Modern Gretsch Guitars

It’s Been a While - Last Ditch Gretsch Attempt For Me

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Hi People,

It's been a while for me. As you know, I used to be everybody's favorite Country Club nut. Why did I disappear? Well, my last 'Club was one of the first year '59 Reissues. As you know, those have trestle bracing. It was decent guitar but it weighed a ton (almost as much as the 1980 Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion I gigged with for most of the 90s, that was the heaviest electric guitar I've ever had [it literally weighed 13 lbs, and used to give me a sore left shoulder by the time the 2nd set rolled around]). I got fed up with the the '59 Reissue 'Club's weight.

Also, after decades of playing guitar (I've been playing since 1979), I got tired of dealing with guitars with thin necks (I bought into the whole "a slim neck is a fast playing neck" nonsense for a long time), and having had since about 2014, a few non-Gretsches with chunkier necks that I found oh so comfortable, I decided to say bye-bye to guitars with thin necks (which so many Gretsches seem to have). Thin necks probably wouldn't be much of an issue for me it I did like most players, and played with my thumb sticking up or over the neck, while fisting the neck with my left hand, and making use of my thumb, to fret the lower strings for certain chords, but I play in the classical style (courtesy of an uncle who had classical guitar lessons instructing me to do so back in 1979), with my thumb behind the neck, which unless you have tiny hands, makes thin necks uncomfortable. This requirement (for a chunkier guitar neck), has made it a bit of hassle for me to find guitars (both electric and acoustic) that I like. Due to a lack of neck dimension information (for both the neck thickness, and the neck width) by guitar manufacturers, I've had more than a few failed guitar experiments (grr!!!), with regards to both electric and acoustic guitars (I found out the hard way [I bought a DSS-17], that me and the Modified Low Oval neck profile that almost all Martin guitars have means, I will never have another Martin guitar), but that's the way things are.

Therefore, as a result of the above 2 factors, I said so long to my last Gretsch (my '59 Reissue Country Club) about 3 plus years ago. Well, you know me, as I've said in the past there are certain guitars I can't seem to get over. If I get rid of one of them, sooner or later, I seem to get another one. Gretsches seem to be in that category. I finally received back-pay from the State of Wisconsin for the partial unemployment I was receiving due to the Covid-19 pandemic, to the tune of over $3200. I'm sitting OK financially (I was working enough hours at work, to pay my bills). So, once again, thoughts of having another Gretsch have surfaced - with the provisos below:

  1. NO THIN NECKS - I'm tired of fighting with/telling myself "I'll get used to it over time" when it comes to thin necks.

  2. Hollowbody if possible - yeah I know I'm one of the Gretsch oddballs, in that I don't do twang banging roots, or rockabilliy music, but I do love the sound of a hollowbody Gretsch (if the amp is set up right), when played with some seriously dirty tone - they get nice and throaty sounding. Also, hollowbodies look cool, and with their larger bodies, provide me with convenient right arm rest, since I like to strap my guitars pretty high (like a jazz guitarist), when I play.

  3. I would prefer a ProLine - I've gotten spoiled by playing ProLines, and would only consider an Electromatic, or Streamliner, if it has a nice and chunky neck (which is doubtful to me - every Electromatic I've played, has had a pretty thin neck).

When I was last active on this forum, I alluded towards the fact that I was gravitating towards thicker necked guitars. Well, now I've outright stated it. I don't necessarily need a Gretsch hollowbody with a baseball bat neck like a Fender Nocaster, or the '54 Country Club I used to have (I regret getting rid of that guitar) - though it would be nice, but I'd be just about as happy to have one with a neck that had at least as much heft to it, as the neck my 60s Baja Tele had (sort of a Fender 60s Medium C). I doubt that short of coughing up several thousand dollars for a 50s Gretsch, I'd be able to get with a neck as chunky as my 2015 Heritage H535 (with Heritage's optional thick neck), or my 2020 Vintera 50s Telecaster have, but it doesn't hurt to ask - maybe somebody has information I don't have.

Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.

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Ellen! Waas up?

