Vintage Gretsch Guitars

NGD: Corvette ‘TV Special’ build, finally finished!


I finally got around to finishing my Corvette from one of the bodies that were offered here several years ago. Actually I have been playing it for a year already but I only got around to posting about it now.

I chose to combine some of my favorite features from the three big guitar brands:
I decided on two P90s, wrap around stop tailpiece and TV yellow finish. So basically it comes very close to a SG TV Special from the 60s. P90s are my favorite pick ups and I chose for Tyson 57s after a review that Shuggie wrote in Guitar Magazine. They sound amazing!
I like the sound and resonance of wrap around stop tailpieces most and I love their simplicity. I used a MojoAxe compensated wrap around.
I didn’t want it to have a huge pick guard like Corvettes have so I made one exactly covering the route that Gretsch already made on the body. Nice and simple.
And obviously it needed thumbnail markers to keep some of the Gretsch look. I ordered a neck without markers and I made them myself. And I fretted it with Jescar Jumbos.

I never could get along with the position of the master volume on Gretsches and I don’t need three volume knobs on a guitar anyway.. So I went for one volume, one tone and a three position switch and I used 50s Gibson wiring.
I placed the volume knob exactly in the same position and distance from the bridge as where it’s placed on a Telecaster. That feels best to me. I use the volume control a lot and that way I can find it without searching. And of course it needed Tele knobs. I like the look and feel of them…

This is an amazing guitar. It’s loud acoustically, very resonant and sustains for days. I just can’t put it down and it’s so light that any other guitar that I pick up just seems very heavy to me now.

I decided not to lacquer the back of the neck because I love that feel. My 61 6121 and my 59 Annie don’t have any lacquer there anymore and the feel of bare wood is just perfect.
So that also was an excuse to do some relicing. That is a tough thing to start… You just lacquered the guitar, it looks perfect and then you start ruining the lacquer. I first thought I would make a very rough relic but I just haven’t been able to get myself to do that. So it’s a light relic. Shuggie told me to use a bunch of keys and drop them on the guitar. I first tried tapping the edges with a screw driver but that just doesn’t look good. Dropping the keys is perfect! You can aim but still it’s random. And then of course I used upside down air spray cans to create the checking. That came out very nice I think. The transition from lacquer to no lacquer on the neck still looks a bit fake (although I shaped it after the wear on my 59 Annie) but I hope it will start looking more natural after I play it a lot.

Here are some pics:


First test set up before routing.


the spray painted body


Cavity with added blocks to support the screws of the pick guard.


Hanging the guitar


I think there are several ways to do TV yellow but I chose this one:
First you sand the body nicely and then blow all of the dust out of the pores with an air spray can.
Then you spray the white ground layer but do it a bit too far away so the lacquer is a bit too dry when it hits the body. That way it won’t run in to the pores.
Then you rub in some mahogany wood filler and rub it off immediately again so it only stays in the pores and then sand lightly.
Then you spray the TV yellow. Because the yellow is very transparent the pores remain very visible and they are enhanced by the wood filler.
And then some layers of clear nitro.


Ground layer sprayed very dry. You can see that it didn’t run in to the pores.


Rubbing in the mahogany wood filler.


The wood filler remained in the pores after rubbing it off.


The transparent yellow before the layers of clear.


And a pic of the sharp line between the back and the face of the headstock.


And one more pic of the guitar….


So cool to see this guitar... again!

Great work, Daniel. Those pores look very classy. Lovely detail.


Wow, that came out GREAT, Danman! Finish is awesome and looks "right" on that guitar. Congrats on a sweet build. Enjoy!!

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