Modern Gretsch Guitars

Custom Shop Stern

1

I won my long fought lawsuit yah!!!

I told myself I would get one really top notch guitar!

Are the Stephen Stern Custom Shop as good as they sell for so to speak?

I see some really gorgeous ones on Reverb in the $3-6k range

I've never been a fan of relic'ing but I might just consider a relic or a used 'normal' Stern CS

The Penguins (near colors too) look great as do the Falcons

Any buyers remorse among owners? Are they noticeably 'better' than a factory made?

I love my Gretsches so much it's hard for me to imagine HOW they could be better but I've never tried one

There is a guy not too far away who is selling one

What makes them special - assuming one is buying used as compared to either the stuff coming out of Terada or the Vintage

I don't feel comfortable in my knowledge buying vintage - with binding issues etc not knowing enough , and I've heard several say the modern guitars are as good as back in the day (quality wise - obviously collector value, history, 'mojo' etc are what they are)

I want a Guitar my son can inherit 20 yrs from now

2

As a buddy of Cbell's, I've had plenty of Stern's custom shop guitars in my hands, and found them to be a really good build, that consistently sound, feel, and play better than most other Gretsch guitars.

Keep in mind that his custom shop can build to your specifications, and your idea of what is beautiful may vary from everyone else.

Congratulations, and good luck.

3

I have several Stern built guitars. If you put a Stern and a Professional line (Players Edition) guitar next to one another you would clearly see the difference. They are amazing guitars- as are the Professional line.

Don't know how many of us here have one but it would be cool to have a separate Custom Built/Stern category.

4

I'vd tried a few and loved them. Some stores have a higher markup on the "stock" ones they order than what yours would cost, though, so watch out. I put in for a quote with all my personal desires and it came back less than my favorite Stern I had ever played (a grape soda sparkle Jet).

In the end, though, I found a Terada Jet on the cheap and I've been happy with it. It's lighter than Stern jets because it's thinner, and that's part of the draw for me. Don't get me wrong: I wouldn't turn down a Stern Jet if I had the means and opportunity, but at that point, I wasn't even 100% sure the Jet was for me and the custom shop hollowbody prices are just... wow high.

5

Because Terada builds to such high quality standards, a "night and day" experience in difference between their work and the Custom Shop may not strike you. But the thing about approaching perfection is that the closer you seek to get to it, the more difficult the tasks are, and thus more expensive. This is true of anything one might build or service one might provide. The importance of that increment-toward-perfection is entirely subjective.

As for vintage: it can be a crapshoot if you aren't inspecting the prospective acquisition in person.

Beyond that, the real attraction to the Custom Shop is the opportunity to have a Gretsch built exactly the way you want it. In fact, I would posit that the mission of a Custom Shop is not necessarily to exceed quality standards (as that could reflect poorly on the bread-and-butter production guitars), but to offer one-of-a-kind guitars specific to customer desires. I fail to understand the appeal of the ones that are not built to customer order. Why settle for specs and features a dealer or Stern's staff thought up, or pay for relicing you don't want? At these prices, this is your chance to have the perfect WhittleZ model.

I have a CS Jet, built to my specifications. That is worth the extra dosh, in my estimation.

I recommend that you dream up your own model. Sure, check the dealers who carry Custom Shop stuff to see if it's already available, and if it is, then great––you don't have to wait. You can just buy. But if it is not, then call Streetsounds and have the Custom Shop build it for you.

Whatever you decide, if you buy a Custom Shop model, you'll be buying the best iteration of Gretsch that you can. Good luck!

Paul/FF909

Full disclosure: I also have Pro Series, Electromatics, and vintage guitars, so I have a range to which to compare to the CS guitar.

