Modern Gretsch Guitars

Modifying “The Bear”


Many of you will remember Steve "Bear" Bistrow and when he got his 6120DC.

It came stock with TV Jones Classics and a Chet arm. Unfortunately, Steve had to sell it due to financial pressures and so I acquired it.

The only thing I initially did was to add a stainless steel Tru-Arc. It was and is a fantastic guitar.


What always kind of bothered me about the 6120 was the mixmatch of metals with the pickups and tuning machines in gold and the chrome/aluminum bridge and Bigsby. I always assumed that it was to help justify the then $100 difference between the 6120 and the Country Gentleman, not realizing that at one time the Country Gent also had an aluminum Bigsby.

I started a post on here several years ago about the mixmatch and asking people's opinions on the matter. As expected, some agreed with me, some liked the contrast, some couldn't care less and others wanted to change everything to nickel/chrome/aluminum.

Well, I figured that it was my guitar and I could do whatever I wanted with it and so, tonight, I changed (almost) everything to gold.

I got a recent V Cut B6 that happened to have the string through bar. First one of those I have used. and then got a Chet arm for it. Bear turned me on to those and they seem to make things smoother for me.

I also had obtained a brass or copper Tru Arc awhile back to use on another guitar but never got around to it. So I put that on. But that left silver thumbwheels. Oh well, I don't have anything to change those out to at the moment so I will leave that mismatch there -- for now.

Anyway, this is how it turned out:

I expect that the reaction will pretty much mirror the reactions in the earlier post but that's fine. I like it.

Besides, Gretsch has used gold Bigsbys on a number of 6120s in the past, I've just never seen one on a double cutaway before.


Looks nice Don, and it's what you like. That's all that really matters.

My -58 Gent has the mismatch too, ans so did the originals. Honestly, if I were to change out the Bigsby, I would go with another polished aluminum, but the "V" cut version. Just me, but gold would look good to.

That's a sweet 6120 that you have, and a special one too.


It's a special guitar, for sure. Hopefully, some of Bear's mojo stayed with it. Enjoy it!


Looks great, Don. (It looked good before, too.)

A 6120DC is a special guitar - one of the first that attracted me to Gretsch years ago - and somehow I've never come into one. Someday I might rectify that!

I'm glad Bear's has such a good home.


Great to see this, Don. Looks great and I know it sounds cool.


Liked it all, including Bear's clip. Good to see you Don. Burch


I enjoyed watching the video of (I'm guessing that was Bear) playing the guitar!

Very enjoyable to watch someone thoroughly enjoying himself as he plays. He looked as happy as a lark!

Really nice thank you for that video!


Looks great! I have “obsessed” over the appearance of a guitar and know where you’re coming from. You made it yours. Congrats


Wonderful news that Steve's guitar has found a happy and caring home, and great work by you Don in making it your own!

Congratulations on your gorgeous guitar!


I like the new look Don, it's very appealing. Thanks for the video clip, Bear really seemed to be enjoying home, and im glad you are the new custodian of his guitar.


Nice to see that video of Steve again ,Don,the geet looks great!


I almost forgot that I had one more mod to make.

Makes me like it just a little bit more.


Very nice tribute to a bonafide Gretsch loving guy. Steve was one of the good ones.


I like the touch on the truss rod cover, Don. very nice touch.


"The Bear' very nice touch and a tribute to a great guy that is now gone. Good job Don


Well done, Sir.


Your mods look great, got a lump in my throat when I saw "The Bear" truss rod cover. Nice to see Steve's guitar is respected and in good hands.


I know I say this a lot here but ...Very cool!


I'm sure you are not alone getting a lump in your throat. Like a lot of us "The Bear" Steve was appreciated and admired here on this forum.


Don -- a very thoughtful and admirable effort by you to pay tribute to Steve with your TR cover.

Hats off to you!


I was fortunate enough to meet and jam with Bear several times, but it was before and after he had that guitar. That is a beautiful instrument!


Just saw this thread. I'm not a regular on the forum, but I did communicate with Steve on a regular basis. What a nice tribute, Don! Steve was a good guy!

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