Modern Gretsch Guitars

Gretsch Executive owners…chime in ?

1

OK, so I pulled the trigger on a Gretsch Executive at a semi-local GC. They are shipping it to a GC closer to me. I'll have it next Tues.

I'm not much of a tinkerer myself, but curious as to what you Exec owners may have done (if anything) to 'uprgrade' it from it's stock condition.

It's coming with Groove Tubes, right ? Never been too keen on them, but if they do the job, fine... anyone do NOS tubes ? If so, what ?

A JBL D130 is an obvious candidate, but will definately give the Legend 15 a fair shot.

... so what did you do (if anything) to 'dink' with a good thing ? ;-)

2

I don't own one, but have played through a few. I can't think of anything you need to upgrade.

3

Congrads on the Executive, I have one and it's a great amp. The only changes I made was the speaker, the Eminence Legend was a little too tight and sterile sounding for my taste. I replaced it with a Weber California ceramic, sounds great. At one point I had a JBL D130F in the Executive but I didn't care for it in this amp. The Groove Tube labeled 6V6 power tubes are JJ 6V6S' great tubes, the Sovtec preamp tubes sound fine. I did however bump up the power tube bias, it was biased cold around 50% I prefer around 70%, 23ma in my case. Enjoy

4

Mitch, I am not much of a modifier of anything, whether amplifiers, guitars, or much else. So, I haven't made any modifications to this amplifier. For my taste, it sounds great. Under certain circumstances, it can be a bit trebly, but that can be tweaked with the controls.

One problem that seems to exist with these amplifiers, however, and one which I would correct if I had the convenient means to do so, is that the operation of the reverb/tremolo footswitch causes a very loud popping noise. It is very disturbing. I spoke with Mark Baier, at Victoria, and he told me that there was a fix that could be made if I wanted to send the entire amplifier back to him. The fix alone would cost about $150, plus whatever shipping costs would exist. Undoubtedly, it wouldn't have to go back to Victoria; another qualified amplifier technician near you could most likely make an appropriate modification.

5

Someone posted the inputs can be Fenderised. Mark Baier can send parts. This would make the amp less trebly for mean guitars.

Paul Pigat would like me to convert his Exec inputs with a stealth switch. But I can't find the forum thread of the guy who mentioned the other inputs and Mark Baier seems busy...

If I can get the schematic, I can post a tutorial.

The Exec is one of the amps I like but I chose a Regal which can take 2 Watt end tubes. Not that the Exec is loud, but I can't stand a grain of loud at all. Unfortunately my Regal doesn't sound like an Exec at all; there is a one of a kind prototype WGS speaker in it. Very lazy and dark. SonnyJimSlim, I would like to try a Legend speaker but I guess shipping is too expensive?

6

I had experimented with NOS tubes. I ended up with: V1 = Valco/Phillips ECC83/12AX7; V2 = GE 12AT7; V3 = RCA 12AX7A; V4 Mullard 12AX7; V5 = Mullard ECC81/12AT7; V6 & V7 = RCA 6V6GTY; V8 = Mullard GZ34.

Overall, the NOS gave the amp a smoother sound, a little less bright. The NOS power tubes seemed to have little impact on the tone (to my ears). I think the main benefit of NOS 6V6's is that they last longer than current stuff. If you replace the power tubes, get a good tech to re-bias the amp.

I agree with Ric12string -- work with the amp "as is" for a while. NOS tubes can get expensive -- especially 12AX7's and rectifiers.

A good source for NOS is HiTest Guitars (Greg Levy) in Norwood, NJ. He lists his inventory & prices on his website, but he does business the old fashioned way -- phone calls and checks. He is VERY helpful and can make suggestions that will save you some money.

I would not rush into buying a JBL D130 (or D130F) unless you are already familiar with their sound. No question -- they are fabulous speakers, but they do have their own distinctive "tone" which is not everyone's cup of tea. Keep in mind that the one Chet Atkins used in his recordings was re-coned and the aluminum dust cover was replaced with a paper dust cover. Either one can affect tone.

JBL's (if you can find them) are expensive -- I bought an excellent reconed D130 a few years ago for $350. Incidentally that speaker sounds almost identical to the NOS D130 in my Standel.

If you find one that needs to be reconed -- Sound Speaker Repair, Tucson, AZ makes reconing kits that are very close to original JBL specs.

7

Geoff -- I have that schematic of the Executive. If you PM me, I will "reply" to your email with the schematic attached.

8

Hey thanks guys. Definately going to play the amp as is for at least a week or 2. So this amp has a possible issue with being too bright ?

9

I would not characterize the Exec as "too bright". You can set it as bright or dark as you like. I found that in addition to having an excellent range of tones between the treble and bass controls, the middle control offered a lot more possibilities than I'd experienced on other amps. I found that middle controls on most amps did little or nothing.

