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FDP Forum / The Gretsch Forum / Gibson vs. Gretsch

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Larry B.

USA

Oct 7th, 2011 08:03 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hello

I am a Gibson 335 guy, but I have recently been attracted to some of Gretsch guitars. Can someone give me just a general sound, (clean and overdriven), and response difference between the 335 and whatever the closest Gretsch guitar?

Thanks ahead of time
Larry

rvwinkle
Contributing Member
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*****

Twin Cities, USA

Land of Sky Blue Waters
Oct 7th, 2011 11:42 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Well, there's not a clear cut answer to that one.

I'd say as general answer that Gretsch's use pretty clear pickups (Filtertron and Dynasonics) vs the more the more bendable pickups (Humbuckers and P90's) on the Gibson.

Gibson tends to go with a more solid body approach on the wood construction. For example the 335 has a solid center block and the similar size 6120 is basically a hollow body with a sound post. FMIC has resurrected the trestle bracing used for a short period of time used about 1960 for them that gets it closer to the to the solid center block.

I think if you audition the 6120-1960 model (Filtertrons) or the new Duane Eddy signature 6120DE (Dynasonics) you should be able to figure it out for yourself.

rvw

(This message was last edited by rvwinkle at 11:43 PM, Oct 7th, 2011)

Larry B.

USA

Oct 8th, 2011 08:14 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

There's a number of country players that use Gretsch guitars that I have seen in over the years. Does that have something to do with the "clear pups" thing.

I guess I don't understand what is meant by clear pickups as opposed to bendable pickups. Does that something to do with bending strings or what.

Sorry to be so naive about this. I can't remember ever playing a Gretsch guitar of any sort. I either played Gibson, or occasionally I had Fenders and that was it. Those two guitar brands covered just about everything for me.

rvwinkle
Contributing Member
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Twin Cities, USA

Land of Sky Blue Waters
Oct 8th, 2011 04:40 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

By "clear", I mean Hi-Fi.

By "bendable", I mean that it can be pushed into harmonic distortion. A little "warmer" tone results with some of this.

A little bit of harmonic distortion is considered a good thing by most folks, including me.

I think another way to say it that the Gretsch pickups sound a lot closer to Telecaster the Gibson pickups.

Anyway, talking about tone is a little like dancing to explain astrophysics.

Brian Setzer, 6120 with Filtertrons:

Sleepwalk

telegib

Canada

Oct 11th, 2011 09:34 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Gibson's have a more midrangy, warm tone with a fatter, harder high end treble response. Gretsch Filtertrons will produce a more acoustic transparent high and low end end response. The Filtertrons sort of fall between a Fender pup and a Gibson pup im their tonal character.

You really have to play a Gretsch to hear for yourself whether or not you will like them. They are really beautiful guitars in their construction. I own a 1973 Gretsch Country Gentleman and a 2010 reissue G6120. Both are nice in their tonal aspects. My G6120 is beutifully constructed.

I hope you can play and compre them.

Good luck.



Axis40

Springfield, Va USA

John F.
Oct 12th, 2011 04:33 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I owned a vintage ES-340 for a looong time. It's basically a 335 with some funky wiring. And, I currently own a modern Les Paul and a Vintage SG. I also own a modern ('04) Gretsch Electromatic (with single coil Dearmond pickups).

The differences between the Gibsons are there and noticeable. The difference between the Gibsons and the Gretsch is remarkable.

The Gibsons can get into Jazzy smooth tones easily. You can find that creamy, overdriven lead tone easily. As stated, there is more midrange in their sound. I love both of my Gibsons. They play nicely and are well made instruments.

The Gretsch is much more like a Tel in it's response. It is a more scooped sound overall. The bridge pickup gets a certain growl and tightness that's downright fun. It twangs. The Neck pickup never really gets smooth and creamy like the Gibsons do. But it has a bit more lower mids added to the mix. The two pickups together are one of my favorite sounds. But I do like the cutting bite of the bridge pickup a lot! The Gretsch pickups have a similar response to P-90's with more of a scoop. You could do Jazz on one if you had an amp with a lot of mids and you picked very lightly. My wife and kids think my Gretsch is the best sounding guitar I own... but they bought it for me, so I think they're biased! LOL It is not as finely made as the Les Paul (but it was also one fourth the price). But it is certainly not poorly made! It doesn't have the same upper fret access as a 335 does, and it will feedback faster due to it's construction. But I don't experience much issue with feedback at all. Maybe because I played a semi-hollow for so many years?

I couldn't tell you what the closest Gretsch is, as I don't have much experience with the higher end models. I will say that my lower line Gretsch is an awesome animal and every time I play it i get nothing but compliments on it.



Deacon Blues
Contributing Member

RIP: Edward Abbey

January 29, 1927 - March 14, 1989
Oct 14th, 2011 05:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Axis40, when I brought my 6119 home and played it without first showing it to my wife, she commented(without coercion) that it was the best sounding guitar that she had heard. That was unplugged and down stairs from her.
Compared to a Gibson? Plugged in the filtertrons are very clear and articulate, but can scream when hit hard with some volume. I like the sound.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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That chicken

is WRONG, baby.
Oct 14th, 2011 07:22 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I love Filtertrons, and have them in Gretsches (and in some project guitars too; see link). The real beauty of them, to my ear, is how they clean up but still retain punch and character when you roll off the volume on the guitar.

They are supremely versatile pickups.

Anyone that says they don't "rock" has never heard Malcolm Young's gritty, driving rhythm work in the band AC/DC.

