1 General_Lee 3 weeks ago NGD: Reviewing the G6122T-59GE Vintage Select Country Gentleman – A player’s perspective.Pulled the trigger on this holiest of grails sight unseen (a first for me) last week after much inner debate (I had also been considering the CClub). Obviously, I’m still in the honeymoon phase, a honeymoon may well turn out to be the longest on record…Have you ever gotten exactly the thing you wanted only to discover it was exactly what you had imagined? Rarely, if ever does this actually happen. Invariably we lust after some treasure only to find upon its arrival one or more aspects of it that fall below, exceed, or in most cases, simply differ, from our expectations. Humanity, thy name is subjectivity. And it is this same subjectivity that colors every intellectual response and emotional reaction we enjoy in this journey we call living. That is why the journey itself is so compelling, because in spite of our excitement at what we may hope to discover at the end of a particular search, there is something in us that knows the grail object does not actually exist, whereas the journey itself is always (well usually always) bona fide. Hence our awe in the presence of the show stopper…the journey ender…the “it couldn’t possibly be real…could it?” jaw dropping game changer. I speak of course of - the masterpiece.Okay, okay. I’ll remove tongue from cheek now…This review will be more of a personal comment as opposed to a re-examination of specs. Those are all readily available elsewhere. Of course I’ll refer to specifics, but my approach will be more that of an amateur art critic examining a masterpiece than a mechanic looking under the hood – no offense to the redneck in us all. Anyway, I hope you get a larger sense of what the ’59 VS Gent has to offer than you might glean from simply reading a spec sheet. The visual aesthetic: I’ve always been a sucker for a pretty face and the Vintage Select is easily one of the most stunning I’ve ever seen. The Walnut stain is deeper and darker than any I’ve ever come across on a Gent. In fact, in all but the brightest lighting, the f-holes all but disappear. The tiger striping is present but subdued - an effect that draws the eye in without screaming for attention as is usually the case in lighter colored instruments. The binding is “Aged White with B/I/B Purfling”. Also, the position markers are of a new Pearloid Neo-Classic™ Thumbnail design and the aging is perfectly matched to the binding. This new “aged” coloring is a most welcome departure from the previous stark white coloring previously sported by the 6122 line. If you are used to the stark white binding scheme, which provides a slightly more baroque (in the original sense of the word) effect in previous models, then you are in for a visual awakening of delightful proportion when you first see this newer scheme “in the flesh”. I immediately fell in love with the rich, classy effect of the warmer appointments. Like a woman of beauty and experience who knows how to properly apply just the right shades and amount of makeup, the overall visual presentation is indeed breathtaking. Add to this the crafted gold jewelry draped in royal fashion around the luxurious curves of the Gent’s 17” body and the picture is one that I doubt any of us would ever tire of admiring or studying. I for one, keep it on constant display so that I can look at it even when I’m not playing it. Speaking of gold jewelry, special mention should be made of the wire arm Bigsby and the “butter bean” tuners. I had forgotten just how comfortable, ergonomic and musically useful such hardware could be. Anyone care to move from coach to first-class? Power train and Tone shaping: It seems as though there has been a lot of confusion as to the exact model of TV that rests in the bridge position of the ’59. Current opinions conflict widely and Gretsch’s own (mistaken) literature doesn’t help much. Who writes these things? My conclusion, based on research done mainly here on the GDP, is that they are Classic Plus units encased in a Hi-lo Tron housing. In any case, this is the first experience I’ve had with either the Supertron or the Classic Plus and I would have to say that TV has outdone himself with these units. How I made it this far in life without access to a Supertron is a question I will now ponder for the duration of my Gretsch playing days. This tonal integrity of this pickup HAS to be experienced to be even remotely believed. Even more acoustically surreal are the tones to be had while combining the well chosen duo of pups. The Gent is equipped with an unusual (for Gretsch) volume and tone pot combination. There is no separate volume control for the neck pup, which can only be controlled with the master volume pot. The bridge pup has its own attenuator and there is TA-DA! - a master tone control which brings the new Gretsch “Squeezebox” paper-in-oil capacitor into play. This combination of controls takes a bit of getting used to but to say its well worth the effort is my personal understatement of the day. In fact the entire power train of the ’59 VS is as sweet, smooth and rewarding a hardware combination as you will ever find. Endless tone. Endless variation. Endless love. The Gent at Work: Playing the ’59 VS is an experience no mere words will ever convey. The infinite palette of tones, textures, tactile sensation, internal resonances, grins, and sheer slap-me-upside-the-head joy, that can and will be attained, by those with even the humblest of technical skill on this instrument is, to coin an impossibly overused term, unbelievable. To use Chet’s own laconic, yet dead on, turn of phrase you simply “get more note” from every note you play. Articulation is infinite. Sustain is perfect. The harmonic “weight” of every note is balanced and pure. Jazz, rockabilly, classic rock, Bach Cantatas, Horton’s heat, it’s all here. And that’s just the beginning. Wait ‘til you hear your own sound evolve. And I mean evolve. Whichever direction the ’50 VS may lead you in, trust me, it’s the right direction. Just follow along as best you can. Work? What work? Over the years I’ve owned many fine Gretsch guitars including Tennesseans, 62 Gents (my last one being an SP), and even a few “solid” types. The ’59 VS Gent trumps them all. With remarkable ease I might add. I don’t know why it took me so long to get here, but I do know there is no turning back now. Nor would I ever want to. This incredible piece is just that good. Thanks to Paul Yandell. And many heartfelt thanks to Chet. To those amazing blokes in Terada and the Gretsch team in general – thanks simply don’t cover it. You guys are the real masters. I salute you.