Modern Gretsch Guitars

The guitar you don’t have, but which always blows you away (but whi…

1

For me, it's the White Falcon.

Every time I play one I'm blown away. The longer scale for some reason does not drive me crazy like it does with a strat. (How is it that the scale feels comfortable on these and the neck still feels meaty)?

And it seems like I can really make one of these work...

BUT...

I'm...

I'm afraid...

The glam is a lot to live up to.

And I would probably scratch it up and drop it.

And maybe I can only handle the scale in the store (not in real life, I mean)...

I guess what I mean is...

Wow...

I'm just afraid.

It's like when you meet that Paris catwalk model and you find that you cannot speak.

So there. I've opened up my soul.

(Of course, there is also the accordion to talk about. I'm afraid of that too... But after the Nora Jones thread, I figure I'd better not compare that to a model, catwalk or any other).

Heh heh.

K

2

So get a country club. Same guitar, but aesthetically more understated, and in my opinion more attractive.

3

But if I let nice guitars intimidate me at all, I wouldn't own any. I don't think I am worthy of any of mine as a player.

4

But is it really the same guitar?

I mean...

IT'S A FREAKING WHITE FALCON!

K

6

Once you play it long enough, and you move on to another grail guitar, it will hang on the wall or sit in the corner just like any other hunk of wood with strings.

Makes for good trades though. lol

7

I think White Falcons are cute.

8

I think White Falcons are cute.

– Proteus

Ah Tim, I think that you're cute! (not that there's anything wrong with it.)

9

Gibson Explorers.They are comfortable to play but I’m not rawk enough!

10

Nothing left out there for me to long for. I understand the draw of the Falcon - for me, they should only come in white, make a new model for other colours and call all those Panthers say - but its bling is too much for my liking.

I only need to get the funds to finish the Fleetwood.

11

But is it really the same guitar?

I mean...

IT'S A FREAKING WHITE FALCON!

K

– Konrad

Konrad, many say that they are the same guitar, but they are not.

Similar specs to some Falcons, but they sure don't look "the same" lol I had a Falcon for almost 10 years and loved it.

Yes, they have the "bling factor", and that's what a Falcon is. Not for all, loved by some, laughed at by others, but there is no other Gretsch that is "the same thing."

12

Ah Tim, I think that you're cute!

Aw man, thanks. Hugs and kisses to you too!


Musical instrument intimidation is just something to push through.

I was intimidated by Teles for some years after I started playing; every one I’d seen and tried to play was connected to a brutally clean high-power Fender amp, and it seemed they were all clang-clang with no give. They also all had he-man strings, so it seemed they were hard to play - and those two factors combined to reveal every deficiency in technique. They seemed unflatteringly revealing. I characterized the Tele as a man’s guitar that you had to know what you’re doing to wrangle. I still think there’s something to that characterization - a Tele is tonally about as transparent as you can get, a blank canvas, and thus “revealing” - but that’s what makes it such a versatile, universal tool. In some ways it’s the fundamental archetype of “electric guitar,” and you don’t get much out that you don’t put in. You wanna find out if someone is really a player, hand’em a Tele, plug’em straight in, and see what comes out.

But at some point I got hold of a Tele set up reasonably, through my own amp, and discovered I could manage it. Either that’s the day I became a man (though of course a cute one), or I just got over inTeledation. Another limit pushed through.

I was similarly intimidated by my buddy/bandmate Gregg’s Kramer aluminum-neck Bubinga-bodied 350. In some ways it was a steroidal Tele. It was heavy, the neck was brutal, the feel stiff and uncompromising, the pickups bright and bold. He got incredible tones out of it; I could barely make it go plink-plink. It was back to separating the men from the boys. Years later, in a fit of nostalgia for someone else’s guitar, I bought one. In truth, I still can’t wrangle the tones from it he did - I think my hands are just too small - but at least I can sound like myself on it. I wouldn’t part with it, and I keep it around as a talisman, a kind of promise that Gregg and I will get together and play again, and he’ll take a turn on the beast only he could truly tame.

