Modern Gretsch Guitars

Why hasn’t Gretsch made more of this? (Jet content)

1

As I have posted here recently I just got myself a new Gretsch '59 Vintage Select Duo Jet. As I was playing it today it occurred to me that this is easily the best-sounding Filter'tron equipped Jet I have heard.

So I had another look inside and this Jet is quite different internally from the others I have had. You can hear it acoustically - it is much hollower and the routing pattern is much more complex than in previous Terada Jets. I have absolutely no idea about how authentic to a '59 it might be but it seems that it might be more authentic after reading about the differences between various Jets here. What I can say is that it is the sound I have wanted from a Jet all along. It sounds a lot more like a small version of my 6120 than any previous Jet I have owned. The hollowness has given it a brighter, clearer tone with good depth. Any muddiness has gone.

So if Gretsch have changed the way they build these why haven't they made more of a fuss about it? I haven't seen anywhere that they changed anything! I have seen remarkably little about this model at all. Not much talk of it here. I checked the Gretsch website and they say it's a jet and it's good blah blah blah as you would expect - but they don't actually mention that it's significantly different from the other Filter'tron Jets they have made in the last 20 years!

If I get the chance tomorrow I will take some pics of the interior. I have owned Power Jets and flamey Jets from Rocky before but even with pickup changes etc they never quite got where I wanted them to be. But this one with the stock pickups (albeit TV Jones Classics) is already a great sounding guitar (ok I did change the bridge). It's so much better than all the others and it makes the pre-Fender Jet I had look like a joke.

Gretsch are a strange company.

2

Is the neck on yours the soft "vintage V"?

The Gretsch website states that it is, but we know how advertised specs can be at times.

Appreciate your input and congrats on getting this gem.

3

There has been chatter on here about them getting more and more routed out, but I don't know whether Gretsch itself has ever had much to say about it.

4

Wasn't this model year they're making them with the (thicker) vintage correct body thickness too, I recall seeing something about that?

5

There has been chatter on here about them getting more and more routed out, but I don't know whether Gretsch itself has ever had much to say about it.

– Afire

I have a 2018 Vintage Spec ‘57 Dou Jet. This way lighter and much hollower than my 2006 Power Jet. My thought was that after they did the George Harrison tribute, they started copying that construction. I believe they took a scan of the inside. I don’t know this to be true, and didn’t think it applied to the later jets. Just my guess. However, I really dig the guitar. Sounds bigger and I love how light it is.

7

Billy Zoom was the first to insist on vintage body specs for his tribute model in (IIRC) 2010. He even got his x-rayed and there should be pics somewhere on the GDP. Good to hear that the '59's are getting back to vintage specs too. FWIW the '63 Jet Firebird I had for a while was also very light and loud acoustically, more so than my '57. Look forward to interior pics.

8

I noticed that on page 4 and 5 of the 2019 Gretsch catalogue, they make references and show images of the construction of the difference body types:

https://gretschguitars.com/...

9

Is there a way of telling from the outside? My 2015 has a 2" body; how deep is the VS?

10

The '59 I have seems to be the same depth as always at 2". I thought it was the '54 which was deeper? Yes the '59 has the soft V neck which I love and it's very similar to the SSLVO neck except for the 12" radius. FWIW the nut is bone and exceptionally well fitted.

Other differences between the '59 and previous Filter'tron Jets I have noticed: An ebony bridge base rather than rosewood (which makes more sense given the ebony board and a black top - the RW always jarred visually to me) and the headstock facing is now dark brown rather than black. And I don't know why but I like the white pickguard so much better than the silver ones they used to use.

(edit) Rodeo - I just looked at the 2019 catalog as you suggested and yes, that looks a lot like my Jet! It's a lot more hollowed out than in previous years, or at least the Jets I have owned. As I say, you can really hear it when you play acoustically. Previously you might have thought you were playing a true solidbody guitar but now there is no mistaking you are playing something very hollow!

This is the Jet I'm keeping.

11

Thanks for the neck info Jimmy. Love the soft "V" neck profile too.

Dang, new guitar on my bucket list. This has it all.

12

I have a 53' Vintage Select Duo Jet and it is really alive acoustically compared to the 2004 Duo Jet I had previously. It also has a more pronounced neck break angle between the neck and body. I think I need to raise the T-Armond pickups with some risers to get the most out of them. I have to admit I've been mostly playing it acoustically around the house because it sounds so good I don't feel the need to plug it in.

13

Howdy JimmyR. I share your enthusiasm for playing the so called solid-bodies acoustically. Joe Carducci calls them "chambered".

I have an '06 6121 and Penguin. They both are loud enough acoustically for my couch sitting lounge lizard tastes, vs. my '72 Thinline Telecaster even with the chambered F-hole. To me, they just have to sound right acoustically or then there is something not quite right with them.

