Why aren't Grestch more popular in blues

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by bhatta, Sep 28, 2020.

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  1. GreTschocaster

    GreTschocaster Gretschie

    Age:
    66
    455
    Feb 11, 2013
    Canada
    I believe it is all due to perception. In was born in 1954, back in the 50's GreTsch was putting out guitars with western motifs, G brands on their body, horseshoes and bull heads on the headstock, fret inlays. Chet Atkins was the poster boy for the brand. What self respecting blues player would play with those guitars? Sure there were other Gretsch that didn't have the motifs but they were guilty by association. Moving to the 60's George Harrison playing his big GreTsch guitar. I remember thinking that isn't a rock and roll guitar that is a country old man guitar, he needs a cool solid body guitar. Despite my thoughts GreTsch popularity grew but in the rock and roll genre. Then later in the 60's GreTsch was in the spotlight again with the Monkees TV show. The show was a comedy aimed at the young teenage crowd. GreTsch comes out with the Monkees model. It was a good guitar but, no rock and roll or blues player would be seen playing one.
    At this point GreTsch goes into obscurity.
    Finally the 80's arrive and the Stray Cats come on the scene. Here is a band that is playing something exciting, new and old at the same time. There is Brian Setzer playing that big Orange Gretsch and he make it look and sound sexy. That was the first time I thought wow, that Gretsch is cool I want one.
    Yes Billy Gibbons is a great blues player and he plays a Gretsch Billy Bo but, most would put ZZ Top in the rock and roll genre.
    Still dispite GreTsch having a lineup of great guitars that can play the blues no blues greats have made it their main guitar.
    Hopefully one day a budding great blues player will shirk tradition and play a GreTsch breaking the perception that GreTsch can't play the blues.
     
  2. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Age:
    54
    Oct 18, 2015
    Germany
    There are actually quite a few players around my hometown that play blues with our beloved brand.
     
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  3. Teledriver

    Teledriver Gretschie

    Age:
    52
    474
    Feb 12, 2011
    Iowa City, IA
    I'm guilty of this as well. I am a I-IV-V guy, and always do some older Elmore James, John Lee Hooker, Howlin Wolf, and others. I pretty much play the same things on all my guitars to keeps the chops up, but also to see how things sound on the different guitars...keeps things from being too stale and boring, and I do in fact notice that Blues 'feel better' on my Les Paul, Strat or a Tele. On my Gretsch I wanna play Eddie Cochran, Bo Diddley, Sun Records stuff (which is all the Blues I-IV-V)..that guitar just wants to go there, if ya know what I mean...or at least that is what I am projecting on it.
    Is it that the Gretsch has non-PAF or non-Fender single coils??? -something to that I think...Is it the body size and thickness?? -possibly...Or is it just what I have implied upon my Gretsch what it should be playing, or sounds best playing??
    This is all food for thought...
     
  4. Gretschmen65

    Gretschmen65 Synchromatic

    846
    May 20, 2016
    QLD Australia
    I'm scratching my head trying to think of any prominent country players who use or have used gretsch let alone Jazz. To me they are squarely in the rockabilly/ rock genre
    despite the steer horns, guns and cactus stuff.
     
  5. Gretschmen65

    Gretschmen65 Synchromatic

    846
    May 20, 2016
    QLD Australia
    I'm sure image has a little to do with popularity of the Gretsch brand but I believe it has more to do with the "Great Gretsch Sound ".
    To me Gretsch, starting with Chet, has always come across as HI-Fi. And while George may have played a Gretsch I think the Beatles were successful despite rather than because of
    that thin Hi-Fi sound which never appealed to me even as a young gigging musician in their era.

    The new Broadtron equipped guitars have more chance of general acceptance across the board than those old fashioned Filtertrons and Dyna's IMO>
     
  6. highlonesomef5

    highlonesomef5 Newbie

    1
    Sep 28, 2020
    CT
    Can someone ID those 2 guitars. New to Gretsch.
     
  7. BCRatRod73

    BCRatRod73 Gretschie

    220
    Sep 1, 2020
    Mississippi
    It takes getting to a certain age to appreciate a Gretsch. When I was a teenager MTV was in its heyday. Of course the speedy shredders with their pointy strats were the coolest things ever to me at the time. I was vaguely aware of other guitars like the ES-345 in Back to the Future. I may have seen hollowbodies in passing in movies or TV shows but they never really entered into my consciousness during those years. I'd always associated Gretsch with either rockabilly or the Monkees or some other band in the 60s. They just weren't cool to a teenager or a guy in his 20s.
    Now? I think they're all kinds of cool. Gretsch is about being different and not caring what others think. At least that's how I think of it. We all know how great these guitars are, and how good the pickups can sound. If the GibFenPRS masses don't want to play in our sandbox then it's their loss.
     
