Other Guitars

Just Played a Gretsch, Bigsby Prototype


I stopped by my regular music store, after not being in there for months, because I was eating lunch at a new restaurant next door.

I walked in carrying my eight-month old daughter expecting to see the usual stiff, but I spotted a Bigsby guitar across the room.

I played it through a DRRI for a bit, and I absolutely loved it. I know the Gretsch prototypes aren’t known for being dead accurate, but the sound I was hoping to hear was very much there.

It was very clear and punchy sounding. Bright, but not thin, and I found the geometry of it very comfortable. I was expecting it to feel awkward with a flat top and a no-roller Bigsby.

Even the neck pickup was clear and articulate.

Very cool experience. I walked out with just a set of strings and a shaker for my daughter, though.


Tried one just like that last century. Liked everything but the gloppy poly finish and the price. But I wouldn't trade my DuoJet for it.


Put some TK smith’s then it sounds perfect. I agree about the finish. Been thinking of stripping mine


The price is very high, but I didn’t think the finish was too bad. I really like the non-arched top. Crazy to think these prototypes are 20 years old, now.


How high is "very high"? I've been looking for one of these for quite some time. Never seen this flavor in person in anything but a lefty.


Noiselab, they are asking $3500.


Owned one for a while, very good instrument but sold it (to a GDP'er) to get a '52 L-7CN. Had to be done, but I miss it, and prices on them have shot up.


It sold already. I know it was overpriced, and I know it has a thick poly finish, and I know it isn’t all that accurate, but I do kind of regret not buying it. It sounded and felt great.


Crud - that makes two of us.


God, I so wished they’d make more of those.


Were these CS built, or were they built somewhere else (Japan...)? I've never seen a manufacturing country indicator for them anywhere on the web. Maybe Paul Pigat can tell us if there are any indicators or "tell-tail" signs on his.

If they were built in the CS, $3500 sounds like one of the cheapest CS I've ever heard of - even used. I don't think I've ever seen anything but a lefty BY-50 for less than $3K on the market. That was at Rumbleseat Music in Carmel by the Sea before they closed the store, and they told me they were pricing it to sell quickly to the first lefty player with any interest.

Someone obviously thought that $3500 was a fair price. I think the limited availability keeps the $$$ numbers high on them.


I saw Big Lazy do a gig with one, and it sounded great, though I'm not sure if it was different pickups or not, I usually put it on the player.


Factory made in Japan. They were a fairly inexpensive curiosity for years after their initial run - I think I gave $1400 for mine - but the resurgence of interest in the style drove the prices for them. As noted above, you can get one built for less, but most folks aren't into or are a bit daunted by the idea, so it's about on par with what you'd pay retail for a repro, and less than what the most well known custom builder would charge. Seems like something that might fall back out of favor as quickly as it fell on, so I'd be really wary of giving 3k+ for one unless I intended to keep it for a looong time


You can have one built for far less.

– Strummerson

Can you suggest anyone?


Can you suggest anyone?

– Dhdfoster

I would like to know as well... TK's Roadmaster starts at $5500


There’s a local guy making something like those called Hamm-tone. [No affiliation]

It has a 3-bolt neck.

He had moved out to the country and now has moved back to the city.

Lots of builders here.


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