Country Gentleman/ Gretsch v Gibson

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Country Gentleman/ Gretsch v Gibson

Postby Len R » Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:09 am

Hello, can anyone tell me the differences between a modern Gretsch 6122/Nashville Classic and the Gibson Country Gentleman, which I understand was made from 1987 to ?. Scale length, neck shape, electronics, overall tone, etc?
Thanks,
Len
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Re: Country Gentleman/ Gretsch v Gibson

Postby thenorm » Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:38 am

Briefly, the 6122-59 is a replication of Chet's most favored Gretsch. It is a standard 1959 model with a wider neck and a Super Tron double bladed pickup which meters at 4K and a bridge pickup that meters at 8K (giving the bridge pickup more punch) The Gretsch/TV Jones pickups have a distinct "Gretschy" tone. He also dispensed with the "mud switch" tone switch in favor of a tone control pot.

The Gibson version is simlar to the Gretsch in that both have wide necks. Gibson pickups meter hotter than Gretsch pickups (I think) Neck shapes are a matter of taste and tend to reflect the manufacturer. One is built by Gibson and will have a Gibson feel and sound and the other is made by Gretsch and it, too, will have a distinctive feel and sound.

Gibson did not try to duplicate the 6122-59 and Chet in his later years favored his electric classic for various reasons.

Which is "better"? Neither. Both are fine guitars and modern manufacturing techniques make either one a good unit.

Some will favor one over the other but that's just individual taste.

Paul had this interesting thing to say about the two guitars:

He (Chet( played it for 30 years so what does that say? I don't think Chet liked any guitar 100%. He found then all wanting, but if anyone doesn't think his Gretsch guitars sounded better than the Gibsons just listen to his records and hear for yourself.
I remember one time, after he went with Gibson, saying to him something about recording with the old Country Gentleman and he didn't want to. I think he felt it was dishonest to use it after going with Gibson. One day, years after he went with Gibson and I was playing a Gibson Country Gentleman too, I was over at his office and I said,
" You know Chet that Gibson Country Gentleman doesn't have as good of tone as your old Gretsch Country Gentleman." He replied "Well, don't tell anybody."
Last edited by thenorm on Sun Oct 03, 2010 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Country Gentleman/ Gretsch v Gibson

Postby cgprnd » Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:02 pm

Norm,

That was an interesting description of the 6122-1959 (my most desired guitar) and account of your experience with Chet.
I wonder how many others from Muskegon, MI have ever stepped into his office besides you and I?

Rande
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Re: Country Gentleman/ Gretsch v Gibson

Postby tyguy » Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:54 pm

Gibson had poor quality years from basically 1967 to 2000.Starting in 2008 the quality is poor again(you can check these years on line so,please don't comment back as I realize there are exceptions of course).Quality relates directly to quantity produced and Gibson sells a lot of gits(still no excuse).On my '90 Gibson Tennessean the nut was spaced wrong and the bridge also.Most mfgrs do this and I despise it,in that they get happy with that buffing wheel and make indents in the fingerboard between the frets.I filled mine in with and ebony dust mixture.Everything else is good not great.The only mistake they made was a good one in that the top are back are bookmatch sliced and match(I know this is just coincidence).Chet complained about Gibson's quality also."Gibson doesn't care"(should be their new logo)is the pathetic part and won't as long as people keep buying their gits.Don't compare Chet's CG to any other ones as it had frets in it(higher).That's why I don't like Gretsch's as they haven't enough fret material for me.I refretted my Roundup(it was a beater)and if I run into some money I will buy the new CG and refret it with some real frets.Gretsch's overall quality since being made in Japan is as good as anybodies and a lot better than Gibson.I have an idea as to why Gretsch's have no fret height(they need more width also).Some mfgrs.,Epiphone,Eastman and others don't level their fingerboards as this is skill and labor intensive.Instead they put in high frets,filing them down to .035 or so(an unplayable fret in my opinion and never a candidate for a fret dress)to level them.Leveling the frets doesn't require as much skill and time.Gretsch's play better than Gibsons due to low frets(Peavey's are the worst)but in no way sound better(as I said don't compare your Gretsch to Chet's as it's not the same).Just my thoughts on Gibson and Gretsch."Only a Gibson Costs Enough". The Best Ty M.
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Re: Country Gentleman/ Gretsch v Gibson

Postby thenorm » Sun Oct 03, 2010 4:15 pm

Rande...
I never was at Chet's office since I only went to Nashville once in my life. I had a great backstage/dressing room conversation with him, two, actually, which sums up my personal experience with the man,

I do read a lot though and have a great collection of Paul's posts over the years to refer to...
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Re: Country Gentleman/ Gretsch v Gibson

Postby cgprnd » Sun Oct 03, 2010 4:44 pm

Norm, then I guess I'll amend my question to "I wonder how many people with whom Chet has ever spoken to face to face were from Muskegon, MI"?

You would have loved the "homey" feeling of his office, the building, the chandelier, etc. I always enjoyed it. My last visit there was with Tommy Jones in 1983. A lot has happened since.

Rande
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Re: Country Gentleman/ Gretsch v Gibson

Postby thenorm » Sun Oct 03, 2010 5:03 pm

I edited my original description of the 6122-59 to include this:
"...He also dispensed with the "mud switch" tone switch in favor of a tone control pot...."
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Re: Country Gentleman/ Gretsch v Gibson

Postby Len R » Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:41 pm

Thanks for the info. The two models seem quite different. Can't compare without playing them both, but there aren't many of the Gibsons around.
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Re: Country Gentleman/ Gretsch v Gibson

Postby Vidar Lund » Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:55 am

For the sake of good order, if you go to Gretschpages.com/Discussions/Vintage Gretsch guitars you´ll find a wealth of information on Chet´s ´59 CG, thanks to Norm.
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Re: Country Gentleman/ Gretsch v Gibson

Postby David Elliott » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:33 am

"Gibson had poor quality years from basically 1967 to 2000.Starting in 2008 the quality is poor again(you can check these years on line so,please don't comment back as I realize there are exceptions of course).Quality relates directly to quantity produced and Gibson sells a lot of gits(still no excuse)"

Hi Ty,
I really have to disagree with you on this one. I've had several Gibson guitars manufactured (CG - Studio Classic - 'CE', etc. in the time period you mention, and they're all very well made instruments, showing top notch quality control! I understand there were some quality problems with the guitars made at the Memphis facility, but just for a short period of time. I think possibly you've had some bad experiences with a few guitars, but that's too much of a generalization to say "they" are all bad guitars.

I also ran across a comment by you on the 'Premier Guitar' site in which you refer to the Gretsch 'Tennessean' guitar as "junk" which is simply not true in my opinion! I had a 1965 Tennessean and it was a great guitar! (See Link) http://www.premierguitar.com/Magazine/I ... ssean.aspx

David
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