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  8. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Synchromatic

    783
    Feb 17, 2020
    Albuquerque
    G6120T, around $2500+. Fairlane Blue G5420T, $850 retail.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
  9. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Synchromatic

    783
    Feb 17, 2020
    Albuquerque
    Thanks again Jack! Great playing, gorgeous tone, thought provoking subject.

    You've proven that Gretsch sound fantastic playing blues, I think it is just an image thing. It doesn't look right, the guitars are just too beautiful, the shiny vision too distracting. You close your eyes and sink into the fantastic sound and feeling, then open them to see a Fairlane Blue/Chrome guitar??
    The Rat Rod has got the look of a blues machine.

    Not your point at all, but I bought this G as a 335 clone and it is a fantastic rock and blues machine:
    Gretsch G2622 P-90 $500 2.jpg
    G2622T P-90
     
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  10. Tele295

    Tele295 Country Gent

    Sal Salvador, Mary Osborne, and Freddie Greene come to mind
    [​IMG]

     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
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  11. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Age:
    73
    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Welcome to the forum, highlonesomef5 !
    Welcome mat 50.jpg
     
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  12. Pine Apple Slim

    Pine Apple Slim Country Gent

    Dec 14, 2011
    North Alabama
    <- I bought my Jim Dandy with the blues in mind. I put on nickel steel strings and installed a lipstick pickup in the soundhole. The result was about as old school bluesy as you can get. I liked it so much I got another one to keep stock with bronze wound strings. These cheapo Jim Dandy’s are surprisingly loud and punchy for such a small box. A very simple and direct tone, but beguiling and charming none the less.
    <-The Gretschbucker equipped 5120, before I put the blacktops in it was the equal tonally of any hollowbody Gibson. I lost some of that smoky PAF darker jazzy bluesier tone with the blacktops, but I gained back the Gretsch twang, and boy does she growl with some gain. Those Gretschbuckers were much maligned by G people but it’s too bad the Gibson folks never discovered them. They sounded so thick, dark, and smooth, perfect for blues and jazz, I kinda miss em, may put em back in.
    <-The 2006 Pro Jet had the mini-Gbuckers and was close to an LP Deluxe tonally. Now it has TVJ T-Armond single coils and has relegated my Tele and Strat to the closet. I’ve always loved its feel and now is the Swiss Army knife of single coil tones.
    <-And then there’s the Falcon with the TVJ Classics. It can pretty much play any style of music, but probably not something you wanna bring to a dive blues shack.

    I think back in the original heyday of electric blues, Gretsches were rarer and usually more expensive, and tended to live mostly in recording studios. 335s, LPs, Strats and Teles were seen as more pedestrian guitars, more suited to hard living on the road.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
  13. Rusty Silver

    Rusty Silver Gretschie

    I couldn't explain better.
     
  14. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Age:
    73
    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    I think that Gretsch guitars may have been used on many recording sessions but not played on stage. The combination of floating bridge and Bigsby must have led to tuning instability problems.
    Ever since the "Who's Next?" album was released I was captivated by the guitar chord tones. I had only ever seen pics of Pete Townshend with Teles or SGs so I assumed he had found a way to get those magic sounds from them. Only years later did I discover that my holy grail sounds were actually made by a Gretsch 6120. Within a year I had my very first Gretsch, a 6120-1959LTV.
     
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  15. Rusty Silver

    Rusty Silver Gretschie

    Hubert Sumlin had original tastes: he played a Gretsch and a Bartolini. Keb Mo' played a Gretsch. Sister Rosetta Tharpe played a Gretsch. Bo Diddley and Billy Gibbons played Gretsch. But is so TRUE: Gretsch is famous for cowboy chords and rockabilly twang.
     
  16. BCRatRod73

    BCRatRod73 Gretschie

    220
    Sep 1, 2020
    Mississippi
    I love me some Howlin' Wolf!
     
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  17. BCRatRod73

    BCRatRod73 Gretschie

    220
    Sep 1, 2020
    Mississippi
    This shape is growing on me. I think the Gibson/Epiphone shape is the most aesthetically pleasing, and I have two examples. The Gretsch design allows much better upper fret access though. Same for the Ibanez AS series.
     
  18. bhatta

    bhatta Gretschie

    149
    Jun 29, 2020
    Bangalore
    To add on, found this. Gretsch sound is better imho
     
  19. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    Cuz You're too darn happy playing a Gretsch, duh!!!:p
     
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  20. bhatta

    bhatta Gretschie

    149
    Jun 29, 2020
    Bangalore
    Not to mention the 5422 costs half as much a less Paul:D
     
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