Modern Gretsch Guitars

Are Silver Falcons shot with nitro?

1

My 40th birthday is coming up fast and I'm wondering if I should do something nice for myself...something more than my traditional birthday bottle of tequila.

I tend to play vintage gretsches (I've got a 58 Annie, a 60 Tennessean, and a custom 1962) ad I've got my eye on a 1959 Tennessean. But I've always liked the look of those black and silver falcons.

Really, the only deal breaker is I really don't like the feel of poly under my fingers. Maybe I'm a snob, maybe I've been playing too long, but it just doesn't feel the same.

So lemme know what ya'll think!

4

oh, I haven't looked at the phoenix. That's a nice lookin axe...trestle bracing, lacquer, and everything.

what about that 9.5 radius, does it give it a different feel?

5

oh, I haven't looked at the phoenix. That's a nice lookin axe...trestle bracing, lacquer, and everything.

what about that 9.5 radius, does it give it a different feel?

– Buddy Mercury

Yes, and I love the feel on mine. It's a '14.

The Phoenix has some nice features IMO. The neck, while not as "chunky" feeling as my previous '04 Falcon, still has a large feel to it. Deep body with trestles, yep!

The 9.5" feels great to me, and I like it better than the 12" radius on the long scale neck. The frets are "medium", and I like that too. No zero fret, which to me, isn't an issue either way.

Being a "Hot Rod", the controls are minimal, but any traditional Gretsch control scheme could be added if that's what one really wants.

Build quality is exceptional IMO, and that silver binding against the black looks killer to my eyes. Looks "stately" but doesn't come off as "in your face blingy" like a WF........which I still love looks wise. Just a class looking guitar.

I'm not a snob either Buddy, but I just like the feel and the looks of the lacquer finish. The smell ain't bad either! LOL

The mods that I've done on mine are: a Tru-Arc 9.5" Serpentune bridge, a Callaham string through Bigsby bar, a DE arm, a Reverend Soft Spring, and screwed the Bigsby down to the body (at the bottom of the spring pocket) I'm pleased in every way with this guitar.

Best of luck finding your Birthday present!

6

From the videos I've seen of you rocking out I think you're on to something here. A Phoenix would suit your vibe perfectly...if you can afford it!

Here is the video of Mr. Setzer on the Gretsch guitars site.

7

I had a '89 6120 with the heavy poly finish. I took 8/0 steel wool to the neck finish and it worked out great, very silky and nitro-ish. I eventually did that to the rest of the guitar and turned the shine into a glow which really showed of the wood and not the finish.

8

JD!

thanks for the rundown!

I love the minimalist electronic scheme. It's a guitar that's very "me" in a lot of ways.

all my guitars a re a 12 radius however and I was never a fan of those "baseball bat" necks, but I've never played extensively on a 9.5 hmmm...might wanna hunt one down and give it a try.

I'm eyeballing a phoenix on reverb that is much more in my price range than it's more common price of 3k.

getting one "on the cheap" is kinda the only way for me.

9

You bet Buddy, and used is the way to go IMO.

I did a trade with a little cash with another GDPer to get his Phoenix to being my Phoenix. New was just out of the question for me too. This deal was my "pre retirement retirement present" to myself.

Try to play one if you can. I really don't think that the 9.5" radius will be an issue at all. All my previous Gretsches were 12" also, and the Phoenix just feels right with the 9.5" to me.

Again, best of luck on your mission!

10

Buddy, you do deserve a treat for your birthday and your killer playing would really be a hell of a great match for the Phoenix. I prefer 12" vs. the 9.5" but I love my Phoenix and since buying it in '09, I have to saying the honeymoon is still there.

I love exploring new tones with it and really think it would be a perfect match for you.

11

NJD! Thanks!

I'm definitely going to try one out!

it's on the short list, especially at the price I'm looking at, or even just another 9.5

I had a 58 streamliner that went to a friend and it had a rounder flat backed neck that I'm pretty positive was a 9.5 that never felt quite right.

So we'll see what happens.

Does anyone know of any other modern gretsches shot wtih nitro?

12

NJD! Thanks!

I'm definitely going to try one out!

it's on the short list, especially at the price I'm looking at, or even just another 9.5

I had a 58 streamliner that went to a friend and it had a rounder flat backed neck that I'm pretty positive was a 9.5 that never felt quite right.

So we'll see what happens.

Does anyone know of any other modern gretsches shot wtih nitro?

– Buddy Mercury

My 2017 Setzer is nitro.

13

Does anyone know of any other modern gretsches shot wtih nitro?

All of these.

14

You can always shoot nitro over poly.

15

I don't like 7.5 radius but 9.5 is great.

16

I tried a Stills Falcon a few years ago and don’t recall the 9.5 being an issue fwiw. The Phoenix seems like it’s definitely worth checking out.

17

I've had 3 SSLVOs shot with nitro, and couldn't feel a difference in the way the neck felt. The nitro is real thin, and when it eventually wears through it leaves the poly undercoat showing like a tidemark.

18

I have a nitro Falcon and a urethane Penguin. Can't tell the difference. While I have a Japanese urethane telecaster and you can really feel a huge difference with nitro finishes. For quite some time I even thought the penguin was nitro too. Made me change my vision on urethane.

19

I'm gonna hold off on the phoenix only because I was reminded i have some expenses coming up.

but I think my line in the sand is flying on a plane.

the band is getting more popular and I expect to be asked to fly to a gig sooner than later. If i have to fly with an axe im gonna get a modern gretsch (either a hot rod or a phoenix) So I don't have an anxiety attack about bringing my 58/60/62 with me.

20

125th Anniversary models are nitro, both the Jaguar Tan and the Smoke green finishes were shot nitro over poly.

Buddy, essentially any FMIC Gretsch that has an "L" in the model designation has a lacquer finish.

21

Oh! That's a super useful bit of info! thanks!

22

125th Anniversary models are nitro, both the Jaguar Tan and the Smoke green finishes were shot nitro over poly.

Buddy, essentially any FMIC Gretsch that has an "L" in the model designation has a lacquer finish.

– Tartan Phantom

Rob, do we know that for sure? I've sanded the finish off of four polyESTER Gretsch built by Terada units and the sealer is vinyl or nitro.

I notice they list the finish as polyURETHANE and it isn't it's polyESTER which are completely different products. I'm wondering if FMIC is paying to have them finished in urethane and getting ester. Polyester is a way better finish for guitars than polyurethane.

23

Rob, do we know that for sure? I've sanded the finish off of four polyESTER Gretsch built by Terada units and the sealer is vinyl or nitro.

I notice they list the finish as polyURETHANE and it isn't it's polyESTER which are completely different products. I'm wondering if FMIC is paying to have them finished in urethane and getting ester. Polyester is a way better finish for guitars than polyurethane.

– Curt Wilson

I may have it backwards, Curt. Are you saying the poly is the final finish for "Lacquer finish" Gretsch models? I defer to your experience and expertise... in fact I'm pretty sure I was parroting info that I got from you, and just got it backwards.

The "L for Lacquer" finish designation still applies though, in the model number nomenclature... if there's an "L" in the model number, there's lacquer in there somewhere...

24

Rob, the few lacquer guitars I’ve stripped have all been lacquer throughout.

25

Rob, the few lacquer guitars I’ve stripped have all been lacquer throughout.

– Curt Wilson

If this is true I'm stoked. I was under the impression that FMIC Gretsch guitars finished in nitrocellulose have a poly sealer underneath.


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