Modern Gretsch Guitars

You know what Gretsch doesn’t make?

1

Other than serious baritones - like no more than 28.5" scale length, set neck, and at least Blacktops -

... is a doublecut junior centerblocker in the Electromatic or Pro ranges. There are junior (14"-lowerbout) singlecuts in both of those series, but the only doublecut junior is in the Streamline.

I have one, gunmetal gray satin with P90s, and thoroughly approve - but it occurs to me as I play the Hagstrom Alva (yeah, 14" doublecut centerblock) that humbuckers just don't do it for me anymore.

I must like the junior size and double-cutness, as this makes five of one variety or another - so it's a build I keep going back to. But for the last 15 years, the sound my inner ear wants to hear - if it's not a Fender species or P-90 something - is Gretsch. At least Filter'Trons, if not Dynas.

So I'd like my number-one junior thinline doublecut to be a Gretsch. And not in exactly the same shape as the Streamliner...something that looks more like a juniored Gent doublecut.

I just wonder why they've overlooked that format in the Electro and Pro Series.

As it is, I guess I'll drop 'bucker-sized Filter'Trons of some sort in this one.

Durn shame, that's what it is.

3

Gretsch doesn't have to make everything. There's very little Gretsch about a mini double cut center block guitar. Bah humbug.

How about a double cut Jet? No center block, but certainly chambered, and of course with proper pickups, Bigsby, and a mud switch, Amen.

4

They also don’t make a bouzouki.

Thank goodness.

Gretsch doesn't have to make everything.

Just everything I might want to play.

There's very little Gretsch about a mini double cut center block guitar.

Well, come on! If we're discussing how Gretsch the current expansive line of centerblock guitars with low neck sets and stud-mounted bridges is ... well, we're talking on rocking chairs in front of the fish shack on the dock, because that ship sailed some years ago.

It's not like Gretsch hasn't tried centerblockers prior to the Modern Era (or floated all manner of boats that proved less than seaworthy), but had anyone told us 10 years ago we'd have to go digging through the catalog to find "traditional" Gretsch builds, we'd have scoffed them off the forum.

There WAS a double-cut Jr Gent in the early 2000s - universally loved by those who had one - and given the new centerblockness and lower neck setness of most of the line, it's just not much of a jump to a doublecut version of something they already make in singlecut.

(Sez me.)

5

A double-cut Jet would be fine, maybe. But the bodies are a little narrower than the 14" junior models I'm thinking of, and I don't like the double-cut Jet shape as well as I do the shape of the 16" began-as-hollowbody guitars. Aaaand...while they're at least neighbors on the holler-to-solid continuum of builds, chambering and center-blocking are different things.

But when I put my remembering hat on, I recall the G5655T Electromatic centerblocker depicted here, which I had for awhile. Its spec is really pretty close to what I'm asking for now - arched top and back (unlike a Jet), and centerblock - differing by virtue of its closed body with no f-hole. That surely qualifies as "chambered," but in my pickup-swapping adventures in its guts, it actually seemed more centerblock than hollow, despite the construction from separate back, sides, and top.

And no matter how I tried - stock pickups, TVJ upgrades, lots of play hours - I just never fully warmed up to it.

So maybe center-blocking - and/or stud-mounted bridge - is a step too far on the continuum to produce what my ear considers a completely satisfying Gretsch tone. I may be just fantasizing that the f-holes would make the difference.

6

A 16" acoustic archtop with a 24.5/6" scale is the first thing that comes to my mind. But that's just me.

7

Don't know enough Photoshop to whip one up, but it sounds like a Gribson ESG339 is what's called for.

8

A nice 16" hollowbody in a two-tone finish with DeArmonds. A twin pickup Streamliner. That would be nice.

9

A 6120 or Club with Dynas, unless you count Duane's 6120 6-string bass.

In fact, having looked at the Gretsch site for the first time in ages I'm surprised to see how many of the 'classic' 6120s have been discontinued. It seems you can no longer get a regular 6120 of any vintage spec - they're all either sig models or Players' Editions.

Have I accidentally invoked a filter I don't know about and hidden all the proper Gretsches?

10

No proper Jets either - really?!?

EDIT: OK, I found 3 Vintage Select models on the last page, but no Dynas amongst them.

11

Whoa boy.

I know the last time I looked around - within the last couple of months, I think - the 53VS and 57VS, both with Dynas, were there. I wasn’t looking for 6120s with Dynas at the time, so I can’t speak to that. And yes, I’ve been lamenting the loss of a Dyna Club for a couple of years. Maybe longer.

What is this: after Joe, the deluge?

Either something’s very wrong with the site, products have been pulled back for new introductions for NAMM next month - y’know, the classics under some new series rubric - or the times they are a changin’ and most of us have been left behind.

No one discontinues screamingly successful lines. Maybe our memories are just too long.

I guess what Gretsch doesn’t make is ... Gretschs.

12

OK, OK - misplaced panic.

Yeah, the filtering on the site is too easy to engage unintentionally - after any search, you have to clear it with a little x beside tiny text in the center of the page.