6

And here's what's on the CS specification/features checklist:

COLOR
AGING TYPE
TUNERS
PICKUPS
NECK SHAPE
BRACING
NUT
WIRING
BODY BINDING
NECK BINDING
SIDE DOTS
FRETS
ZERO FRET YES/NO
FRETBOARD WOOD
FRETBOARD INLAY MATERIAL
FRETBOARD INLAY STYLE
NECK WOOD
PICKGUARD ENGRAVING
KNOBS
BRIDGE
TAILPIECE
TOP (wood)
BACK (wood)
SIDES (wood)
HARDWARE
HEADSTOCK LOGO
BODY STYLE
ADDITIONAL NOTES

The last category allows you to cover anything not addressed in the others. For instance, if you're designing a variation on the Duo Jet and you want it to have f-holes, this is where that little dream would go.

Paul/FF909

8

How bout a "hot rod" jet in antifreeze flake?

9

COLOR Dark TRose red like on the 6119SP

AGING TYPE None

TUNERS Imperials in nickel

PICKUPS VIntage Dynas

NECK SHAPE Full vintage C

BRACING ML

NUT TBD

WIRING Tone Pot

BODY BINDING Purfling style cream/black/cream/black/cream

NECK BINDING Cream

SIDE DOTS Black

FRETS Stainless, low medium jumbo

ZERO FRET YES/NO YES

FRETBOARD WOOD Ebony

FRETBOARD INLAY MATERIAL Pearl

FRETBOARD INLAY STYLE Neo-Classic thumbnails

NECK WOOD Maple

PICKGUARD ENGRAVING No pickguard

KNOBS G arrow in nickel

BRIDGE Serpentune in titanium

TAILPIECE V-cut B6 in nickel

TOP (wood) Birdseye (if he can pop the figure pop with dark stain)

BACK (wood) Maple

SIDES (wood) Maple

HARDWARE Nickel

HEADSTOCK LOGO Scripty

BODY STYLE Club

ADDITIONAL NOTES Thin line (2" thickness). 9.5" radius. 25.5" scale.

10

Hi Paul, would you mind showing off your customized CS Jet?

11

If you dont play a good loud amp at club level, I dont think you'll ever "hear" the difference but its there. My friend Buddy Dughi finally replaced his EC w a Stern built EC and not only does it "feel" better in the hands, from across the room as I listened to it next to the pro line EC(this was during the Eddie Cochran show in Bellgardens), its comparably richer so much so I can just HEAR the body of the instrument better. Shortly after that little epiphany moment, 15 min later, I was on the stage singing and playing my own SSU next to Buddy and it felt compressed and lean, like the other cat on stage w a pro line EC. ...maybe I just have custom shop envy a little :)

12

listen to the commentary at the end, especially after the Foo Fighters "everlong" riff around 4:00 ish

13

Oh I would love one of those CS guitars...yes and it really is great that you have all those parameters to have a great build that is your input.

Personally, and I could only dream , I would do a CS Gretsch Country Gent with mild aging,very dark brown finish, in nitro with aged binding and aged hardware but still retaining the gold on hardware..original headstock logo reminscent of a 62 model, tv Classic in neck and Ray butts bridge pickup. Soft v neck with brass Tru Arc aged. Double mutes with red felt...Grover Imperials and not the modern type that stick out..the original 62 flavor in aged gold.. Can your tell I'm a Harrison fan...lol

14

Oh I would love one of those CS guitars...yes and it really is great that you have all those parameters to have a great build that is your input.

Personally, and I could only dream , I would do a CS Gretsch Country Gent with mild aging,very dark brown finish, in nitro with aged binding and aged hardware but still retaining the gold on hardware..original headstock logo reminscent of a 62 model, tv Classic in neck and Ray butts bridge pickup. Soft v neck with brass Tru Arc aged. Double mutes with red felt...Grover Imperials and not the modern type that stick out..the original 62 flavor in aged gold.. Can your tell I'm a Harrison fan...lol

– Mike Schindler

How about adding a figured top and dial-up mutes?

15

My Custom Shop dream guitar isn't that exciting. I'd go full-western 6120 or 6121, very lightly aged.

16

We need pictures.

17

I've only tried one custom shop - a '55 6120. It was amazing and easily the closest to vintage, even acoustically. They got the unkerfed linings right as well as the neck profile. As far as a guitar to hand down to your kid, I'd bet even a 5420T could do that job.


Register Sign in to join the conversation