Modern Gretsch Guitars

Hmmm… I wonder???

51

I'm surprised no one called me out on my post specifically, as I thought I was going way over the top.  I assume it's because my weak attempt at satire was obvious, and not because it seemed like a sane opinion.

If you think the Falcon, or the Gretsch brand in general, has lost some mystique, then for you it probably has.  But as others have attested in this thread, that mystique is very much alive and well for so many new and aspiring guitarists out there.  I get it, it's kind of like having your favorite indie band that only you and a few other cool kids were into for the longest time, and now that band has taken off and everybody likes them.  That thing you used to associate with so strongly that was kind of part of your identity and separated you from the rest of the herd isn't just yours anymore.  It kinda sucks when the secret is out of the bag.

But I don't get how the brand is devalued by offering more options and trying to adapt and grow in the marketplace, to bring new blood into the fold.

Specifically to Bear's original question, is the mystique of the Falcon diminished with all the possible iterations now available?  Hard to say.  It's hard to deny the only thing left that uniquely identifies the Falcon is a headstock shape, and maybe it's a bit sad on some level that's all that's left.  I don't imagine, though, that it cheapens the experience for anyone that picks up one of these modern variants and finds the guitar of their dreams.  It's still miles beyond anything made by the other big manufacturers.  Truth be told, if money was no object for me and I could get anything I want from the Gretsch Custom Shop, it would be a Dynasonic Falcon in true 17" body size, in Blueburst, like the old blueburst 6120 I should never have let go.  Would that still be a Falcon?  Maybe not to most, but to me it would be the ultimate Falcon, for my tastes.

I myself have looked at some of the new models and lines introduced by Gretsch in the last several years, and wondered WTF?  But I don't fault them with trying to grow the brand and put more Gretsch guitars in more hands.  I want the company to still be around for the next 20-30 years, so that maybe I can actually make my custom shop pipe dream a reality when the kids are gone, the house is paid for, and I hopefully have some money to spare to make that dream a reality.

I also like seeing a Gretsch available at all price points.  The cheaper stuff may not be for everyone, and I can't say I'm saving my dollars to buy a Streamliner, but I'm OK with a young player just starting out, or a player of any age on a tight budget, being able to buy into the Gretsch mystique and have one of their own at a price they can afford. 

52

My point was that I didn't want a 6120 because it was exclusive, it was because I wanted that sound.
That's exclusivity! You wanted a particular sound, a unique sound...EXCLUSIVE to the 6120. You seek exclusivity....and yet in your previous post you say: I couldn't care less about "exclusivity." Fact is, yes, you do.

53

How many versions of LPs, Strats, or Teles are there? How many clones? Signature models? Mostly, all of the variants are made just to sell more guitars. Selling more guitars is simply the goal of any guitar manufacturer. White Falcons lose appeal to me when I hear some of the people using them. Saw a shredder band on TV ( that I couldn't turn off fast enough) all playing White Falcons and a White Falcon bass. It sounded horrid, tho it'd sound bad no matter what guitars they were playing.

Maybe it's just me, but a Country Gent or a Caddy Green Annie look so much more classy than a blinged out Falcon.

54

I think that this thread has slightly derailed. The question had to do with the mystique of the single model of guitar -- the White Falcon. Because that guitar, in particular, was something of a holy grail for many guitarists, has its mystique been lost due to its extreme abundance at the moment. This question could also be posed for the other Gretsch holy grail guitar -- the White Penguin.

But, the question was not whether having so many variations on a single theme of each Gretsch guitar (a la Teles and Strats) has diluted the mystique of the Gretsch brand.

For me, I have never thought of the entire Gretsch brand as having a mystique of any kind. I have always viewed them as great guitars, sometimes even iconic (Harrisons G6122 double-cut or G6119 Tennessean, or Chet's 6120), but I didn't view those models as having a mystique to them. But, the White Falcon (and the White Penguin) used to be pretty rare in the wild, which added to their mystique, along with the high bling factor. With seeing so many people (including myself) having these guitars, for me they have lost their mystique, although I still love the brand and the entire lineup of guitars remains attractive to me.

55

I only brought up Les pauls, Teles and Strats because there ARE so many of them and their variations, which to me means no mystique at all and the fact that Fender nor Gibson or any other manufacturer offers nothing like the Falcon at all.

56

The exclusive Gretsch model today is perhaps the Billy Bo? No model variations, just one colour, no Electromatic or acoustic models borrowing design elements from it...

57

Wow! I guess I GET what some of you are saying but still....WOW!

