What is your favorite Gretsch bracing and why?

fabian1137

Electromatic
Jul 26, 2022
27
Sweden
I'm new to Gretsch guitars and would very much like to hear your thoughts about the different bracings gretsch uses. What is your favorite type? Any pros/cons?

Thanks!
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,707
Where the action is!
It depends on the pickups and the material. I think FilterTrons benefit from trestle bracing. They're bright for humbuckers, but still not single coil bright, so I think the trestle bracing adds a little focus to the tone. And a trestle braced FilterTron Gretsch is a great rock guitar, so the little bit of extra sustain and feedback resistance is handy too. For clean, twangy Dynasonic or HiloTron tones, I'll take a wide open hollowbody with nothing but parallel bracing under the top.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,380
Tucson
It depends on the pickups and the material. I think FilterTrons benefit from trestle bracing. They're bright for humbuckers, but still not single coil bright, so I think the trestle bracing adds a little focus to the tone. And a trestle braced FilterTron Gretsch is a great rock guitar, so the little bit of extra sustain and feedback resistance is handy too. For clean, twangy Dynasonic or HiloTron tones, I'll take a wide open hollowbody with nothing but parallel bracing under the top.
Agreed. I’ve played a couple of Dynasonic guitars with trestle bracing, and it wouldn’t be my first choice. OTOH, with Filtertron pickups, trestle bracing would definitely be my first choice. Even a big guitar, like my Gent, can twang like a Tele on the bridge pickup, yet warm up nicely on the neck pickup. Both pickups is a nice, crisp sound, and the feedback resistance is very nice.
 

Merc

Friend of Fred
May 6, 2017
5,545
Florida
I’ve owned two Gretsch hollow bodies. A 99 Hot Rod with tone post, super loud. And a 125th anniversary 6118 with ML bracing, played great to me too. No regrets or favorites here. I feel there’s enough love and place for both bracing styles.
 

LivingMyDream

Friend of Fred
May 4, 2016
6,800
Peculiar, Missouri
My experience with Gretsch guitars is by no means extensive. That said, I can say that I have had 2 guitars with "sound post" bracing - a 5120, and a 5420, and in each case the sound that drew me to them came primarily from the pickups. The 5120 had "Gretschbuckers" which were fine until my ears acclimated to the Gretsch sound. I was a Fender Strat, and classic humbucker player, but the humbuckers just weren't doing it for me anymore.

Once I really started to appreciate the Gretsch sound, the Gretschbuckers just weren't Gretschy enough. Not being a modder at the time, I gave up the 5120, and got a 5420 with the Blacktop Filtertrons. I still have that guitar, and I consider it a different flavor in the Gretsch family. About a year and a half later, a found a used 20011 Tennessee Rose hanging on the wall of my local music store, and after playing a bit, I grabbed it. It has trestle bracing, and I agree that there is a bit more focus to the tone, and I also find a bit more warmth, although that could easily be the specific magnets in the 2011 Filtertrons.

As to feedback, when I was evaluating my 5420, I also played an Epiphone Emperor Swingster. I found that when I played them both through the same amp at store volume, the Epiphone was more prone to feedback. That's when I knew for sure that the 5420 was the right guitar for me. The Tennessee Rose with the trestle bracing is even less prone to feedback than the 5420.
 

calebaaron666

Friend of Fred
Aug 15, 2018
7,317
Auburn, Maine
I have two MIJ hollowbodies with posts. Sometimes I wonder if I’m missing something not having the trestlebracing, but they both sound great and do well at high volumes on stage.
 

