Modern Gretsch Guitars

New to Gretsch and the forum

26

So I am going to leave this one stock. It seems to have really settled in the last week. I did order a spring from Reverend guitars as the arm movement is not quite where I want it to be.

28

Thanks, now I just need to find a better amp.

29

That sure is a beautiful guitar, Baiff. Looks like you made the right choice.

30

Thanks. I love these DS pickups. I would like to eventually get a Gretsch with Filtertrons but this will do.......for now.

31

Thanks, now I just need to find a better amp.

– Baiff

Okay, let's go down that road. What music/style do you want to play? Gig or at home playing. Are you thinking of vintage or new for the amp?

Have you considered using the pic of your new Gretsch for your avatar?

32

I like blues, rock, rockabilly, jazz and slowly getting into country. Probably new for the amp as it's hard to find a vintage one that either is too collectable or needs a lot done to it. I tried the new Supro amps but hated the reverb. I may go PRRI or even a Blues Deluxe, Delta Blues or Vox. I will try and get a new avatar pic up soon.

33

I like blues, rock, rockabilly, jazz and slowly getting into country. Probably new for the amp as it's hard to find a vintage one that either is too collectable or needs a lot done to it. I tried the new Supro amps but hated the reverb. I may go PRRI or even a Blues Deluxe, Delta Blues or Vox. I will try and get a new avatar pic up soon.

– Baiff

Nice avatar!

May I suggest you look into some of the terrific vintage Silverface amps - Blackface have a reputation that keeps their values elevated. There are plenty of them around and not necessarily in need of too much work, aside from replacing the caps and perhaps a tube or two, and except for the odd model are cheaper than the reissues and better amps.

Of the newer ones, I like the Delta Blues. Nice tone with its 15" speaker and there's some good deals online for about half the price of a DRRI.

34

Are you gigging, or is it an amp for home or studio? PRRI or Vox AC10 if you don't need tons of power. There are a lot of small 5 watt amps around at great prices, too. Deluxe Reverb or AC 15 for more power.

35

Welcome to the GreTsch addiction pages!

36

Great advice. It will be mostly for home but I would like the option of taking it out. The Delta Blues Silverface 70's PR and a Vox AC15 would be the three to look at. Tone and reliability are my main concerns. Not sure how the Vox hold up. The Peavey has a pretty good build record from what I can see.

37

Nothing like a good 15" speaker! The Peavey doesn't have many comparables. There's the Fender Custom Twin 15 but its far more output than you need and is a beast to move. I have a Gretsch Executive with a great Eminence Legend 15" and it's a sensational amp. A good one might be had for $16-1800 - new were over $3K IIRC. 22 watts & 50 lbs. At 50 lbs BTW, it's the same weight as my '66 Pro Reverb - 40 watts & 2x12".

FWIW, an Executive - hand-wired boutique amp - for a few hundred more is a better deal than a new non-hand-wired DRRI with it's 1x12".

38

Good point WindsorDave. I actually live about 40 minutes away from Victoria Amp Co. that use to make the Gretsch amps a few years ago. I should see what they have as comparables. They don't make them anymore due to their cost and people just didn't buy them. They do sound great though. I would prefer hardwired and don't mind spending the extra $$$ on it. I will do some searching for a DB as it looks like a nice inexpensive amp that would tide me over for awhile. Sorry, this discussion is turning into an amp thread. Thanks for all the input.

39

Local poster Charlie Vegas has a great way of attaching strings: run the first loop above the string-through and the rest below; this locks the string in place as well as any mechanism.

– lx

Yup.

40

I will have to try this today. My soft spring from Reverend should be here and I need to change my strings. I always did the basic top down wrap around the post on my telecasters due to the split shaft tuners.

41

Delta Blues, AC15, and SF Princeton are three very different options.

• There's probably no better classic-Fender-in-a-compact-package than a good Princeton. Great power and full-range tone in a smallish, light box. Nothing bad to say about it. For the same, but a little bigger, of course the Deluxe Rev. For my taste, either is a better choice than a Blues Deluxe. You didn't like the Supro reverb - so obviously the quality of reverb is something you're shopping. Amp springverb doesn't get better than these Fenders.

• AC15, no. Ridiculously heavy, and I had a hard time finding a pleasant sound in mine. Seemed boxy and either muddy or harsh. No magic. Didn't flatter DynaSonics at ALL. Also, inferior reverb.

