Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hallmark Guitars

Joe Hall was a R and B musician from the Bakersfield California area. In 1959, Joe was looking for someone to build a custom made guitar. 



Around this same time, Semie Moseley and his brother Andy were building futuristic looking electric guitars, working out of a Los Angeles garage.  Semie seemed to be blessed with God-given talent to create wonderful electric instruments.  He had taken jobs with Rickenbacker and Paul Bigsby’s guitar company.  

Semie’s first claim to fame was building not just double neck guitars, but guitars with three necks.  


Country rocker Joe Maphis was hosting a television show called Town Hall Party. 


Maphis happened to see one of Semie’s creations and commissioned him to build a very flashy double neck instrument.  Maphis’ show featured a sister and brother act called The Collins Kids. 


Maphis commissioned Moseley to build a similar double neck instrument for 12 year old guitar wiz, Larry Collins.

This all takes us back to Joe Hall’s story.  Hall saw one of Moseley’s guitars and he decided this would be the man to build his custom guitar.  


He ordered a guitar from Semie Mosely and paid upfront by trading him $400 and his Gibson electric guitar. 

We can delve into Mosrite history later, but for now I’ll say that Semie Moseley was a genius when it came to building an electric guitar, but even he admits in interviews to being a very poor business man. 

Hall waited and waited for his instrument.  He had to pass up gigs for lack of an instrument.  He asked Moseley to speed up making his guitar. Moseley responded by inviting Hall to come and assist in building the instrument.  Hall took up the invitation and spent the next several years learning the process of how to build an electric guitar from a master builder.  Hall never earned a penny, but came away with an education. This led him to a career in making custom made guitars.

Moseley Standel
Semie Moseley secured a deal to build guitars under that Standel name.  Standel, was a company owned by Bob Crooks, who was known for building fine amplifiers during the early 1960.  Chet Atkins and Scotty Moore both used Standel amps.  Unfortunately Moseley’s deal failed.  

Bob Hall took over the deal and made a run of guitars that bore the resemblance of Mosrite’s instruments, only they bore the Standel brand.  This deal also soured due to unforeseen circumstances.

1966 Hall Standel


Joe Hall began building custom order guitars under the Sterling brand name. 


By this time, Semie Moseley was manufacturing the famous Venture model guitar and now was heading a real factory.  


Hall was able to hire away a luthier named Bill Gruggett that was working at Mosrite.  Gruggett had some ideas for new instruments and Hall was willing to try them.

Gruggett was the designer of an unusual hollowbody instrument he called The Stradette.  This hollowbody guitar had a unique shape which was more reminiscent of a solid body instrument.

Hall’s luck seemed to change when Bob Bogle, the Venture’s bass player showed him crude drawing of an instrument, he had envisioned. This was the year when the Batman TV series was one of the number one TV shows. Bogie’s sketch featured a wing-shaped instrument that would become Hallmark’s signature Swept Wing guitar.  

About a year later Hall and Gruggett added a sort of 335-style instrument to their line up.  This guitar was known as The Eldorado.  They advertised in guitar publications and secured a booth at the Chicago NAMM convention.

Unfortunately world events and a flood of cheap Asian-made guitars ended the era of the guitar boom.  Hallmark possibly gave away as many guitars as they sold.  The guitars were given to popular artists of the day in hopes of promoting their business.  Soon after Hall became discouraged and left the guitar business.

Bill Gruggett continued to build guitars and even got back together with assist Moseley.  They created the well-known Red, White, and Blue guitar that Buck Owens’ band presented him.  Buck featured this guitar on the Hee-Haw TV show.
 
Hallmark filed bankruptcy in 1968 and Gruggett closed up shop.

Enter Bob Shade, a luthier from Maryland who became the well known go-to guy for restorations of original Mosrite instruments.  

