Modern Gretsch Guitars

6120 LTV/ Setzer 6120

1

Hello all quick question other than minor things like tuners and pinned bridge what if any differences in sound are there in a 59 LTV & a Setzer SSU model Thanks

2

The biggest difference for me was the zero fret. Some folks like them - I don't. So the Setzer was ahead from the start when I chose my current main squeeze.

Fetboard radii are different but don't amount to much. The bridge will change the tone a little - I actually Like a TOM like the Setzer has but I use a Gibson part without the wire. It just sounds best to me, although pretty much everyone else here will tell you that a Tru-Arc is the only bridge to use.

Then there are the pickups. Both have great pickups. I like TV's Classics but some like the Setzer Sigs in the SSLVO.

So my preference is for the SSLVO with no pickguard, a Gibson TOM and TV Jones Filter'tron Classics. Plus I have a V-cut Bigsby because I like them. So you are allowed to change bits you don't like.

A zero fret is hard to change, so I got the Setzer.

3

I'm interested Jimmy in what bothers you about the zero fret. I have guitars with both and don't really notice any difference between them.

4

The lacquer vs poly on the ssu. Get the SSLVO. What a great guitar. Mine is a 2013 with t.v. classics. Love it I even got a cowboy case for it. Now that's love....

5

Neck profile too—SSLVO has a soft V profile, but the newer ones; 2014-present lost it, it's a more of a "U" shaped now.

6

Eventually, any guitar that's played will need to have its frets leveled and recrowned. A zero fret makes that job more difficult than it needs to be, which is kinda ironic since usually, it's the first fret (literally and figuratively) to become pitted.

8

Both are fine guitars, and more similar than they are different.

I think preference for some of the differences comes down to what you are used to (or willing to get used to)

-Pickups: probably the biggest difference, and the only one that will affect the sound. When I bought my LTV, the Setzer pickups didn't exist yet and I have no experience with them.

-Neck radius: both are pretty much "middle of the road" radii, in between the vintagey-Fendery 7" and shredder-friendly 16"

-Fret size: the Setzer frets are slightly bigger, but both guitars lie between "fretless wonder" and wacky super-mega-jumbo frets. I'm comfortable with the smaller frets of the 59LTV after years of playing my vintage-spec Tele neck, but I think one could get used to either.

-Zero fret: take it or leave it, you'll literally never think about it again after owning the guitar for a week. I wouldn't miss mine, but I kinda like the quirky Gretschiness of it. Jimmy thinks differently, and I respect his opinion, so what do I know?

-Locking tuners: don't get me started. If you like them, good for you. If you don't like them, you're not missing out on anything.

-Bridge: I've always been happy with the bar bridge, though I did "upgrade" to a Tru-Arc (more out of a desire to support that project than any disappointment with the original bridge on my guitar). I've noticed my first intonation problems last week (after 7 years of playing the bar bridge), maybe it's a new song I'm working on or maybe it's the new set of strings I put on. If a string change doesn't fix it, I might try a tune-o-matic or serpentune. This is all up to preference, but if you've never played a bar bridge, I'd recommend at least trying one. It's worth noting that the Setzer also comes with a pinned bridge, which I consider a necessary modification for the LTV.

-Cosmetics: Obviously personal preference. The Bigsby, knobs, pickguard, truss-rod cover, and color (the LTV looks a little paler orange to me, but I haven't spent as much time looking at the Setzer guitars) are different. I wouldn't want any of the Setzer "mods", but they're easy enough to change.

9

I've owned 6120s with zero frets and some without. It's quite possible that it's how I play which causes my dislike of the zero fret. I theory the zero fret is actually a really good idea which should help keep the guitar in tune, but as a string bender I find that it wears too quickly. What happens is that I will want to bend the string from the A (second fret G string) to Bb or B and as I bend it clicks in the little groove worn by the string on the zero fret. It's a small thing but annoying, and if i can get more or less the same guitar with a regular nut why wouldn't I?

Of course it's entirely possible that the way you play will not cause you any issues with the zero fret. That appears to be the case with a lot of guys! My problem with the zero fret is not an ideological one, it is based on experience and annoyance. I still think it is potentially a good idea, and maybe if the zero fret was made from stainless steel it would work better.

The type of bridge will definitely affect the sound, probably just as much as the pickups. I don't use the TOM for intonation so much as for the tone. I know I am in the minority, but I really like the sound of a Gibson ABR-1 TOM bridge on my SSLVO. I have tried some Tru-arcs of various materials and am a huge admirer of the Serpentune Tru-Arc. It works incredibly well and impossible for me to fault with tuning - but I haven't found one I like for the tone as much as my Gibson ABR-1s.

My current SSLVO is from 2014. I'm not sure if I would like the 2017 model as much because I love the soft-V neck and TV Classics on mine. I bought mine new for just over $2000 - I think it was reduced because the newer model had just been released. It also has the Sperzel locking tuners whereas the newer ones have Schaller. The Schallers probably work fine but man they are ugly! Just MHO. I'm one who likes Sperzel locking tuners.

10

I know the click you speak of, on exactly the same note. It goes away after a week or so. I think I've bent that same note enough that my zero fret has a wide-shallow divot rather than the narrow one that sticks (I hope that description makes sense). Funny that it never shows up on other strings, I do a lot of third fret bends on the higher strings and never had any sticking.

I have a tune-o-matic in front of me, ready to install (and three nylon saddles for the high strings, as recommended by WB). What do you like about its tone? How would you describe it? I've only had bar bridges on this guitar. Also, do the screw heads point towards the neck or away?

11

I've owned 6120s with zero frets and some without. It's quite possible that it's how I play which causes my dislike of the zero fret. I theory the zero fret is actually a really good idea which should help keep the guitar in tune, but as a string bender I find that it wears too quickly. What happens is that I will want to bend the string from the A (second fret G string) to Bb or B and as I bend it clicks in the little groove worn by the string on the zero fret. It's a small thing but annoying, and if i can get more or less the same guitar with a regular nut why wouldn't I?

Of course it's entirely possible that the way you play will not cause you any issues with the zero fret. That appears to be the case with a lot of guys! My problem with the zero fret is not an ideological one, it is based on experience and annoyance. I still think it is potentially a good idea, and maybe if the zero fret was made from stainless steel it would work better.

The type of bridge will definitely affect the sound, probably just as much as the pickups. I don't use the TOM for intonation so much as for the tone. I know I am in the minority, but I really like the sound of a Gibson ABR-1 TOM bridge on my SSLVO. I have tried some Tru-arcs of various materials and am a huge admirer of the Serpentune Tru-Arc. It works incredibly well and impossible for me to fault with tuning - but I haven't found one I like for the tone as much as my Gibson ABR-1s.

My current SSLVO is from 2014. I'm not sure if I would like the 2017 model as much because I love the soft-V neck and TV Classics on mine. I bought mine new for just over $2000 - I think it was reduced because the newer model had just been released. It also has the Sperzel locking tuners whereas the newer ones have Schaller. The Schallers probably work fine but man they are ugly! Just MHO. I'm one who likes Sperzel locking tuners.

– JimmyR

We share the same thought! Difference is I never tried Tru Arcs, it's on my bucket list though, but I'm quite happy with my Gibson ABR wireless for now. SSLVO are the perfect rocking machine.


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