Modern Gretsch Guitars

Silver Jet differences

1

I am interested in a Silver Jet but I have some questions about their differences.

Looking at what Gretsch has done post-Fender, correct me if I'm wrong but it appears there are 3 silver jets. The standard one that was made for years has Dynas and the V cut Bigsby. The latest two are the Vintage Select 59 with TV Jones Classics and roller bridge and the Players Edition with Gretsch Filtertrons, Adjustomatic bridge and a difference where the neck meets the body.

Am I missing anything? I am trying to decide which way to go so if anyone has any input I would appreciate it.

Thanks

Joe

2

To me the "standard" Silver Jet reissue was the Filtertron version. What you describe is the G6129-1957. I think in FMIC days up until the VS and Players series I have seen:

  • G6129 (with Filtertrons and G-Cut tailpiece)
  • G6129T (with Filtertrons and Bigsby)
  • G6129T-1957 (Dynas and Bigsby)
  • G6129T-1962 (double-cut and Bigbsby)

That might be it but maybe there is even more. Gretsch, you know...

3

There have been both Dynasonic and FilterTron Silver Jets throughout the FMIC era.

Most (with exceptions noted below) have shared the same body and chambering, as well as floating bridges and Bigsby vibratos of one type or another. Differences (other than pickups, obviously) have been neck set (shallower for FilterTrons), fret markers (neo-classic thumbnails with Filters, humpblocks with Dynas), fingerboard (ebony with Filters and rosewood with Dynas), and specific versions of Bigsby and bridge.

The Billy Zoom Tribute/sig model in 2008 included several differences from the usual Dynasonic spec - most importantly a slightly deeper and significantly more chambered body which is true to vintage construction - but also a screwed-on SynchroSonic bridge, B11 Bigsby and, IIRC, Seymour Duncan Dynasonics. (And maybe block fret markers? BZ may well drop into the thread to straighten me out.)

I think that deeper, chambered body was immediately adopted by the Custom Shop for most Jet builds, and gradually found its way into other pro-line and Tribute/sig model Jets.

You’ve correctly sussed that the current 59 PE has a yet shallower neck set to go along with the stud-mounted bridge. That makes it the “most different” of all these Jets, the fixed bridge and geometry both being a major departure from past (both vintage and modern) Gretsch practice.

The 59VS is, I think, the first modern Silver Jet other than the BZ to get the deeper, more chambered body - which makes it a winner in my book.

I’m sure you realize that the divide between Dynasonic and FilterTron pickups is pretty wide. They give two otherwise similar-looking guitars much different sounds than you might expect. To me, they’re the first point of decision, with all other factors paling by comparison.

Among FilterTron Silver Jets, your shopping choices will be between the pre-VS 6129T as it was from the start of the FMIC era till 2007 (I think), with its slightly shallower body and less extensive internal chambering; the current VS with chambering and TV ‘trons (but traditional floating bridge and neck set); and the “modernized” PE version with fixed bridge, tension-bar Bigsby, and low neck set. The first two have much more in common as more traditional Gretschs.

Among Dynasonic Silver Jets, the choice is between the standard 6128T as it ran through much of the FMIC era (shallower body, less chambering, stock Gretsch pickups) and the BZ model (deeper/chambered body, Seymour Dynas). Neither of these is currently in production.

When shopping, I start with the pickups, then attend to build characteristics it’s all-but-impossible (or stupidly expensive) to change after the fact: depth and chambering, neck set, fingerboard/markers (to the extent they matter). I virtually ignore bridges and tailpieces, as they can easily be changed to suit my preference.

4

Re: BZ Jet: In recent times Gretsch names the Custom Shop versions "Tribute" and the optional regular models "Signature". In this case there never was a regular (MIJ) Billy Zoom Jet "sig" series run AFAIK, just the ltd. CS.

5

I have several Gretsch hollowbody guitars. I have never owned a Jet.

My favorite is my CS White Falcon. It has Seymour Duncan Dynas and I love them. Sounds great

I have a Silver Falcon with Gretsch Filtertrons. Those pickups are darker and a bit muddy but sound great dirty.

I also have a RHH which has TV Jones classics. I like those pickups but its the last one i would pickup compared to the Falcons.

So, I am familiar with the Dynas and Filtertrons, I am just not familiar with them in a Jet body. That's one of the things I'm trying to decide on.

Thanks

Joe

6

I have Dyna Jets in both the original modern-era depth and chambering and the new deeper, more chambered VS format - the first with Seymour Dynas, the other with the T-Armonds. Both are The Best Guitar in the Known Universe - but they sound slightly different. I'd hoped I'd clearly like one so much better that I'd sell the other. That hasn't happened yet.

I also have a pre-VS Silver Jet with stock Filters, and I like it well enough not to send it away (though I'd like to compare it to the VS). But it's not The Best Guitar in the Known Universe.

For me, the distinction is clear. Nothing else I've experienced sounds like a Jet with good Dynas; it's a singular voice. A Filter'Tron Jet is a wonderful thing, versatile across pretty much anything you'd want to play on it, and distinctive in tone. But a listener might mistake it for something else. No chance of that happening with a Dyna Jet.

Does that suggest the Dyna Jet is less versatile, not as widely adaptable? Not at all. It's just that, for me, the Filter Jet can be more of a camouflaged chameleon, fitting into and even hiding out in any musical context. The Dyna Jet can go almost anywhere - it just always sounds like itself, and stands out for that reason.

7

Speaking of the Billy Zoom Silver Jet, what tuning keys were used? I love that look.

