Modern Gretsch Guitars

To Trestle or not to Trestle?…my 5120 is more “Setzer” than my Ho…

1

Thats the question...

I am fortunate enough to have two Gretsch guitars. One with Trestle Bracing (2005 Setzer Hot Rod) and one without (2008 5120 with vintage filtertrons).

I have noticed a HUGE difference between the two for OBVIOUS reasons...but when plugged into my 63' Fender Bassman...the tone of the 5120 is seemingly more "Gretsch" Sounding than my Setzer Hot Rod.

dont get me wrong...the playability of the Hot Rod is so versatile that its pretty much the best all around guitar set up for any type of music....BUT ive noticed that its lacking "Punch" that chunky lower string sound that my 5120 does and is more reminiscent of what you hear from an old stray cats album.

for instance...if I play "Stray cat Strut"...that infamous melody heard at the beginning of the song where the bass notes are being somewhat palm muted in a way sounds much more rich and bassier coming from my 5120 without the trestle bracing...

If i play the same notes on the Hot Rod, the sound is much more clear and refined, but lacks the deep gritty chunk...

Im pretty convinced that its not the high quality Korean body thats out tone-ing the Japanese Hot Rod. but the fact that its sound is not dampened by the Trestle bracing.

this is somewhat of a confusing topic because the only reason why the new Gretsch guitars have trestle bracing is because Brian let his vintage 1959 Grtesch be run through a CT scan. that led to the discovery of the long lost trestle bracing that was specific to that year and makes for a piece of the "Tone" that Brian is so famous for.

any help here guys???

if your wondering...the amp is a 1963 fender bassman with the notorious 6G6-B circuit with band new F&T capacitors. Both guitars have D'addario 10's... pedals are a Riverside Overdrive pedal by Strymon and a flashback delay pedal by TC Electronics.

So, what do you guys think? does it sound like a Gretsch without trestle bracing gives you deeper and richer low end tones compared to a trestle braced gretsch? if so, I may be trading in my Hot Rod for a Pre-Trestle model.

2

Put the old filtertron pickups from the 5120 in the Hot Rod

3

Put the old filtertron pickups from the 5120 in the Hot Rod

– JazzBoxJunky

Exactly. Vintage Filters sound different than all the modern versions, except for the Ray Butts versions that TVJones makes, which are supposed to be dead on versions of vintage 'trons, warts and all.

4

your 2005 hot rod has different wiring and pickups than Setzers Stray Cat guitar 59 original 6120 he used to record that with. His had trestle bracing, vintage pickup, bassman amp with DM 3 Boss Delay and I think he may have used a VOx cabinet to record that song...I could be wrong ...I'm not a Stray Cat expert...but hey..if you get a great vintage sound out of it ..great

5

hmm...thats an interesting thought (installing the filtertrons on the Hot Rod). Never thought of that. I was actually thinking of installing the TV Jones Classics that are on the Hot Rod into the 5120 and then just getting the updated TV Jones B.S. signature pups on the Hot Rod if anything. I originally got the filtertrons for the 5120 as an upgrade to the standard Gretsch-Buckers.

7

erick - I saw in another forum a member saying that pretty much the same as you in that he sold SSLVO and bought a pre-FMIC SSU. A very knowledgable member that many know attributed it to the SSU does not have trestle bracing.

The reason? His words not mine and I quote: "the bark and growl are phenomenal w just the small tone post coupling the top and back. The set in fretboard w the slightly thicker top makes it a rock monster to boot."

8

Well I am sure that whatever his ears hear with his pre FMIC -- it suits the music he likes but I had a pre FMIC 6120-60 and now have a SSLVO and I can tell you the SSLVO is way better to my ears...my pre FMIC sounded boxy and howled like a dog in a live band situation...the five ply top didn't mate well with the post in the body...to me the strings sounded unbalanced and it sounded flabby( meaning too loose) and overly loud.. Which didn't mix well with other guitars ...don't get me wrong it was ok and I liked it for what it was but the SSLVO is a way better guitar that gives a lot of tight growl and that 59 Ish type chime plus it great in live performance.. It handles gain better which in turn gives it a lot of oomph in the lower strings...very pleasing...you want Chet..it does it perfectly...just my opinion...everyone has their preference.

