Modern Gretsch Guitars

Brian Setzer model vs regular Gretsch

1

Hello,

I want a Gretsch because I want to play Brian Setzer style rockabilly as well as rock.

Am I limiting my tones if I go with one his models? Especial the one with only a volume knob?

2

Not much of a limitation; there are always tone controls on amps and pedals. But I like controls on the guitar.

More important, the Setzer model always has trestle bracing (a little stiffer, more feedback resistance, somewhat better sustain), while other models (depending on which one) have lighter bracing and are a bit more resonant and "lively." You may or may not care about that.

Also, the Setzers always have 9.45" fingerboard radius, vs 12" on the rest of the line. If you prefer a Fendery radius, that's the Setzer. If you prefer a Gibsonny radius, that's the others.

3

Not sure how limited the Brian Setzer models are in tone, but I do know that with you can get a very wide variety of tones out of the Eddie Cochran model simply by playing with the knobs and switches on the guitar. I guess it depends if you want to try and sound EXACTLY like Setzer, or if you are content to play with the rockabilly tone that a dynasonic/p90 combination can get you.

4

I have a SSLVO now and I owned and sold an older tone post 6120. I prefer the Setzer hands down.. the tone posts sound more airy or what I call less pronounced . It's open sounding like meaning less focused and limited sustain. Can sound cool with early rockabilly but it has its limitations if you try to use a lot of gain.The Setzer SSLVO is a more focused sound without losing the Gretsch tone , actually enhances it and has more sustain . The SSLVO handles gain much better and growls like a bear .mLike I said the tone posts pushed can get muddy and less focused at louder volume sounding kind of sloppy in my opinion? Honestly the SSLVO is more lively than my tone post in live gigs hands down. The tone post has a noticeable difference in feedback and was too problematic for me in live situations playing anything other than clean pop , jazz or early rockabilly ,Of course this depends on a ton of things like levels, type of music played , playing through amp in small places as opposed to miking amp, etc. the trestle bracing holds the vibrating top a bit more steady than the tone posts. When you play with a drummer you can start seeing the differences more than playing alone or in a small group setting.

5

Mike makes some great points.

Myself, I also prefer trestle bracing and I do like the 9.45 fretboard radius.

The "Hot Rod" wiring that's offered is simple and direct. Pup selection and one volume. What comes out of the guitar is it. Pure and simple. As Prot stated, any tone adjustment will have to be made at the amp.

I'm also a fan of the "mud switch", and what it offers. Very handy for certain types of tone, at the flick of a switch. Hot Rods don't have this, but the SSLVO does.

My experience with the Hot Rod wiring is my Phoenix. A simple version of a Falcon basically. Big bodied, long scale neck with 9.45 radius, and medium frets. It will rock or rockabilly all day and all night. Not a bad looker either! Lol

Best of luck choosing your first Gretsch. There will be more to come afterwards. That's how this Gretsch thing works.

6

My SSLVO with hot rod wiring is my main guitar. For the real heavy stuff, I prefer a Les Paul. If you can use a Telecaster for it, you can use a 6120 for it.

7

"Also, the Setzers always have 9.45" fingerboard radius, vs 12" on the rest of the line. If you prefer a Fendery radius, that's the Setzer. If you prefer a Gibsonny radius, that's the others."

I didn't realize the others were all 12". That's interesting, and helps alleviate some of my GAS for any other models.

What about the Electros, like the 5420? 12"?

I did add a mud switch to my Hot Rod, and I do use it occasionally.... but after having addd it, I wouldn't miss it much if I hadn't.

8

I see the Eddie Cochran (one of the other models I lust after) is also 9.5".... so maybe some of the other 6120s are also 9.5" ?

Also just wanted to add: with TV Jones wide selection of Filtertron-mount pickups, you can tailor the sound of any Filtertron Grestch quite a bit.... T90s, Magnas, Hi-Los, T-Armonds... etc

9

maybe some of the other 6120s are also 9.5”?

There have been a few. The Golden Anniversary (6120GA) is 9.5, and with a thinner, vee-ier neck profile than most Gretschs too.