Such as this homebrew beast

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 07:37 PM, Sep 14th, 2013)

SoK66
Contributing Member
****

USA

We had the hit but Van got the money
Nov 10th, 2011 05:08 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

" FMIC has resurrected the trestle bracing used for a short period of time used about 1960 for them that gets it closer to the to the solid center block. "

Correct, a feature that's key to the '60 vintage Gretsch tone. Gibsons & Gretschs are unique in and of themselves. Chet's contributions to the mid-50s on Gretsch designs can't be underestimated. To me they reached a pinnacle around '61 and started to fall off with the double cutaways, mutes, etc. Fender is to be commended for getting the brand focused and keeping it going. Last year I scored a 6120 '60 reissue and am amazed at just how good the guitar is.

jay1vinton

Hawaii, USA

Perfect is the enemy of good enough
Jun 13th, 2013 05:36 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

It's hard to imagine why other than authenticity why they continue to mount mutes in some of their models, they are past useless at least to me.

guitarcapo

U.S.A.

Aug 1st, 2013 01:32 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Gretsch has recently begun to offer some of their hollowbody designs with a solid block like a 335. Like the "Gretsch White Panther" which is like a White Falcon except it has a solid center block like a Gibson ES 335

Taildragger

USA

"Lost Money Magnet"
Aug 2nd, 2013 02:08 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have a 6122-JR, which I guess would most closely resemble an ES-339, but without a center block.

I find the Filtertrons to be much preferable to any Gibson Humbuckers I've ever had, which sound "muddy" to my ear. The Filtertrons offer a characteristic "twang" and clarity which Gibson Humbuckers lack (at least in my experience).

I replaced the TOM-style stock bridge on my Gretsch with a Tru-Arc and have found it to be a noticable improvement in terms of tone, playability and tuning stability. Keeping the nut slots lubricated is also a "must" when you have a Bigsby: really helps the guitar stay in tune.

JohnD

USA

Aug 2nd, 2013 03:18 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

A center block version of the White Falcon is also available for those who want more of a "335" type Grestch.

16" Body, short scale, large "F" holes, and a center block build with all the "bling" of a Falcon.

Taildragger

USA

"Lost Money Magnet"
Aug 5th, 2013 05:21 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Another possible option down the road: rumor has it that Fender will be re-issuing the Coronado with Filtertron-esque pups. Don't know if will have a center block or not (I don't believe the original did).

Alleged Coronado re-pop prototype

(This message was last edited by Taildragger at 07:25 PM, Aug 5th, 2013)

jay1vinton

Hawaii, USA

Perfect is the enemy of good enough
Aug 22nd, 2013 07:26 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

One great difference between Gibsons with say PAF'sor burst's and the Gretsch's with Filtertrons is in the tones achievable using the pickup volume knobs only.

On a Paul, you get a Paul and not much else, sweet if it's the flavor you desire all the time.

On a Gretsch equipped with filtertrons and the master tone circuit, forget the tone circuit, and the master volume knob for anything tone related. Using the neck and bridge volume knobs, only a very slight roll off of either creates a different toned guitar altogether.

With both wide open, and the 3way in the center position, roll the Neck off just a tad and it becomes instant aggressive tele. Reverse that and roll off the Bridge just slightly and it becomes full throated jazz box. Wide open on both gives you close to a paul. The mastertone is a problem for many as it reduces volume of the Neck pickup as it is rolling off tone, so I find it pretty useless, the master volume is pretty much for just that, altering volume and doesn't do much to alter tone through a good cranked amp.

At first I was utterly bewildered by the set up, I didn't know what was what and what ran what, now I do and find that you don't need coil tapping or any other type of enhancement, just using the volume knobs seems to be a secret to many who's main flavors are Strat or Paul.

wborys
Contributing Member
*********

Trenton, NJ

what do you mean the bass is too loud?
Sep 12th, 2013 10:13 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

wasn't Who's Next recorded primarily with Pete on
a Gretsch? That could tell you a LOT about tone!

Peegoo
Contributing Member
**********
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I walk

between the raindrops
Sep 14th, 2013 05:33 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Another factor that separates Gibson from Gretsch is the dimensions of the pickups.

Each coil in Gibson humbucker is about the size a Stratocaster's single-coil pickup. The coils in the Filtertron are taller and narrower, like the coil on the neck pickup of a Telecaster.

What this does is allow the Filtertron's coils to be closer together, and that creates a narrower focus for the magnetic field. This results in fewer harmonics sensed. The broader layout of the PAF-style pickup senses more harmonics and thickens up the tone.

Yet another factor is the amount of coil wire. Standard humbuckers generally run between 8K and 13K Ohms resistance. The Filtertron, I've seen vintage units down below 4.5K. Current production is usually somewhere between 6K and 9K. The more wire you have--the more resistance (and capacitance) you get. That tends to create that mid-range "bump" you get with higher-powered humbuckers.

SoK66
Contributing Member
******

USA

We had the hit but Van got the money
Oct 26th, 2013 09:37 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Different animals, just like Gibson vs Fender. A unique voice & feel. Very fat tone through Vox-like amps with EL84s. Try one.

SoK66
Contributing Member
******

USA

We had the hit but Van got the money
Oct 26th, 2013 09:37 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Different animals, just like Gibson vs Fender. A unique voice & feel. Very fat tone through Vox-like amps with EL84s. Try one.

lox

Columbus, Ohio

Docofrock
May 1st, 2014 05:25 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Well i'veowned a335, 339, LP and got rid of them all after a while. Bought a 5422 and liked the sound but not the size. Sold it after I bought a Japanese made DuoJet in orange with TV Jonespups and a tru arc bridge. I think it is a keeper. My primary
axe is a Nocaster though. Filtertron pups are more clear thanGibson hummers.

(This message was last edited by lox at 09:03 AM, Dec 26th, 2014)

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FDP Forum / The Gretsch Forum / Gibson vs. Gretsch




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