Bob Shade and Hallmark guitars
As a collector, Shade was able to obtain several of the original Swept Wing guitars and other rare Mosrite guitars. He got in contact with Bill Gruggett with plans to revive the Hallmark name.  They were able to get permission from Joe Hall to use the trademark.  Now the company is back in business building guitars on order.  


New Swept Wing
Their products include the Swept Wing, several Moserite style guitars, and the Stradette.  Hallmark even offers a guitar in the old Mosrite tradition named after player Deke Dickerson.
 
Deke Dickerson














If you are not familiar with Deke Dickerson, please look him up. Dickerson is a collector, player, producer, writer and band leader.


Deke is THE prominent collector of Moseley double neck instruments and other exotic guitars.  Dickerson holds an annual event in Anaheim California called The Guitar Geek Show, which features prominent guitar players such as Jennifer Batten, Jr. Brown, Duane Eddy, Del Casher, and Thom Bresh
.
Also, please check out the new Hallmark Guitar page and all their new guitars. The prices are reasonable, comparable and in some cases less than what you would expect to pay for a factory made instrument. 

Hallmark Wing Bat
The Swept Wing Guitar aka Wing Bat makes appearances at guitar shows and charity events along with the original 1966 TV Batmobile, which the guitar will be forever linked with.


The Batmobile was designed and built by famous automobile designer George Barris.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Guitar Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

Handmade Batguitar
Today someone pointed out the Batguitar for sale on eBay  I thought, "h'mmm.  That's interesting. I wouldn't want it, but it is interesting and handmade."  Then I saw the price.  Oh sure, it  probably comes with a utility belt guitar strap, but the seller is asking $65,000 Canadian for it.

I don't think so, eh?

So I thought it would be interesting to see what other outrageously expensive guitars are being offered on eBay.

So I present Guitar Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

1956 Stratocaster
Here is a 1956 Fender Stratocaster.  It is in excellent shape. So is the case.  The serial number is 06673. Asking price is a  mere $42,000 U.S. dollars.

I can't imagine gigging with a $42,000 guitar.

1960 Gibson Cherryburst

Lo and behold, the most desirable of all Gibson electrics; the holy grail if you will; a 1960 Gibson 'burst.  Not only in cherry-burst, but in cherry condition, as we used to say in the 1960's.  Yep, I'm vintage too.

The guitar comes with a vintage case in great condition, hang tags, ancient strings, warranty and original polishing cloth.  Get out your Visa card.  The seller would like $325,000 for this puppy.

Barney Kessel Collection
Next up is a collection of Barney Kessel's instruments the seller claims Mr. Kessel used in the studio.  There is a 1960 Barney Kessel Kay guitar, Barney Kessel's 1959 Danelectro bass and his circa 1940's Gibson BR-3 amplifier.

For you, such a bargain at $135,000. But I bet they would take $134,995.

1957 Gold Top


Norm's Rare Guitars in Los Angeles is a most reputable shop.  They know guitars at Norms. However I do not think I can scrape together $98,000 U.S. to get this most excellent 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop with original case and hang tags. There is some slight wear on the back, but sorry Norm, I'm going to have to take a pass.

Pearly Gates Replica


This guitar is a puzzler.  It's a Billy Gibbons Pearly Gates replica.  For $40,000 U.S.  For real!   It comes with a genuine signed picture of the Reverend and it's relic'd by the Gibson Custom Shop.


But...it is a replica!  For 40 grand!  No thanks.


EVH Charvel
Heck, for only $25,000 U.S. you could buy a genuine Charvel Eddy Van Halen Frankenstrat, autographed and played by the man himself and in the original case.


eBay Harrison Tele
But wait! There's more!  This seller is advertising a 1968 Fender Rosewood Telecaster Original Harrison.  They allude it to be a Harrison.

I am aware that Fender gave George a Rosewood Telecaster in 1968. This guitar was ordered by then Fender head designer Roger Rossmeisl and custom made by noted luthier Philip Kubicki. Harrison gave it away to Delaney Bramlett. The seller wants GBP18,999, which equates to about $30,000 U.S.

