Modern Gretsch Guitars

Musings on the Jet Set

1

This could have been posted in the vintage section, or even the miscellaneous section, but here seems just as appropriate. Now that I am down to owning just two Gretsch guitars, in reminiscing on all the ones that have come and gone, some fifteen or so that included various versions of the Anniversary, Falcons, 6120s, a couple Tennessee Roses, and one Tennessean, the question of why I never owned a Jet came to mind. It seems to occupy a special place in the realm of Gretschdom for those who own them; loyal and proud ownership always in evidence.

Having picked one up to play on only one occasion, which felt great, I have no reason to criticize or complain. The only negative that I can possibly recall, probably an erroneous assumption, is that they sound 'small' compared to hollow bodied Gretsches. So, do tell, what is it about your Jets that make them outstanding and sit in such high esteem?

2

Mine plays small and sounds enormous. The combination of build and Dynasonics give it a sound and a character unlike anything else. It works for any sort of music I throw at it, but sounds distinctive in all of them. It's a chameleon that hides not by sounding just like everything else, but by sounding uniquely itself while fitting in with any environment.

I get that you can look at one and think it's going to sound smaller than a hollowbody. But somehow it doesn't. In fact, the spacious volume and overall depth of its tone surprise me every time I play it.

3

Penguin Power - Cadillac Class:

Because Jets are chambered, they also deliver That Great Gretsch Sound.

4

My 6129T with TV Jones gets play time when it comes to higher gain. Don’t get me wrong, I love the cleans but whenever I have the urge for a LP type of crunch, the Jet delivers all the time.

And the cutaway is easier than my Falcon and Setzer.

5

"It's a chameleon that hides not by sounding just like everything else, but by sounding uniquely itself while fitting in with any environment."

Well that's impressive; distinct and flexible. Not many guitars are capable of that; it goes beyond being simply versatile.

6

My Silverjet sounds crazy good, plays crazy good.

You kind of do need a jet.

7

I don’t think they sound small just slightly different. I used to mostly play hollow bodies and still have them but I like the feel of a smaller guitar much more now. A hollow body feels a bit clumsy to me now.

8

I bought my Jet because my 6122 just didn't fit my body size. Both guitars were equipped with High Sensitivity Filtertrons, Tru-Arcs, and Bigsbys, and the adjustment to the Jet was very easy. But truth be told I missed the bigger sound of the hollows and bought an Anniversary which I love for loud rocking because of the ML bracing, and then my 6120 which is more for clean fingerpicking. I still love my Jet though:)

9

Sometimes people worry too much about which sound is "bigger." I'm looking for a certain tone--it needs to be warm, but it also has to cut through. Anyway, it's in my head. That tone is different with a gretsch hollybody, but five minutes after switching guitars the "different" tone is working too. I mean, you can't play two guitars at once.

Lately my silverjet just has "it," and there are a lot of guys here who will tell you I should flip out the filts for dynas, but it's working, and I can even get twang if I need it.

On the other hand, my m75t is surprisingly great. It took a while to get the pickup poles just right (and it really matters), but it's pretty awesome for a cheap guitar.

Kind of makes me want a Gibson p-90 gold top though.

K

10

Thanks for all the interesting comments guys. My recent interest was spawned by seeing Julian Lage, who is quickly making it to the top of my list of favorite musicians, playing a Jet, thanks to the member who posted this in another thread.

The more videos I'm able to check out, the more it appears that the Dearmond style pickups, in whatever version, add to the distinctive character of the Jet. Not to slight the Filter'tron pickup in any way, but, those who play Jets with Dyna'sonics or some version of the old Dearmonds seem unquestionably committed to the format, and the appeal is becoming apparent.

11

Thanks for all the interesting comments guys. My recent interest was spawned by seeing Julian Lage, who is quickly making it to the top of my list of favorite musicians, playing a Jet, thanks to the member who posted this in another thread.

The more videos I'm able to check out, the more it appears that the Dearmond style pickups, in whatever version, add to the distinctive character of the Jet. Not to slight the Filter'tron pickup in any way, but, those who play Jets with Dyna'sonics or some version of the old Dearmonds seem unquestionably committed to the format, and the appeal is becoming apparent.

– Journeyman

Thanks for all the interesting comments guys.

Thank you for the link to Julian Lage. That was pretty magnificent.

12

And that isn't even the default/typical Jet-with-Dynas tone. He's found his own tone in it - but what is familiar to me from my own Jet is how smoothly and naturally the guitar transitions dynamically between registers, tones, and dynamic levels. Mine is just magically responsive in that way. It's a fluid link between intention and expression. Tractable? It's effortlessly manageable.

