Modern Gretsch Guitars

Good Vibes From Gretsch Spectra Sonic

1

Had about a week to get a feel for this recent trade acquisition courtesy of NJBob and I really like the vibe from this guitar. Its been through one band practice and it will be a good fit for the type of cover music we are playing.

What are some of the specifics that I like about it? First of all, it's very light weight and comfortable to play with. The body is VERY similar to the closed body Gretsch Tennessee Rose. I love the mods that NJBob or a previous owner put on it which include locking tuners and titanium TRU-ARC serpentine bridge. The only thing that's taking a little getting used to is the 12" radius neck but I'm warming up to it just fine. Still trying different strings and haven't settled on a favorite set for this guitar just yet.

6

The only thing that's taking a little getting used to is the 12" radius neck but I'm warming up to it just fine. -- Brian_66

I am confused, Brian. Didn't the G6129BZ also have a 12" radius? I would think that the SpectraSonic would feel like old slippers, as far as the fretboard radius is concerned.

7

I think the Billy Zoom had a 9.5" radius. Maybe my numbers aren't exact, but the Spectra Sonic fret board is noticeably "flatter" than the BZ. Its not a bad thing, just something different and I suppose it makes doing string bends easier? Maybe NJBob can verify?

8

They may both be 12" radius, but they're very different-feeling guitars.


I went through string-choice boogie on my Spectra as well, Brian, and found that the right set really made all the difference. Of course, it often does, but on this guitar it was especially crucial.

TV's instincts are all rock-n-roll, and he ships it with 10s. He probably defaults to a slightly gainier tone than I do, and may have a lighter touch - but for my tone, and my touch, the 10s just felt weak. I wanted more out of the guitar than I was getting. I tried 11s, and they were just too stiff on this rock & roll Cadillac.

(Do you KNOW which pickups are on yours? In NJBob's post introducing the guitar in your BZ-for-sale thread, he thought they might be PowerTrons - but I think Classics are standard on the guitar. Anyway, pickups might affect string choice.)

The perfect set for me - which took the guitar from cool to cold-dead-hands - is the GHS David Gilmour Sig Series 10.5-50 set: .0105, .013, .017, .030, .040, .050. Just the right resistance across the board, right low-end punch, right bendability, right tone.

Strings are as personal as underwear - probably more so (there are certainly more options) - but you might try that.

9

Thanks for the string recommendation Proteus! I'll give them a try.

10

I wouldn't have traded a DeArmond custom shop silver jet for that, but if it makes you happy, that's great! Enjoy!

11

I think the Billy Zoom had a 9.5" radius. Maybe my numbers aren't exact, but the Spectra Sonic fret board is noticeably "flatter" than the BZ. Its not a bad thing, just something different and I suppose it makes doing string bends easier? Maybe NJBob can verify?

– Brian_66

The BZ measured up as a 7.5" radius. Whodathunk.

Glad your digging the Spectra, Brian. It is the best electric guitar I ever owned.
I expect the BZ to be awesome once it's dialed in with lighter strings and resultant adjustments.

12

Although they are slightly different, I have a TV Jones Spectra Sonic Supreme that I LOVE. I can't believe more people don't know about and/or play these more!

13

I wouldn't have traded a DeArmond custom shop silver jet for that, but if it makes you happy, that's great! Enjoy!

– WB

Walter, that’s like telling the proud parents that their newborn is ugly as sin. Some things don’t need to be expressed even if they’re true.

14

The BZ measured up as a 7.5" radius. Whodathunk.

Glad your digging the Spectra, Brian. It is the best electric guitar I ever owned.
I expect the BZ to be awesome once it's dialed in with lighter strings and resultant adjustments.

– NJBob

Really!? Do all BZ's have that radius? I played one once but I didn't notice. I do remember it played very nice but I'm most comfortable with 12" radii. What size frets are on a BZ?

Strange how these Spectra Sonics always stay under my radar while they should be in the top 5 of my wishlist.

15

Really!? Do all BZ's have that radius? I played one once but I didn't notice. I do remember it played very nice but I'm most comfortable with 12" radii. What size frets are on a BZ?

Strange how these Spectra Sonics always stay under my radar while they should be in the top 5 of my wishlist.

– Ger (aka Ratrod)

The BZ frets feel like med-jumbo. Curt just did a great new fret level/dress and setup for me. He's a master! His gauge said 7.5" radius. He filed the Melita saddles to match the radius, too. Now, I need to play with the pole pieces.

And yes, get your hands on a Spectra Sonic. I couldn't find one thing about it that I didn't like. The huge range between the bridge and neck pups is remarkable.

16

I played a used one at Guitar Center unplugged once. It felt great! I didn't have time to plug it in but it was immediately comfortable and it was very vibrant.

17

Sound check went well. The Spectra Sonic sounded awesome. We go on at 8:00pm. Look forward to baptising this guitar properly!

18

The only reason I let my Specta go is that I got got in my head that I needed a Phoenix. A lovely guitar but I messed up letting SS go. I really need to close my eyes some days to keep the stupid at bay.

19

I was never drawn to the s sonic but after playing Bob's old guitar it just fit.

20

I was never drawn to the s sonic but after playing Bob's old guitar it just fit.

– Curt Wilson

My only comment about the sound is not a complaint but I didn't care as much I should have about the powertron from bridge by its self. My Tele has a classic + that I find more desirable. The P'trons in the neck and both positions was pure sweetness tho.

You know I wanted that BZ pretty bad and I don't care much for guitars that sparkle! That may have part of the problem with the Phoenix. I got lost in the binding. Yeah how stupid.

21

I've always loved the way those look, one of the most handsome designs to my eyes. Thanks for sharing the cool pics.


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