So glad to see that you're back.

I like the feel of my Falcon's neck and it seems like the G54** series have the same neck. I don't know if I'd call it chunky but, to me, feels more beefy than my other Gretsches.

I play rock through Hollow bodies too.

TDC's new song

Seriously though, Welcome back, girly!

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Can you measure the neck of the Heritage at a few points so we know what your idea of good chunky is?

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Ellen! Waas up?

So glad to see that you're back.

I like the feel of my Falcon's neck and it seems like the G54** series have the same neck. I don't know if I'd call it chunky but, to me, feels more beefy than my other Gretsches.

I play rock through Hollow bodies too.

TDC's new song

Seriously though, Welcome back, girly!

– Suprdave

Hi Dave! Hmmm, so food for thought. The Falcons are basically Country Clubs with more bling. I didn't know the neck info on the G5400 Series guitars - more food for thought.

BTW, cool sounding song! LOVE the griding guitar tone!

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Good to see you again!

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Can you measure the neck of the Heritage at a few points so we know what your idea of good chunky is?

– NJBob

Hi Bob.

I'll have to do that on Monday, when I can bring home a caliper or micrometer (I work as a Quality Engineer, so I have access to that kind of gaging), but maybe this will help you - on the 60s Baja (which I said was my minimum for neck thickness), I remember being a part of the discussion for the TDPRI thread this info is from:

Fender 60s Baja Tele Neck Thickness

  1. .852" thickness at the 1st fret
  2. .923" at the 12th fret
  3. The shoulder is a bit more rounded than your typical modern dimension Fender Neck
  4. The neck is a Large C shape Profile

Fender Vintera 50s Telecaster - this my main "grab & go" guitar nowadays

  1. Early 50s Fender U - shades of a Nocaster neck
  2. .900 to .950" thickness at the 1st fret
  3. 1.000" thickness at the 12th fret

My Heritage H535 is like a 50s Gibson neck profile.

F.Y.I. - I have a line on a 1967 Country Club at Chicago Music Exchange (I've already e-mailed back and forth with them a few times about it) that was reasonably chunky at .880" at the 1st fret, and .960" at the 12th fret.

https://www.chicagomusicexc...

I was even willing to trade my Heritage and my Vintera 50s Tele towards it - I don't want to blow all of my unemployment money on a guitar, and I'm starting to gravitate towards having just one electric guitar, since I haven't gigged in a rock band in ages, and my Heritage has become a bit of a Case Queen. There is one sticking point though, the neck width is kind of narrow at the nut - 1.625" If I remember right, the neck width at the nut of the Terada made Gretsches is 1.688".

I've also had under consideration, a 2012 Country Club that a guy is selling on Reverb (I used to have a 2011 Country Club). I just don''t remember (it's been 5 or 6 years since I've had it) what the neck dimensions are on that era of Country clubs.

https://reverb.com/item/275...

Like I said in my first post, I don't need a baseball bat neck (I did not get rid of my 60s Baja because of its neck - I just found its S1 switching a waste, and didn't feel like modding the wiring to get rid of the S1 switching), more than anything else, I hate having the cramped feeling when playing on the first few frets (especially when making chords by the nut), that thin (and narrow for that matter) necks give me.

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Good to see you again!

– Toddfan

Thanks

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Howdy, Stranger.

Glad to see you're back.

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If you want a wider nut, the 59 CountryGent RI is 1.75".

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Dang cool She's back. I am all tweaky about necks depth and nut width also-- so I am not alone.

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Hi Ellen. Great to see you back! We need more of us playing Gretsch guitars slightly different than the (cool) rootsy style. I remember you having some troubles with certain metals. Is that an issue still? Will you have to refret new guitars?

Welcome back and good luck on your hunt! For me neck shape and profile are the main factors when it comes to getting along with a guitar.

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If you want a wider nut, the 59 CountryGent RI is 1.75".

– seadevil

Those are still very flat, aren't they?

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I agree with seadevil the 59 CGRI has a wide neck. I have one (2013) and it is very noticeable compared to my 6120T (2015). Another consideration may be something with a V neck like the Setzers or 59 Nashvilles.