I feel like I'm on a GM forum and everyone is griping about the Cadillac.

Sure the White Falcon is full of bling! That's what it was all about. Do any other manufacturers have anything like it to offer? Nope. Les Pauls, Strats, Teles all have their place but compared to the Falcon they stand in generality. Since I became more aware of the entire Gretsch line a few years back and discovered the Falcon, I was in awe. I had to have one some day. Now that I do, I get it. Sure, they're over the top Elvis! Proteus even said, Dude, you're not a Falcon guy and my wife agreed but since I got one she's just as much in love with it as I am. Well, not just as much but yeah. i feel like I could still rock that monster on stage with blood dripping down my chin and a tooth missing! Hell, they used them in punk rock videos. When I brought it too West Baden , it was the go to guitar upstairs and was even used in Jer Lile and Tavo Vega's videos. I was given several compliments on the feel and sound. IT'S A FREAKIN FALCON! If I totally had my way it would likely be the turquoise custom shop but hey, I'm still happy. You guys are griping about options when we are the ones that Gretsch was listening to and it's somewhat our faults. To me, just because it's very special and no other manufacturer offers anything close I'm going with much Mojo and much Mystique. JMO! Oh, and I still love ya, Bear!

– Suprdave

Dave,

Your comparison of Cadillac vs. White Falcon is not quite balanced. Falcon lovers want their guitars to look as much like the originals as possible, and to the untrained eye, they do for the most part. Go into a Cadillac dealership today and try to buy one of these,

instead of one of these.

Oh, and I love you too. Give Karolyn a big hug for me.

58

Things change. I think some of the excitement of these guitars comes from memories of youth, seeing George on the Sullivan Show, the Animals playing House of the Rising Sun, Neil Young with that honkin White Hollowbody, Clapton's SG, Les Paul, and then strat, Duane and Dickey's Les Pauls, Keefs Teles. Couple that with the explosion of popularity of the electric guitar with that generation and mismanagement of quality control by huge penny pinching manufacturing corporations buying out what had been very limited production of carefully handmade instruments and amplifiers. I remember in the mid 70's in High School going to pawn shops and estate sales in search of pre-CBS fender guitars and amps. Current product had sunk in quality and it was the stuff that was made between the mid 50s and mid 60s that had the mojo. The guitar heroes generally played that vintage instead of brand new. It was a quest for hidden treasure and before the internet you could generally find it at a good price. So I think these instruments have a magic for people of a certain age. And part of that is the thrill of the search for the rare treasure. The memory of those times. But it sure is cool I can get a pretty accurate replica of that 1959 strat or Jazzmaster, Les Paul, 6120, etc. for a price I can afford and know I'll get a "good one" and not one with issues. I can't afford that rare vintage beast any longer and more issues to deal with the more time goes by. Another thing to remember 10 years ago Guitar Center was selling more DJ turntables than guitars. Times change.

59

The entire brand is too prolific. Eliminate the streamliners and electromatics, reduce the proline back to vintage spec reissues only, and do away with the rest. - built4speed

In my perfect Gretsch world, that's exactly how it would go. Fortunately for most people, we don't live in my perfect Gretsch world.

60

The entire brand is too prolific. Eliminate the streamliners and electromatics, reduce the proline back to vintage spec reissues only, and do away with the rest. - built4speed

In my perfect Gretsch world, that's exactly how it would go. Fortunately for most people, we don't live in my perfect Gretsch world.

– Afire

Consider how much the Electromatic line has contributed to Gretsch's health as a business since they were introduced, both in terms of profit and visibility. Without them, there might well not be a Gretsch company still extant. If they survived on a pro-line only basis, the prices would likely be prohibitive, or they would have long wait times, much like Rickenbacker.

Besides, my two Electromatics are wonderful guitars that provide looks and sounds that none of my other guitars do. What's wrong with producing high-quality instruments at a lower price-point alongside the Pro-Line models? GM has always sold a lot more Chevys than Cadillacs, and I don't see how that detracts from the appeal of a Cadillac for those who want one for whatever reason.

61

The entire brand is too prolific. Eliminate the streamliners and electromatics, reduce the proline back to vintage spec reissues only, and do away with the rest. - built4speed

In my perfect Gretsch world, that's exactly how it would go. Fortunately for most people, we don't live in my perfect Gretsch world.