ForTheLoveOfIvy

Gretschie
Feb 28, 2022
256
London
It's funny...my 3 hollow Gretsches all have different bracing and I haven't really thought that much about preference but my '56 Streamliner with parallel bracing is the loudest acoustically while my '08 Falcon with a tone post is the deadest. I swapped the Filtertron for a Dynasonic on my old '59 Tennessean so it has the honour of being that oddity of a Dyna guitar with trestle bracing....which I actually really love.
 

petit professeur

Electromatic
Nov 25, 2009
36
Marseille, France
I play clean to light crunch, and my favorite is the tonepost bracing, as in my 2004 Annie. The unplugged sounds is kind of dull, but if you play clean a little bit loud the guitar really comes alive, you can feel the whole body resonate and sustain.
I also like the ML bracing on my 125th Annie, more focused but lighter than the trestle.
I had one Annie with a trestle i found it too focused and heavy, altought the sustain was better on the treble strings.
But if i played with high gain i would certainly prefer the opposite…..
 

loudnlousy

Gretschified
Oct 18, 2015
12,530
Germany
Trestlebracing works well with higher volumes.
That`s why prefere it.
Cons are that the guitar is acoustically less resonant and a bit heavier than the other constructions.
 

BohemianLikeMe

Synchromatic
Apr 18, 2020
776
Prague, CZ
I only really know trestle bracing, but I'm a fan. It's still pretty resonant, but as others mentioned it’s good at controlling feedback and giving an extra smidge of sustain.
 

jvin248

Gretschie
May 16, 2017
198
Near Detroit
.

Electric tone will be the pickups, pickup adjustments (high/low/tipped and screw poles adjusted like little EQ monsters), and pots plus caps (where they are on their tolerance ranges which is quite wide). Bracing type won't matter for electric tones, perhaps feedback howl at loud volumes but then you've got a runaway guitar no matter what type of bracing you have.

Acoustic tone may change with bracing. If you are primarily playing plugged in then focus on the electronics (and know you can swap pots, caps, and pickups if the pickup setup "by ear" fails to get what you are after). However, strings and holding the guitar pressed against your body with an arm draped over the front of it will change the acoustic dynamics too, and a lot more than the guitar construction.

A few tone traps players get themselves into: Trying to prove they can hear 'a difference' (super, you can hear a difference, but does the difference matter playing alone or at a gig?), and then doing things like swapping pickups but also swapping strings where the tone change is from the old dead vs new zingy strings. Or from different pickup height settings before/after, or even different amp settings before/after. And then there is the feeling that spending $200 on a set of boutique pickups or a $2,000 new guitar justifies the need to proclaim "I definitely hear a difference!" when A/B in a band situation when there is no effective difference for the casual observer in the crowd.

Be sure to check out the many Youtube videos of guitars made with cement, colored pencils, candy, coffee, ceramic, hollow core doors, pallets, and more materials -- they all sound like electric guitars.

Conclusion: just be cautious about what is put out there as conventional thinking on sources of 'tone'.

.
 

Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Nov 13, 2009
22,244
Monkey Island
This explains bracing types: https://www.gretschguitars.com/support/specs-explained/bracing

Tone is more than bracing alone. Thickness of the top(3-ply vs 5-ply) is a factor too.
I don't have a preference but I only have experience with trestle and sound posts.

While I'm here...what do they mean with heavy trestle bracing? Does it mean two kinds of trestle bracing, or is it used to differentiate from ML bracing?
 

ForTheLoveOfIvy

Gretschie
Feb 28, 2022
256
London
This explains bracing types: https://www.gretschguitars.com/support/specs-explained/bracing

Tone is more than bracing alone. Thickness of the top(3-ply vs 5-ply) is a factor too.
I don't have a preference but I only have experience with trestle and sound posts.

While I'm here...what do they mean with heavy trestle bracing? Does it mean two kinds of trestle bracing, or is it used to differentiate from ML bracing?
There was light and heavy trestle bracing back in the late 50s I believe...to which loudnlousy alluded. I believe my '59 Tenney has heavy. The only difference between it and the modern trestle bracing that I saw on my now sold reissue 6119-59 was that on the modern guitars the trestle legs connect to the back of the guitar and on my old one the trestle legs sit on little feet of wood.
 


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