Modern Gretsch Guitars

Which Jet/penguin to get?

26

Here are the two Cad green Dynasonic Jets currently in the line.

https://www.gretschguitars....

The one in your picture appears to have the part number, the Bigsby, the TVJ T-Armonds, stained wood (not painted) headstock, and the humpblocks corresponding to the VS (G6128T-57) - but it lacks the armrest.

The plainol G6128TCG has V-cut Bigsby, stock Gretsch Dynasonics, black headstock, no armrest - and is supposed to be 1.75".

So the one you're looking at would appear to be a hybrid of the two.

Mysterious. I don't know where Gretsch measures the depth. My 6128TCG, from 2006, measures 1-27/32", midway between 1.75" and 2".

I can't explain why, if yours has the model # and most of the features of a Vintage Select, it would be missing the armrest and 1/4" of stature. I believe I recall that the VS started life - in 2017, I believe - with the armrest. It's possible, though, that Gretsch has either deepened the body in later model years...or are measuring it at a different place.

I also can't explain why mine is deeper than it should be (if it's the same as the current 6128TCG).

Can you get a weight on that guitar? It ought to be lighter than mine, which weighs 7 lbs 4 oz.

I've learned you have to be careful buying Vintage Selects used. I ran into a guitar on Reverb listed as a VS - but it was from 2006, 11 years before the VS was introduced. It was an honest (if rather sloppy) mistake on the part of the seller; he just found the first thing on the Gretsch site that looked like his guitar, and made an assumption.

Since we can't see the chambering when comparing guitars (or even feel the weight if we're shopping online), the arm rest - along with the Bigsby and headstock finish - offer obvious ways of distinguishing the two otherwise same-looking models. (It's much trickier to verify the pickups without removing them.)

It's just odd to me that you'd have a VS without that armrest. I wish Terada would make me one without the rest, and with the V-cut Bigsby. That would be the perfect Cad green Jet for me. If I was inclined to trade the one I have, which is already The Best Guitar In the World.

Of course, the armrest doesn't matter much - if I thought I had to have a VS (and I almost think that), I'd yank the armrest in a second and not care about the holes. But the depth and the chambering are the heart and soul of the proposition.

Model-and-spec variation are an age-old Gretsch tradition, but we'd like to think we're beyond all that now in the new century. We're going to have to apply to a higher authority to sort this out. A shallow VS...seems odd. Unless, again, they just hadn't acquired the extra depth during their first model year.

(Anyone have a 2017 spec list to check?)

27

Per Joe C, always measure body depth at the "butt end" of a guitar.

Measure it top to back next to the Bigs or tailpiece.

28

Is it a 57 vs?

It Is:

  1. Gretsch serial number says it is.
  2. The headstock colour.
  3. The Bigsby
  4. The TV Jones pickups
  5. The Bridge.
  6. The body depth is 2” at the butt

It Isn’t:

  1. The case candy says G6128TGC
  2. The other case candy says G6128T.
  3. The lack of arm rest.

Edit: seller remeasured at the butt, the guitar is 2”.

I’m going to call Gretsch customer service again and dig deep.

29

If it's 2" deep, I go with yes. Some kind of transitional, maybe.

I'd love to have one without the armrest. Not a fan.

30

I spent a bit of time on the phone with Gretsch yesterday, it is an early 2017 G6128T-57. Somehow it got out of the factory without an armrest.

31

That makes the most sense. Easiest answer with the fewest moving parts. Occam's Razor and stuff.

32

I’ve limited my decision to the following:

  1. 2007 6134t-Ltv white Falcon
  2. 2013 6134b
  3. 2017 6134t-58
  4. 2017 6128T-58

The 6128 has everything I want, except I had my heart set on a Penguin it is also the cheapest.

The 6134t-58 has the vintage body chambers and thickness and lacquer but missing the Dynasonics (tv jones can fix that) and humpblocks and is the most expensive.

The black penguin doesn’t have a Bigsby (easy fix) but not proper thickness or chambering, but has everything else. Price is right.

T-LTV Lacks the depth and chambering and the pickups need to be changed , But it is lacquer, has the correct inlays, has a Bigsby and is medium price range.

To the gretsch connoisseur, how important is the 2 inch depth and chambering? I probably should just get the 6128, but penguins are so sexy.

33

I’ve limited my decision to the following:

  1. 2007 6134t-Ltv white Falcon
  2. 2013 6134b
  3. 2017 6134t-58
  4. 2017 6128T-58

The 6128 has everything I want, except I had my heart set on a Penguin it is also the cheapest.

The 6134t-58 has the vintage body chambers and thickness and lacquer but missing the Dynasonics (tv jones can fix that) and humpblocks and is the most expensive.

The black penguin doesn’t have a Bigsby (easy fix) but not proper thickness or chambering, but has everything else. Price is right.

T-LTV Lacks the depth and chambering and the pickups need to be changed , But it is lacquer, has the correct inlays, has a Bigsby and is medium price range.

To the gretsch connoisseur, how important is the 2 inch depth and chambering? I probably should just get the 6128, but penguins are so sexy.

34

I would say that most people here mod a Gretsch to one degree or another, sounds like you have been smitten by the Penguin vibe. No amount of modding will turn a Jet headstock into a Penguin headstock.

I’m guessing you will never hear or feel a 1/8 difference in body thickness. I guarantee no one in the crowd will!

35

That makes the most sense. Easiest answer with the fewest moving parts. Occam's Razor and stuff.

– Proteus

I took a chance and brought the duo jet home. I opened up the control cavity to see what the label said and.....it is a 57vs!

36

After reading about the body thickness differences and discovering that my recent '59 VS Jet is apparently thicker than the Player's Edition I took them both out and put them side by side to compare. The difference to my eye is more like 1/16th" than 1/8th. I imagine they very a bit given how much handwork is involved.

