Peter Noone, Herman's Hermits & The Gretsch Country Gentleman

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by ZackyDog, Sep 13, 2020.

  1. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Friend of Fred

    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA

    My Country Classic/Gent doesn't have mutes, but I think you can make a reversible mod using mouse pad or something to stuff under the strings, between the pickup and the bridge.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
    mrfixitmi likes this.
  2. knavel

    knavel Synchromatic

    Dec 26, 2009
    London, England
    It's sort of surprising to hear Peter Noone talk about the Gretsch mute system since in the very video you have provided a piece of cloth is used for the damping effect.

    Moreover, when I put up a little thread about a song my group did where I use the Gretsch muting system "for the first time since Mrs. Brown" the feedback I got was that the Gretsch system wasn't used on that song.

    As a result when I put our song up here I gave Mrs. Brown "honorable mention" as it were. (That old link is below.)

    I think by "dead banjo" he means the sound on song has no sustain like a banjo but not the bright attack.
  3. flip

    flip Electromatic

    Jun 22, 2020
    Manchester UK
    And, as I mentioned in my earlier post on the subject, you are correct. Keith Hopwood who was the guitarist in the Hermits, played a Country Gentleman (which he told me he loved playing) with those dampers on the original sound recording. The apparent conflict occurs because on the video tape that most people seem to have seen, Keith is playing a Rickenbacker which didn't have dampers. His Country Gentleman had been stolen along with some other gear from a van parked near the Granada TV studios in Manchester. To get the banjo effect on the Rickenbacker Keith recalls pushing a large handkerchief up behind the strings in front of the bridge - which is what shows on the tape.

    On a broader topic, it's revealing that, like a lot of British bands at the time, the Hermits' songs were often 'entertainment' and hardly rock and roll. Not only 'Mrs Brown', but 'Henry the 8th' in the case of the Hermits, and if you think of some of the early Beatles, Penny Lane or Maxwell's Silver Hammer aren't exactly what most people think of as rock subjects we associate with them later. It's also interesting that I think I recall reading somewhere that Herman's Hermits were 'bigger' in terms of record sales in the USA than the UK.

    Even more broadly, I recall watching a really good TV programme about the Eagles - a group I think most people regard as archetypically American - and discovered that their initial success was in the UK and many of their early recordings were made in London. Doubtless these are generalisations and don't trust the memory of a 77 year old but this is was what I think I remember.
    Gretschtim1 likes this.
  4. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    You already said that...:).
  5. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    You are dead on. Most guitar players switch between various instruments. Jimi Hendrix didn't only use Strats and Jimmy Page didn't only use Les Paul. It's all show. Page might have used a Les Paul or double neck Gibson on stage to play Stairway To Heaven but in the studio it was a Telly he used to play that great solo.
    On the studio version of Mrs Brown I have no doubt that the guitar he used was a Gretsch Gent with built in mutes. That sound is undeniable.
  6. MikeSchindler

    MikeSchindler Synchromatic

    Feb 3, 2014
    Gretschtim...What part did I say more than once that you just had to call me out on it? That he’s a great guy and I wish him well or was it that I didnt like the song?
  7. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    You can't stand and don't like the song but hey no big deal. We all have songs we don't like...:D.
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