Modern Gretsch Guitars

What were they thinking?


So the ones with thumbnail inlays are badly designed? Dude, it's OK to dislike something for no reason.

– Gerry Ratrod

I completely agree, but it seems some folks need a reason/ explaination as to why it doesn't look good. Perhaps some folks are in deep into the "cultish" following of the brand and to some, a little dislike for something feels like blasphemy in some way.
It basically reminds me of Volkswagen. I love the early designs of VW but as the years marched on and they "modernized" the designs, things got kinda funky. They were bent on keeping the feel of the old designs but felt they had to update the style for this "modern world." In VW's case many of the changes were for safety. With safety, style went bye bye. With Gretsch it's the "players" in mind with the "players edition." Which seems kinda silly? Haven't the players been a focus all along? Dare to create something iconic but brand new. That would be my advise. Now don't get me wrong, I love most things Gretsch, just not all things Gretsch. I'm gonna say that the style of Gretsch guitars is timeless, but like the VW Beatle, if you start tweaking it too much it becomes something less. Be bold in design create something truly new if "players" demand it. I do understand marketing a bit and realize it's a way to appeal to more people, I'm just suggesting to put as much time into the "new" designs as were put into the older ones. Perhaps it's more than just mixing a few "old" elements together with a "V" stop tail piece.
Look at a Jet with the "humpblock" inlays. Look at how the inlays progressively take shape as you move from the twelfth fret to the nut. Look at how that progression is celebrated in the end with the shape of the head stock. It's beautiful! Now take a look at the "new and improved" design. It's something less. We all have our own ideas on what makes something attractive, but there are guidelines to "good" design.
...and is it a stroke of luck that the "Thumbnail" inlays are round, the same curves reflected in the rest of the guitar, or a well thought out design? And speaking of round, some people love the big round "coffee can" tail lights on the VW "Super Beatle," who am I too judge?


like the pickguard, but the tailpiece is two bagger ugly.

– Daniel Weldon

What does, "two bagger ugly," mean? Cool sounding expression.


One more rant on design and my lesson is finished. Negative space. Look at the spaces "between" things like knobs, bridges, tail pieces, screws and slots, etc. look at the shapes that are created by these spaces. Now ask yourself are they attractive? Are they uniform? Or are they awkward? Could a little more thought have gone into it? We see these "negative" spaces but most of us don't really notice them. Yet, these spaces help create a visual aesthetic that our subconscious either flags as beautiful or kinda blah.......

Carry on......


What does, "two bagger ugly," mean? Cool sounding expression.

– Tortoise_Tweed

Using "two bags" to cover something dreadfully ugly, just in case one bag comes off... the second bag will save you...


It‘s not only the more or less ugly V-Tailpiece, Gretsch adds tension bar Bigsbys to a lot of their new models and dipped them, as said above, in thick plastic coat. The countless (new) Setzer models are also boring, but hey, that‘s all personal taste.

On the other hand Gretsch is a beautiful brand with lots of beautiful guitars. The new Steve Wariner model looks gorgeous (to me).


I still strugle to see V's in humpblocks. However a square block inlay consists of two opposing ninety degree V's.

I think these things are just typical Gretsch quirkyness. They could have gone with a tailpiece instead od a stopbar but I think they want to expand their market to people who normally wouldn't want a Gretsch but don't want a stereotypical Les Paul either.


I don't like those new Gretsch Pauls much, Id much rather have a proper Duo Jet and/or a (Gibson) Les Paul.

And yes, that "V" stop bar looks awful!


Using "two bags" to cover something dreadfully ugly, just in case one bag comes off... the second bag will save you...

– 6stringcowboy

Hat's off to a very umm... tactful way of explaining it.


I think the V-stop tailpiece is a total rejection of the idea that function is the driver of form.

If you want the fretting pressure to be the same for all the strings, the strings with large core diameters should be anchored longer and the strings smaller core diameters should be anchored shorter.

This embodied in the Epiphone Frequensator, The Gretsch Chromatic, and the Gretsch G-Cutout bridges.

This does not totally solve the problem that bridges need to adjust string length for each individual string, but it does reduce the problem significantly.



I added a G Tail piece to my DSV Duo Jet. I like the overall tone and feel better with this tail piece than with the Bigsby that originally came on the guitar. I still have the Bigsby and didn't drill any holes.


