Modern Gretsch Guitars

Any love for the Gretsch CGP 6120 stereo guitar?

1

Seems like they came and went jis like that...pfffft! Just wondering what Gretsch folks think or have opinions. Don't hear much about them anymore. Thanks, Steve

2

I owned two of them.

It's a cool gimmick but I rarely used the stereo option. I also liked the wider nut width on the shorter scale 6120. I found that more usable than the wide nut width long scaled 6122-59.

I didn't like the large frets.

I think it's great that Paul Yandell got these to happen, but they aren't really copies of what Chet had. The original sealed top was not used as an example when making this model. I was also put off my the waffle bracing.

That said, they look really cool!

3

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

4

I thought I was the only one to own two. I was very disappointed with the guitar and the selling dealer on the first one. It was sold as new, but had buckle rash on the back, as well as pick scratches on the front. The neck pickup case wouldn't hold the pickup securely. When I called him about it, it was like, Nah, couldn't have been. The other one was spot on, but by the time it came I was sick of the whole deal. I did play and record a little with one of them, and listening to it later, I wish I would have kept one of them, but I di''nt.

Paul was really proud of that guitar. The original that Chet had produced some of the coolest tones he ever got, I thought, and so did a lot of other Chet followers think so. The album, Fingerstyle Guitar, was the best showcase for it. As hinted to above, Chet's guitar had a carved solid top, and as a consequence, it was extremely heavy. According to Paul, that was the main reason Chet didn't like it, but it sure did sound pretty.

The first run was a limited run of 75, but then there was another run, but I don't know how many in that one. Nice guitar, but maybe more of a novelty than anything else. Chet was a tinkerer, don'tchaknow.

5

I've toyed with buying one for years (and did but it arrived damaged). The only reason I haven't rebought one (after the unfortunate damage incident) is that I can't convince myself that I NEEDED it or that it covered something I couldn't already get with what I have.

6

Surprised that TVJones hasn't made up stereo pickups and wiring so that a person could do their own modification.

7

Wow, two of 75 arriving damaged? That seems unlikely. Since I'm sure you too aren't telling tall tales, this model must be cursed. Stay away.

8

Chet's superb playing and arrangements on Fingerstyle Guitar would have sounded great on any Gretsch. He didn't pursue the split pickups on other Gretches as far as I know - at least not to production. His Gretsch sound always got better and better over time. I've never tried a c p g , but would like to. I think it was great for Paul Yandell and gretsch to take a stab at that type of guitar.

9

I owned two of them.

It's a cool gimmick but I rarely used the stereo option. I also liked the wider nut width on the shorter scale 6120. I found that more usable than the wide nut width long scaled 6122-59.

I didn't like the large frets.

I think it's great that Paul Yandell got these to happen, but they aren't really copies of what Chet had. The original sealed top was not used as an example when making this model. I was also put off my the waffle bracing.

That said, they look really cool!

– captainvideo

I am seeing stuff I like... large frets, wide nutl, short scale. Anyone have the exact specs on this?

10

I owned two of them.

It's a cool gimmick but I rarely used the stereo option. I also liked the wider nut width on the shorter scale 6120. I found that more usable than the wide nut width long scaled 6122-59.

I didn't like the large frets.

I think it's great that Paul Yandell got these to happen, but they aren't really copies of what Chet had. The original sealed top was not used as an example when making this model. I was also put off my the waffle bracing.

That said, they look really cool!

– captainvideo

The sealed top 6120 Chet played on the Fingerstyle Guitar album and other recordings wasn't used by Paul and Gretsch as the guitar to copy for re-issuing for two very good reasons. While the guitar would be uncomfortably heavy, the major reasons are that that particular top was a one-off request from Chet for a thick - almost 1" in the center!! - no f-holes carved top. The price point for a reissue based on those specs would be so high it would be basically unsellable. I don't even know if the Custom Shop would make one.

11

I am seeing stuff I like... large frets, wide nutl, short scale. Anyone have the exact specs on this?

– DCBirdMan

It’s basically a 6120, except the neck is 1 3/4” at the nut. The neck pickup is wired for stereo - 3 left, 3 right. It could be played mono or stereo. 2 output jacks. The neck was nice.

12

I think if you'll check out "Mr. Atkins If You Please" with the Anita Kerr singers, "Swanee River" on "Guitar Genius" and a few others you will find out Chet had other guitars with the stereo pickups. I might be wrong but I believe he had a Country Gentleman for a short while rigger up this way. I have lots of recordings of Chet with the bass on the left and treble on the right. Maybe my stereo is bout to ketch on far!!!!! Thanks, Steve

13

Ray Butts made the pickups for Chet's prototype, that the CGP waas modeled after. TV Jones made the pickups for the 6120CGP with Paul's memory about Chet's guitar as his guide. If my memory serves me right, Chet gave his guitar to a family member, who some time later sold it at auction, and the location or whereabouts of the guitar now is cloudy at best, and, for all practical purposes is unknown. Paul had to come up with the specs for the guitar from his memory and his time with Chet. I'm not sure about the wider neck, but I think that may have been Paul's idea for the CGP to have the wider neck. I met Paul in Nashville not too long after he had received the CGP prototype from Gretsch. He brought the guitar for me to look at. We both played it, and took pics that I still have somewhere.

