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Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by MichaelRopp, Jul 14, 2021.
Bar + Gretsch = GOOD!
I love 6120s. I’ve had 3. They were kind of a catch 22 for me though because I’m not a fan of signature models but 6120s are all signature models. So my first was a players edition. It’s more of a compilation sig model rather than dedicated to one person. Then I got a 55 vintage select. I liked the single coils and the 55 was made for Chet Atkins-he really didn’t have much input to the design other than the aluminum bridge and nut. Then I got the cherry stain model with the Ray Butts pickups. It’s kind of a combination between the 55 and 59. So not really a true dog model in my opinion.
now that the new players edition models are out I’m going to get one of those. But like others have said. Any 6120 is a good choice. Can’t go wrong
Agreed. I was disappointed to see the new players edition models coming with adjustable bridges.
For me, l like what the bar bridge brings in to the tone, and it's comfortable feeling.
So simple, so good.
If I were shopping for a brand new 6120 it’d be one of the vintage select models. Either the 59 or the 55. Both of them are gorgeous.
I found my 1995 6120-60 for under $2000. I modified it to be the 6120 I wanted. Even after the changes, I spent less than I would have for a brand new one.
Well…. that is until I had the whole thing refretted with medium stainless steel!
This is what it looked like when I received it:
This is what it looks like now:
There's so many options with Gretschs, it's difficult to really nail down exactly what makes them sound great. If you can, I would get yourself to a local retailer that stocks a few Gretschs and try as many different pickup, body depth and bridge options as you can until you find something that really suits you. I don't think it's possible to say X is better than Y - It's more about dropping on a combination that suits you and the way you like to play.
I can be a heavy handed sod when I'm playing live and I always find that I'm knocking the strings out of the saddles with any form of adjustomatic or roller bridge, so I always tend to swap bridges for the Tru-Arc or Bigsby bridge style. I also prefer the tone that a bar bridge brings to the mix. That said, I have one of the new black Setzer Nashvilles with the adjustomatic bridge and I absolutely love the sound I can get from that guitar - it's pure Setzer!
Most Gretsch players I've met are always happy to share and talk about their gear, too. If you're in the UK, you're welcome to come and try out some of our guitars. We have 9 6120s here with most variations / combinations of pickups and bridges. If not, I'm sure there would be some guys local to you that would offer the same if your local retailers don't have much to offer.
An extra thing to think about - I noticed in your original post that your said your main current guitar is an Epiphone. I think most Epiphone / Gibsons have compound radius fretboards running from 9 1/2" to 12". Gretsch has traditionally been 12" all the way up, but some of the newer models (Definitely the new Setzer Hotrods and the black Nashville) come with a compound radius neck. You might find this more comfortable if you're more familiar with it.
I think the new Hotrods also have a Rosewood fretboard instead of the traditional Ebony, so this might also be something that's more familiar to you if you're transitioning from Gibson/Epiphone.
Could I ask you guys another question? I see that some of the Brian Setzer models have a tone switch, as opposed to a tone knob. How does that work--is it basically a discretized tone knob, like a bright/dark/middle kind of thing?
Rob, thanks. That's helpful. No, I'm not in the UK (but it sounds like a stop by your shop would almost make it worth the trip!).
Ah, thanks for this info--that's a good consideration. My Epiphone has a 12" fingerboard radius and that's worked well for me. I don't think I've totally figured out yet what my ideal fingerboard radius is. I'm a small-handed guy and always thought that smaller fingerboard radii were supposed to be better for small hands, but I find that different radii can all feel comfortable depending on the circumstances. I mentioned that my Epi was a 12" on a slim-C neck profile, but I've played on a Tele that was... let's see... I think 7.5", maybe, on a fairly chunky V-ish neck, and that one felt good too.
Regarding the fingerboard wood, my go-to basses are all fretless with ebony fingerboards, so I don't think I'd have any issues with ebony.
Do you know what size fret wire Gretsch uses? I think the fret wire on the Epi is medium-jumbo, or something toward the larger size.
It's a 3 position tone switch.
Center is straight through/no tone control.
The up and down positions connect a capacitor into the circuit. One cuts the highs just a little, the other position really can cut the highs and more.
The "Mud Switch" term was born!
Hah, we're not quite a shop. We very rarely get around to selling anything! We just collect and gig them
I think most of the Japanese built Gretsch are 30/35 thous. frets.
Regarding the G6120T Brian Setzer Nashville: can one of you knowledgeable folks tell me what the difference is between the "BSNV" and the "BSNSH"?
From what I can see it is nothing specs wise, the different model numbers mean different finish, one being gloss poly orange and the other being gloss lacquer black, other then that they are the same.
