Modern Gretsch Guitars

I won the TV Jones “Fantasy Camp!”

1

Well, it helps to know Tom from way back I guess. But this sure felt like a fantasy camp. Tom and Tauna welcomed me to the new facility in Downtown Paulsbo Washington for some pickup aging, jamming, fretwork and margaritas.

2

Tom did a "human PLEK" procedure on my new 6228. He measured everything, adjusted the truss rod, worked on the saddles and nut, and then filed are recrowned the frets. Sure it played great before, but he was raving about how much he liked the guitar and asked if he could work on it a bit. Of course I was tentative at first, but then I said ok. (Obviously, that last sentence is a joke!) I think I will buy a lottery ticket because I'm feeling pretty lucky right now.

3

Sounds like a great day. How much leveling did the frets require? Just a kiss with the beam/ file, or some serious back and forth?

4

Sounds like a great day. How much leveling did the frets require? Just a kiss with the beam/ file, or some serious back and forth?

– Troy6120

Just a kiss really, pretty minor, but in combination with everything else, it was an improvement.

5

That's awesome. I'm such a fan of Tom's, both as an engineer and a builder. His style is so very cool and seems to be a genuinely nice person.

I love my TV Jones Spectra Sonic Supreme!

6

Tom asked me if I wanted to age some pickup covers for him. I have a lot of experience aging strat parts (for my own builds) so I gladly said yes. He needed a pair of covers for a set of classics going to the Netherlands that afternoon. I think they turned out well.

7

I continued to experiment. Some looked a bit over done...

8

I ended up with four covers I really liked, so I proposed that we make two sets of pickups. I made some Ray Butts, Tom made a Classic neck and a Classic Plus bridge for his Strat. Tom showed me how to do things, and I did them. He did the final wiring though.

9

Tom showed me how to thread the bobbins for the screws and I did it for all four pickups.

10

I then threaded the screws through the top plate and the bobbins, energized and installed the magnets and then put stuff together in general.

11

Tom did the wiring and tested everything.

12

And... Presto, we had two sets of old looking pickups!

14

I have to say this was one of the most fun few days of my life. As much as Tom is a friend, I have to pinch myself when I think of what he means to the guitar world and how much I admire what he continues to do for the industry. He is also a very funny and genuine human being. We both signed the back of each pickup. Kind of a fun reminder of our time together. I talked to him about making me a custom Spectrosonic with an early '54 6120 light to darker orange fade, aged hardware and these pickups in it. He had the idea of a violin finish too, so it looks like it could be old. Can't wait for my next visit!

15

What a fun day!

16

That's awesome. I'm such a fan of Tom's, both as an engineer and a builder. His style is so very cool and seems to be a genuinely nice person.

I love my TV Jones Spectra Sonic Supreme!

– Mark Nason

Mark, you are right! Glad you like your Spectra Sonic. I think they are awesome guitars.

17

You lucky dog you.

I've met and spent a little time with him at a Roundup. Just such a genuine and great guy.

You're so fortunate to have Tom as a friend. And, a friend with some cool benefits.

Thanks for sharing this.

18

Thanks for sharing your story with TV Jones. I enjoyed living vicariously through you!

19

Tom and Tauna are great company. I'll bet that was fun.

20

Cool!

And Paulsbo is a funny place for a Norwegian. Lefse left, lutefisk right and indian food inbetween I thought about calling on TVJ, but as I had no money to spend I decided not to waste his/their time

The coolest thing I saw in town was a dark green '36 Ford 5window coupe. Accidentally found the owner later over lunch as he sat at the next table and heard me commenting on the car

21

It would be fun to learn how the two Toms know each other...beyond both being guitar geeks like myself, and the rest of our GDP nutcases...

22

What a great story and experience! THANK YOU for sharing this!

24

It would be fun to learn how the two Toms know each other...beyond both being guitar geeks like myself, and the rest of our GDP nutcases...

– Twangmeisternyc

I was building a guitar for a friend and called Tom to order the pickups. He said he was moving to Washington state and asked if I could give him a few weeks to get settled? When he was all moved in, I flew up to visit the friend I was building the guitar for (who actually lived in Seattle) and we took the ferry to Paulsbo and went to Tom's new shop. We hit it off and talked about everything else Tom was doing.

A little later my family stayed with Tom and family before heading off on a trip north. Our kids jammed together and we had lots of fun. That's the semi-short version. I ended up being Elvis in Tom's booth at NAMM in 2006 and 2007. So we just enjoy each others company. I also try to give him ideas. I pushed him really hard to make T-Armonds. Luckily, he did that!

But Tom has an incredible ear. I asked him a ton of questions about how a pickup would sound with waxed vs. unwaxed bobbins, aluminum vs. steel bottom plates, etc. He intuitively knows what will sound good too. Finally, after having him work on my guitar, I can tell you he has a gift for setting them up. He actually watched me play after adjusting the truss rod a few times. He set it where he felt I played best. You don't get that from most techs. I played my guitar for 3 hours straight at rehearsal last night and the frets were just so smooth and the guitar had just the right action for me.

So, that's how I met Tom. See how hard it is to make a long story short?


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