Gretsch guitars are great, but the basses?

Discussion in 'Vintage Gretsch Discussion' started by rockaphilly2655, Aug 10, 2020.

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  1. rockaphilly2655

    rockaphilly2655 Electromatic

    17
    Jun 23, 2020
    Planet Earth
    I'm pretty new here. Gretsch guitars -- since I've recently started playing them -- are a revelation. I'm amazed that I've been playing Fender guitars and Epiphones and all kinds of things without knowing what I was missing.

    I'm primarily a bass player, actually. I've fooled around with Gretsch basses at "The Big Box Store", and they just don't seem to have that same certain something that the guitars do. Am I wrong? So far there doesn't seem to be a Gretsch bass to tempt me away from the Fenders.
     
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  2. TSims1

    TSims1 Gretschified

    Jun 18, 2013
    Atlanta
    I think Gretsch basses are WAY cool! Im not a “bass” player, but do play bass sometimes both live and in studio. I have never owned one of their hollow basses though.......

    Maybe someone here will chime in.
     
  3. jarrodtaylor

    jarrodtaylor Gretschie

    378
    Mar 14, 2019
    Delray Beach, FL
    I always liked the 6119B bass. Not as much as I like my Jazz bass so I didn't keep it, but it was fun and easy enough to play. Haven't tried the current Electromatic version.

    And I always wanted to try that 6 string Duane Eddy bass. Something about a bass with a Bigsby seems like it'd make some cool sounds.

    To me at least, Gretsch basses are like Gretsch acoustics. They make some good ones but it's not their primary market so it's kinda hit and miss.
     
  4. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Friend of Fred

    Age:
    57
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Comparing a Gretsch bass to a P- or J-Bass is comparing apples and oranges.
    That being said, I'll never part with mine, but I suppose it depends on your application. I find my 6073 model to be extremely versatile, and it gets a lot of gig time.
    Don't get me wrong, I love P-Basses, a lot. But the Gretsch has its own voice.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Ando

    Ando Synchromatic

    825
    Aug 7, 2013
    Seoul
    Great to see your the with your G6073! It's really hard to find anyone's candid opinions about them, being the lesser known of them with the TV Jones Thundertrons and discontinued so soon.

    One popped up in my area for really cheap this week, and I've been wondering how they are in actual use. If it's not too much trouble, by chance could you comment briefly on attack / timbre and how it blends in a band situation?
     
  6. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Friend of Fred

    Age:
    57
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    The Thundertrons are the Bomb. Some of the best Bass pickups I've ever heard-- very responsive to just about any type of attack... in other words, if you play with a heavy hard pick, the attack is going to be very quick and edgy. I am a finger/thumb player, and I rarely use a pick-- instead my style is a hybrid I developed from playing upright bass. As a result, the way I have mine set up (Tru-Arc bridge, D'Addario 100-45 half-round strings) tends to give it a more mellow sound. Even so, I can still get very reasonable attack edge if I use a 1 to 2mm acrylic pick.

    The secret sauce on the 6073 is that although it's technically a short scale (31.5"), it plays, feels and sounds much more like a long scale. Here's why-- the extra string length behind the bridge. The overall string length from tailpiece to tuning-machine is pretty much the same as a P-Bass, and you MUST string it with long-scale strings-- Short scales are way too short. But with the shorter playing scale, the tension from the additional string length is somewhat mitigated, and the overall feel is loose (certainly not floppy though) and very comfortable. With the sealed body, feedback has been a total non-issue for me.

    My primary beefs-- The tone-switch caps are not really tailored for bass-- I haven't ever pulled the switch to check, but it sounds like they just used the same tone cap (.012mf heavy roll-off) and .0033mf (light roll-off) setup as most Gretsch Pro-line guitars. The tone/treble roll-offs are very subtle, and I think they would be more effective if the values were increased to .047mf (heavy) and .022mf (light). I just haven't ever been so bothered with it as to feel the need to make the change. Instead, if I want just a little more roll-off, I just roll back the master volume slightly and things warm a bit more.

    My second beef is that the stock adjustomatic bridge was a total waste... which is why I have an aluminum Tru-Arc for it-- and it really sings now-- plenty of sustain and body with the Tru-Arc, and no intonation issues whatsoever. I may have just got a lemon with the original bridge, they may not be that bad overall, but mine was pretty lame.