I was intimidated from afar by the sheer expanse of the Country Gent (which somehow looks wider than a Falconclub, maybe because it’s shallower), and by its array of knobs and switches and doodads. But that was before I played one. They’re so tractable and comfortable - a bit like a well-engineered big luxury car - that they FEEL smaller. I got over that intimidation in minutes. To this day, I’ve never picked up a Gent that felt wrong. And in terms of tone, they’re very giving, making almost anyone sound better. Seems like you get more out than you put in. But that’s true of most Gretschs (though Dynas can be initially off-putting, and take some time to come to terms with...at which point the heavens open).

Falcons never scared me - or exerted a fatal attraction either. (Love the Country Club.) The one Falcon that did intimidate and hold me at arm’s length is the David Lee Falcon. Maybe it was the Power’Trons in the big body - or maybe just the aggressive example of seeing DL himself at close range put the guitar through its paces - but when I plugged it in I couldn’t get a tone out of it that I or anyone else would recognize as musical. The guitar even felt too big for me - like it was built for someone of a more majestic species.

Ric 12-strings impressed me with their size and splendor from afar, and I assumed they’d be more than I could handle. I wanted the tone, though, so I got one anyway - and found the guitar played and felt smaller than it looked. Also, the wimpy neck and low action quickly dispelled any physical intimidation. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to play, but it’s easy to get a good sound from. Even when the close string spacing frustrates clean execution, it’s rewarding to play.

Since size matters, it’s odd to me I haven’t been intimidated by baritones. They’re a physical stretch, and require ongoing attention to technique, but I’ve always gotten along with them, and gotten good stuff out. Maybe it’s because my first electric, unbeknownst to me, had a 27” scale, and baris thus feel somehow familiar.

Bass WAS intimidating - in addition to the physical stretch and huge difference in feel under the fingers of big fat strings, bass requires an entirely different state of mind and in some ways a more fundamental understanding of music. You also have to be a more responsible individual to play bass. Better rhythm, more awareness of the drummer AND of harmonic structure. You have to pay more attention. (Not that a guitarist shouldn’t, just that a guitarist can’t utterly wreck a band like a bad bassist.) It took me a long time to get to mere competence on bass, and still takes a few minutes to settle down into the cockpit. But it doesn’t scare me anymore.

Resonators (slide, I guess) and mandolins both fascinated but intimidated me for years. In both cases there were aspects of the physical technique which mystified me, seemed unlikely to impossible. In both cases, at some point I just told myself I was being stupid, got one, and put in the time. I’m still no one’s idea of a mandolinist, but I can manage - and I love slidin’ around on resos from the snarliest little biscuit-bridgers to the most imposing tri-cone monuments to tone. (It probably helps that my months in the woodshed were invested in an old National with brutal action.)

I know when I’m licked, though. I’m pretty sure I’ll never get a musical sound out of a bowed string instrument. The fiddle family is safe from me. Total intimidation.

I think I also know better than to start in on pedal steel. Too much going on. I’ll probably be at my limit with the triple-neck 8-string console steel I recently got. It’s pretty intimidating.

But I’ll tell you where I’ll never go: it’s the Gibson Trini Lopez, with the deep body and two Florentine cutaways. That thing is so ugly I’m afraid it would turn me to stone, like looking directly at Medusa. And if I DID sneak around behind it without being unmanned, I’m afraid I’d get hurt on the cutaways. Best not to risk it. Good thing I’m not even tempted.


SO. The lesson I draw from my experience is to do the thing you fear. Buy the Falcon and man right up to it. With your history and temperament, there will be no problem!

13

Gibson Les Pauls intimidate me or at least they did when I was younger. I'm mainly a drummer and when I first started playing guitar I would attack the strings much like you would expect a drummer to attack the strings. My first guitar was a Squier Bullet and my second guitar was a MIJ Fender Stratocaster. Both of these Fenders are much more percussive in nature and in hindsight were probably the perfect guitars for me to learn on coming from drums. When I would play one of my friend's Les Pauls there was too much sustain, too much fat tone and basically too much of everything especially through a cranked Marshall which was the tone to get back in rock's heyday. I couldn't tame them!