As mentioned in the review I did 3 yrs. ago (link posted in your other thread) I felt it was the best sounding amp I'd ever owned. My first amp was during the early/mid 1950's....

Like anything else, "Beauty is in the eyes (in this case, ears) of the beholder..." I do remember a couple of people having issues with them, but the majority raved about them.

I tried NOS tubes more as a learning exercise than from dissatisfaction with the tone. I found that NOS tubes improved (slightly) on and outstanding quality of sound. No surprise there -- GT tubes are considered "junk" by many folks. Mark Baier had told me that Gretsch required that he use GT's in the amps. GT is owned by Fender, Fender owns Gretsch......... etc. He had told me that the tubes that would most likely improve tone are V1 and V3.

11

Has anyone swapped out the Legend 15 for a Weber Ceramic California 15 ? Just curious.

Got the amp today and the Legend sounds pretty darn good to me, but may get the Weber just for the heck of it and compare.

I LOVE THIS AMP ! It's only day 1, but sure sounds sweet to me !! Even my Godin Nylon SA sounds great through this amp !

Settings Volume 4, Treble 1-2, Bass 8-9, Middle 2 or off. Everything stock sounds amazing at first playing. About the best amp I've owned for clean playing so far !

I tried out a Twin Custom 15 when I picked up the Executive. Nice amp but too much power for me. I like 20-50max watt amps personally.

12

I think the amp sounds absolutely perfect. The amp does pop when you engage the tremolo/reverb footswitch. That is the only thing I would change about the amp. Of course, I have no idea how to tackle that sort of problem.

13

Cool Mitch!

I'm glad you lilke yours.

I think I'm going to take care of that pre-amp tube.

I bet new tubes would really bring it up to it's potential too.

Again,,, what tubes do you guys recommend?

14

Mine doesnt' pop when engaging the footwswitches 8-)

16

I leave the reverb & tremolo on so I don't worry about the pop.

17

Intuitively, that strikes me as not being a good idea. Reverb--yes; tremolo--I would think not. Is that an acceptable thing to do?

18

Well, Duane Eddy thinks it's pretty neat. :D Sorry, Counsel. I just had to say it.

19

Richard, I am not referring to the sound. That can be moderated down so that it becomes almost indistinguishable. However, I am thinking about the amplifier and the tremolo feature. Would something wear out more quickly if left on all the time?

20

Has anyone swapped out the Legend 15 for a Weber Ceramic California 15 ? Just curious.

Got the amp today and the Legend sounds pretty darn good to me, but may get the Weber just for the heck of it and compare.

I LOVE THIS AMP ! It's only day 1, but sure sounds sweet to me !! Even my Godin Nylon SA sounds great through this amp !

Settings Volume 4, Treble 1-2, Bass 8-9, Middle 2 or off. Everything stock sounds amazing at first playing. About the best amp I've owned for clean playing so far !

I tried out a Twin Custom 15 when I picked up the Executive. Nice amp but too much power for me. I like 20-50max watt amps personally.

– Mitch Crane

Has anyone swapped out the Legend 15 for a Weber Ceramic California 15 ? Just curious.

Got the amp today and the Legend sounds pretty darn good to me, but may get the Weber just for the heck of it and compare.

I LOVE THIS AMP ! It's only day 1, but sure sounds sweet to me !! Even my Godin Nylon SA sounds great through this amp !

Settings Volume 4, Treble 1-2, Bass 8-9, Middle 2 or off. Everything stock sounds amazing at first playing. About the best amp I've owned for clean playing so far !

I tried out a Twin Custom 15 when I picked up the Executive. Nice amp but too much power for me. I like 20-50max watt amps personally.

– MitchC

I hate to say "I told you so", but I told you so.............

Congratulations and enjoy!!!!

21

Richard, I am not referring to the sound. That can be moderated down so that it becomes almost indistinguishable. However, I am thinking about the amplifier and the tremolo feature. Would something wear out more quickly if left on all the time?

– Ric12string

Richard, I am not referring to the sound. That can be moderated down so that it becomes almost indistinguishable. However, I am thinking about the amplifier and the tremolo feature. Would something wear out more quickly if left on all the time?

– Ric12string

I know, Bob. But I just couldn't pass it up. I was looking at an old school DeArmond volume/tremelo pedal on ebay the other day. The tremelo had moving parts and it stands to reason when moving parts are moving they wear out. How long that would take is a question for someone smarter than me, which there are those in abundance in this world.

22

Well, day 3 and just keeps gettin' better. LOVE this amp ! May retube with all JJ's...at least have them on hand.

23

Sez councillor Wicky: "However, I am thinking about the amplifier and the tremolo feature. Would something wear out more quickly if left on all the time?"

What, you're afraid the wiggler will wear out?

Never heard tell.

24

Mitch, those Groove Tubes are most likely rebranded JJ's.

25

sroux, really ? Didn't know that GT's were rebranded JJ's.


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