaGretsch

Gretschie
Oct 23, 2012
446
ALASKA
My Smoke needed attention right away also. It had a couple loose frets at the dusty end and a high one. But Sweetwater refunded enough to cover the repair AND to have my unbleached bone nut installed by my guy as well! It is just amazing at this point! I have gigged it once and it worked really well. It will spend more time at home though and we will leave the gigging to the 59 Duo Jet reissue thing!

Congrats man!!!
 

bopcat

Electromatic
Sep 9, 2010
36
uk
thanks for that info re slotted bridge... maybe of use in the future for a tru arc or compton ???
 

58dutchie

Gretschie
Jun 13, 2008
163
Somewhere under the rainbow
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.

Exactly how did it compare - soundwise - to your brother’s ‘59 6120?
 

knavel

Country Gent
Dec 26, 2009
1,101
London, England
Exactly how did it compare - soundwise - to your brother’s ‘59 6120?
Unfortunately his 1959 is on a different continent so we couldn't A/B the two; we had to go by impression. The sentiment we had wasn't just in terms of sound but also how each of them plays. I felt that I could do things on the Smoke in terms of my technical playing that I've never been able to do on any other old Gretsch in the family. And we have a fair few of them.
 

Rusty Chops

Electromatic
Sep 8, 2021
33
Redding, CA
Been looking at the Black Lacquer version at Sweetwater.
Same specs, just semi gloss black lacquer.
Not sure I will pull the trigger (couldn’t anyway until next month’$ pay), but between the pickups and the neck these sound very intriguing to me. I love Setzer’s sound.
If god wants me to have two Gretsches then great: eight it is!
 

G5422T

Country Gent
May 24, 2012
4,059
usa
Been looking at the Black Lacquer version at Sweetwater.
Same specs, just semi gloss black lacquer.
Not sure I will pull the trigger (couldn’t anyway until next month’$ pay), but between the pickups and the neck these sound very intriguing to me. I love Setzer’s sound.
If god wants me to have two Gretsches then great: eight it is!

Nothing wrong with that thinking.

A top line 6120 is special in every way.

Good hunting
 

bopcat

Electromatic
Sep 9, 2010
36
uk
Played The Smoke for the first time in anger at a full rehearsal .( all stage gear ) I played it through my Fender Blues Classic reissue , a touch of delay /hint of reverb, EQ which acts as a boost . I was surprised just how loud the guitar was so it was a learning curve (isnt it always ) sitching PUs switches and various amp settings as we rehearsed. The guitar played beautifully and the band commented on how the clean sound cut through the mix perfectly and one said that I actully played better than normal .. . I tried a touch of 'drive' and it didnt take much to get the guitar growling.The PUs are really sensitive and sound great , I use the Bigsby sparingly but made sure I gave it some time today .After a three hour plus almost non stop rehearsal , I packed it up drove home and once home checked the tuning..absoultely spot on which did surprise me It gives me much more confidence for live work. Well so far so very good, Ill send a catch up now and then to keep folk updated.
Bop on
 

Gretschzilla

Gretschie
Apr 20, 2021
169
Saint Paul, MN USA
I had a blast smashing my Smoke through my Marshall for an hour of intense rhythm guitar and solo mixes tonight. I loaned my son my Fender Tone Master Twin Reverb so it was time to try for that big monster growl sound and the Smoke and Marshall did not disappoint. My favorite song was the Stones-inspired Chuck Berry classic Little Queenie. I have a lot of work to do on my vocals. But this guitar can do anything.
 


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