Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Blindfold Gretsch Guitar Taste Test


Did sound samples of my four Gretsch's. 64 Tennessean, 72 Deluxe Chet, 52 Electromatic and 55 Convertible (with hilotrons) All guitars using both pickups through my little Princeton Deluxe Reverb build.

Played some open chords, some pickless finger picking and then a lead part. I left in the mistakes.

Can you tell which is which?


Wait. Are these all with HiLotrons?


By definition a little ole 3.2k HiLo Tron can't sound bad. Still the differences in guitars sure could affect the sound.


No Two with vintage 60s hilotrons One with original Dearmonds One with original filtertrons,

(though I did realize that I inadvertantly pulled a bit of a trick since the filtertrons have one set of pickup poles removed, making them a little more hiltronish, they do still sound different though.)

Only difference in the recordings is the guitar plugged in. Preamping through a space echo which as one has to adjust the input level, evens out the differences in pickup volume, making for a purely tonal test rather than one differentiated by volume.


Nope. It would just be a guess from me.


The last clip illustrates the subtle differences the best. To me the DeArmonds stand out the most. There are two that are nearly identical sounding though.


4 = Tenny

1 = Electro

3 = DC

2 = Convertible


Yup dead on.

What did you hear that made that clear or was it my mathematically obvious mixup?

I don't think I could have picked them all out myself. I definitely would've been guessing between the two hilotron guitars.


First of all, I really enjoy the 'Dance Away From Me' solo, so I didn't mind listening to it another 46 times. And speaking of that song, can you either post the lyrics here or send them to me?

So, thanks to your clues/comments above, I singled out the Electro pretty quickly and easily by listening to just the opening chords of each of the 4 samples. The Electro has that obvious difference in the high end. After pondering the test for a few minutes, I realized that rather than listening to the four samples all the way through over and over, comparing the tones would be more effective if I constantly clicked back and forth to the corresponding parts of each sample to compare individual parts directly. I expected the DC to have a slightly less archtopy sound, and perhaps a tad more sustain. Once I had the Electro and the DC guesses marked down, it was time to struggle with the Tenny vs the Convertible. I almost went the wrong way. I thought that the Tenny should sound like you were playing your "favorite old pair of slippers", since you probably could play that guitar in your sleep (and possibly have). But that didn't cinch it for me, since you're obviously very comfortable on the Convertible too. I thought I detected a slightly more full-bodied tone on sample 2, so that told me to go Convertible. I've been a tone hound for so many years (albeit more in the Gibson realm, and more in the jazz guitar world), I think that worked to my advantage despite my relative Gretsch newbieness.

When do I get the money?

(this was fun) (thanks for doing it)


Damn! If I only had any money you would certainly deserve it. Such a fine job of guitar detection and good ears! As I said I doubt I could've done that.

Yeah the electro stands out with it's tactile top end, almost strat like with the magnet pole pieces.

I can kind of notice myself that the Deluxe Chet is a little thicker and a little less bright due to the humbucking filtertrons, still it's pretty close to the hilotrons.

Here's the lyrics: Originally written in D# for my voice and transposed to Bb for the Colorifics singer

Dance Away From Me

When I reminisce, sometimes I still regret

The things I've done, and the things I haven't yet

Lost inside, a maze of memory

My past collides into the future yet to be

I try to keep, the present close at hand

For my hourglass is running low on sand

Just one more time, one more second chance

Just keep the music playing so I can dance away from me.

I count the stars, and watch the time dissolve.

My best laid plans, and all my firm resolves

For this ennui, it holds my heart enthralled

It won't set me free, until the angels call

So settle down, here with a book or two Lose that frown, and all your troubles too Grab your hat, pack up that old ennui Put on your dancing shoes, and just dance away from me.


Such a fine job of guitar detection and good ears!

Ironically, and I swear I'm not making this up, I literally just had my hearing checked for the first time in decades (and I mean like 5+... I think I was in elementary shool). My wife brought home an audiometer from work and tested me because we're both beginning to be a little concerned about our aging ears. I passed with flying colors, btw.

Thanks for the lovely lyrics. I'll e-mail you back soon.

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