Harrison's actual Tele
On closely examining the wood grain and comparing it to the grain on Harrison's actual instrument, I'm not certain the eBay guitar actually belonged to George Harrison.  Click on the pictures and compare.  Look at the wood on the lower bout of each where you would rest your arm.  I may be wrong. This is only my opinion.


So much for Guitar Life Styles of the Rich and Famous, and dreams of guitars I cannot afford.  But I've got my eye set on a sweet Hello Kitty 00-21. $39.95 with free shipping.




Monday, February 21, 2011

Brian Jones Mark III Teardrop Guitar

Brian Jones was one of the founder of the Rolling Stones and the driving force behind much of the original Stones music.

The story goes that Jones placed an advertisement in a Soho club information paper called the Jazz News saying that he was inviting musicians to audition for a new R and B group. Mick Jagger showed up and brought his friend, guitar player Keith Richards along. Later on bass player Bill Wyman was invited and finally Charley Watts made the scene.

The Stones music was strongly influenced by American blues-men such as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Elmore James. However as time went on Brian changed the format with such songs as Good-bye Ruby Tuesday, Paint It Black, Dandelion and Lady Jane.

Due to his drug excesses, elusive behavior and the fact that the Stone's manager wanted Jagger to be the focus of the band, Jones was eventually asked to leave the band. He died in 1969 at the age of 27 years old, shortly after being sacked from the Stones.

Playing Framus & Harmony guitars
One did not have to be a guitar fanatic to know that the Rolling Stones started their career playing inexpensive instruments. Bill Wyman was fond of his Framus bass. Keith Richards played a Harmony Meteor and Jones first appeared with a Harmony Stratotone.

 Some of these were the same instruments we could first afford. We saw these instruments on the Stones first appearance in the United States on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Most all of the British groups of this era, 1963 through 1969, relied on Vox amplifiers, particularly the AC30 model. These were readily available in the U.K., where as amplifiers imported from the United States, carried an expensive duty tax.

 Tom Jennings, the man behind Vox, wanted to build a guitar line that would compete with American made instruments. He turned to a British furniture builder for assistance and later set up an agreement with several Italian accordion and guitar manufacturers.

Jennings company, JMI, came two guitars with unique shapes; The Mk Series, commonly called The Teardrop and The Phantom. Both were based on Fender instruments.

Vox approached Jones with a white two pickup Mk model and asked him to promote it. Brian's guitar was built in the Dartmouth British factory and it's shape is slightly different than the guitars made in Italy by Eko Industries. Jones' instrument is elongated when compared with subsequent models.

It's two pickup layout and switch plate seem to slightly mirror Fender's Telecaster.

 The six-on-a-side headstock has a slight Fender appearance as well. The Vox name appears parallel to the bottom of the headstock. The six pole-piece pickups with white covers could be mistaken for Fender pickups if not for the rectangular shape and metal bases.

 The bridge and saddle were quite similar to a Fender hard tail Stratocaster tail-piece. Later models incorporated a Bigsby vibrato tail-piece and a more Gibson style bridge.

The guitars back side came with a round protective, snap-on pad, similar to the ones found on some Gretsch guitars.

Brian Jones' guitar was sold at an auction a Southeby's for $3200 in 1984 by the Hard Rock Cafe.

 It was placed in the New York City Hard Rock for many years and it now reside safely in the Cafe's London Vault.

During the years Eko built the Vox Mk Series they produced not just the the Mark III, but the Mark VI (two pickups with a Bigsby), Mark IX (9 strings) and Mark XII (twelve strings).


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gibson ES-125

ES-150
Gibson introduced it's first commercially successful electric guitar in 1936. This was the ES-150, commonly known as the Charlie Christian model. The instrument was 16 1/4 inches wide and had a single blade pickup in the neck position that was held in place by three screws that were visible on the bodies top under the strings. The screws also adjusted the pickups height.