– Afire

The company DOES have to think and plan ahead to remain viable and profitable. Their core business is NOT to keep middle age and seniors "happy" that nothing will change. We are not the ones who will buy a ton of guitars from them now or in the coming years. The ONLY exception to that would be our recently lost friend Cam Bell (RIP). In reality, the rest of us would just be contented "fans" -- but not serious quantity buyers.

Otherwise, I don't think we have any right to criticize business strategies that focus on attracting new customers.

63

Bear...

Your old enough to be my Dad, but I still would take the red one! Hope you are well!

Not old, just old school...

Didn't mean to contribute to the derail.

64

The company DOES have to think and plan ahead to remain viable and profitable. Their core business is NOT to keep middle age and seniors "happy" that nothing will change. We are not the ones who will buy a ton of guitars from them now or in the coming years. The ONLY exception to that would be our recently lost friend Cam Bell (RIP). In reality, the rest of us would just be contented "fans" -- but not serious quantity buyers.

Otherwise, I don't think we have any right to criticize business strategies that focus on attracting new customers.

– senojnad

Just saying how it would be in my perfect world. They'd also have fixed retail prices at 1962 levels and be made in Brooklyn. I realize that it wouldn't be good business.

65

I had the LDS Falcon and it was so beautifully made I was scared to touch it. I ended up selling it to a guy who wanted to play it for his church meetings so I think it's in a better place lol.

66

I had the LDS Falcon and it was so beautifully made I was scared to touch it. I ended up selling it to a guy who wanted to play it for his church meetings so I think it's in a better place lol.

– Taffy

Was he Mormon, by chance?

67

"That's exclusivity! You wanted a particular sound, a unique sound...EXCLUSIVE to the 6120. You seek exclusivity....and yet in your previous post you say: I couldn't care less about "exclusivity." Fact is, yes, you do."

I have totally no idea what point you are trying to make now. You have lost me! But that's ok. Are we talking life and death? No, we're talking about shiny things. So be pleased that you have totally won whatever argument you are trying to make.

68

There's The White Falcon and there's other Falcons. Even among The White Falcon there may be too many variations factoring in acoustics and bases as well. The bling varies on the different models and I don't know where to draw the line.

Also, as mentioned above, I like other Falcons as well and would consider buying one if in the market. The mystique may have taken a hit, but the market still exists or else Gretsch would not be putting them all out.

69

I'm not a huge Falcon fan (as many of you know, I prefer Country Clubs - a bit more understated/ less blingy is my style for guitars), but I have slightly mixed feelings about the proliferation of umpteen different Falcon models. Yeah, it becomes a bit more pedestrian, when more of them become available, but by the same token, it makes more of them available to those players who would like to have one, but had a had time finding one to buy (can you say the same thing about [for instance] the Ric 381?]). Besides the price of a Falcon will always give it a certain level of exclusivity (even the "cheaper" center block versions are pretty pricey IMO), since many players can't afford them. The different colors Falcons are now available in? No biggie to me. I actually prefer these different colored Falcons to the white ones (if I ever did get a hankering for a Falcon, I'd get the Silver Falcon version).

With regards to the proliferation of Gretsch models in general in recent times - that's no problem to me. It helps the company to survive. Like some of the earlier posters, I too remember when you almost never saw a Gretsch at a guitar shop in the 80s & 90s, and most of them (like the 60s double cut 6120 I saw at Henri's Music in Green Bay in 1982 [the first Gretsch I ever saw in the flesh]), were usually in pretty ratty condition (I tried out that same double cut 6120 back in 1982, and not only did it have a banged up finish, but the neck was twisted! - no thanks!). It took Gretsches finally becoming available again on a regular basis, for me to give them a second chance test play, and realize that they really are great guitars. More Gretsches mean more opportunities for non-Gretsch players to give them a try, and become Gretsch players.

70

On top of it all, 99.9999% of people won't know the difference, or care. Some folks might know what a Les Paul or Fender Strat is, but, other than that, it's just another guitar to them. To the great majority of them, a 5000 series Electro looks just like a Falcon. One may be more blinged out than the other, but even to a lot of guitarists, it's just a Gretsch like any other.

71

I still drool when I see mine and I've owned it for 10 years already......

72

I still drool when I see mine and I've owned it for 10 years already......

– Hermitt

Hermitt, it's been TOO long not seeing that Bird.

All is better now.

73

Was he Mormon, by chance?

– Ric12string

Lol I don't think so but a church is a better place for it than I had to offer.

74

LDS = Latter Day Saints = Mormons

Just a little humor.

75

I have seen it referred to here as the "Mormon Falcon."


Register Sign in to join the conversation