Modern Gretsch Guitars

Gretsch Masterpiece

1

My 6122-1959 with vintage Gretsch Supertron!!!!!!

5

Gorgeous! I’ll bet it sounds like Heaven, too.

7

Good.. I say Supertrons don't get enough respect.

8

Good.. I say Supertrons don't get enough respect.

– DCBirdMan

Supertrons give their best, if played in fingerstyle !!!!!! Chet voice

10

Oh my goodness, that's a thing of beauty! It's just dazzling, who wouldn't want one of those?

11

I agree! A "Masterpiece"!

My '59 has been with me for over 11 years. It remains my all-time favorite guitar in more than 60 years of playing.

I was stunned by its beauty when it arrived -- I was expecting "brown" -- and it remains a thing of beauty today.

12

All it needs now is a P90 & a DeArmond.

13

All it needs now is a P90 & a DeArmond.

– Billy Zoom

Yeah!!!!

15

That is a stunner! Congrats on the find.

I noticed Billy Zoom playing a gorgeous '59 6122 on the recent 'X' tour. I didn't recognize it as such that night during the show, being much more familiar with the '62 models (largely due to George Harrison of course).

Since that evening, and having looked into them further, I've decided I'd rather have a '59 model (assuming it's a choice between the two). I'm saving up and watching my Reverb feed.

16

Gorgeous guitar! Big and bold, but really classy looking! I had an older 64 Gent back in the day, and it had the pop-up mutes (which I never used) and the infamous “mud switch” (ditto). And I hated the snap-on “ belly-pad” on the back! On your guitars, I do not see mud switch OR tone pot. Interesting.

In fact, my 64 Tenny, and Nashville, both had the aptly named mud switch which I never cared for at all.

Fast forward to getting my 2012 6120, and my new LPB Falcon, and, to my surprise, I find I use the tone switch a LOT!! It’s very usable for tone variations, especially when I’m on the bridge pickup! What did they do to take it from utterly useless to eminently usable?

17

Sweet, Good Luck with it.

18

These are a copy of a guitar that Chet modified, and then played for many years. He took the mud switch out, and turned one of the pots into a tone control......soooo, only the bridge pickup has a volume knob. The other knob is for tone, and the Master Vol. is still a Master Volume. No separate volume control for the neck pickup. The reissues don't have the empty hole where the mud switch was, like Chet's did, which is a good thing. The stock pickups aren't bad at all, but I still replaced them with a Kent Armstrong P90, and a Seymour DeArmond. The Seymour squeals, but not as bad as the first Seymour I bought for it. It's really too bad Seymour's customer service sucks so bad. Anyway, these are really great guitars. 25 1/2" scale, and a slightly wider fingerboard, which my arthritus prefers. Sustain is amazing.

19

Yes, the '59 is a very different animal than any of the 62 varieties. Singlecut, slightly deeper body, 25.5" scale and wider fingerboard (as Billy mentions) - vs doublecut with 24.6" scale and standard fingerboard.

And yeah, no backpad. Most who have the '59 consider it the highest evolution of the Gent, and a guitar (of its type) better than which there just are none.

The rich deep burgundy finish, usually with subtle but clear flame, is a great bonus over the standard poop-brown of 60s-era doublecut Gents. The original 59 just had this combination of features, transitional between the '58 and the '62 and onward, which turned out to be Chet's favorite Gretsch configuration. It must be well documented in various places, but Chet's long-time sideman and best friend Paul Yandell was deeply involved with the development of the 6122-59 reissue when Gretsch developed it, and saw to it that the final spec reflected the highest evolution of Chet's favorite Gretsch.

The now-discontinued 6122-1958 is also worthy of mention when discussing modern Gent alternatives, as its spec is also unique, and marks the starting point of the model's development over time. It has a deeper body than the '59, more open bracing, and the 24.6" scale with standard neck width - and comes in that standard brown. It's a great guitar in its own right, and them what gots'em loves'em - and for good reason, as they're unmatched for big Gent warmth and bloom.

The 6122-1959's bracing differs in detail from the original, using Masao Terada's "waffle" method of placing wood blocks cut nearly through in a waffle-looking grid pattern, strategically placed to voice the instrument precisely. Not all guitars with the waffle bracing are voiced identically - the point of the method is its tunability - but in the 6122-59, it creates what most players agree is an ideal blend of focus, warmth, and sustain.

There's really nothing like the '59. It's the grand piano of Gretsch guitars, with a certain singular majesty, dignity, and authority.

All I've done with mine is redo the wiring harness to put a tone control on both pickups, and implement a blend knob to mix the pickups in varying proportions rather than the fixed options of the 3-way switch - so from trinary to a smooth spectrum of blends. This is not to say there's anything wrong with the wiring scheme as it comes from the factory: it precisely suited Chet's ear and taste. But I don't use the guitar exactly as Chet did (nor could I), and I appreciate the extra flexibility I get.

If you're shopping Gents, don't buy till you've tried one. It's not at all the same as any of the 62s, and there's room for both in a completist's collection. But for my taste, it's the supreme leader.


What did they do to take it from utterly useless to eminently usable?

Just different capacitor values. It's made a world of difference in tone-switch guitars. (Guys with better heads for wiring - and better memories - than I have will no doubt drop in and tell us what both the old and new values are.)

20

Those are some sweet looking guitars. Congrats on your beauty!

21

Then the color varies according to the light, from a wine red to brown; furthermore its sound is truly unique in the world of electrics, it sits perfectly between my telecaster and the L5.

25

I have both the 58 and 59 models and love them both. They are both made in 2003 and have the waffle bracing.

Jim


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