Following the success of this guitar, in 1938 Gibson introduced a budget model known as the model ES-100. This instrument was based on Gibson's L-50 arch top acoustic guitar. A pickup was added to the body and placed in the bridge position. 

ES-100
The ES-100 was two inches shorter than the ES-150, having a body depth of a mere 14 1/4 inches. It's body was bound on the top and bottom. Within the guitars body were two sound-posts.  The guitars arched top was carved and made of spruce. However the back was flat. The neck was unbound and capped with a rosewood fretboard. The tuners were Klusons. The strings were held in place by a trapeze tail-piece.

Originally the pickup on this model was a blade style unit. In 1940 this changed to Gibson's first pole magnet pickup.

By 1941, the ES-100 was dropped from the line-up and replaced with the Gibson ES-125 model. Several changes in design occurred.

ES-125
The body on this guitar was now 16 1/4 inches in width and came with a laminated arched maple top, which became Gibson's standard on it's electric hollow body instruments. The back and sides were also made of maple. The pickup was now Gibson's P90 dog-eared unit with adjustable pole-pieces. The body depth was 3 3/4 inches. The unbound solid Honduras mahogany neck was capped with a Brazilian rosewood fretboard which was originally topped with pearloid dot markers. The headstock, like the previously mentioned guitars, was unadorned except for the Gibson logo silk-screened in gold lettering across the top. The guitars pick-guard was made of tortoise-shell style celluloid.

ES-125 circa 1956
The electronics remained similar to prior models; a single volume and tone potentiometer, but now featured gold tinted bonnet style knobs. The input jack was on the lower rim of the body. The bridge was compensated and made of rosewood.

The tuners, once again, were made by Kluson. The nickel plated tail-piece was trapeze style. The guitar was offered in sunburst.

In 1942, production stopped, due to the war. The model was reintroduced in 1946 when Gibson once again geared up for guitar production.

ES-125T
In 1956, Gibson updated the model, by offering it in their thin-line series, renaming it the ES-125T. All accouterments remained the same except for the body depth, which originally was 3 1/2 inches. The thin-line models depth was 1 3/4 inches.. A year later the model was offered with two P 90 pickups and called the ES-125TD. Both models were produced through 1969 when production ended.

One notable ES 125T players is blues man Roy Rogers.

ES-125TD
In 1960, Gibson offered the ES-125TC and the ES-125TCD, both of which had a single Florentine cutaway.

ES-125TC
The TC model came with a single P90 pickup up and the TCD (thin-cutaway-double) came with twin P90's.

In 1962 Gibson came up with the ES-120T. This was a student instrument. The body and neck were similar to the ES-125T, except it only had one "F" hole.

ES-120T

All of the guitars electronics were fitted in to a large plastic scratch plate. This housed a thin single coil pickup with no visible pole-pieces, the volume and tone controls and the jack.


Between 1965 and 1970 Gibson produced 475 ES-125C and ES-125CD full bodied guitars. These came with one or two P90 pickups. George Thorogood favored the ES-125CD model.

By 1970 the entire line of Gibson's ES-125 models were discontinued. It's market was aimed at country and jazz style players. But rock players had moved on to the Les Pauls and other solid body guitars and jazz players preferred the fancier Gibson ES-175.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

1959 Fender Factory Tour

I recently was made aware of this excellent film of the Fender Guitar Factory circa 1959. It shows how the guitars were manufactured by hand using old school technology in the steamy Fullerton California cinder block building which was not equipped with air-conditioning.  I suspect OSHA inspectors of today would give the plant a failed rating, since there was little if any safety equipment.  Male employees worked bare-chested and female employees wore high-heeled shoes in the factory, which was cooled only by fans.

Look carefully and you will see a young Leo Fender, Freddie Travares and Abigail Ybbara, who skillfully hand-wound some of the greatest pickups for Fender.





