Who's using a Gretsch for Blues?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by JT19, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. JT19

    JT19 Gretschie

    Nov 28, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    Although my "success" as a guitarist came as an acoustic fingerstyle player, my first love was electric blues. When I first started playing guitar, I tried to emulate Eric Clapton, Albert King, B.B. King, and later SRV.

    I still enjoying playing blues... but until fairly recently, never really used Gretsch guitars for blues; I always tended to lean toward Strats and 335s.

    Stumbled upon Jack Fossett's video asking why Gretsches aren't more popular for blues, and did some reflecting in light of my recent "discovery" that my G5420Ts are excellent blues guitars.

    I think I'm absolutely guilty of falling into the trap of using the same guitars that I see other blues guitarists using... or at least I was, back when I was a young impressionable player. And then habit became preference and I never thought about it.

    I suspect the Bigsby also had something to do with shying away from Gretsches for blues, since tuning stability might have been a worry with all that bending. When I played Strats, I used to block the tremolo or at least dock the bridge against the body and remove the bar.

    I'm sure I started doing this because Clapton blocked his... and Robert Cray (another early hero) played hardtail Strats. And another habit (born from emulation) became a preference that was hard to overcome.

    I think this type of thinking is far more common than most of us would like to admit. :)

    There's another YouTube video by Randy Rich that tackles this idea (although in Rockabilly guitar instead of blues). He cleverly shows how easily we can fall into the trap of choosing gear based on image... but later seems to justify it, since image can affect how we feel about our playing:

    Just curious who else is using a Gretsch for blues... or if anyone else has other theories why Gretsch guitars aren't more popular for blues.
  2. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Country Gent

    May 14, 2013
    Initech, Inc.
    *raises hand*
    I'm currently working on Otis Rush "As the Years Go Passing By" and reaching for my 5622 when I do.
    If you scroll down through the comments on that Fossett, I'm the same Lumbergh that wrecked that little snot's argument a few months back that tried to say that the 335 was the "Blues guitar," Tele the "Country guitar," etc. If it gets the sound you want in the genre you play, that's the only thing that matters; the name on the headstock or the type of bridge, pickups, etc. has nothing to do with it.
    As for blocking the bridge on a Strat though I'm not sure why anyone would want to disable one of the most expressive tools on it when playing Blues. I have three Strats all set to float in such a way that pulling it all the way back will raise the G a minor third, B a second, and E a half-step. Being able to pull up that 3rd quickly and accurately that way is pretty handy for a lot of licks based around the minor pent and I don't have any tuning issues at all.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
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  3. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Friend of Fred

    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    "Right tool for the right job". A specific type of hammer or screwdriver isn't chosen for its looks, but instead, for its functionality.

    A guitar is a tool for making music. Use the guitar that gets the job done for your particular application, regardless of aesthetics. If it's a Strat, so be it. If it's a White Falcon, the same still applies. This is one reason why I don't try to emulate any popular guitar idols, but instead carve my own niche. I don't want to sound like Clapton, Page, Hendrix or anyone else. I want to sound like me.

    Unless, of course we are talking about the Telecaster, which is the most basic "Swiss Army knife" of the guitar world. Even then, all you need is one.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
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  4. jakjar123

    jakjar123 Electromatic

    Feb 14, 2021
    This is just one of those topics that the answer isn't clear. Maybe because the popular models were full hollowbodies and at the start, people were having massive feedback issues, even with semi-hollows. Another idea might just be down to advertising. I don't think Gretsch was very aggressive with his promotion. Yes their instruments were used by Chet Atkins etc. but Fender at the start, would give out guitars for free and people would tell their friends about it and so on. With Gibson I have no idea, probably to do with Les Paul, the player and a lot of the popular players like Merle Travis playing them. Most main-stream players were using Gibsons and Fenders so of course, people just copied them, hence why the market was/is so heavily dictated by those 2 brands. Same thing with D'angelico. They are popular in Jazz and that's about it. You get the occasional player who will play it for other things like with Gretsch.
    JT19 likes this.
  5. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    A Falcon into a Marshall, but it's still "in the fingers."

