Modern Gretsch Guitars

Is Gretsch applying B7 vibratos for their aesthetics?

1

I just saw a guy on-line selling his recently removed B70 from lower-end Gretsch because he had replaced it with a V-style B6. Now I'm seeing these new Penguins are equipped with a B7 format Bigsby as well. Is there something different about the neck sets on these newer Gretsch guitars that suddenly require the added string tension that the B7 delivers? Or is this trend just an effort to create some visual diversity within the Gretsch model line? I guess I don't mind the aesthetics of it, but as a purist it's hard not to want to see a B3 on a Jet-style Gretsch.

2

I have to think it's due to the break angle. Notice that in your picture, the bridge is mounted directly to the top, whereas in the old-style Jets and Penguins, the bridge sat on a rosewood base, which elevated it more, making it suitable for a B3 style Bigsby. Like this one here:

4

The new player's editions have the shallow neck set. I think it's part of the Gretsch strategy to cut into Les Paul shares of the market.

5

To me, with the Player Edition Jets, FMIC probably wanted to sink the fretboard closer to the body, making it more a Les Paul-like affair. Cleaning up the neck joint for ‘comfort’, ‘sustain’, or ‘speed’, who knows. But in that I think they also wanted to eliminate shallow break angles that might come along with reduced neck angles, or just in general for light string gauge players. You can tell the Penguin has a flatter overall playing geometry, sunken Filtertrons and no bridge base. I think this is to win over those players who freak out with traditional Gretsch where the strings are high off the body. I don’t think it’s purely to look different.

I personally don’t like it, but that’s why I bought a ‘53 VS Scipty. My fretboard end floats and sits high ‘n proud

6

What's up with that mohawk on the penguin in your original pic?

7

Broadkaster and other Players Edition models are designed with a lower neck set which is intended to bring the right hand closer to the body. That design necessitated the B7.

I was not aware that Gretsch was doing the same on other groups.

8

That penguin in the first pic is this japanese dude's signature model, that's why the penguin has a Mohawk and the whole bigsby/bridge setup is different. That model does indeed have a lower neck set like a player's edition.

10

Thanks for the knowledge boys! I have a vague recollection that the Elliot Easton (green) signature Jet model came with a B7 on it... right? I think that was the first time I ever saw a B7 on a Gretsch. Did that model have the lower neck set as well?

11

The bridge was mounted directly to the body, no base, and yes B7.

Guessing that the neck set would be lower for that.

12

That seems to have solved a problem the newer bigsbys created by having no string posts on there.

My buddy, who owns a few newer B-6 equipped style Gretsches noticed and complained to me that with no string posts, the strings have a tendency to wrap around on top of themselves, and without that tension bar, causes tuning issues.

His thought was to either make the string through rod/bar a bit thicker, make the string posts an installation option, or put a break angle bar on there.

I'm not sure if this is the reason they're doing it now, but if it's a legitimate fix, that could be the reason.

13

Great observation crowbone. If that’s accurate then it would be an example of not leaving well enough alone. The Bigsby (with string posts) design has worked just fine for 60 years... if it ain’t broke...

14

That seems to have solved a problem the newer bigsbys created by having no string posts on there.

My buddy, who owns a few newer B-6 equipped style Gretsches noticed and complained to me that with no string posts, the strings have a tendency to wrap around on top of themselves, and without that tension bar, causes tuning issues.

His thought was to either make the string through rod/bar a bit thicker, make the string posts an installation option, or put a break angle bar on there.

I'm not sure if this is the reason they're doing it now, but if it's a legitimate fix, that could be the reason.

– crowbone

Guess that I'm not understanding how the strings are wrapping around on top of themselves.

Two of my B6c's have the Callaham string through bar, and stay in tune with zero issues. (A Phoenix and 6120LTV)

FWIW, Chet removed his pins before most of us were around!

15

Thanks for the knowledge boys! I have a vague recollection that the Elliot Easton (green) signature Jet model came with a B7 on it... right? I think that was the first time I ever saw a B7 on a Gretsch. Did that model have the lower neck set as well?

– kc_eddie_b

Yes, the Elliot Easton was mounted flush with the body like a Les Paul. Even the players edition ones aren't totally flush, but about 50% lower.

16

Yes, the Elliot Easton was mounted flush with the body like a Les Paul. Even the players edition ones aren't totally flush, but about 50% lower.

– Chmason85

My 6129BZ also has a B7-ish Bigsby (B12). Billy put washers under it to increase the height.

17

A local shop posted a picture of someone buying a Jet and I kept looking at it thinking "Why doesn't it look right?" Turns out it has a B7 and a fixed bridge. LOL

One of my jets was modified before I got it and it's got a tuneomatic fixed bridge but I've still got a V-cut on it.


Register Sign in to join the conversation