8

Speaking of the Billy Zoom Silver Jet, what tuning keys were used? I love that look.

– db62

Billy had grover milk bottle rotomatic tuning keys (as they are called now, some say the original name for these tuners were "GROVER nickel futura tuners w ivoroid buttons") on his. My dad installed these on his 68' Coronado II, said they were stock for this model fender when he worked there.

btw.. avoid a pre-FMIC 80s' silver jet like the plague. I could do NUTHINCT to mine to make it sound better. Under routed, overly heavy and suffocated by plastic & ceramic filters

9

Billy had grover milk bottle rotomatic tuning keys (as they are called now, some say the original name for these tuners were "GROVER nickel futura tuners w ivoroid buttons") on his. My dad installed these on his 68' Coronado II, said they were stock for this model fender when he worked there.

btw.. avoid a pre-FMIC 80s' silver jet like the plague. I could do NUTHINCT to mine to make it sound better. Under routed, overly heavy and suffocated by plastic & ceramic filters

– TheNocturneBrain

Thanks, Tavo. Those look amazing!

10

This is on my want list, a 2015 Gretsch G6129T-RDSP-LTD15. I missed a chance to buy one of these locally a couple of years ago. I think these were deep and extra chambered. They don’t come up often but I am saving up for one.

11

The BZ models are hollow, like the originals. There is a 1" square support under each end of the bridge, but the rest of the top is free to resonate. Like the originals, they are picky about bridges, and they don't sound good with Tunomatic types. Melita type bridges sound great on them, as do most solid bar bridges, and the aluminum Bigsby bridges. As for the other models, the Dynasonic models are the tone monsters. With Filtertrons, they sound like typical electric guitars. The standard '57 model is pretty good, although very white looking and sounding. The pre-Fender models are great for hanging on walls, etc.

12

Billy had grover milk bottle rotomatic tuning keys (as they are called now, some say the original name for these tuners were "GROVER nickel futura tuners w ivoroid buttons") on his. My dad installed these on his 68' Coronado II, said they were stock for this model fender when he worked there.

btw.. avoid a pre-FMIC 80s' silver jet like the plague. I could do NUTHINCT to mine to make it sound better. Under routed, overly heavy and suffocated by plastic & ceramic filters

– TheNocturneBrain

You can buy the modern versions of the Grovers at StewMac:

https://www.stewmac.com/Gro...

14

This is on my want list, a 2015 Gretsch G6129T-RDSP-LTD15. I missed a chance to buy one of these locally a couple of years ago. I think these were deep and extra chambered. They don’t come up often but I am saving up for one.

– Bob Howard

Hey Bob,

I have one. I was lucky enough to snag one of the few available at the time. Out of my three Jets, it is my favorite. I just didn't know exactly why until now! It really is so much more resonant and lively sounding than the others. Now I know why! Oh, and they are really beautiful too! And Dynas too. So much to love on these things!

16

Hoot, let me know when you’re tired of it.

17

Hey Bob,

I have one. I was lucky enough to snag one of the few available at the time. Out of my three Jets, it is my favorite. I just didn't know exactly why until now! It really is so much more resonant and lively sounding than the others. Now I know why! Oh, and they are really beautiful too! And Dynas too. So much to love on these things!

– Hoot Owl

...and you were not “lucky enough”, you were “sensible enough” to step up and buy one when you could.

20

With the G6129T-1957, even within the same model there are slight differences: position of the neck pickup (distance to neck) and shape of the pickguard.

21

I have one of those. They have a slightly thicker body of 50mm. Which is the same as more recent Vintage Select models though. I don’t think it’s more chambered than other (non custom shop) Jets though.

22

Bob,

I really like that model with the exception of the headstock logo. That Tiger/Bat thing is a bit cheesy to me. But I love everything else about it.

Joe

23

I have one of those. They have a slightly thicker body of 50mm. Which is the same as more recent Vintage Select models though. I don’t think it’s more chambered than other (non custom shop) Jets though.

– Wozob

I meant to quote Bob Howard...

24

I have a 2007 Silver Jet with dynas and bigsby. It's a cool guitar but I definitely would think hard about the pickups before you jump. To me, the dynas are very specific sounding and I've been having trouble working it into my band (a sort of 60s/70s instrumental band that's influenced by b-movies soundtracks, so everything from say surf influences to Shaft). It just sounds thin and doesn't cut. I'm running it through a late 60s Supro Big Star 2x12 combo. It could be the amp, which is a little squishy, but it sounds good with the rest of my non-Gretsch guitars. Since there aren't a ton of replacements for Dynas, I'd say think about how versatile you want the guitar to be and what styles you play.

25

I have a 2007 Silver Jet with dynas and bigsby. It's a cool guitar but I definitely would think hard about the pickups before you jump. To me, the dynas are very specific sounding and I've been having trouble working it into my band (a sort of 60s/70s instrumental band that's influenced by b-movies soundtracks, so everything from say surf influences to Shaft). It just sounds thin and doesn't cut. I'm running it through a late 60s Supro Big Star 2x12 combo. It could be the amp, which is a little squishy, but it sounds good with the rest of my non-Gretsch guitars. Since there aren't a ton of replacements for Dynas, I'd say think about how versatile you want the guitar to be and what styles you play.

– brudy

I'm surprised to hear you say your Jet sounds thin. My Jet with Gretsch Dynasonics always sounded too fat! I flipped the pickups 180 degrees and swapped out the pots for CTS 1 meg. Both mods cleared things up and balanced the pickups for me.


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