Modern Gretsch Guitars

Switches

1

Hi everyone! I'm primarily an acoustic player and am completely new to the Gretsch game. However, I'm doing some recording at the moment and have bitten the bullet on a 6120T 59VS. I absolutely love it (especially now it has 11s), but am really struggling to work out which switches do what. I have the official booklet from the previous owner of the guitar, and have looked online, but I’m confused because the switches and knobs really don't seem to be doing what it says in the leaflet. One of the 'volume' controls on the lower bout, for example, doesn't seem to control volume, and the switch on the upper bout nearest the neck appears to work back-to-front... Can anyone suggest an authoritative online guide (or other), or do i need to get the wiring checked? Thanks in advance!

2

You can tell which pickup is on by tapping them.

If you were to tap with something metal, it would be obvious. I'm not sure that's a great idea, though.

One switch should select between the two pickups.

The other switch is a tone control. Usually the middle position is bright. Most people leave it in the middle.

3

It may well have been rewired to suit a previous owner.

4

Turn the volumes up full, turn one of the pickup volumes off. If you switch between the pickups, there should be no sound in one position.

Turn that volume back full and turn the other one off. Now there should be no sound in the opposite position.

A way to use the volume controls: Turn the volumes all the way up. Back the master volume off to about 7 or 8. If the sound is too bright, back off the bridge pickup. If the soundis too dark, back off the neck.

5

Thanks to everyone so far!

6

Turn the volumes up full, turn one of the pickup volumes off. If you switch between the pickups, there should be no sound in one position.

Turn that volume back full and turn the other one off. Now there should be no sound in the opposite position.

A way to use the volume controls: Turn the volumes all the way up. Back the master volume off to about 7 or 8. If the sound is too bright, back off the bridge pickup. If the soundis too dark, back off the neck.

– hammerhands

Thanks Hammerhands. Your first two sentences describe exactly what I did. Turned one pickup volume off, switched to neck neck pickup and the the volume knob that remained controlled that pickup volume. Then I turned that volume off, and the other one on. Still nothing.

So i try the other volume knob - the one that controlled the neck pickup and, hey presto, that works! It gets weirder. If I switch the tone control to the bright setting, suddenly that volume knob that doesn't work starts working...

I'm confused...

7

It may well have been rewired to suit a previous owner.

– Mr Tubs

That's what I thought, but previous owner says not. He says he simply left both pickup volumes at max and controlled tone with the switch and master volume with the master volume knob

8

Leave all the knobs all the way up, put the tone switch in the middle, and change tone by selecting pickups. When you're comfortable with this, check back in & we'll discuss the exceptions to this rule. All the controls are passive, so all the way up is the default setting. Tone switch: one position removes some of the highs, the other position removes all the highs. In the center position, it is out of the circuit & does nothing.

9

Thanks Billy. Yes, am happy with that.

But isn't it odd that if I isolate the fingerboard pickup (as hammerhands suggested) the volume control for that pickup makes no difference? (Indeed, the only way of getting any sound out of that pickup when it's isolated is to use the volume control for the bridge pickup...)

Please tell me I'm missing something....

10

Hi again - I'm sure y'all thinking I'm imagining this, so I've put a short video on YouYube to show what I mean. I think it's clear that that the bridge pick-up volume isn't working properly. I know this is hardly exciting stuff for those of new who know all about Gretsches, but this is my first one, and I'm thinking now this is faulty in some way...

11

A possible solution?

Aaron Finlay, a member of the Gretsch Facebook group wondered whether, actually, the controls on this guitar might be Setzer style (where the master tone switch is the one closest to the neck, and the pick-up selector the one above that)?

So, I checked with the old screwdriver-tapping test and that's exactly the case. What the leaflet tells me should be my master tone switch actually selects the pick-ups - down selects bridge and up selects neck. What the leaflet tells me should be the pick-up selector actually works as the tone selector (either removing some or all of the highs).

So it appears I have a 59VS on which the wiring/switching is Setzer style? Is it possible it started out in production as a Setzer and ended up as a Chet?

In any case, now I know which buttons to press I'm a very happy owner!

12

There is probably enough slack in the wiring so that you could switch your switches, which is probably what the previous owner did. Horses for courses.

13

The Horton Heat 6120 has the two switches reversed, maybe other models do as well.

Closest to the neck is the Tone (Mud) Switch.

Up on the bout towards the sides is the Pickup Selector.

14

The wires to the respective switches are usually long enough that their positions can be swapped in minutes without much trouble (and certainly without solder or “re-wiring.”

The simplest explanation (and more likely than the factory getting it backwards) is that the original owner did in fact reverse their positions - whether from complete Setzer infatuation or because he functionally preferred them that way. Which would also explain why the orientation of one was such that it works fore-to-aft rather than up and down: it simply rotated that way as he tightened the nut. He may or may not have intended that re-orientation.

Which hole they poke up out of clearly doesn’t matter to the switches’ functionality. You could swap them back.

15

Thanks all! The previous owner (who was the first owner) swears he did nothing to alter it. But I don't mind it all the way it is, just wanted to understand why pots weren't doing what they were supposed to. Here's a pic anyway!

16

I love the shiny/not shiny look of the finish, and the honest arm-wear. Only lacquer ages like that!


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