Gretsch Events

Balto-DC Roundup FSR “Signature” Guitar! (Artist’s Conception)

1

At the end of March, you may have seen an announcement about a factory special run (FSR) of guitars to be built in commemoration of the Balto-DC Roundup. The guitar was designed at the event by the Roundup participants on the spot, with Streetsounds NYC's owner (and friend to all) Rocky Schiano onstage fielding specification ideas shouted from the audience.

It took a while to get everything sorted out, but they are happening, and we hope to have them available for sale before the next Balto-DC wingding.

You can see a lot of the ideas that made it to the final design in the photo. It's an Electromatic, based on the 5422 model. An order of 24 has been placed.

Here's what may be less obvious to the naked eye: aged binding (gold sparkle, which the attendees clamored for, is not available at the Korean plant), Black Top Filtertrons (Supertrons, also an attendee choice, are also not available there), and white back and sides (couldn't go red sparkle there).

There will be a few options available. For everyone, you can take a standard gig bag, OR you can eschew the gig bag and upgrade to a hardshell case. Six lefties will be available; they will come with the usual lefty-Electromatic trapeze-like tailpiece (left-handed Bigsbys—one more time: not available in Korea); however, Rocky will install a US B6 Bigsby for lefties if desired.

Price: One of the major objectives was to build an affordable yet cool and useful guitar. I cannot guarantee how much they'll go for, but the conversations have been revolving around a street price of $1,049, with the case upgrade moving it up another $50 or so. For lefty Bigsbys, expect a price bump, as well; we don't know how much that will be yet.

Of course, owners can perform other upgrades on their own. Typical of the newer Electromatics, it is upgrade-friendly. I intend to install the Supertrons and a Tru-Arc on mine.

So here it is, designed by mob rule.

And my Balto-DC mob totally rules!

Paul/FF909

2

Oh, and the fabulous artist's conception was created by our own Brian_66, who performs so much of the design work for the Balto-DC Roundup. A huge THANK YOU to Brian.

Paul/FF909

3

Looks very good Paul, and I understand the truss rod cover will be engraved with something that will identify the build? Orders will go through Rocky I assume?

4

Can we still say pic or it didn't happen? :)

Seriously, cool looking guitar.

6

That's real nice!

  1. What's up with the 15 & 17th fret inlays? Are they part of the customization? (can't see in the pic).

  2. Who were the "mob" that designed it on the fly? They should take a bow. It's real pretty (and Catseyes are great)

7

So what will it be called?

8

Very cool, Paul, very cool.

9

Check out this very basic drawing I did in February 2010, before the 5422 was introduced.

My intention was a 16" double cutaway body when at the time Gretsch wasn't making a double cutaway 16" body with Cat's Eyes. The 5122 and 6122 have 17" bodies. Notice it's also red. Needless to say, I like your design very much!

I should have been at the Balto-DC Roundup.

10

That's real nice!

  1. What's up with the 15 & 17th fret inlays? Are they part of the customization? (can't see in the pic).

  2. Who were the "mob" that designed it on the fly? They should take a bow. It's real pretty (and Catseyes are great)

– NJBob

Hey, Bob,

Those inlays were a Photoshopping uh-oh that I didn't notice. They aren't supposed to be there.

The mob was everyone who was at the Roundup, just shouting ideas to Rocky in response to: "What body?", "Pickups?", and so on. I don't know who came up with which, though I think LeftyJ was responsible for something (although not the red sparkle; I believe he suggested shell pink––I know someone did). There were enough good ideas (that we didn't use) to build another, entirely different guitar!

CBell: the truss rod cover will identify the guitar, either as "Balto" or "Balto-DC." Brian's mockup has that, although it isn't easy to discern on the pic. Yes, they will be available through Rocky at Streetsounds.

Buddy Hollywood: we have a Balto-DC Roundup every year, so come on over and join us in 2016! It's going to be a pretty special one this time around, and you can come buy one of the guitars that you designed before we did.

I have to get with Joe Carducci on the date, but I'm tentatively planning either April 1-2 or May 21-22 (the weekend before Memorial Day weekend, and if it's held then, it's going to be a mother of a party).

Paul/FF909

11

Yeah, I predict a lot of likes/wants on this one. Congrats

12

I remember the shouting very well. I shouted out Supertron neck - Classic plus bridge - Nickel hardware - single cut - f holes - green sparkle - Bigsby b-6C and a SS Tru-Arc...so...oh well.

13

Oops! Missed that detail on the guitar neck. Sorry Paul.

Looking forward to seeing this guitar in real life at some future round-up.

14

The prototypes for the Balto-DC Roundup Signature Guitar are due at StreetSounds on Wednesday. The factory sent a few advance photos... and you can see what a good job Brian did with his "artist's conception." (Yay Brian!!)

For those who have had lingering, is-this-really-going-to-happen doubts: yes. It is happening, in fact.

Yes, left-handed versions (either with or without Bigsby: buyer's choice!) will be available.

Our only remaining question is: will the full run arrive in time for the Roundup in April?

Paul/FF909

18

For this 24-guitar FSR, they are making 12 right-handed and 12 left-handed... a boon to us portsiders, and pretty limited availability for the starboard contingent.

You have time to save up before they become available for sale, folks.

Paul/FF909

19

Why the trapeze tailpiece on the lefty? Don't you guys like whammies?

And 12 left-handed models? Wow, that is a leap of faith. I guess with Rocky being the largest Gretsch retailer, he doesn't worry much about selling anything.

20

That's a beauty!

22

Sweet! What is the MSRP for these fiddles

24

Why the trapeze tailpiece on the lefty? Don't you guys like whammies?

And 12 left-handed models? Wow, that is a leap of faith. I guess with Rocky being the largest Gretsch retailer, he doesn't worry much about selling anything.

– Ric12string

Sure, we like them just fine. I have trouble playing an electric guitar without a vibrato system.

However, the Electromatics use the licensed Bigsbys made in Asia (Korea?), and lefty licensed Bigsbys do not exist. So, Rocky's guys will install U.S.-made lefty B6 Bigsbys as an option. Yay: option! When was the last time we had optional equipment?

The original plan was for there were to be six lefties and 18 righties, but 12 and 12 is how it turned out. My only concern is that there may not be enough righties to cover demand. These are going to be winners.

Paul/FF909

25

Wow! This guitar looks great FF909 and I'm sure it will be nothing less than stunning in person. Look forward to seeing it at the next Balto-DC Round-Up. Cheers! Brian


Register Sign in to join the conversation