Modern Gretsch Guitars

2010 vs. Current Setzer Flame Maple Lacquer Pickups and Questions

1

A friend may sell his 2010 Setzer - orange, flame, TV Jones Classics, clean etc...

I also see that Rocky is selling current (I'm guessing new but sold as used to avoid m.a.p.) lacquer model with the Setzer sig pickups for $1,999.

What's a reasonable price for the 2010 and is it worth paying a bit more for a mint current model with the Setzer sig pickups? Any other differences?

Thanks!

3

Wow - $1999 for a new one is amazing. Even used but near new that's a great deal. I've seen other used ones going for a lot more - at least $500 more. I would have thought that a 2010 in great condition would be worth $1999 too, but maybe it's a little less if you are comparing it to a newer one.

To me if the 2010 is in great condition I would probably go for that. I prefer regular Classics and the Sperzel tuners. I also love the neck shape - apparently the new ones have a different shape. I have a 2014 and it's absolutely incredible - mine is an SSLVO and it's as good a Gretsch as I have seen.

4

Same here, I prefer the v neck and sperzels. Pickups? I haven’t tried the BS signatures, some prefer it some don’t.

5

I’ve owned & played most Setzer 6120 incarnations since the models inception in the early 90’s. There have been obvious & not so obvious developments through the years, but I personally find that the current variation to be particularly advantageous in terms of solid construction, playability, & tone, both acoustically & amplified.

Upon initial word of the latest variation, I had concerns for the loss of Sperzel tuners, the updated Setzer signature TV Jones pickups, & neck shape change.

Having bought & played the guitar, I was pleasantly surprised & find it more pleasing than prior incarnations for a few distinct reasons.

The guitar construction is extreamly reasonant. One might think that all Gretsch double pickup, bigsby equipped, 16” wide hollowbody guitars are essentially the same shell with finishing changes. This may be the case, but the couple recent Setzer signatures I have tested were far more reasonant acoustically that others I have owned & played through the last several decades. Gretsch would have you believe that the latest incarnation is built closer to the original vintage specification than prior years, but they look pretty similar to me. The sound is crisper, louder, & more resonant in an ear pleasing way than prior variations.

The TV Jones Setzer signature pickups may be marketed as hotter than TV Classics as used in earlier renditions, but I find them actually to have more clarity. How this clarity is construed as advantageous is through brighter, crisper highs, thicker, meatier lows, & improved string separation. Overall, the easiest way to describe it would be to say these lean closer to the Tele spectrum than the Gibsonesque humbucker tone of other FilterTron renditions. This has translated to a perceived clarity enhancement & string separation for fingerpicking & greater note definition during single note runs. This could work to ones disadvantage, if they do not have use for greater clarity & string seperation. Tonally, they also sit more high & low than mids of all other FilterTrons I have tested.

The updated Schaller tuners turn much smoother & do not bind like the Sperzels do. Specifically, I had observed intermittent issues with the Sperzels over the years & have heard that quality has been degrading in recent years. I suspect this could have been a driver for the change.

6

Interesting.

I do like the BS Sigs better than standard Classics.

Sperzels have been an issue for me... I actually replaced all of mine recently on my Hot Rod.

I don't have an issue with the neck, but can you describe the new shape at all? Is it larger/meatier or something? I can't imagine it being any smaller....

The "increased resonance" sounds interesting, but IDK how that would be achieved with those damned gargantuan trestle braces in there...

7

I have heard of folks having issues with Sperzels but I have never had any issues with them. But I also have never had set of Schallers I have liked. It's one of those guitarist things I guess - our opinions are shaped by our experiences. My other prejudice is the shape of Schallers - I find they don't look right to me on a Gretsch (well, or Gibson or Fender!).

Of course my preference is largely irrelevant to the OP, but he did ask for opinions so that's mine.

There is a shop near me which has a used 6120SSLVO, so it has the faded orange finish I like but it also has some substantial flame as well. It's beautiful... Just as well I love my plain Jane SSLVO so much.

8

I much prefer the Sperzels and neck shape of the 2010 model ( I own a 2013 pre-changed specs.) The neck shape is perfection with the slight V, and mine has a bit of beef to it. I find the issues most have the the Sperzels to be with failing to adjust the tension by turning the small screw which attaches the button. I find that if its too loose, the tuners will not feel smooth.

9

It seems as if Gretsch over the years has attempted to get the details & specifications of many Gretsches closer to the originals when manufacturing replicas.