    Gretschman2, Blister, radd and 4 others like this.
  6. rockymtnguitar

    rockymtnguitar Gretschie

    Jan 22, 2019
    I'll happily grab my 5439T or 5420T for blues (though I'd probably reach for my Teles or esquire first). Like others have said - doesn't matter how you get the sound if you like the sound.

    I have no guitars resembling those of my guitar heroes: David Gilmour - don't seem to bond with Strats; Phil Collen - I have no hot superstrats; Steve Clark - my Les Paul is on Craigslist right now and never had similar pickups to his anyway
  7. Merc

    Merc Country Gent

    May 6, 2017
    The only reason I could see justification blocking a Strat bridge would be if they break strings a lot and hardly use it on stage. It’s not so pleasant playing out of tune mid song with a broken string. That being said, I’d personally never block the bridge. But if it’s someone’s guitar they can do whatever floats their boat.
  8. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    Who's using a Gretsch for Blues?
    Me !
    Soul / Rhytm'n'Blues / Funk / Blues...
    That Great Gretsch Sound is convenient for any style !
    But it's me, OK ? :D
  9. El Marin

    El Marin Gretschie

    Oct 4, 2018
    Madrid, Spain, EU
    I do

    I use my 6120 in two bands. One is a classic rockabilly band and the other is a covers band where I play some blues numbers and some rock and some heavy rock too

    Is not the arrows, is the Indian

    In Rockabilly, Image is part of the show. I put my cat clothes on, raise my quiff, clean my creepers and take my 6120... I could play it with a Warlock and use a bear costume, yes but is not the same albeit a Telecaster is also cool for Rockabilly
  10. Pine Apple Slim

    Pine Apple Slim Country Gent

    Dec 14, 2011
    North Alabama
    I pretty much use my Gretsches for everything. The only exception would be the times I pull out my trusty old parts tele to keep her from getting too lonesome.
    drmilktruck likes this.
  11. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    yes I use 2 Gretsch guitars for blues most days of week.
    They're obviously excellent for it - why wouldn't they be ??

    2 of the world's most famous blues players used them - M Young and BG Gibbons
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  12. larryr

    larryr Synchromatic

    Mar 6, 2012
    Camarillo, Ca.
    This gentleman is a Gretsch endorsed artist:

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  13. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Oct 18, 2015
    I played a lot of blues jams with my 6119. It`s perfect for doing that kind of stuff.
  14. Its a spur of the moment thing here. If I’m in the blues mood, and i have the hotrod, i play the hotrod. If I’m holding the banjo, i play blues on the banjo. Now if the dog is near,,,,,,,,,,,
  15. nickurso

    nickurso Gretschified

    Dec 24, 2012
    New Orleans la.
    They are both rock players but I agree great guitars for blues
  16. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck I Bleed Orange

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    Nick - you're a Gretsch playing blues artist in Nawlins!
    nickurso likes this.
  17. S. Rock

    S. Rock Friend of Fred

    when I started playing guitar, the only guitar I had was my Gretsch Annie. and I loved to bend the strings, as anyone that knows me will tell you. so, I was playing the Blues on my Gretsch way back in the late 60s.
  18. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    ahh don't agree with you there Nick :D
    They are blues players at heart who became rock players later.
    Billy has very much returned to his blues roots now

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
  19. Gregor

    Gregor Synchromatic

    Oct 17, 2018
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Just came across this video of Duane Eddy on his Gretsch playing the blues at the 3:35 min mark. Some nice pickin' around 2:10 as well:
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  20. nickurso

    nickurso Gretschified

    Dec 24, 2012
    New Orleans la.
    I didn’t mean to argue, I’m just saying ZZ Top is a rock band regardless of what their roots are. Same with AC/DC, they are a rock band snd yes they have blues roots but the music falls under the rock genre label
    Gretschmen65, Rusty Silver and Robbie like this.
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