9

Check the Pickups thread for any postings by Thenocturnebrain.com. Tavo did a lot of tone searching for the Setzer sig/Hot Rod tones and had preferences for one set of pups for tone post vs. trestles. He is the authority on Setzer's tone.

10

thanks guys, I appreciate all the responses. I think this sound is the closest I found on you tube to that "Chunky Bark" that im looking for...

Link

He keeps showing of the repeats on the delay, but its the chunky tone im really after. I think Ill try to do a comparison video sometime soon with both my guitars to show the difference. Again, the Hot Rod just seems too crisp and not enough depth as the 5120.

Best way I could describe the 2 is:

The 5120 with No trestle bracing with standard Filtertrons, Howels and Wales on the Low end but lacks crunch and brightness in the higher end strings...

The Hot Rod (w/trestle bracing) Screams and Rocks but lacks grower and bark in the low strings

kind of hard to pick and choose since both are great tones.

11

How vintage are your vintage Filtertrons?

– BuddyHollywood

I really don't know...from what I remember, I bought them from someone who took them off their gretsch and upgraded to TV Jones ones. Unfortunately, They didn't specify what guitar or year it came off of and I was too new to the gretsch world to ask.

I mean, they dont seem that old...maybe 90's? is there a way to find out? (seems like im still somewhat of a noob)

12

Check the Pickups thread for any postings by Thenocturnebrain.com. Tavo did a lot of tone searching for the Setzer sig/Hot Rod tones and had preferences for one set of pups for tone post vs. trestles. He is the authority on Setzer's tone.

– lx

Thanks! will do! Tavo is awesome...he guided me step by step when it came to getting the right power tubes and capacitors on my amp. so I definitely trust what he has to say.

13

erick - I saw in another forum a member saying that pretty much the same as you in that he sold SSLVO and bought a pre-FMIC SSU. A very knowledgable member that many know attributed it to the SSU does not have trestle bracing.

The reason? His words not mine and I quote: "the bark and growl are phenomenal w just the small tone post coupling the top and back. The set in fretboard w the slightly thicker top makes it a rock monster to boot."

– NJDevil

I think I read the same thing somewhere else...even Tavo prefers the non-trestle bracing for his own personal tone.

Also, doesn't the Reverend Horton Heat model gretsch come without trestle bracing?

14

My2cents... Try adjusting the HotRod's pickups. Get em higher. Look up the height specs from TV Jones website. Also I kinda think that your standard Filtertrons are preFMIC built and are using ceramic magnets and are a different tonal beast than the Classics.

Other thing: Try to remove some of the wax potting of the Classics using a hairdryer. Some people have done it to achieve a big difference in tone to their liking.

15

So Heres a great video by Tavo showcasing his Black Pheonix...

Link

funny thing is that he stated something similar to what my question is...that low end bark of a hollow body with no trestle bracing...

so, It also comes down to pickup hight and poll hight. Tavo says that he set up the TV Jones Pups to be around 3/16" distance from the strings on both the high and low "E" strings on both bridge and neck pick ups. then he lowers the neck pick up so that its further away from the strings and raises the bridge pick ups to be closer to the strings. as well as raising the "A" and "D" string pick up poles on both the bridge and the neck pups.

definitely going to try this.

16

My2cents... Try adjusting the HotRod's pickups. Get em higher. Look up the height specs from TV Jones website. Also I kinda think that your standard Filtertrons are preFMIC built and are using ceramic magnets and are a different tonal beast than the Classics.

