Modern Gretsch Guitars

Brand New Pro Gretsch - Bad Tone Pot - Easy to Replace?


Greetings I am new here. This is my first post.

I am attempting to become a new Gretsch owner. I am mostly an acoustic player and still a beginner in all things guitar. I want to play around with an electric too.

For many weeks I have been trying to buy my 'dream electric' 6659 Japanese Gretsch Broadkaster. (Cadillac Green w/Gold Hardware)

This is a guitar I do not deserve and one that I have not earned the right to acquire, but this particular guitar really appeals to me in so many ways.

Long story short... On my 4th Gretsch guitar in recent weeks. Had to send the first 3 back.

Major retailers have so far sent me a strangely scratched return guitar, a heavily used demo, and one with factory blemishes (that last one was actually the Electromatic version of this same model that I decided to compare), even though I am paying for a brand new guitar.

Now I have the 4th guitar in my possession (3rd pro model 6659). It seems that it 'might' actually be new, though I am not absolutely certain (for reasons I will not go into - not so relevant to this post).

Anyway, there is one distinct problem with the 4th guitar. The tone pot has static when plugged in and turning the dial.

As someone who wants to learn more about taking care of and setting up my own guitars, but having no experience so far, will I easily (and cheaply) be able to change the tone pot if I renegotiate the price and decide to keep this guitar?

If I pry off the knob, will I still have to attempt a blind replacement of the doohickey through the F-hole?

Can I easily purchase an identical doohickey somewhere for the replacement?

How much will I have to invest in tools to attempt the job? I have a couple of recently acquired guitar screwdriver sets now, and zero experience tinkering with electric guitars (and zero experience tinkering with my acoustics for that matter).

Just trying to figure out what to do. I'm a little tired of sending guitars back, and I worry the 5th 'new guitar' might not be in as good a shape as this one, if I do try again.

Incidentally, I saw online that tone pots can be cleaned. However, this appears to be a new guitar, and it is certainly almost new if not new. I think I should probably replace the pot if I am able to get it out (if I keep the guitar). I presume this guitar shipped defective from the factory.

Thanks for reading. I hope that was not too many questions for a single post. Any suggestions are welcome.


That is a bizarrely aberrant run of "bad luck" with new Gretschs, especially pro-lines. In my experience (corroborated by multitudes of others), new Gretschs are among the most consistently well built and carefully quality controlled of the major brands. Your experience sounds totally alien to the vast majority of Gretsch stories.

To answer your tone pot question, replacing a pot is a fairly trivial undertaking - for someone who can solder, and on a guitar where the pot is easily accessed. Accessing the pot is not easy on the Gretsch; I wouldn't say it's difficult, but at minimum it's tedious, and it does require a couple tricks of the trade. I'm not sure I would recommend it for a green tech's first outing. (It's not quite trial-by-fire, but it's not the first project for the merit badge either.)

More to the point, you shouldn't have to replace a pot in a new guitar - of any brand, but especially not a Gretsch. Though a scratchy pot is a relatively trivial problem, Gretsch uses high-quality hardware in the pro-lines and I'm surprised a flaky pot made it through Terada's quality control.

I get your apprehension that, as the one you have now is the best of the litter so far, a replacement might be worse. But my suggestion is that you do send it back - not for exchange, but a refund. Then talk to Rocky at Street Sounds or Joel at Shanghai Guitars. Both are sponsors on the GDP, so they're easy to find over in the sidebar. But you wouldn't buy from them just because they support this forum. The point is that both are Gretsch specialists, and you need have no worry about buying from them sight unseen: they will not only treat you well on price, but make extra-double damnsure you get a guitar worthy of what you're paying for it.


You should be getting a perfect, pristine instrument for your hard earned money. Makes me wonder what outfit you're dealing with. Rocky or Joel, as Proteus said, will treat you right. Sweetwater is another place where you'll have no issues.


Curious. Where are you getting these guitars from? As stated by others, if it's still an issue, send it back and deal with one of our sponsors to the right. You'll get a properly set up guitar with no issues. Regardless, if you have never worked on a guitar, a new one under warranty shouldn't be the place to start. if you buy a new guitar, you should be happy right out of the box.


I agree with the others, first that you shouldn't be dealing with a quality control issue on what's suppose to be a brand new guitar. We're all curious as to who you are dealing with? Second, a brand new guitar isn't what you should be attempting to learn how to fix anything. Changing out a pot isn't part of setting up a new guitar and best left to an expert if required. What's the issue with your tone pot?


Your initial post on this forum should be overflowing with an overabundance of excitement that you have after discovering how great your new Gretsch guitar plays and sounds with at least one picture of the new object that has been the cause of your newfound joy! I feel you got ripped off of this experience. I was given my first Gretsch guitar, an unplayable 1968 solid body Corvette by a friend. While researching what this guitar was and what I should do with it is how I found this forum. I had it rebuilt by a luthier friend of mine and refinished by forum member Curt at Old School Guitars. My second Gretsch I bought from a friend of mine and it was a 2007 5120. It was a beautiful guitar but eventually one of my friends fell in love with it so I sold it to them.

My first and only Pro-Line Gretsch guitar that provided me with the experience I wish you had is a 2011 Gretsch Duo Jet that I bought from Rocky at Street Sounds in February 2012. I had tried out a similar model at a guitar store near me but found a great deal on a barely used one from Street Sounds. I live in Los Angeles and Rocky is in New York. I don't normally nor do I recommend buying a guitar without playing it first but when I talked to Rocky and asked him as many questions as I could think of about the guitar he was super generous and super cool to deal with. I was reassured that I had 3 days to make sure I like the guitar after I received it with no questions asked if I wanted to return it for a full refund, only paying the return shipping fee. When the guitar arrived it felt really good immediately. I love the neck profile. It's the Goldilocks of guitar necks. It's not thin but it's not too thick either. Rocky's shop had it set up perfectly too. They only let a guitar leave their shop when it is tip top and ready to play as soon as it arrives at your door. The only thing I really needed to do was change the strings right away. When I read Proteus' first post that responds to your initial post I found myself agreeing with him more than 100% if that is even possible. Please (for your sake and our sake!) contact Rocky or Joel. I dealt with Joel once when I was tempted to by an Anniversary and he was also super cool to deal with. These guys love Gretsch guitars too. They want you to experience that same joy we all who love and play Gretsch guitars experience when we finally find that Holy Grail Gretsch guitar.



If the issue has not been resolved yet, please PM me with your phone number and advise best time to call. - Joe C


I'd try cleaning the pot first, it is the quickest and cheapest solution to pot noise in a lot of cases. My father bought a Country Club years ago where one of the solder joints was not perfect, it was fixed under warranty.



If the issue has not been resolved yet, please PM me with your phone number and advise best time to call. - Joe C

– Joe Carducci/Gretsch Guitars

Snow, now, you're fixed right up. Joe never will leave an unhappy, fair customer. Keep us posted, please.

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