There are 3 Dyna 6120s (55 VS, DE, and Cochran) and 3 Dyna Jets (53VS, 57VS, and Harrison), along with the PE Dyna Jets.

Things aren’t as dire as we feared.

13

Well, I was about to type "phew", but having looked again I don't see what you're describing.

I go to gretschguitars.com and from the menu at the top I choose GEAR/FAMILY/Nashville and am presented with exactly 11 models. If I click the Filter button I can filter out various features, but when you add the options for each filter they all add up to 11 (bit Spinal Tap-is). So I can see many of the models you list above.

Am I in the wrong place?

14

Well apart from My Tedious Self saying 'why not a 22.5" scale -something -- I gotta give Modern-World Gretsch credit put putting out a mind-numbing array of models --something for (almost) everyone. And players who just could not get along w/ the original ones are now finding what works for them.

Has anyone ever summed up how many models there have been in the last 30 years?

And I still say hats off to the few, like BZ, Setzer, (and of course others) who kept Gretsch out there being seen in the 80s -- The-Decade-When-Gretsch-Did-Not-Exist -- and pointy hair metal guitars and so called Super Strats ruled the decade.

15

Count me in as another fan of double cuts. I have wondered why most models are single cuts; is it construction reason or simply a market preference? I like the symmetry of double cuts regardless of which category the models fall in and also like the better upper fret access that some models add. The only possible concern I have about double cuts is the location of the mud switch on Jets. I don’t know, but wonder if the one switch would get in the way of my strumming as it does on my Corvette with the switch in its opposite location.

And while we’re at it, why not make a double cut as deep as a single cut? The Gibson Barney Kessel is deep. Why not do a 2.75 inch deep Gretsch double cut?

Double cuts deserve more love.

16

I am a huge fan of the minor amount of double cut Gretsch. My screen name DC BirdMan originated when I was Eaten Up with double cut Jet Firebirds... it's taken from that guitar.

17

Gretsch doesn't make amps, either. A 5 watt amp with trem and reverb would be a welcome addition. Wouldn't have to cost an arm and a leg, either. A mahogany slab with single coils would be nice, too.

18

Well, if this is turning into the "what I'd like from Gretsch" thread, then I'll resubmit my wish for a thinline trestle-braced 16" hollowbody with Trons, Bigsby, and mudswitch (amen). I think that would be a more Gretsch-appropriate stab at the 335 market.

I also hope they keep some form of Dyna Jet in the lineup. I'll buy one eventually.

19

Gretsch doesn't make amps, either. A 5 watt amp with trem and reverb would be a welcome addition. Wouldn't have to cost an arm and a leg, either. A mahogany slab with single coils would be nice, too.

– wabash slim

Would the reissue Vette -- haven't seen one in years--be the mahogany slab? Wait, I think it had buckers...

My mahogany slab ('62 Melody Maker 3/4 size) arrives Monday, if the predictions are correct.

20

What doesn't Gretsch make or do that I wish they did (but know they won't)? Make Guitar models with necks that aren't Fender Modern C thin, or (at least) do like G & L, and Heritage do - offer a thicker neck option for some of their models at an additional cost. Instead, you have to spend thousands more on a custom shop model (which I can't afford), to get a chunky necked Gretsch. Needless to say, despite being the first guitar company to offer a 7-string model for sale, Gretsch making one nowadays just ain't happening.

21

it sounds like a Gribson ESG339 is what's called for.

Exactly. That captures this quest.

But I've got myself thinking it needs a floating bridge setup rather than stud-mounted, with neck set to match, and that's a direction Gretschson clearly isn't headed these days. The original Panther, from the centerblock introductory year, was very close; if it had been a 14" rather than 16" body, I think it would have nailed it.

22

My signature Gretsch model will have a neck with a full D shape profile; somewhere between .88" and .93" at the first fret. And less than 8 lbs.

23

My signature Gretsch model will have a neck with a full D shape profile; somewhere between .88" and .93" at the first fret. And less than 8 lbs.

– atomicwash

Yeah, that would definitely work for me.

24

Would the reissue Vette -- haven't seen one in years--be the mahogany slab? Wait, I think it had buckers...

My mahogany slab ('62 Melody Maker 3/4 size) arrives Monday, if the predictions are correct.

– DCBirdMan

When did they stop making the Vette? That was such a cool guitar, unique and good value. I can’t remember what the pickups were called that came with them but they were some kind of very singlecoil sounding Filteralike.

I gave mine to my cousin. I kinda miss it now.

25

Gretsch doesn't make amps, either. A 5 watt amp with trem and reverb would be a welcome addition. Wouldn't have to cost an arm and a leg, either. A mahogany slab with single coils would be nice, too.

– wabash slim

Don’t know why Gretsch doesn’t turn to Bruce Zinky (or Bond) to make a short line of amps. They’re reproducing Supros quite well. I have one of the little G5222 amps and it’s really lacking.

Well, I do know why. It’s a shame.


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