Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Comparison of ‘67 Country Gentleman, ‘67 Starfire III, ‘80 Casino &…

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My friend Phil Hurley was kind enough to show me his favorite semi-hollow and hollow body guitars: - 1967 Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gentleman (Filtertrons)
- 1967 Guild Starfire III (Mini Humbuckers)
- 1980 Epiphone Casino (P-90s)
- 2014 Gibson Rich Robinson ES-335 (Burstbuckers)

Beautiful guitars. Toward the end of the video you can hear him play the same riffs back-to-back on the different guitars, which really highlights their unique tones.

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Great demos. I like it when the same riffs are used. The only downside to this video was that I am not sure my favorite was the Gent.

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Interesting It seems like the first two guitars have a lot hotter pickups and are hitting the amp hotter and distorting The Gent with it's likely 4kish filtertrons is one of the cleaner sounding with the first few examples.

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Very good demos. Maybe my old ears are letting me down these days but, oddly, I could barely tell the difference between the 335's humbucker sound and the Casino's P90s -- both sounded excellent. The Guild really had its own thing going on and also sounded very good. I thought the Gretsch, probably with lower output pickups, would have benefited from a little amp tweaking.

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The Casino and Starfire tie for me. The Gent is right behind them. And I wouldn't complain about a gift of the 335, but it came last for me. Just didn't have the clarity down low that I crave. But it's not an anti-bucker thing. I love the Guild HB-1s. I do think one needs to bring up the bottom on them. Different guitars, different settings. Or maybe it was the recording. But when I've played them, they are a bit sweeter and chimier than this clip sounds. They have something in common with Dearmond Goldtones, but better.

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Very good demos. Maybe my old ears are letting me down these days but, oddly, I could barely tell the difference between the 335's humbucker sound and the Casino's P90s -- both sounded excellent. The Guild really had its own thing going on and also sounded very good. I thought the Gretsch, probably with lower output pickups, would have benefited from a little amp tweaking.

– Dave_K

You said better what I was thinking Dave.

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I couldn’t determine a winner in the neck pup, bridge pup or the distorted examples but for what he played in the middle position smack down, I found the Gent to be the clear winner.

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Thanks for posting the vid. For clean, the Gent of course. I really liked the little bit of grit and chime the Guild brought to the table -- much more interesting than the Gibson and Epi, IMVHO. I was looking forward to using a T90 in my next project but I may have to re-think that.

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Casino: The P-90's are Korean made and do not sound like original P-90's made between 1950-1966. That Casino was made by Sammick. They also use ceramic magnets which sound like dogs' ass.The only two I'd own are the Gent and the Guild. The new ES-335 would be great if you replace the pickups with a set of either ThroBak's or TV's new humbuckings and replace the wiring harness with a vintage harness. The Centralab pots Gibson used from about 1955 to 1965 have a clarity to them that no modern pots have. CTS tries but hasn't hit it yet. I'd rather spend the $$ and buy a good vintage harness. Not sure if Gibson was using Hide Glue when they did the Rich Robinson's, but when they switched to Hide Glue for the neck joint, fingerboard, Trussrod fillet and the cedar rim linings and spruce expansion plates under the top and back, then they reaqlly sound close to what the old ones sound like. I have a very late 2014 ES-335TDC `63 block inlay and it has all the vintage correct stuff. I have a set of early Pat.#'s and a wiring harness from early 1964 and it sounds as good as any vintage 335!

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Don, I'm quite sure a 1980 Epiphone Casino is Made in Japan and I doubt the pickups have been made in Korea as well.

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I've just listened to those demos again -- that Guild really has something goin' on.

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I had a 1980--ish Casino, made in Japan by Matsumoku. I sold it to my brother-in-law and have regretted doing so ever since. One of his sons now uses it.

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For the way Phil Hurley plays I like the way his ES 335 sounds the best. If Brian Setzer were to play these guitars the Gent would most likely sound the best.

If I was the player I would probably sound best with the Casino. I continue to be surprised at what guitars I sound good on and also at which guitars I can't get a good sound out of. For example when I was younger I always wanted a Les Paul and then when I would play them I never liked the sound I was getting. My brother could then strap on the same Les Paul and sound amazing. In reverse I think my brother would not vibe with the sound coming from my Duo Jet when he plays it but would love the way it sounds when I play it.

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Inevitably, it’s about more than just the pickups. The Guild may have lacked some treble in the clean examples, but I thought it sounded more in tune with itself than the other guitars. Better intonation, maybe; middle-of-the-neck stuff sounded great on that guitar.

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That was fun. Liked the Casino mostly. But the only clear preference for me,in the different pickup positions was the Grestch,in the neck position.


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