The Setzer is a good case study, which began it’s days around 1993 as essentially a hopped-up G6120-1960. Complete with all the pre-Fender inaccuracies observed during the area. Most notably the chubby shape, lack of trestle bracing, & ceramic FilterTrons.

Still a wonderful guitar all around. Just not as accurate.

Overtime, we have seen the Setzer signature 6120 change, & in some cases adopting new monikers, but essentially the Setzer signature 6120 legacy continues. Along the way, Gretsch has made claims to bring the guitar closer to historical accuracy.

Most notably would pertain to the guitar construction, which eventually adopted the late 50’s trestle bracing, & then the alleged proper thickness laminate shell, then the proper thickness top.

While this all was said to have been in place prior to the latest incarnation Setzer 6120s, I would say that something has changed. Be it slight, I cannot visually detect the difference, but these latest variant of, which I own two from the last couple years are more resonant.

By this I mean, they are very crisp, focused, & acoustical despite the trestle bracing. Prior non-trestle braced Setzers from yesteryear were hollow with the single post, which produced a more open & airy acoustical sounds, but were less focused. Later earlier trestle braced Setzers were less hollow sounding & still not as focused. This may have been attributed to a thicker laminate & less accurate bracing. Fast forward, the bracing has been cut more accurate, & the laminate is closer to appropriate thickness. The end result is a 6120 that is solid & less feedback prone, with a focused & crisp acoustical property that is more musical.

It would be difficult to narrow down what else may have occurred in the manufacture of these guitars that would drive such a change, but it’s worth noting that manufacturers will make changes to products along the way for various reasons that aren’t always clearly communicated in their brochures & advertising.

Add in the Setzer signature pickups, which are very crisp & focused in their own right & the guitar just sings. The attack is tighter as well. It’s not dull or washed out, or flubby.

The clarity & note definition is right their whether you are finger picking or taking a single note run. The guitar sounds more even keeled when switching between the two styles & their is a great degree of tonal variation when attack of the strings is changed. Ie. you can pick softer to clean up the sound & dig harder than ever without the notes getting flubby. This all was intentional by TV Jones. If your a picker who enjoys mixing fingerpicking & flat picking, then you could appreciate the dynamic that these pickups offer.

As for the neck, the latest Setzers appear to have a thinner C type. Folks claim that earlier models observe the thin V style, which I don’t discount, but don’t have any feeling on the matter. I haven’t run across a vintage Gretsch with V neck, so I don’t know where that feature was drawn from, unless Setzer requested it. All the vintage Gretsches I have some across, have ranged from baseball bat to C or D. I’ve seen vintage 6120s from the same production year with varing neck profiles. None of which were Clapton approved ala 1957 Fender Stratesque V shaped.

10

No guesstimations on the value of a 2010 with the tv classics?

The asking price of the 2010 is $1750. For that $250 difference I get the newer model with the sig pickups and a factory warranty (I confirmed this).

11

It seems as if Gretsch over the years has attempted to get the details & specifications of many Gretsches closer to the originals when manufacturing replicas.

The Setzer is a good case study, which began it’s days around 1993 as essentially a hopped-up G6120-1960. Complete with all the pre-Fender inaccuracies observed during the area. Most notably the chubby shape, lack of trestle bracing, & ceramic FilterTrons.

Still a wonderful guitar all around. Just not as accurate.

Overtime, we have seen the Setzer signature 6120 change, & in some cases adopting new monikers, but essentially the Setzer signature 6120 legacy continues. Along the way, Gretsch has made claims to bring the guitar closer to historical accuracy.

Most notably would pertain to the guitar construction, which eventually adopted the late 50’s trestle bracing, & then the alleged proper thickness laminate shell, then the proper thickness top.

While this all was said to have been in place prior to the latest incarnation Setzer 6120s, I would say that something has changed. Be it slight, I cannot visually detect the difference, but these latest variant of, which I own two from the last couple years are more resonant.

By this I mean, they are very crisp, focused, & acoustical despite the trestle bracing. Prior non-trestle braced Setzers from yesteryear were hollow with the single post, which produced a more open & airy acoustical sounds, but were less focused. Later earlier trestle braced Setzers were less hollow sounding & still not as focused. This may have been attributed to a thicker laminate & less accurate bracing. Fast forward, the bracing has been cut more accurate, & the laminate is closer to appropriate thickness. The end result is a 6120 that is solid & less feedback prone, with a focused & crisp acoustical property that is more musical.

