Modern Gretsch Guitars

I played a Country Gentleman Last Night

1

I was meeting a friend at Guitar Center last night to go over some songs for our gig today. He is an instructor there. While I was waiting I saw it hanging in the used section. I had never played one before. It almost played itself! I get it! It was near perfect feeling. AMAZING!

2

Here is the serial number if anyone is interested.

3

And you left it hanging? no way!

She's a beauty!

4

And you left it hanging? no way!

She's a beauty!

– Suprdave

I wanted to take it! I just can't afford to. I'm honestly not a fan of the gold hardware but I could get past that for how perfect it felt. Do they all feel like this? I was coming up with so many fresh ideas on it. I hope I can remember some of them!

5

Hard to beat a good Gent IMO. Something special about them, and I have a real soft spot for the -58 RI version.

6

I've got my sights set on a 59!

7

I just noticed a few minutes ago while looking at the picture that it has a zero fret. Non-issue! I didn't even realize it while I was playing it. These feel very different from a 6120 or similar style guitar. Now I understand why George Harrison gravitated to them.

8

I've got my sights set on a 59!

– Wade H

Good choice Wade. It's considered by many as the "Holy Grail" of modern Gretsch models.

I've been fortunate enough to have the -58 and -59 Gents at the same time.

I had a love/hate relationship with the -59, even though it was an outstanding guitar in so many ways.

For some reason, I kept graviting to the -58 instead, so the -59 went on its way to a new happy owner.

Still, just hard to beat a Gent.

9

I agree... Particularly fond of the single cut models as well.

10

The only regret regarding my 6122-1962 is having waited so long to get one. Great guitar. The 6122-1959 is simply an experience unto itself. I agree that the zero fret is a non-issue; at least in my experience. One time when thinking the zero fret, I had to go and look at my guitars to see which ones have one.

11

I got my 2008 6122-62 used and had a hard time bonding with it,until i had it professionally setup, fret dressed and had the edges of the fingerboard rounded ,after that ,it was lovely.

Of course i have an old 50's one too,that's the only reason i've never sought out a 59 Chet,but maybe i should,not sure about that wider neck though...

12

Good choice Wade. It's considered by many as the "Holy Grail" of modern Gretsch models.

I've been fortunate enough to have the -58 and -59 Gents at the same time.

I had a love/hate relationship with the -59, even though it was an outstanding guitar in so many ways.

For some reason, I kept graviting to the -58 instead, so the -59 went on its way to a new happy owner.

Still, just hard to beat a Gent.

– J(ust an old Cowboy)D

I'm curious JD, was the slightly wider neck of the '59 the reason you didn't bond with it?

13

I'm curious JD, was the slightly wider neck of the '59 the reason you didn't bond with it?

– Windsordave

Yes and no. I liked the width and got along with it, along with the zero fret. No issue with the long scale either.

The thinner or shallower feeling neck was just playing heck on my hands.

My hands like a fuller neck or the Vintage V neck for comfort. If the wider board, along with a fuller neck would have been on this, it might have stuck around.

That was the -59's "Ticket to Ride" so to speak, for me.

14

Thanks JD. For me I need a thinner neck - less mass of material - to help thumb fretting. That's why I also why I have the strings spaced so the low E is closer to the outer edge of the neck or binding than comes as standard on any guitar.

15

Thanks JD. For me I need a thinner neck - less mass of material - to help thumb fretting. That's why I also why I have the strings spaced so the low E is closer to the outer edge of the neck or binding than comes as standard on any guitar.

– Windsordave

You bet.

FWIW, the one I had was one of the first batch.

It had the larger frets, and the body was waffle braced.

Not sure when certain specs/features changed, but I believe that the current version -59VS have the vintage smaller frets and are trestle braced bodies.

16

The reissue '58, '59, and '62 are all very different guitars - in feel, tone, response, and overall vibe. They almost shouldn't have the same name; the family similarity is that they're all 17" bodies with some version of Filter'Tron. But that's about it. They differ in body depth, bracing, scale length, and cutaway count.

These are not problems. Each one suits a range of purposes, with a significant degree of overlap (though they will sound different from each other in that area of overlap) - but the character of each suits it uniquely to particular applications (or combinations of tone and response) that it does "better" than the other. Specifically, the '58 with its full body is suited to lush jazzy excursions, some of the same territory a Filter'Tron Falcon might cover, and warm woody fingerpicking. The '59 is superbly optimized for rich Chettian fingerpicking, with a bit more tonal focus and mechanical sustain than the '58. And the '62 sounds a bit more like a 335 or other center-plank guitar, with a somewhat more punch and, especially, jangle and chime and even drive with the bridge pickup. So it's ideally suited to a range of applications for Chetpicking through country and rock rhythm and lead. It works better when overdriven than the other two - smoother and more focused. It's definitely the rock version of the Gent.

This is just to say that if you felt instantly at home with what you felt and heard with the '62, the others may not fit quite as well. The '59 (in many ways the smooth luxury flagship of the entire Gretsch line) has a slightly wider neck and longer scale, so may not feel as fast and easy to play. And the '58, with the deeper body, won't feel as sleek or sound as tonally centered (though it has more "bloom" and resonance).

Nother words, if you love the '62...it's probably the one for you. HOWEVER, my favorite '62 is an older (but still FMIC) model, which came out as the "Country Classic" prior to Chet's estate rejoining the Gretsch fold in 2007. It dispenses with the flip-up mutes, for which I have no use. It still has the 14th-fret neck joint and very long heel, which I don't think anyone is crazy about; while it doesn't prevent the determined practitioner from playing high on the neck, it does exact a logistical tax which challenges you to think about what you're doing when you venture up there. (Which may be good therapy for some of us.)

I seem to recall there was a version of the 6122 for a few years which had "modernized" features - still thin-bodied, but with open f-holes, a tone pot (rather than tone switch) circuit, and 18th-fret neck joint. (And, since no dopey mutes, also no dopey genuine fake leatherette backpad with gold piping.) That could be my favoritest config - except it was 25.5" scale, and I prefer the 24.6" of the 6122-62 versions (and the '58, to be pedantic). The 24.6" feels faster and easier to handle to me.

They're all great guitars, each embodying a particular distinctive set of specs and features for unique character. The '62, for me, is close to the ultimate in all-round versatility. I know Gretsch offers more 335-type guitars now, but the '62 was for decades the closest Gretsch came to that brief - the thinline pretty-much-hollowbody with double-coil pickups. Only with a bit less mechanical sustain (thanks to less internal bracing/centerblocking - though the '62 gets some of the composure of a 335 via the closed body), and the distinctive Filter'Tron chime and twang. Pretty close to my ideal of a great semi-hollow ride.

HowEVer, before spending on a 6122-62, you should try a 6120DC, which is pretty much the same guitar (closed hollow doublecut w/Filters) but in 16" body rather than 17". That's a racy rockin' little number, and one of the first Gretchs I wanted. I still want one. I think I'll get one.

That's what I'll do. I've convinced myself.


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