Modern Gretsch Guitars

A White Falcon with a bad liver!



A couple of years ago I bought myself a Billy Duffy White Falcon and it really is the most beautiful object I've ever seen, opening the case for the first time was like discovering the lost city of Atlantis!

The purchase coincided with having a lot of work done on my house that me and my better half had been planning for a long time. When the restructuring was complete I had a huge extension with a glass ceiling and bi-fold doors that let light pour into the house. We were both very happy.

I decided my Gretches should have a piece of the action so I placed my beloved Setzer 6120 and the new Billy Duffy at the side of the room in front of my Fender Champ, the place could not have looked more Rockabilly. The OH wasn't exactly over the moon with the arrangement but life is all about compromise so I chose to completely ignore her objections and stand them there anyway!

Then I got very busy at work for 6 months. Any time I had for the guitar I just picked up my trusty Tele I keep upstairs and noodled on that, plenty of time to play the big boys later right?

Well the light continued pour in. And without me noticing the back of my beautiful White Falcon has turned yellow. It's now a very subtle shade of fagnolia, looks like the wallpaper in your chain-smoking Aunties house after 30 years of puffing.

I've tried cleaning it with everything friendly but it won't budge. Has anyone here come back from this disaster? I realise a discoloured guitar isn't like losing a leg or anything but I do feel like I've lost a leg, and I don't have many legs!

It has that lovely silver trim which I presume will have to be stripped off if the finish has to be replaced?

I really should have listened to the wife, she always turns out to be right.


Very enjoyable post. Thanks for sharing your predickerment.

I was able to compound leather jacket discoloration from various locations on my White Falcon (bass) - but sunburn may go deeper.

You could opt to leave it this way (if the line of demarcation between color zones is clear), and maintain it was an intentional but undocumented "prototype" color choice by Gretsch during their brief dalliance with Man Salmon which somehow escaped the lab into the wild. The Man Salmon era of the Tim Armstrong Club was concurrent with Duffy production, so it's not an entirely improbably proposition.

This explanation, once immortalized in print online, would become gospel - and, like gospel, be hotly contested in the future by fellers who care about such things as the minutiae of Gretsch finishes. But as time marches boldly into the future, those who really knew whether Gretsch ever did a run of tu-tone Duffy Falcons with Chain Smoking Auntie Wallpaper backs will lose interest (or die off). The color will become lore, and collectors of the future will wonder how many guitars were in that run, anyway. You will have written history.

Or you could wait for someone who knows paint (like our man Curt) to drop in and tell you what your whitening options are.

The first option is cognitive therapy: changing how you think about reality, rather than changing reality (which is an ever-mutable thing anyway) AND gets you a real shot at distorting (ie, making) history. The second is so mundane, and will only result in the world having yet another all-white White Falcon.

And there are so many of them already.


Some folks spend YEARS trying to get "that vintage look" in an aging white finish... You accomplished it (at least half of it) in a matter of months.

Solution? Flip the guitar around and age the front the same way!


Don't forget to bake the sides too.


I agree with Rob, the softer look of the aged white is for me, an improvement over the stark white of the new ones......and you didn't have to wait 20 years to achieve it.

What I'm curious about is how you can have a WF and not play it?? Noodling on a Tele seems hardly in the league of a WF.

Just as a matter of point regarding sunlight, 4 of my guitars hang/stand in my living room and would get direct sunlight through the morning if I didn't keep the blinds shut, which I purposely do. They only ever see indirect sunlight


I don’t think it’s anything that can be solved by cleaning etc. It sounds like the back has yellowed due to lack of light relative to the rest of the guitar. I’ve had this happen with loads of plastic things that have been deprived of light. The solution is to expose the discoloured area to light and it tends to dis-discolour back to normal. I’ve also seen it happen on white painted doors when clothes have been hanging on a hook. Take the offending item off and there’s a big yellow patch where it was blocking the light. Let the light back onto it and it goes back to normal. (After a few weeks)

Another example is a washing machine that had been in dark storage for a few years, when we took it out all the white plastic had gone yellow. Once it had been in the kitchen (much brighter) for a while the yellowed plastic turned white again.


I think everyone is missing the point, here. The lesson to be learned is this. The OP should have looked up the word compromise and listened to the OH and all would have been peachy.


Brilliant suggestions!

Thanks guys. Not sure about spinning her round and baking the other side!

I'm in a hotel at the moment but when I get back home I'm going to get some pics of my baby and post them up. Then once my baby has threatened to kick me in the bollocks for posting up her pics I'll get some actual pictures of the White Falcon and show you what I mean!

It's gone off man, it's faded. Dip it in a bath of bleach?


So noggsly, what I'm hearing you say is, EXPOSURE to sunlight will PREVENT yellowing, and will even UNYELLOW plastic that has yellowed?


So noggsly, what I'm hearing you say is, EXPOSURE to sunlight will PREVENT yellowing, and will even UNYELLOW plastic that has yellowed?

– Bear85

Yeah, that seems backwards.

White or off-white plastic usually ages to a darker beige.


Yes this sounds contrary to what you’d think, and obviously some plastic does age with exposure to UV light, and that is the most common instance BUT I have directly experienced all of the situations that I described.

Plus consider the OPs Falcon....the side that was NOT exposed to the light is the one that yellowed. As far a I can assertain the light is coming in from the bifold doors (presumably at one end of the room) and above from the ceiling and the guitars are off to one side in front of an the backs are in shadow. Obviously I may have imagined the positioning of the guitars wrong but that’s how it reads to me.

The other faces of the guitar that were in the bright light ARE STILL WHITE.

I have had the same thing happen to the paint on the skirting boards in my kitchen. All of the paint that is in the bright light is still white...any thing in shadow (under units,behind the bin) is very yellowed.

I also experienced the same thing with a plastic cistern in my downstairs toilet. I was decorating over the space of a few weeks and put a washing up bowl on top of the cistern. It’s a bright room. When I’d finished the decorating I removed the bowl and the area that had been covered (ie devoid of any light) was totally yellowed and discoloured. After leaving it exposed to the light for a few weeks it went back to normal.


I would just name the guitar “Wynona” and enjoy it!


As pointed out in other posts it seems like the color change is what many are after.

You could wet sand and buff it away as it's in the clear coat and should not have affected the actual pigment.

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