The big difference in the CGP and Chet's original prototype was the top. The CGP has a laminated formed top, and the top on Chet's guitar was carved from a solid piece of wood. It would not have been feasible to replicate his guitar exactly because carving the top by hand would have made it prohibitive in cost, plus it would have weighed a ton, just as Chet's guitar did. I am not sure, but I don't think Chet's guitar had the wider neck. More likely a standard 6120 neck. As I mentioned above, I think the wider neck on the CGP was Paul's idea to make it a better playing guitar for fingerstyle. I know the CGP became Paul's go to guitar.

It's a nice guitar and doesn't have to be played in the stereo mode to appreciate it's uniqueness. I just had a bad buying experience that took me a while to get over, but I wish I would have kept one of them.

14

I agree with Richard that the CGP has a unique sound apart from the stereo option, making it worthwhile to own even if not played in stereo.

And when it's in stereo mode, in my no doubt jaundiced opinion, it's a bit limited in that only the neck pickup goes stereo - and, if my remembers work (and they don't always), there's no tone control either.

I was fortunate to be at the 2008 CAAS convention during the introduction of that guitar, however, and at the time TV Jones was offering the stereo pickups by special order. I ordered a pair and eventually had them installed in my 6122-1962 with a control system - requiring no more than the usual amount of knobs and switches - which provides what for my purposes is a no-compromise configuration.

I knew what I wanted: the ability to have any combination of both pickups, with full stereo output and normal (or better) tone control. The brilliant Don Ayers of StellarTone worked out the system and wired the guitar for me - with no limitations or compromises. But that's a subject for another time.

I don't believe TV offers the stereo Filter'Trons now. They're quite tedious and time-consuming to wind, as there are FOUR coils, two end-to-end under each row of adjusting screws - the wiring for all of which has to terminate separately.

Somehow stereo, which logically seems to be "only" twice as much, works out to ten times as much trouble to implement. That Ray Butts and Chet worked out a stereo guitar at all in 1956 - at the very dawn of stereo reproduction - is quite a feat.

And, so far as that goes, stereo remains the Next Big Thing, never having quite taken the guitar world by storm.

I'm still at it, though, having recently built a complete stereo-in stereo-out pedalboard for my stereo guitars which - like the stereo Gent - admits of no compromises. I can have (pretty much) any effect imaginable on each SIDE of the stereo outputs of any guitar, along with pedal volume control of each, and adjustable stereo spread between amps. It's durn cool, is what it is.

15

Happenings Ten Years Time Ago: TV Jones and Paul Yandell with the CGP.

16

Tweaking the CGP in a hotel room.

17

Vainly proving I was there - along with Joey the C.

18

TV & Lindsey - who, at the time, was actually winding the stereo pickups she so cheerfully models.

19

TV monitors the heartbeat...

20

I got to watch many great players take their first ride on the CGP - looks of delight and confusion fought on their faces. Here's Bobby Gibson.

21

... and Nokie Edwards...

22

... and Richard Hudson.

23

I got a couple of spontaneous emails today from Micah Yandell, Paul’s son. He saw the thread and just wanted everyone to know that Paul worked very hard to bring this guitar to life. He tried in vain to find the original, so he only had his fond memories and a few pictures to go by. Paul owned 3 CGP’s. Paul Moseley, a fine Chet picker from KY, owns one of them, and Micah still has the other two.

Hearing from Micah today brought back some wonderful memories. Paul Yandell is one of the dearest friends I have ever had. Tremendous guitar player, and didn’t have to take a back seat to the master when it came to tinkering. Even just writing about him chokes me up, still. I really miss him.

Thanks, Proteus, for the nice memories via your collection of pics, and of course your unparalleled wordsmithing.

24

I had a CGP, I don’t even remember what I sold it to buy, but I wish I still had it. The stereo configuration was fun, but like Proteus said, it only worked on the neck pickup, and though I don’t use it often, it would have been nice to have a tone control.

The wider neck with the shorter scale was a blessing for fat-fingered yours truly. What no one has mentioned and what drove me a little nutty(er) about the guitar was the aluminum nut. I didn’t play flatwounds on it, and after some vigorous Bigsbilation, the strings would start binding. Take it to the shop, have them widen the slots, use it for a while, more binding. Finally, Pharaoh, my guitar tech, said “I”m going to put a nylon nut on this thing, and I’ll bet your tuning problems will be over.” And he was right.

I’d be the only guy around with a CGP if I still had one or could find one I could afford, and I’d be OK with that.

25

I had a very limited experience with a CGP in a local Sam Ash store. I had to explain to the kid behind the counter what it was (and why he should care). The neck was a pleasure; wide like the '59 Gent, but shorter scale. I didn't have time to try out the stereo option, but the pickups sounded great; a little more presence than I was accustomed to in a Filter' Tron.

I have to admit it. I couldn't get past the G brand. Otherwise, I'd probably have purchased it.


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