As comparison, the following videos are tours of todays Fender Factory in Corona showing how much the manufacturing process of Fender guitars has changed.









Sunday, February 13, 2011

Gretsch Country Gentleman

On February 16th  of 1964, some may have been watching The Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday night. This variety show was a staple in my home.  It usually featured juggling acts, dancers, popular comedians and popular songsters of the day.  However, this was the night The Beatles were making their first American television appearance.

Many of us enjoyed the music and were fascinated with the Beatles distinctive guitars. I was and still am a Beatles fan.  They created some of the most memorable songs and changed music forever.  But that Sunday night, my eyes were locked on the guitars.  What was that huge guitar that Harrison was playing?

As I got more involved with the guitar, I realized he used a 1962 Gretsch Country Gentleman.  In 1964, colour television was available, but expensive.  The Sullivan show at this time not being broadcast in colour.  It was difficult to determine the colours of the guitars.  As it turns out, George’s instrument was black.

Friedrich Gretsch founded Gretsch Musical Instruments in 1883.  His goal was to manufacture percussion instruments such as drums, banjos and tambourines. According to Fred Gretsch, the current owner, Gretsch starting hand building guitars in 1890.  It's amazing they have been producing guitars almost as long as Martin.


By the 1950's Gretsch Musical Instruments were producing some of the finest electric guitars every made.


Gretsch Musical Instruments founder Friedrich Gretsch died at and early age.  His brother ran the business until Gretsch's son, Fred took over.  Fred Gretsch sold the business and assets to the Baldwin Piano company.  Longtime salesman and company jack-of-all trades, Duke Kramer went with the deal, to help Baldwin start up business.  The venture was a disaster.  For a short time the Gretsch name faded as a memory until the late 1980's when son Fred Gretsch III repurchased the brandname.  His son, Fred Jr. took over in 2003 and with the help of Kramer and Paul Yandell the company has been revived.

Nearly all Gretsch guitars are currently manufactured in the Far East.

By the late 1950’s, the biggest endorser of Gretsch guitars was Chet Atkins.  Chet not only played a Gretsch, but his input improved the guitars evolution.  Thousands of Gretsch guitars bore Chet’s signature either on the pickguard or on a gold plate attached to the headstock.

Chet’s first Gretsch was the model 6120, but he suggested the pickups be changed from DeArmond single coils known as filter coils to a humbucking style called FilterTrons.  


He also was responsible for the change from a standard “F” hole to a simulated “F” hole.  This eliminated feedback in large auditoriums.  


With all the modifications, the 6120 became the Chet Atkins Country Gentleman.  The name came from a song Chet had recorded.

Other well-known Gretsch endorsers include Eddy Cochran, Duane Eddy and Brian Setzer.  But Chet is probably the best known.  He was responsible for the design of the Country Gentleman and many other Gretsch models.

The original Country Gentleman had a single Venetian style cutaway.  Like subsequent models, it had a laminated maple top, which was another Atkins suggestion, for feedback reduction.  The back and the sides were also made of laminated maple. 


The older models had “F” holes and and two tone bars and a sound posts, like on a violin.

In 1962, at Chet's suggestion the “F” holes were simulated as a further measure to prevent feedback. However the guitar was hollow. Unlike a Gibson ES-335, the Country Gentleman did not have a center black, but instead it had parallel tone bars and a sound post. The guitars neck was made from 3-piece maple.  The hardware, tuners, bridge and Bigsby were all top of the line and gold-plated.  The Bigsby vibrato unit was specially manufactured to have a V shape in the trapeze-like tailpiece section embellished with the brand name Gretsch.


As already stated, the pickups were FilterTrons, made by DeArmond of Ohio.