I don’t have all the specs memorized anymore; it’s always worth combing the listed specs in detail.

10

To take a step back and read the original post - playing a Gretsch (Setzer model or not) is going to sound like a Gretsch. Gretsch guitars do a lot of different styles and do them well, they sound, well, like a Gretsch.

You're going to get close to the Setzer sound for sure, closer than if you were playing a Gibson or a Fender, but ultimately you're going to end up with a guitar that sounds like a Gretsch.

With that said, there are lots of guys/gals here who play other stuff (rock included) and use Setzer models to do it. Ultimately buying a signature model guitar is not limiting yourself to one "tone", it's gonna sound like a 6120. 6120s respond well to distortion and other effects.

I've had a tone knob model and I've still got a Hot Rod and honestly it was nice to have a tone knob option - but I never used it.

As Norm would say "YMMV" or "Your mileage may Vary"

11

"A Gretsch is going to sound like a Grestch".... more so than any other brand, imo.

I can make my tele sound like a Les Paul, and some HB/Gibson-style guitars have coil taps to make them sound more Fender-y. Having owned all of these, there is alot more overlap between the Gibson/Fender camps than with Gretsch. Like Rickenbacker, Grestch really does have it's own sound, regardless of the pickups used. So you'd better LIKE "that Great Gretsch Sound" because you're going to get it no matter what you do!

12

after owning a 2005 Hot Rod and a modded 2006 5120 with the same pick ups I can tell you that I prefer the feel and versatile playability of the Hot Rod but the modded 5120 sounds just a tad more "rich" and "full" if that makes sense. this is probably due to the more hollowness of the 5120. Im sure that the SSLVO would probably be my favorite since it combines what both these guitars have to offer. but honestly, you can't go wrong with any.

the only real reason i even notice a difference is because I own both but to tell you the truth, If I only had one, I would prefer the Hot Rod.

Its uniqueness alone as well as its looks, playability, sound, sustain, feel and build is worth every single penny.

13

This one is about to get a set of Tvjones Ray Butts as I pull those stock 99' pkups out and send them to a friend.Gonna upgrade the non locking ping crap stock tuners w sperzels and swap the bridge for a tru-arc. Will I sound more like Setzer? I'm gonna sound better! #betterwithbutts #buttsdrivemenutts #nothingbuttsthetruth

14

This one is about to get a set of Tvjones Ray Butts as I pull those stock 99' pkups out and send them to a friend.Gonna upgrade the non locking ping crap stock tuners w sperzels and swap the bridge for a tru-arc. Will I sound more like Setzer? I'm gonna sound better! #betterwithbutts #buttsdrivemenutts #nothingbuttsthetruth

– Rockahippy

all your hashtags can lead to brow raising content! hahaha BTW, nice pic of that Hot Rod. Nice composition you got going on there!

15

I’d say start with the neck. Try different models and get one that feels right. Scale, width, shape... many variations available. Electronics can be changed afterwards, necks can’t. When buying my Gretsch they all sounded great, but not all felt right to me. What feels wrong to me, though, feels like hand in glove to someone else.

Also, prepare to buy a Brain pedal from Tavo. Puts your tone on steroids and is a fast path to Setzer town (and a lot of other wonderful places).

16

all your hashtags can lead to brow raising content! hahaha BTW, nice pic of that Hot Rod. Nice composition you got going on there!

– erick lopez

yikes.. didnt consider that :)

17

I just bought a G6120SH-AFG, and I love it. I am new to the guitar world, but the sky is the limit with the Hot Rod model. I think you will love it. I have 2 Gretsch guitars, the Green one is the Setzer model.

18

The Hot Rod would never work for me because I'd lose the ability to adjust the ratio between the pickups while in the middle position.

I like to back off the neck pickup a little to get a middle sound I prefer.

S Mac

19

The Hot Rod would never work for me because I'd lose the ability to adjust the ratio between the pickups while in the middle position.

I like to back off the neck pickup a little to get a middle sound I prefer.

S Mac

– macatt

Something to be said about backing the neck pup off just a hair.

For a lack of a better description, the sound is just "richer" to my ears.

I like it too.


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