I'm quite surprised at the dislike for the V stop tailpiece. It doesn't bother me in the slightest. I think it's appropriately Gretschy. And to be honest I never even noticed the little cutouts in the pickguard until someone mentioned it. And I have actually used them to adjust the pickup height on one of these guitars!

I have discovered that I do prefer the sound of the '59 VS Jet but I do really like the Players Edition. I think it's great that Gretsch make both - just because you might not like a model doesn't mean someone else won't. Why not try to broaden the appeal of the jet? I have a great Les Paul and a great '59 VS Jet. The Player's Edition sounds like neither but is a lot closer to the Jet than a Les Paul. If you want a Jet with better sustain and a fatter, rockier sound then the PE is perfect.

And as for the V-tailpiece "being a total rejection of the idea that function is the driver of form" then you're playing the wrong brand of guitar! (And in reality it makes no difference to the feel of the guitar.) Since when has Gretsch been about function over style? How is a straight bar tailpiece any more or less functional than a V-shaped trapeze tailpiece?

Either you like it or you don't. Either is ok. I don't like White Falcons but I don't think Gretsch should stop making them or start making them more functional somehow. And I like that people like them. I get why people like them. I just prefer something different.


Ok... I have a suggestion for the design team at Gretsch. I understand how a “stop” tailpiece might bring a different quality to a guitar.
I suppose more sustain.

Knowing that Gretsch is an iconic brand with iconic features, why not do this;

How about a “stop” tailpiece that looks just like the Cadillac tailpiece found on Penguins and Falcons? Make it so it still attaches at the butt end of the guitar. In essence make a Cadillac tailpiece that also anchors to the top, like a stop tailpiece? Maybe add some more mass to get that special “mojo.” Just fab some mounts and bingo, you keep the iconic image/style with the “updated” player vibe. ....and for variety do the same thing with the “G” tailpiece. Kinda like a “sleeper” vibe, looks stock but it’s not.


You’ve got the “Hot Rod” and now the “Sleeper.”
I’ll gladly take a left handed one for my idea....


You guys are funny. Hey Gretsch! Quit it with the new stuff, will ya?

If it looked like an ugly brown turd, I'd get it but dang, it isn't that bad.

They should really run these things past us first.


Haha! Suprdave you nailed it.


I was looking at the white FSR Corvette a while back. Very attractive and very tempting, but my first thought was removing the stop tail. Are the center distances the same so one could use a B5 Vibramate kit?


So there is only one adjustment screw for each pickup?


So there is only one adjustment screw for each pickup?

– mallen

There's one adjustment screw for each pickup on the side where the pickguard is --- two on the other side.

And I gotta admit, the v-stop tailpiece looks good to me. It's visually unique and doesn't bother my sense of aesthetics at all.


I just added a B6 to my Dad’s 2622 with a v stop tail. I had to order new posts from towner because their standard kit doesn’t fit metric. It actually works great as is, but it could definitely use a bit more break angle.

– Calebaaron666

On a thin-bodied guitar where the bridge is mounted directly to the body (as opposed to being mounted on a wooden saddle like the old-style Gretsches), a B-6 will inevitably have a shallow break angle. If you don't want to use the B-7 with tension bar, a B-3 (being shorter than a B-6) will give you a better break angle. I have an Epiphone Sorrento that I got used with a B-3, which works ok as long as I use at least .011 gauge strings. A B-6 wouldn't work well at all.

The only drawback is that a B-3 moves the handle back closer to the bridge


I'm another that doesn't mind the V-stop. The first time I saw it was an "ugh what?" reaction but it has actually grown on me.


I think my 6228 Cadillac Green P.E. Jet is an awesome guitar! Easy to play, sounds amazing and yes, I even like the "V". Don't knock it till you've played one. I've owned an R.H.H. and a White Panther and this guitar is my favorite so far. I even love the Broad'trons, they are wired hotter than any other stock Gretsch pickups I've tried but all that Great Gretsch Sound is there (in spades)...Seriously, this thing "rocks". (Carry-on, gentlemen).


After seeing a couple of these in person I have lost some of the WTF knee jerk reaction to them... They are shiny and sparkly and the raccoon in me likes that. Especially that silver sparkle Jet!

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