Controls on Gretsch guitars are much different from other electric guitars.  The original Country Gentleman and the subsequent double-cutaway model of 1962 came with three potentiometers for volume.  Each pickup had an individual volume control and a master volume control was placed on the lower horn.  On the upper bout were two toggle switches.  On switch was for pickup selection and functioned like the usual three-way selector.  The other switch was the master tone control. This was a unique three position switch that yielded three distinct sounds.  Position one was medium level with a high frequency roll off.  Position two switch the pickups out of phase and wide open.  Position three produced a slight level, with a high frequency roll off.  The result is Gretschs’ unique sound.

The guitars maple neck was capped with a bound ebony fretboard and at Chet’s request, the position marker were half-circles under the fifth and sixth string.  These are commonly known as thumb markers, due to Chet’s propensity to use his thumb to fret the lower strings.  The Country Gentleman also had a zero fret for tonality.  The guitar had 22 frets, which includes the zero fret. The neck had a 12-inch radius, which is fairly flat. The scale was 24.6 inches. The neck width at the brass nut was 1 11/16th inches.  The tuners were stair-step Grover Rotomatics. 




On the other end of the instrument, the bridge was a rocker bridge. Although this was later updated to a Gretsch adjustamatic style.  One other unique feature of the Country Gentleman and other Gretsch guitars is the strap buttons.  These are made of knurled aluminum, which is gold-plated on the Country Gent and allow the strap to lock in place.  This was standard on Gretsch long before after market locking strap buttons were offered.

The body’s depth was 2.75 inches and it was 17 inches across the lower bout.  This was the same size and a Gibson thinline.  The initial model was designated a 6122 by Gretsch. It was first produced in 1957.

Changes occurred to the instrument through the years.  The 1959 there was no signpost on the headstock.  




This was gold-plated engraved aluminum that proclaimed the instrument to be a Chet Atkins Country Gentleman and had the serial number. 


This was a feature on the 1960 and subsequent models.  The 1958/59 models had Grover Imperial tuners. 1959 brought about the addition of a zero fret.

This changed in 1960 to Grover Rotomatic tuners.  In 1960, the Bigsby vibrato with a V shaped insert specially manufactured for the Country Gentleman was added.

The body depth changed in 1961 to 2 ¼ inches. This same year a large, black, circular, fabric pad was added to the back of the guitars body. Twin adjustable heavy foam mutes were added to the guitar in front of the bridge saddle.  The mutes, which no one used, were adjusted by means of two roller knobs on either side of the bridge. Finally, a standby switch was added to the guitars lower bout. 

1962, brought about significant changes.  The body was thinned to 1 7/8ths inches.  The body style changed from a single cutaway to a double cutaway style.  The standby switch moved to the upper bout. The circular back pad was now made of leather and came with snaps to hold it in place.

The only change in 1963 was to the mute knobs.  They became smaller this year and were a lever action design.





In 1964 the FilterTron pickup in the neck position was changed to a SuperTron pickup. The bridge remained the same.  This was the year the Grover Rotomatic tuners were changed to have button style pegs.

The only change in 1965 was the serial number was moved from the nameplate to the back of the headstock.

In 1967, the mute was changed to a single mute, and the knobs were replaced by a single lever control and the ebony fingerboard was discontinued and replace with a rosewood board.

In 1971, the mute was gone, the fretboard was once again made of ebony, the guitar came with an adjustamatic bridge, and the model designation changed to 7670.  The pickguard shape was changed.  This was the year that Baldwin had acquired Gretsch.

Chet preferred the single cutaway model.  The double cutaway that stands out in the mid and late 1960’s as the preferred instrument.

There were so many groups on the UK and Europe side of the pond and in the US seen with the Country Gentleman and other Gretsch guitars.  It was a pricey instrument and more expensive than a Gibson ES-335 (which incidentally sold for $335 US) or its Epiphone equivalent.

However, the Country Gentleman, Tennessean, 6120 and other Gretsch guitars have a much different sound than other guitars equipped with dual humbucking pickups.  You have to play one to hear it.