• I have a Delta Blues, fine amp all around. Uniquely itself, warm and full, clarity without stridency. Doesn't exactly Fender-sparkle, but can be bright enough in its own way that you don't miss it. (And with Dynas, too much sparkle can get thin anyway.) Superb tremolo (if you don't pedal for that). Good-enough reverb, though it doesn't measure up to Fender's: i.e., it works in context and you don't think "this reverb sucks" - but you don't play a note and float in the verb, either. The DB is physically small for a 15 combo, and not too heavy. Looks good. Again, nothing bad to say about it.

But I find my Classic 30s do everything it does - except that 10% more low-end fullness that can rarely be used live, and trem (which I get from a pedal now anyway). The C30 is probably a bit more tonally diverse, as the tighter focus of the 12 lets you dial in tones that can get wooly/diffuse with the DB's 15. Same reverb as the DB. Sweet tonal palette, again from as bright as I need, down through more attractive chime than I ever got from the AC15. Warmth, clarity, headroom - all there in a very compact and reasonably light package. Not for the want of other, more expensive choices in my stable, but the C30s are my most-used amp. Great with DynaSonics.

You mention reliability and service: be aware the C30 does drive those four little bottles to microphonics fairly quickly - maybe 18-24 months with regular home use. The Tom's Tube Tamer stabilizer (google it) improves the situation greatly; I also keep a quartet of (usually) JJs on hand. So 50.00 in periodic maintenance, like we used to change spark plugs, coil, and condenser.

I bought both of my C30s used, one from EBay. It had some annoying pops and hisses a couple amp techs couldn't find. Finally I called the home office in Meridian and sent the chassis down there. Had it back in 10 days, perfect, for about 65.00. Call down there for handles, nameplates, whatever - and they're stupid cheap, come in a few days. No customer service runaround on the front end either; you get right to a pleasant, usually female, southern voice who just handles it. First class.

It's also worth mentioning that both Peaveys have really excellent dirt/overdrive. Everything from a bit of hair to just-sub-shred, with all stages between. Easily shaped with the onboard EQ, and just very attractive. Easily as good as most dirt pedals, but more naturally ampy. It's a bit easier to set up on the C30, as it's configured more like a second channel with independent gain and volume. On the DB, it's a setting on the single channel, you might have to set up a different gain structure, so it's not as easy to switch between.

AND both amps have a very effective mid-boost switch which dramatically fattens the tone. Great for girthing up singlecoils when necessary, and would let your DynaSonics masquerade as humbuckers should the need arise.

Enough about the Peaveys.

• If you're not a tube purist, consider the Tech21 Trademark 60. Solid state, but it's hard to tell from the tone. Same size as the C30, feels like half the weight. Gobs of power, but sounds as good at tiny volumes as when louder. Probably more tonally versatile than any of the above, as it really doesn't try to have its own character.

The tone controls are very different than anything I've used, and take some learning and getting used to - but once you've got them in hand you can dial in pretty satisfying "American" (BF/SF), "British" (Vox/Marshall) - or anything else you can conceive. Very wide-ranging overdrive/gain/dirt/shred options as well. Better reverb than the Peaveys. It's not a modeler - but is nearly as tonally chameleonic. And it always responds and FEELS like an amp.

It can "emulate" various amps, but you don't get to them by punching a button or clicking a dial, so it doesn't feel as artificial. You dial them in with combinations of all the settings. So it's...amplike, not triggering-a-sampler-like. The results aren't dead-on imitations of other amps, but they're "in the wheelhouse." You do, therefore, kinda have to know what tone you're after, how to get there with the unique control set, and recognize it when you arrive. A great amp, not expensive, rock solid reliable, never needs tubes.

• One more thought - you mention vintage as being too expensive and maybe trouble-prone. Keep your eyes open for a mid60s Ampeg Reverberocket. Wonderful, unique tone, if anything sweeter/lusher reverb than Fender, sensuous tremolo. They're magic. Physically a little bigger than the C30, but lighter. Single 12, I think 18 watts. Sooo sweet-sounding, and it REALLY flatters DynaSonics. Handsome, too. You don't find them everywhere, all the time, but they're not pricey. Well worth looking for. Mine has been very reliable over 10 years.

So yeah. Amps.

