Vintage Gretsch Guitars

1958 Gretsch White Falcon Project-O-Sonic


Love that white trc.


There's a close-up of the split Filtertron Stereo unit on page 116 of the 50s Gretsch Manual. I'm at work and don't have access to the digital file.


Thanks, Curt! Note that the bass strings' polepieces are farther away from the bridge to inhance the bass response, while the treble strings are closer to the bridge, inhancing the treble response. With this original incarnation of Project-O-Sonic, this guitar is essentially a one-pickup guitar. The later POS set-up (with all twelve polepieces divided into two separate mini-pickups within one cover) gives the guitarist a much broader palette of tones to choose from. As Gretsch's sales blurb of the day said, "54 tonal variations at the flip of a switch!"


If anyone is interested, check out "I Know That You Know" from the Chet Atkins RCA album "Mister Guitar" (LSP-2103). Make sure it's the stereo album as RCA also offered it in mono. On this song, Chet uses his Project-O-Sonic Country Gentleman to great effect.


Paul, that is super cool! Gretsch sure made good use of felt. Thanks for posting the pix!


Remember this '58? I wonder how far apart they are.


I think the best thing i can do looking at all this is pull the loom out with time and compare it to that schematic. I can see with a mirror that both volume pots are CTS 1960's pots. Just can't read the all important year code! Maybe 66, not sure, and the bottom switch is wired as a standby. Also one of the Falcons knobs is slightly different to the other two, so i wonder if the whole control layout has been modified at some point. I think what i will do is re wire it stereo ES 345 style and use the standby switch as Stereo - Off - Mono. Sound like a plan?


Super, it's YOUR guitar, so set it up the best way it suits you. The Project-O-Sonic set-up is cool and neat to show off to folks, but most guitarists find it kind of limiting and prefer the mono Falcon. If your guitar belonged to me (I wish!) I'd set it up mono to be able to enjoy it now and then spend a few years looking to score original pickups, wiring, etc. to put it back to original. It's such a valuable instrument that you could hardly loose if you had to pay a little more for original parts. Jay Scott traded me a model 100 Synchromatic guitar (page 30 of his book) for a Caddy tailpiece (Stereo Falcon, bottom pic, page 152, same book) for a White Falcon he was restoring. It was a good trade for him because it made his Falcon even more valuable. What I'm saying is either way, it's a win-win for you.


That is one more wowzer of a guitar, superaxe63! I'm glad you listened to the little voices telling you to pull the trigger. Enjoy!


I've made these before:  photo null_zpsf08113b8.jpg  photo Gretsch-Dual-jack-box.jpg


Some more stuff to go along with the POS theme

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Curtis Novak's 6118 Anniversary

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Another related note... most of the stereo enabled Gretsch models we see are electric archtops. But I've documented a couple '58 6121 solidbodies that are not stereo wired, but have the pickup placement that make it seem like they may have been intended to be. Also... notice the control knob placement. The only other solidbody I've encountered with stereo is the Fogleberg Penguin.


Ed, what year did the standby switch first make it's appearance?


Late 1961 model year for standby switch.


I bought this '58 from Guitar Trader back in the mid '80's. It played awesome with a chunky U-shaped neck. Neck pickup was just killer, but the other 2 switch positions didn't move me. Bridge alone was sort of hollow/scratchy and middle was a cross between a regular bridge/neck sound and strat quack. Novel though the sound was, I couldn't get behind it. Traded it away after a year or so. I could have justified keeping it if it hadn't been a big purchase for me. Gorgeous guitar.

That neck pickup rocked! Every time I picked the guitar up I was playing Chuck Berry licks on that pickup.


I know, V-cut Bigsby isn't '58. That's what they sold it as and I didn't know enough to question it. Exact year wasn't a deciding factor in the purchase. I don't know the SN now.


Awesome White Falcon. A fantastic guitar.




Now that is one gorgeous bird! And that Project-O-Sonic sounds interesting. Congratulations!



Well Whadaya Know! And right here in the UK. I called up today to see how close the serial # was to mine and was told no label inside but pots date to 1958. Must be earlier than mine with the vertical logo. Very cool guitar and super nice guys at "Old Hat" I must make a trip up and see them with my Falcon!


Just for discussion sake... let's say that an all original, excellent condition 1958 White Falcon is worth $20k. What about one without it's label?

Being the geek that I am, that would drive me crazy. I had a '60 6120 for awhile without a label, and it just bugged the crap outta me. If I was buying, I would expect a discount on a guitar without it's label. Anyone else agree... or am I just being anal (again)?


I think it would bug me. Knowing what you've said about people modifying one guitar to fit the specs of another, more valuable guitar would make me seriously question it without a sticker. I suppose some of it would depend on how easy it would be to fake a Falcon. You've talked about 6190s being the basis for a lot of 6120 projects, and finding a 6120 without a label would make me question its authenticity. Would it be as easy to "reproduce" a White Falcon?


Wow, that is one hell of a set up and what a great thing to do for cancer research, for a small donation to play through all of that!

You must all click on the link to see and hear the full Gretsch Stereo setup, amazing.

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