When Gretsch revived in 1988, the company no longer had an agreement with Chet Atkins to use his name or Chet’s trademark name, Country Gentleman.  The Country Gentleman became the Country Classic model and the Tennessean became the Tennessee Rose.  A few years ago, Paul Yandell, who played guitar behind Chet for years, worked with Gretsch on an arrangement with Chet’s heirs to use his name and Country Gentleman brand.  Before his passing, Chet had mentioned to Paul that he preferred the Gretsch guitars to his Gibson models.

Gretsch Country Classic
Yandell came up with a special design known as the Gretsch Designed in cooperation with Chet Atkins’ longtime rhythm guitarist and close friend, Paul Yandell assisted Gretsch in designing the G6122-1959 Country Gentleman® precisely replicates the world’s most famous ’59 6122 model—one of Atkins' personal favorite guitars. 


Features include handmade TV Jones® custom pickups, the bridge pickup is a TV Jones Hi T model and the neck is a TV Jones SuperTron model.  The neck is slightly wider.  It comes with Bigsby® B6GWST vibrato tailpiece with stationary arm, which Chet preferred and optional swivel arm.  The entire instrument is bound and comes with a zero fret.  The body depth is 2 ¼ inches and the scale is 25 ½ inches.


Gretsch also currently offers four other Country Gentleman models.  The 1958 single cutaway, Country Gentleman is based on that years model.  It features simulated “F” holes, a flat arm Bigsby vibrato tailpiece without the V cut-out that proclaims it to be a Bigsby, stair-step Grover Rotomatic tuners and two Hi-Sensitive FilterTron pickups.  The entire instrument is bound.  


The neck scale is 24.6 inches and the body depth is 2 ¾ inches.  The nuts on the current versions are made of synthetic bone. No zero fret on this guitar.


The double cutaway, Gretsch 1962 features the double mute, twin Hi-Sensitive FilterTrons, the standby switch on the lower bout, simulated “F” holes and a gold-plated aluminum emblem on the headstock and stair-step Grover Rotomatic tuners.  As with the others, the entire instrument including headstock is bound.  This has a zero fret and a 24.6 inch scale.  The body is 2 inches deep.

The Gretsch G6122II is an updated model of the double cutaway Country Gentleman.  The F-holes are real.  The pickups are dual Hi-Sensitive FilterTrons.  There is no mute and the Grover tuners have button pegs.  There is no standby switch on this instrument.  The Bigsby is the V cut-out model that says Gretsch on the base. The body on the instrument is bound on the body, neck and headstock. The scale is 25 ½ inches and the depth of the body is 2 ¼ inches.



Finally Gretsch offers a 12-string version in the line-up. This instrument does not have a mute, but comes with a standby switch on the lower bout.  


The gold-plated Grover tuners have button style pegs.  There is no vibrato on this guitar.  The classy tailpiece has the word Gretsch etched on its surface.  This too has a bound body body, neck and headstock. The scale is 2.6 inches and the body depth is 2 inches.

All current Country Gentlemen guitars are available only with a walnut finish, except for a limited run of George Harrison 1962 models, which were issued with a black finish.

For anyone on a budget, and let’s face it, most of us are, Gretsch offers a Country Gentleman style guitar under the Electromatic brand name.  It is called the G5122DC Double Cutaway Electromatic model. The shape is similar to the Country Gentleman, however the finish is not as nice.  The pickups are Gretsch Dual Coil humbucking pickups.  The nut is synthetic bone.  


The tuners are “vintage style”, the vibrato is licensed by Bigsby.  The body and the neck are bound, but not the headstock. The scale on this instrument is 24 ½ inches and the depth of the body is 2 ¼ inches. The “F” holes are real.  This comes with a walnut stain or a black finish. I have seen red models in some stores.  Although this guitar is not as nice as a Country Gentleman, bear in mind the real deal sells for $3400 to $3600, it has a street price of $850 US.