42

WOW!!! Thanks Proteus. I have heard your name a lot on this forum and I can see why. That was a great and thorough breakdown of what I am looking at. Great references and info. I appreciate it.

43

All good words by Proteus. The Ampeg Reverberocket is a gem. Don't sleep on those!

I gig with an AC15 and a (modded) Twin Reverb these days (depending on the venue, type of show, how the wind is blowing that day, etc...).

The AC15 is a bit tricky, but I've found that it plays really well with my 6120 (with Filtertrons, granted) after some knob tweaking. Get the "Top Boost" channel version; it makes a big difference vs. the "Normal" channel. Make sure to save some money to put an Alnico Blue in it too. Every other AC15 I've played through (with the Wharfdale or Celestion speaker option) is uninspiring. You can score these combos for not much scratch pretty regularly, so it'd be an easy upgrade to do yourself and still be at a competitive price point.

I've been going sans-reverb these days and leaving a slapback delay on instead, so the sub-par tank doesn't bother me much either.

...or just get a Princeton Reverb.

44

I do love the Princeton Reverb. I am a huge fan of Jim Campilongo and that is his main amp. He gets great tones out of it with a tele. I was surprised by the low price of used Ampegs. I guess that is what happens when your not in the top 3 names of amp makers. Thanks to Charlie Vegas for the string trick. I put the soft spring in and strung it up as shown. Damn thing stays in tune better and the spring feels great too!

45

Yeah, my AC15 had the stock speaker.

I don't have lifelong experience with Voxes - and they're waaay different than the Fenders I'm more used to. Maybe part of my problem with the amp is that I just didn't understand it, and my mind's ear doesn't naturally incline to pure Vox tone.

BUT I also thought it was way too heavy for 15 watts (though of course it was plenty loud) - and in the meantime I'd splurged on a Matchless Lightning Reverb, which I understand does the best of the Vox thing but is sonically much more attractive to me.

That seemed to make the Vox moot, except to be able to say "I have a Vox." And when you're saying that, it doesn't plow much furrow to then mumble "a Chinese AC15."

Had I felt a real compulsion to make it work for me, I would eventually have stumbled into speaker replacement!


Also, in re-rereading my post, it looks like I gave the Fender option short shrift; I started there and that section was short-ish. Doesn't mean I don't recommend those Fenders. It's just that they're already very well known and generally understood - and as they simply deliver pure Fender goodness, there wasn't much more to say.

46

I won't disagree with you on that one, Tim. Those AC15s are definitely heavy for a small-ish combo. It's much lighter than my Twin though, so I might be "weight blind" in that regard. I carried (literally) a Blues Jr. to gigs for a while in college and shortly thereafter. In the "$500 or less" fighting group, the Vox sounds a world better to my ears (and also the Blues Deluxe, which you pointed out). It's worth lugging around to me.

I acquired one of the limited-edition tolex colors (purple!) in a swap and people oogle it enough to not make me feel inferior among the true gearheads. Ha!

As for that Matchless, as Ferris Bueller says, "It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."

But that's a whole 'nother ballpark.

47

The Matchless is so good I rarely play through it. Figger I don't really deserve it, or it's too nice for everyday work. Don't want to spoil myself. Workaday Peavey is all I really warrant.

48

So many great options out there it seems you have a better chance at getting a good one then a uninspiring one.

49

With reference to the comments on the Peavey 15" speaker not having a Fender 'sparkle', the Executive's 15" doesn't suffer from this drawback. I particularly like the mid control for fine tuning the tone. Paul Pigat uses one and gets a hell of a tone out of his. One nice feature of this amp is it's ability to 'fill the room'. Without going to their website, I'm not up on what Victoria is making today but I believe there's still a 15" in their lineup.....but you'll be looking at twice the price of a nice used Exec. Just sayin'.....

Edit: Victoria's Regal II uses the same Eminence Legend speaker. List price in Canada is north of $4K!

50

The Executive is indeed all that, and is blessed with acres of sparkle when needed. Also lush and warm and 3-dimensional in tone. Everyone should have one. I should have one.

But they're not terribly handy to carry (easily half-again bigger than the Delta Blues), and boy howdy are they pricey. No more than other boutique options, I know, but in a best case scenario at least twice the money of anything previously under consideration. Maybe 3-4 times, in some cases.

A dream amp, for sure.


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