Here is the page out of the 2019 Gretsch product catalogue uptop, showing the build construction: (see above image)

14

So they're essentially identical in air space to the centerblockers. Except more so, because the bracing doesn't extend all the way to the butt.

15

Except more so, because the bracing doesn't extend all the way to the butt.

And I'm sure the floating bridge and different neck angle required for it make for more of a hollowbody response too, compared to the centerblock models.

16

No doubt. It really does make the Jet extra-double special. Sounds bigger and opener than a planker, but is smaller and stealthy about it.

17

With the more chambered body, TV Classics, and that Vintage "V" neck, this DuoJet is dang near perfection for me.

Not a bad street price either IMO.

18

And on Ebay Rocky sometimes sells them as "used" for $1899...

Earlier Terada Jets have sounded good to me but when I compared them to my SSLVO they have sounded dark and lacked the liveliness I like. I was really wanting a slightly more focussed version of the SSLVO's sound. With the Vintage Select that is what I have at last. I was A/B-ing them yesterday and found myself actually enjoying the Jet more! That is kind of a big deal to me because for so long the SSLVO has been that "sound in my head". It really is a more focussed 6120 sound - more mids or something. It has all the low end of the big-body guitar but sounds like a tighter version of it.

The reason I am making such a big deal of all this is simply because I reckon you fellas would appreciate the VS Jet. It is a significant development in the modern Jet line which has (to me) escaped our attention so far.

And it also makes me want to try a '53 VS Jet!

19

The First Modern Jet I ever played was a DuoJet back in the early nineties. That Guitar was a true Jem! First of all it was super light - lighter than my Strat. - And it just sounded and performed so well. I don't remember if Fender was in on them yet - but that guitar was super chambered. To me that's what gave it such outstanding Tone. The only problem at the time was I couldn't afford one. but If I could have I would have snatched it up in a heart beat.

20

If it was early 90s then that's before the Fender era. I had a pre-Fender Jet which was awful - sounds like you lucked upon a good one. That's one of the things about guitars - they can be so variable.

21

Actually, Jimmy, Gretsch has been making a big deal of the chambering since 2008, when the earliest (modern) version of it appeared on the Billy Zoom signature Jet. It was a major selling point for that guitar, and most of us became aware of hollower Jets at that point (if we didn't know about them before).

As lx mentions, we owe BZ thanks for some of this development. He stubbornly rejected at least one (and I think two) prototype of his proposed sig model because he knew the chambering wasn't right. He was very insistent - and persistent - swimming upstream against the always-prevailing pressure just to get something done. But eventually his original guitar was x-rayed to reveal its secrets, and scales seemed to fall from many eyes. Gretsch was pretty proud to uncover that secret of the 50s.

The new chambering didn't immediately migrate to the rest of the line, but it did appear again (in very similar if not identical form) with the Harrison Jet in 2013. At that point, many of us hoped it would be widespread throughout the line soon. It may have appeared on the downlow in models since then (and I'm sure the Custom Shop has been using it), but the Vintage Select series has codified it.

In the meantime, market conditions and the evolution of the Gretsch line have changed the playing field somewhat. Gretsch has taken the standard "modern" Jet (1.75" depth, chambered but not extensively) and split it into two more purified concepts that chase distinctly different markets. The 1.85"-deep Players Editions, with their shallower neck set and "modern" chambering (I'm not sure what that means...) are intended to suit players expecting a vaguely lespauly guitar to feel and respond like a Les Paul - while the 2"-deep Vintage Selects fully satisfy players who want the real original Jet experience, who value the ways in which a Jet is NOT a Lester.

In that context, Gretsch has two builds to make a big deal of: the chambering and resonance which is a big deal for you (and me) is exactly what might not appeal to the conditioned masses who are discovering classic-rockier Jets.

The language for both groups is kinda coded in the marketing - but it's there.

Here's a thread detailing the 2019 Jet fleet, which focuses on and clarifies the differences: http://gretschpages.com/for...

22

I remember the fuss when Billy's Jet arrived. I just didn't know/wasn't aware that Gretsch had started applying the more rigorous chambering to other Jets. I was under the impression that Billy's Jet was the extra hollow one - didn't know they had applied the same hollowness to the VS series. And if you look at the current website it's not particularly clear still.

Anyway that is all by the by - I LOVE what they are doing now. I read your post about the various Jets and must go measure my two Jets! I didn't realise my new VS was deeper. It looks about the same. But it is definitely more chambered than the PE. The PE Jet is amazing but the VS Jet is more me.

It all reinforces with me that Gretsch continues to get better and better. So rare.


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