It would be difficult to narrow down what else may have occurred in the manufacture of these guitars that would drive such a change, but it’s worth noting that manufacturers will make changes to products along the way for various reasons that aren’t always clearly communicated in their brochures & advertising.

Add in the Setzer signature pickups, which are very crisp & focused in their own right & the guitar just sings. The attack is tighter as well. It’s not dull or washed out, or flubby.

The clarity & note definition is right their whether you are finger picking or taking a single note run. The guitar sounds more even keeled when switching between the two styles & their is a great degree of tonal variation when attack of the strings is changed. Ie. you can pick softer to clean up the sound & dig harder than ever without the notes getting flubby. This all was intentional by TV Jones. If your a picker who enjoys mixing fingerpicking & flat picking, then you could appreciate the dynamic that these pickups offer.

As for the neck, the latest Setzers appear to have a thinner C type. Folks claim that earlier models observe the thin V style, which I don’t discount, but don’t have any feeling on the matter. I haven’t run across a vintage Gretsch with V neck, so I don’t know where that feature was drawn from, unless Setzer requested it. All the vintage Gretsches I have some across, have ranged from baseball bat to C or D. I’ve seen vintage 6120s from the same production year with varing neck profiles. None of which were Clapton approved ala 1957 Fender Stratesque V shaped.

– Screamin' Scotty

My 99' SSU has a very soft V shape neck, and my 96' SSL was an emphatic V shape and why I dont own it anymore!Although the lacquer neck of that 96' was silky smooth unlike my 2004 SSLVO. That '04 was indeed less acoustic, and very es-335"ish" in my book so much so that I replaced the filters w DeArmond mount T-armonds (this was before the filter mount t-armonds) and ultimately sold it. Now, my new 2015 SSU-BK, despite its trestle bracing (Not a fan) is fantastic w its lazy C neck and very resonant thinner body lam. Albeit a tad top bright w its stock Setzer Classics in tandem w the trestle bracing, I opted to replace them w Tvjones Ray-butts and a Tru-arc serpentune Brass bridge which not only smoothed out the presence bump I wasnt enjoying but brought the air around the chords and better chest voice for finger picking, walking bass lines,etc etc in clean, (if that can be a descriptor, maybe bark) w a spanky vintage growl under the fist of overdrive with very little feedback or microphony.

Jumping back to the 99' w its fretboard set into the body and thicker top, it does have the tone post which gives this instrument a bigger bark and growl rock voice. The Setzer sigs installed on these guitars gives this era guitar THE sound you hear on the earlier Brian Setzer Orchestra albums. Obviously Setzer's album sounds have changed/morphed over time w his Signature line changing as well. Its such a fun ride!

12

Sorry for th delayed response.

$1750 for a used but excellent condition Setzer 6120, regardless of incarnation, is a good price in my opinion. These typically list used over $2000. Depending on the condition & completeness of the package (Case & Candy), $1750 is a quick sale price.

That said $2000 is also a great price on a Setzer 6120 that is truly new.

Undoubtably, you’ll find folks who have stumbled upon an even better deal than this, but that is not the norm. These are both reasonable or better than reasonable offers, provided the guitars are as stated.

By the way, if you later decide to update the those TV classics to TVSetzer signatures, you’ll drop more than the $250 price difference.

13

Sorry for th delayed response.

$1750 for a used but excellent condition Setzer 6120, regardless of incarnation, is a good price in my opinion. These typically list used over $2000. Depending on the condition & completeness of the package (Case & Candy), $1750 is a quick sale price.

That said $2000 is also a great price on a Setzer 6120 that is truly new.

Undoubtably, you’ll find folks who have stumbled upon an even better deal than this, but that is not the norm. These are both reasonable or better than reasonable offers, provided the guitars are as stated.

By the way, if you later decide to update the those TV classics to TVSetzer signatures, you’ll drop more than the $250 price difference.

– Screamin' Scotty

Thank you for the very helpful response!

14

My first Setzer was a '99 SSU, bought new. It had the slim, soft V neck that I have enjoyed on every Setzer I have owned since. The neck on my '14 is a wonderful slim soft V. They feel virtually identical to the Gretsches I played before the Setzers - '63 and '64 double-cut 6120s. So the V shape is very familiar to me and I was delighted an impressed that the Setzers had this neck shape. I still haven't played a late-50s 6120 but have played a few earlier Dearmond 6120s, and the necks on those were a bit rounder - more of a C. So I don't know how authentic the V is to 1959. All i know is that is is just like my old '63-4 6120s and for that I am grateful.


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