The difference in depth in my two Jets is minimal and I would never have noticed. It's not like the difference between a SSLVO and an earlier Hotrod for example - that is very apparent.

FWIW if I was going to mod a Jet for a H/S/S pickup arrangement I would have chosen the Player's Edition. It will be difficult to mod a regular Jet for those pickups given the height of the bridge off the body. Is that what you meant by "ssh"?

37

After reading about the body thickness differences and discovering that my recent '59 VS Jet is apparently thicker than the Player's Edition I took them both out and put them side by side to compare. The difference to my eye is more like 1/16th" than 1/8th. I imagine they very a bit given how much handwork is involved.

The difference in depth in my two Jets is minimal and I would never have noticed. It's not like the difference between a SSLVO and an earlier Hotrod for example - that is very apparent.

FWIW if I was going to mod a Jet for a H/S/S pickup arrangement I would have chosen the Player's Edition. It will be difficult to mod a regular Jet for those pickups given the height of the bridge off the body. Is that what you meant by "ssh"?

– JimmyR

I got the VS cheaper than any other Jet I have seen locally, and cheaper than the cheapest PE I have seen online.

I am considering ordering another T-armond neck and installing it in the middle position and getting a classic plus in the dearmond mount for the bridge. But I am going to wait and make sure that’s the way I want to go.

38

Oh I thought you meant like a super-strat! Adding a middle Dearmond will be tricky but a lot easier than trying to fit Strat pickups.

I agree wholeheartedly that waiting and trying before you do anything is a good idea. Have fun! Tweaking the bridge and pickups will have a big effect on tones available so be sure to tweak to your heart's content. For some reason every guitar I have bought recently has needed a truss rod loosen and action raised. Otherwise they have sounded hard and unresponsive.

39

I got the VS cheaper than any other Jet I have seen locally, and cheaper than the cheapest PE I have seen online.

I am considering ordering another T-armond neck and installing it in the middle position and getting a classic plus in the dearmond mount for the bridge. But I am going to wait and make sure that’s the way I want to go.

– Boyter

I want to see a picture of that! I wonder if I should install another T-Armond in the middle of my ‘57 VS DOU-Jet?

40

Oh I thought you meant like a super-strat! Adding a middle Dearmond will be tricky but a lot easier than trying to fit Strat pickups.

I agree wholeheartedly that waiting and trying before you do anything is a good idea. Have fun! Tweaking the bridge and pickups will have a big effect on tones available so be sure to tweak to your heart's content. For some reason every guitar I have bought recently has needed a truss rod loosen and action raised. Otherwise they have sounded hard and unresponsive.

– JimmyR

Strat size pickups in a duo jet would be sacrilegious!

Regarding the bridge, besides the screws on the Melita, is there any other reason to replace it? I was either going to get the billy Zoom flat head screws or a tru-arc rocking bar Bridge. If the screws are the only downside to the Melita though, I would probably go that direction first.

41

Strat size pickups in a duo jet would be sacrilegious!

Regarding the bridge, besides the screws on the Melita, is there any other reason to replace it? I was either going to get the billy Zoom flat head screws or a tru-arc rocking bar Bridge. If the screws are the only downside to the Melita though, I would probably go that direction first.

– Boyter

Melitas are fine bridges. They kind of look like they should be tone-suckers, but they aren't. The last time I had a Gretsch with a stock Melita, a 1953 Duo Jet, I tried a couple other bridges on it, including a bar bridge and a Bigsby aluminum bridge. I didn't find either to be an improvement and settled back on the Melita.

Even with the low profile slotted screws, they have a different feel and take a little getting used to. But not much. And even with the big thumb screws, I personally have no problem palm muting with them.

42

Strat size pickups in a duo jet would be sacrilegious!

Regarding the bridge, besides the screws on the Melita, is there any other reason to replace it? I was either going to get the billy Zoom flat head screws or a tru-arc rocking bar Bridge. If the screws are the only downside to the Melita though, I would probably go that direction first.

– Boyter

I found I wasn't fond of the nylon or plastic bridge saddles on the reissue Melita Syncro-Sonic that came on my Duo Jet. it softens and mutes the attack. I currently have an aluminum Tru-Arc Serpentune on it and it's perfect for me.

43

Hey Buddy - what are the high notes like with the aluminium Tru-arc? I really loved the tone of the Starfire III I use to have and it had the stock aluminium Bigsby bridge but it got kinda shrill higher on the neck. I never got around to trying a different bridge to see if it was just how the guitar or whether the bridge was responsible.

Right now I have a SS Compton on my '59 VS Jet and it sounds amazing. I am looking forward to trying a SS Serpentune on the guitar to see if it keeps the same tone but intonates better. Actually the intonation is not bad with the Compton but why not go for perfect if you can?

44

Hey Buddy - what are the high notes like with the aluminium Tru-arc? I really loved the tone of the Starfire III I use to have and it had the stock aluminium Bigsby bridge but it got kinda shrill higher on the neck. I never got around to trying a different bridge to see if it was just how the guitar or whether the bridge was responsible.

Right now I have a SS Compton on my '59 VS Jet and it sounds amazing. I am looking forward to trying a SS Serpentune on the guitar to see if it keeps the same tone but intonates better. Actually the intonation is not bad with the Compton but why not go for perfect if you can?

– JimmyR

I tried a Bigsby bridge first and know exactly what you mean by the thin, high, piercing overtone. The aluminum Serpentune has the same basic tone as the Bigsby but with more body and no piercing high overtone. I tried a stainless steel Serpentune first and while it sounded good I missed the high mid spank tone that I was able to achieve with the aluminum bridge so I swapped it.


Register Sign in to join the conversation