An extension of oneself, as they say.

13

Patience...( I mutter to myself )..patience.

14

And that isn't even the default/typical Jet-with-Dynas tone. He's found his own tone in it - but what is familiar to me from my own Jet is how smoothly and naturally the guitar transitions dynamically between registers, tones, and dynamic levels. Mine is just magically responsive in that way. It's a fluid link between intention and expression. Tractable? It's effortlessly manageable.

An extension of oneself, as they say.

– Proteus

"an extension of one's self"

...and that's what it's all about

15

Sometimes people worry too much about which sound is "bigger." I'm looking for a certain tone--it needs to be warm, but it also has to cut through. Anyway, it's in my head. That tone is different with a gretsch hollybody, but five minutes after switching guitars the "different" tone is working too. I mean, you can't play two guitars at once.

Lately my silverjet just has "it," and there are a lot of guys here who will tell you I should flip out the filts for dynas, but it's working, and I can even get twang if I need it.

On the other hand, my m75t is surprisingly great. It took a while to get the pickup poles just right (and it really matters), but it's pretty awesome for a cheap guitar.

Kind of makes me want a Gibson p-90 gold top though.

K

– Konrad

It's not worrying about what sounds bigger, it's what works for the job. I tried my Jet in my solo gig and frankly it didn't move enough air "for me" to make it viable alternative to my acoustic guitar. My 6120 on the other hand, is doing it for me. I've owned the guitar for a few weeks, and it's already out there earning it's keep. Now, to turn the tables, if I was gigging with my full band, the DuoJet would be out there earning the nickles! Different music, different tool.

16

It might be time to talk about pickups on the Dyna Jet. If you still have the stockers, you should give T-Armonds or Seymour Duncan Dynas serious consideration.

I liked the tone of my Jet, found it interesting and intriguing - but always seemed to be overplaying it, digging for some kind of more that just wasn't there. Put Seymour Dynas on it (T-Armonds weren't available yet) and there it was in all its fulness and majesty. I think the stock Dynasonics are fine on any guitar at least 2", maybe 2.25" deep, and pretty fully hollow. On thinner guitars - and chambered guitars - they just don't go quite the whole distance for me. Maybe they need the extra top vibration of the hollows to really get them going.

But the (always hotter) Seymours or T-Armonds make up any difference and then some. My Jet went from "interesting voice, what do I do with it" to cold dead hands.

17

Proteus, I have a question. I saw your video shoot-out and had to almost strain to hear the difference. Does this seem like a fair assessment; The T-Armonds sound a little sweeter, more "polite" ?

My experience with pickups, as with soup, is you can always add more salt, but it's harder to take it out. And are the Duncan Dynas the same version that he worked on with BZ? ...more "raw"?

18

I think of the T-Armonds (at least the wind I got - Tom can wind them to spec) as a little more "hi-fi" than the Duncans. I guess it depends on where you hear sweetness. More polite, yes, maybe. More refined, anyway. Clearer in the low mids? For me the Duncans are a little fuller, a little gainier.

Not a big difference, though.

20

Has anyone talked to Tom or the SD folks about rewinding the stock dynas?

21

"It might be time to talk about pickups on the Dyna Jet. If you still have the stockers, you should give T-Armonds or Seymour Duncan Dynas serious consideration."

No stockers as I don't own a Jet. As the appeal of owning a Jet with Dearmond style pickups grows, it will be a very long time before I'll be in a position to justify it. I just made the move from exile in Hamilton back to my old neighborhood in Toronto, and real estate here is VERY expensive. In the meantime, all the Jet musings from you all are very satisfying and illuminating.

22

http://gretschpages.com/gui...

Just an idea to speed up your quest. I picked up one of the first generation Electromatic Projets and dropped a pair of T’armonds into it with Very little pertinent mods to the Guitar. Used first gens can be had for around $300 in the states....just a thought....

23

Your assessment that they sound smaller than a hollow bodied Gretsch is fair and accurate. What I have noticed is that a Duo Jet blends with other guitars and other instruments in a mix perfectly. They carve out their own sonic space unique to them. Their tone is focused on the midrange where a hollow bodied Gretsch adds more lows and highs. Whether a Jet has Dynasonics or Filtertrons a Jet on a recording will stay out of the way of the bass and will compliment whatever other guitar or keys you want to add. Sonically a Jet falls somewhere between a Telecaster and Stratocaster on one end and a Les Paul on the other.

I also tried to use a Duo Jet to take the place of my acoustic guitar and a solo gig and it didn't work as well for that application. A full hollow body is better because of the full frequency response.


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