Other thing: Try to remove some of the wax potting of the Classics using a hairdryer. Some people have done it to achieve a big difference in tone to their liking.

– ChimingBell

literally was writing my post on adjusting the pick up hight and the poll hight.

and yes, the filtertrons seem like their more than likely pre FMIC.

I have no idea what your referring to with the wax and hair dryer thing. But, yeah...sounds like something I would try out. Thanks!

17

literally was writing my post on adjusting the pick up hight and the poll hight.

and yes, the filtertrons seem like their more than likely pre FMIC.

I have no idea what your referring to with the wax and hair dryer thing. But, yeah...sounds like something I would try out. Thanks!

– erick lopez

Glad you give it a try... Adjusting pickup height is maybe the best and cheapest solution

Regarding unpotting wax: Here are some recent threads about it and also about Classics Vs. Setzer Sigs http://gretschpages.com/for...

http://gretschpages.com/for...

http://gretschpages.com/for...

18

So what's the problem? You have a guitar that sounds great....play it. I have a 5120 with Dearmond 2000s in it that keeps me from craving any other Gretsch...except maybe a Jet with Dynas...but I'm working on scratching that itch... You can hear it here, if you like. Link

19

With the 2 different pickups, it's not a fair comparison.

ALSO: the Hot Rod will be brighter, due to it's wiring harness. Less pots = less capacitance loading. I have a 250K volume pot in my Hot Rod for this very reason. With a 250K pot, the pickups see almost the same load as they do in an SSLVO.

Not saying the trestles vs post isn't part of the equation, it is, but there's more going on there, and you can't single out the bracing until the other factors are equalized.

20

With the 2 different pickups, it's not a fair comparison.

ALSO: the Hot Rod will be brighter, due to it's wiring harness. Less pots = less capacitance loading. I have a 250K volume pot in my Hot Rod for this very reason. With a 250K pot, the pickups see almost the same load as they do in an SSLVO.

Not saying the trestles vs post isn't part of the equation, it is, but there's more going on there, and you can't single out the bracing until the other factors are equalized.

– ruger9

ah... see, thats a great point! I going to try that!

21

So what's the problem? You have a guitar that sounds great....play it. I have a 5120 with Dearmond 2000s in it that keeps me from craving any other Gretsch...except maybe a Jet with Dynas...but I'm working on scratching that itch... You can hear it here, if you like. Link

– charlie chitlins

hey that sounds great! nice tone too!!!

I really do love both guitars...its just a tone difference...and playability difference...I like playing the Hot Rod more than I do my 5120 but I love the way that 5120 sounds! no biggie...just topics for tweeting and discussion :)

Thanks for the link!!! really does sound great

22

Glad you give it a try... Adjusting pickup height is maybe the best and cheapest solution

Regarding unpotting wax: Here are some recent threads about it and also about Classics Vs. Setzer Sigs http://gretschpages.com/for...

http://gretschpages.com/for...

http://gretschpages.com/for...

– ChimingBell

I just adjusted the posts the way Tavo set his Black Pheonix up...and wow! adjusting the hight of the Pups and the posts really gave it some deep growl!

I really like how it turned out...sounds much more deep and rich like the 5120 does.

23

hey that sounds great! nice tone too!!!

I really do love both guitars...its just a tone difference...and playability difference...I like playing the Hot Rod more than I do my 5120 but I love the way that 5120 sounds! no biggie...just topics for tweeting and discussion :)

Thanks for the link!!! really does sound great

– erick lopez

Thanks. I like how that one came out. That was plugged into a '56 Deluxe cranked up just enough. I'm one of the guitar players from Massapequa who had to fight for the scraps after the real talent was handed out!! ;)

24

Sounds great Charlie. How’d you get the nice raspy vocal sound? Maybe singing through the amp too? Love that kinda grit

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Sounds great Charlie. How’d you get the nice raspy vocal sound? Maybe singing through the amp too? Love that kinda grit


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