Over the years I've learned to be a bit more subtle on my attack as a guitar player and I did briefly own a 50s Tribute Les Paul with P90s that I felt I had some control over so I may be able to handle a full-on Les Paul with humbuckers now.

It's too late though. I found my sound and it centers on a Gretsch Duo Jet.

14

Proteus, my band mate took his Trini Lopez to a vintage guitar show. It had an unusual color of almost burgundy wine. Lovely guitar. Everyone was drooling over it. It didn't take him long at all until he had a guy willing to part with thousands of dollars for it.

Glad to hear that you have come to terms with the Ric 12-string. I too enjoy playing mine and think that the tone is simply glorious.

Let's see some photographs of that three neck steel guitar, please. I can imagine you becoming pretty proficient on that, what with your recent love of playing slide guitar.

15

It didn't take him long at all until he had a guy willing to part with thousands of dollars for it.

I hope he took it!

I came to terms with the Ric minutes after I got it in 1996...I just keep trying to find something that keeps what's irreplaceable about it and resolves its playability issue. So far I've found "better" 12-strings for playability, but nothing else (including the 660-12) which sounds like a Ric. So there's that!

I might could take some triple-neck photos.

16

Proteus is of course referring to the Trini Lopez Custom --- Trini had TWO signature Gibsons, one of which was basically a fancified ES-335, the other a pimped-out Barney Kessel, the first Gibson to have double Florentine cutaways on a 17" deep hollow body, but with a 24.75" scale. I have a very high-quality Ventura version of the Barney Kessel made by Matsumoku in the 70's, and it sounds great, although the neck is a little smallish for my tastes.

17

That beautiful Gold Gibson that Scotty Moore made famous, the ES-295.I will always admire them from afar.

18

I know such things are subjective and a matter of taste, and there are really no universal aesthetic standards - but that thing just terrifies me.

21

This one

Never have played one, but boy howdy...do I ever love the sound! Afraid? You bet! Afraid the check would bounce. Afraid I wouldn't be able to make the payments. Afraid I'd all of a sudden find myself sleeping on the couch on Monday night, and in divorce court on Tuesday morning.


I've never quite figured out what the deal is with the Rickenbacker 360/12 string. I love playing mine. Small neck? OK, so mandolins and banjos have small necks. Close string spacing? Yeah, but so do mandolins. But then on the other hand, I've been accused of having girly-man hands, too. So go figure.

Hammer dulcimer is an instrument I have assiduously avoided. Too many strings, and even the best players say that sometimes they get a bit confused by the shadows created by stage lighting while playing. I'm easily confused enough as it is without piling more on.

I love the sound of the pedal steel. I could just listen to a good steel player all night long. Got a good honky-tonk band? Not if you don't have a steel player, you don't.

Nope...don't want to touch it. Looks too complicated what with all those pedals and knee levers, and you gotta know how to use the swell pedal too.

It took me about 10 years, I guess to get where I could stand to be in the same room with myself playing fiddle. Playing that Devil's Box teaches you patience. And you never really master the bow. But once I made my peace with it, and spent the time it required (it is a demanding mistress) I got to where I'm OK. At least my band mates haven't asked me to put that thing up and just stick to guitar, thankyouverymuch.

22

Old friend of mine has a Guitar that I play sometimes when I go over to visit him....He is always trying to sell it to me,honestly, brought the price way down last time. Every single time I pick it up something happens to me. But I haven’t bought it. 1954 Black guard Esquire, played a lot, light as a feather and clear as a bell.i seem to want to have him keep it and visit it , seriously, that Guitar sort of spooks me.

23

There was a Club I wimped out on several years ago; a decision that still haunts me. I also like the G 7690 Super Gretsch.

24

Ha ha ha ha, proteus!

Good one!

And now for something really controversial...

Anyone else here sometimes think that the Rev sounded best on the white falcon he once played?

(K, ducking and running)

But there used to be a live vid of him playing Martini Time with a WF that was the bomb!

K

25

The Chris Cheney Signature Custom White Falcon guitar-thingy!

Does anyone have a spare AUD$6000 that they want to give to me so I can buy it? That's if I can find it too! Oh, maybe one on the Gold Coast.


Register Sign in to join the conversation