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Hi Ellen! Great to see you back! Hope you find a Gretsch that works for you. Would be nice to have you around more often. Cheers!

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Hello Ellen, if you can, check out a G5422TG. You'll spend about $1200 for one with a G6241 Deluxe Hardshell Case. They are a full hollow body (with a sound post), and have a nice thick/er neck that many people find very comfortable. They have a pinned bridge, and they are a stellar build, worth every penny and then some. Mine is a 2018, and since then, they have made several more variations of the guitar. Here's a look at mine, I have no regrets about buying this Electromatic guitar. The Blacktop Filtertron pickups have a nice edgy sound, that is very versatile -

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G6241 Deluxe Hardshell Case.

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Hi Ellen. Great to see you back! We need more of us playing Gretsch guitars slightly different than the (cool) rootsy style. I remember you having some troubles with certain metals. Is that an issue still? Will you have to refret new guitars?

Welcome back and good luck on your hunt! For me neck shape and profile are the main factors when it comes to getting along with a guitar.

– sascha

Hi Sascha, longtime no see! Yes, I still have issues with nickel and chromium, and as a result, every guitar I buy needs a refret with Jescar EVO Gold hypoallergenic frets, and I'm pretty much stuck with using Ernie Ball Cobalt, cobalt alloy strings for my electric guitars.

I'm still a bit if a sucker for a 17" wide hollowbody, but I don't know if I'll find anything Gretsch or otherwise, that has a reasonably chunky neck, unless I start coughing up the bucks for a vintage guitar. I don't want to do that.

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If you want a wider nut, the 59 CountryGent RI is 1.75".

– seadevil

Interesting, but what is the neck profile? Are Gents kind of thin for neck thickness?

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I agree with seadevil the 59 CGRI has a wide neck. I have one (2013) and it is very noticeable compared to my 6120T (2015). Another consideration may be something with a V neck like the Setzers or 59 Nashvilles.

– Hogman

The only thing, is that I don't like V-profile necks. I had a 'Setzer Hot Rod about 12 years ago, and it's V-profile neck ended up being a real turn-off for me.

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Glad to see you back Ellen. Hope all is well.

If you want a hollowbody with a fairly chunky neck contour look into the Epiphone John Lee Hooker Zephyr (mini humbuckers) or, for more money, the Eastman T64/V (P-90s). Both are 24.75" scale.

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Those are still very flat, aren't they?

– sascha

That's my gut feeling.

I'm beginning to think that if I get one, it's going to be that 2012 'Club I mentioned earlier, that's selling on Reverb, since if I remember right, they have a U-Profile neck, that's right at my lower limit for necks. It's been several years since I had one from that era, but if I remember right, the '59 Reissue 'Clubs have thinner necks (at least it felt that way to me - I got rid of my 2011, and bought the '59 Reissue, because of its trestle bracing, more than anything else, which ended up being another failed guitar experiment!).

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The only thing, is that I don't like V-profile necks. I had a 'Setzer Hot Rod about 12 years ago, and it's V-profile neck ended up being a real turn-off for me.

– EllenGtrGrl

Ya know you could go and find a nice big box from the mid 30s to the early 50s and put a floating pickup on it? My old 1935 Imperator "C" would fill that nitch place as would my 1948 Cats eye Gretsch. Very round, chunky necks that are comfortable to play? Might be an option for you? AND, if you get the right one it could become more valuable as you use it?

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Glad to see you back Ellen. Hope all is well.

If you want a hollowbody with a fairly chunky neck contour look into the Epiphone John Lee Hooker Zephyr (mini humbuckers) or, for more money, the Eastman T64/V (P-90s). Both are 24.75" scale.

– Caliban335

Hi Caliban, longtime no see! You have to be careful about Epiphone John Lee Hooker Zephyrs, some have chunky necks (I think maybe the older ones), and some have pretty thin necks. As for Eastmans - I like their necks! I have an Eastman E2OM-CD OM-size acoustic, and it has a wonderful neck.


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