Gretsch dropped its Master Builders for a trio of Custom Shop high end electric guitars which add an extra layer of sophistication to some of the American brand’s most beloved designs.
Not, of course, just a guitar like the Country Gentlemen – six strings of choice for the likes of george harrisonJohn Lennon and Chet Atkins – needs more refinement, but it’s sometimes a refreshing exercise for a brand with such a heritage to rely on its most talented luthiers to deliver a fresh take on instruments.
The three new models include a Country Gentlemen, without F-hole, and delicately relic’d and finished in Aged White, a Baritone Duo Jet in Silver Sparkle and a Flame Maple Falcon with a finish that reveals all the striking details of what is what a piece of premium maple.
No, they’re not cheap, but Gretsch covers the budget market with its superlative Streamliner models, the Electromatic models offering a bit more mid-priced luxury, and the positively pro Players series. These? Well, they’re dream machines, aren’t they? Especially if you are part of the American Graffiti generation.
Let’s take a closer look…
Gretsch Custom Shop G6128 Baritone Duo Jet, Closet Classic Relic in Silver Sparkle, Masterbuilt by Chad Henrichsen – $6,899
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When people talk about That Great Gretsch Sound, they can usually refer to the gnarly bounce and growl of standard regular scale tuning. But the brand has proven time and time again that they know how to craft a baritone guitar that adds weight to that bounce and accesses that magical Duane Eddy-esque low end.
Here Chad Henrichsen gave it a classic Silver Sparkle finish, one of the coolest Duo Jet finishes Gretsch currently stocks. It has a mahogany body supported by a center block and topped with laminated maple for outstanding resonance.
An Adjust-o-matic bridge and V-stop tailpiece provide a simple platform for rock ‘n’ roll, while the V-shape of this tailpiece gives it that Cadillac vibe. Henrichsen used nickel tuners, and the Closet Classic vibe should give the impression that it was stored in a case for a few decades before opening – much like how you might cellar a wine. .
Gretsch Custom Shop G6122 58 Country Gentleman, Light Relic in Aged White, Masterbuilt by Stephen Stern ($11,999)
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Senior master builder Stephen Stern reached the shelf to find the inspiration behind this very cool Country Gentleman with a twist, after which he found a photo of a 1958 model in Ed Ball’s Gretsch Guitars Handbook which was ripe for recess.
First, you’ll notice that there are no f-holes, giving it a real prototype/built-to-order vibe, and making it a solid choice for high-volume players allergic to feedback. But the shape, the iconic 17-inch double-cutaway body, is instantly recognizable.
It is equipped with a pair of TV Jones Full Fidelity pickups and Tone Switch wiring. The Bigsby tailpiece offers oscillation. Gold pickguard sets than Aged White finish well. And Grover Imperial tuners rule.
Other features include a maple neck with an ebony fingerboard, inlaid with thumbnails, a 25.5 inch scale and under the hood you have Tone Switch wiring.
Gretsch Custom Shop G6136 Flame Maple Falcon, NOS in Natural, Masterbuilt by Gonzalo Madrigal ($11,599)
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Last but not least, the Flame Maple Falcon by Gonzalo Madrigal ennobles violin making to the rank of art. The price is exorbitant, but the specifications… The specifications. There’s tortoiseshell binding for the neck, body, and headstock, complementing the ridiculously figured curly maple you see on the top, back, and sides.
There’s plenty of tonality to explore on this too, with TV Jones Classic pickups at the bridge and in the middle position, and a TV Jones T-Armond pickup at the neck. Once again we have Grover Imperials giving it that art deco vibe, while the Bigsby B6G is on hand for fun times with the whammy bar.
Elsewhere, you’ve got 22 vintage frets on a 12-inch-radius fingerboard, gold hardware and a black guard with gold Falcon inlay, and of course it comes with a deluxe hardshell guitar case, and you get a strap and a COA because that’s what some people might call a quality investment electric guitar.
Custom Shop Masterbuilt models are available now. See Gretsch for more details.