Different, but not all that different. Overall, you lose very little with the tone switch models.
As G5422T stated, the switch works by allowing you to select between two different values of tone capacitor, or in the center position, no tone cap’, which means that the effect is the same as a guitar without a tone switch.
In days of olde, the tone caps were pretty big, and the sound of either tone caps was pretty dark. For an old school Jazz guitarist in the ‘50s or ‘60s, that made sense, but it’s not very useful these days. But there’s a ray of hope.
First off, it’s not that had to change the tone caps on a Gretsch with a tone switch. If you use a .012 mfd cap and a .0039 mfd cap, the tone switch becomes pretty useful. On the .0039 mfd setting, there is a very slight roll-off of highs, but overall the sound is still pretty bright. On the .012 mfd setting, the cut is a bit more prevalent, probably more of a Jazz sound, or maybe like a mellow Strat on the neck pickup, but it’s still useful.
If you are thinking of buying new, Gretsch has already put these cap’ values in, straight from the factory. My G6119-62T has this arrangement and I actually use the tone switch on occasion.
In theory, the two individual pickup volume controls have a slight effect on the timbre of the guitar, but in practice, it’s not really worth worrying about. I never use these controls, and always keep them dimed, but they are mostly harmless.
Some Gretsch have a standby switch, and this can come in handy, but has no real effect beyond its functional ability to mute the guitar’s electricals.
There are a variety of bridges. It seems that the bar bridge, or aftermarket bridges, such as the Compton or the Tru-Arc are quite popular among many of the members here. I know that I use a solid bridge on each of my four Gretsch.
There are also strong opinions regarding the zero fret. Frankly, I don’t see any problem with these and it only makes a difference on open strings. Personally, I prefer them, because open strings sound the same as fretted notes, which is the whole idea.
If it wasn’t for the finish, I’d give my wholehearted recommendation to the Setzer Hot Rod. I just can’t take most of the colors they currently come in. If I were to choose from currently available models, I’d probably buy a G6120-59T.
Welcome @MichaelRopp, lots of good advice here, everyone on this forum are very friendly and always helpful.
For what it's worth, I bought a 2007 Terada 6120 3 weeks ago sight unseen from WA and it just arrived today. It was advertised as a 6120-1959. It has the mud switches, TV jones pickups, zero fret and bar bridge. Everything I wanted, so I guess what I have, is a 6120-1959LTV.
I think the mud switches work great. It takes the edge off in one position and a nice dark jazz tone in the other. For me, tone pots are just not practical. I mean... it's pretty well impossible to quickly dial in the cut you want in a live situation, where a switch is so fast, and the tone caps in this guitar seem just about right.
There's a definite V in this neck, I've never had that before but it doesn't seem to worry me. Compared to my 6121, this is a different animal, and I'm pretty chuffed with it!
Oh....and the TV Jones pickups sound just great!
I’ve long felt the same way. Tone pots are tricky to set on the fly and it’s easy to end up tweaking between phrases. For that reason, I’ve preferred presets, such as the mud switch, for quite a while. I had a Telecaster where I duplicated the old tone cap that the used back in the early fifties, for a very dark sound and I had another preset which was the bridge pickup, wide open. I also had the normal three positions using the volume and tone pots.
The bad reputation of the Master Tone Control, AKA Mud Switch, strikes me as undeserved. The cap values are a matter of taste, but easily enough changed. The best part is that in the center position there’s no effect whatsoever, so it gives you the same sound as if there were no tone control, whatsoever.
Personally, I'm for one of the traditional/vintage re-issue models, very likely in the classic orange.
Typical switching, master volume/volume/tone.
Pickup selection is very personal, I'd likely select a model with dyna's.
The Setzer line is fine if you personally like Brian/dice/candy finishes/limited tone/limited switching range, personally I don't.
Artist Sig models will likely come at a slight premium, and be less readily available.
It's all very personal, model/color/tone range/hardware/favored artists...and the list goes on.
Take your time, read all the documents, watch all the videos, ask all the questions. Never be afraid or ashamed to be ''the guy with a million questions". You'll find it serves you well.
Remember, you are out looking for a guitar, not a friend.
Buy for yourself, buy features that you like, avoid retailers hype, whose primary interest is filling the till.
If you're not 100% satisfied before you walk out of the store, by the time you get home, buyer's remorse will have already started to settle in.
……and then theres the Reverend Horton Heat!
I had a similar quest for a 6120 a couple of years ago and wound up getting the RHH because:
1) its orange
2) it has TVJs
3) im a fan of the mud switch rather than the tone pot
4) it has all the western styling that i love
that said, its got the pickup and mud selector switches reversed……. Which completely messes with my head. I either have to swop them around or sell the guitar.