    My third and final beef is the lack of a thumb rest and a tug-bar (the G-string-side "thumb" rest). I usually use the E-string side of the neck pickup or the bottom end of the fretboard as a thumb rest, and it totally works for me, but some folks may want the additional clearance that a separate thumb rest offers. I've toyed with the idea of adding a thumb rest and a tug-bar, but I've been able to play comfortably without them. However, If you play any funk they would be a must-have add-on.

    I hope this helps. I've had several pros play mine at various times, and they love the setup and the sound. One guy, who is a die-hard J-bass player, just kept raving and raving about the sound of mine.

    I usually run mine through a (modern) Ampeg 2x10 Portaflex 500 for larger gigs, and a Genz-Benz Shuttle 3.0 for small gigs. However, every now and then I'll break out my old Kustom K250 with an old 15" Bassman cab, and it sounds absolutely wall-shaking.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2020
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  7. Groutsch

    Groutsch Gretschie

    351
    Jun 9, 2018
    Maryland, US
    I'm just starting to learn bass, mostly on Squier instruments, but I recently got a Gretsch Electromatic hollowbody bass, G5123B, and the hollowbody makes a difference for me. I like how it gets closer to an upright bass sound on jazzy parts like Take a Walk on the Wild Side. If I learn how to play a rockabilly bass part, it'll probably sound good on that, too. :)
     
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  8. rockaphilly2655

    rockaphilly2655 Electromatic

    17
    Jun 23, 2020
    Planet Earth
    The Gretsch basses I've played have been short scale. Are there long scale ones? I really prefer the long scale feel.
     
  9. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Friend of Fred

    Age:
    57
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Both the current G5440LSB and the G6136LSB are long-scale.
     
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  10. rockaphilly2655

    rockaphilly2655 Electromatic

    17
    Jun 23, 2020
    Planet Earth
    Thanks! The G5440LSB looks sweet... I've never seen one in a store. Would love to.
     
  11. Ando

    Ando Synchromatic

    825
    Aug 7, 2013
    Seoul
    Thanks so much for the very detailed description of your use and improvements as deemed necessary, I had no idea that the scale was somewhat of an in-betweener like that, and I really appreciate the details regarding how you make use of yours, impressing a J-players as such even with the limitation of tone cap values. Will chew this all over and see if I'll take the plunge.

    Big thanks again!
     
  12. mister rain

    mister rain Gretschie

    249
    Apr 23, 2020
    new orleans
    oh, it does. makes the fender vi look / sound terrible, in comparison.
     
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  13. rockaphilly2655

    rockaphilly2655 Electromatic

    17
    Jun 23, 2020
    Planet Earth
    I will try to be more open-minded about Gretsch basses! If I ever see a long scale one in a store, I will definitely check it out!
     
  14. Back in Black

    Back in Black Gretschie

    201
    Jun 22, 2020
    Ontario Canada
    Hey TPH,

    Beautiful piece.

    I used to refer to this model as the ''Tennessean Bass'', a friend of mine had one back in the 60's.

    Lots of acoustic thump!

    BIB.
     
  15. JC higgy

    JC higgy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    49
    Jun 6, 2008
    Belfast Norn Iron
    My bass player cousin had a sunburst 6072 reissue double cut,was a cool bass ,very thin neck but comfortable .I would've bought it from him when he sold it ,if only he had offered it to me that is.:rolleyes:
    Only down side,being full scale the neck was long!Took a bit of time to get use to that,for me anyway.

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. coryb

    coryb Electromatic

    38
    Jul 15, 2017
    Virginia
    Don't forget Peter Tork and his Gretsch bass although that model was apparently prone to feedback.

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    The Duane Eddy is one of the coolest basses ever. Same with thr 12 string bass used by Tom Peterson.
     
  18. rockaphilly2655

    rockaphilly2655 Electromatic

    17
    Jun 23, 2020
    Planet Earth
    I would probably love that... long neck on the thin side, like the j-bass necks I favor. Nice looking bass. Would love to hear it.
     
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  19. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Why wouldn't Gretsch basses be great ? At least, they are Rock'n'Roll... :cool::cool::cool:

    Eddie, Annie, Thomas - Lucky13 trio - my friends from Germany.;)

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    [​IMG]

    But it's me... And them, OK ? :D

    A+!
     
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  20. Chmason85

    Chmason85 Gretschie

    382
    May 1, 2018
    Philadelphia
    I love the proline thunder jet bass! I really want one, the perfect foil to my black duo jet
     
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