2005 Gretsch 6122-1962 Country Gentleman:
- Owned by
- Body style
- Double Cutaway Hollowbody
- Ebony with Neo-Classic/Thumbnail inlays
- Bone with zero fret
- TV Jones Classic
- Grover Imperial
- Master Volume
- Pickup selector switch
- G-Arrow knobs
- Bigsby B-6C (V-cutout)
• TV Jones Classic STEREO Filtertrons
• StellarTone ToneStyler controls
• custom stereo wiring scheme by Don Ayers and Proteus
• copper Tru-Arc™ rocking bar bridge
See details in The Story.
The Stereo Gent began life as a standard Country Classic 6122-1962, of the first FMIC-era configuration without mutes. (In 2007 when Chet's estate endorsed Gretsch again, the 6122-1962 was properly renamed Country Gentleman and reconfigured to include the historically-accurate mute.)
The stereo TV Jones Classics were ordered at the 2008 CAAS convention, and delivered in early 2009. The first version of the wiring scheme was finished in October 2009, and the guitar proved entertaining (though incompletely functional) at the 2009 Nashville GDP Roundup. The Ayers-Proteus wiring scheme was completed in January 2010, and the guitar wired by Don Ayers and delivered to Proteus at the 2010 NorCal GDP Roundup.
The Stereo Gent's wiring sends both pickups' output from the 1-2-3 strings to one amp, and the output from the 4-5-6 strings to a second amp – with complete control over every possible combination.
Guitar is equipped with only known matched pair of TV Jones Classic STEREO pickups, wound by Lindsay Brayton. (The 6120CGP is equipped with a neck Stereo Classic, with white bobbins, based on the stereo pickup wound by Ray Butts for Chet Atkins around 1956 and used on his one-off stereo 6120.)
The custom pickup pair in the Stereo Gent looks exactly like stock Filtertrons, and includes a bridge pickup wound to the slightly hotter spec required for balance.
The wiring scheme, envisioned by the owner – and designed and implemented by Don Ayers of StellarTone – required no additional holes in the guitar.
Wiring and controlling any stereo guitar is deceptively complicated, and while any comparison of the simplicity of such systems is relative, the scheme employed in this guitar provides uniquely straightforward control over a wide range of logical and useful output combinations.
Each pickup consists of four coils, which should be considered a treble pair and a bass pair, split as expected between 3rd & 4th strings. (The pairs always switch together; there's no coil-tapping or single-coil mode).
The original pickup switch in the upper shoulder operates as a pickup selector for the bass pairs of both pickups: up - neck pickup, bass side; middle - both pups, bass side; down - bridge pup, bass side.
The original "tone switch" in the upper shoulder works similarly as the selector for the treble pairs of both pups: up - neck pup, treble side; middle - both pups, treble side; down - bridge pup, treble side.
Thus, when the pickup selectors are operated in tandem (both in matching positions), the guitar switches just like a non-stereo version – except that treble strings 1-2-3 appear on one side of the stereo image, and bass strings 4-5-6 appear on the other. Switches up, neck pickup. Switches middle, both pickups. Switches down, bridge pickup.
(Other combinations – one switch down, the other up; one switch in the middle, the other up or down (and vice versa in both cases) are available, and useful.)
• master volume in standard location (using a double-gang pot) • center-detented stereo blend pot at former neck-pup volume location, to balance relative volume of treble side and bass side
• 16-position StellarTone ToneStyler pot (at former bridge-pup vol location) controls the bass-side tone of both pickups
• ToneStyler pot in place of former standby toggle switch controls treble-side tone of both pickups
A single stereo output jack routes signal from both treble and bass sides to an external breakout box with a stereo input and two separate 1/4" outputs. Ayers included an "image" pot in the breakout box: at full rotation the two signal paths are 100% separate from each other, for maximum stereo separation into two amps (with corresponding effect chains as desired). At less than full rotation, the pot blends the signal from both sides in varying proportions; at minimum rotation, the same signal appears at both outputs. This effectively produces the illusion of a single virtual amp between the two actual amps. It also permits less extreme stereo blends.
Other than a copper Tru-Arc™ bridge, the guitar is otherwise completely stock.