Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Gretsch palm hand tremelo query


Is there such a thing as a 50s gretsch palm hand tremelo or were they just made in 60s? If so pics and info required cheers


You mean something like this?


You mean the Jimmy Webster device that clamped on to the strings between the bridge and the tailpiece so that it could be "wiggled" to create a vibrato effect?


or do you means one of these little dohickeys?


Yes thats it Hermitt - exactly the one above! Is there a 50s version or just the 60s?


That's the only one style that I've seen. When I saw Jimmy Webster in 1964 his stereo White Falcon had one.


@mojave - nice link . How can you tell if you have a 50s or 60s version?


It looks to me like the exact same one used for both the 50s and the 60s since all it did was clamp to the strings behind the bridge.


Those are some nice photos of the Burns tremolos used on the Corvettes!


You'll need to track down when Jimmy first came up with the idea. The first ones I ever saw were on Annies so I'd guess that they probably were introduced in 1958. I don't think that the style changed at all until they were discontinued in the 60's.


They were called "Tone Twisters" I think. One came with a 1961 Anniversary I bought in the late 80s.

I'm a pretty forgiving guy who looks for the best in all things Gretsch. Like mutes. But these are junk. They put the guitar out of tune at best and also break strings.

Can't say I ever saw one before the very early 60s. But I wasn't there, I only know what came with certain guitars I've purchased over the years.


I'm with knavel on this one. I remember them being introduced in the early 1960's and they were called "Tone Twisters". And they were, truly, junk. It was among a number of signs that indicated Jimmy Webster had been "playing too long without a helmet".


Is there such a thing as a 50s gretsch palm hand tremelo or were they just made in 60s? If so pics and info required cheers

– gretschcrush

Is there such a thing as a 50s gretsch palm hand tremelo or were they just made in 60s? If so pics and info required cheers

– gretschcrush

i think Daffy Duck used the same.


Yes, I remember now....the "Tone Twister." If this is a copy of a Gretsch catalogue from 1958, when Annies started production, it's been around since then.



– gretschcrush


– gretschcrush



a tone twister. I must be the only on ein the world that can get them to work without breaking strings or having the guitar go out of tune.


there is a difference in the 50s and 60s... not in design but you can tell the difference the early ones were stamped patent pending unlike the later ones marked with the patent and the number .. i have both there function the same. the patent pending as far as i know are earlier and bit rarer. bit like early filter tron pick up covers they should be marked patent pending..i have them on my 57 falcon.. they changed in 1960 ware they were marked with the us patent number instead.8-)vv


That's the second Falcon reference... and since this was a Jimmie Webster thing, perhaps they debuted on that model, but were then offered later-on for any/all non-vibrato equipped models? Just speculating.

I believe I recall seeing a gold-plated tone twister on a Princess model.


It's possible. I doubt there were many Falcons in the U.K. in the early sixties so the one that Jimmy used was probably the only one that I had any chance of seeing.

There are pics of it around on the WEB. It's the one with the 4 switches on the upper bout.....and the "Tone Twister".....of course!


Yeah, that thing seems like a great little device for breaking strings.


The patent granted in 1963 is here - interesting that it was only applied for in 1962, if it had been in production since the '50s.

Interesting that he bothered to file the patent in the first place, given that these appear to have been a complete failure. Maybe they got a more forgiving reception at the time?

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