CHRIS CHENEY SIGNATURE GRETSCH G6126T-CC
June 12, 2008 | Reviewer: Shannon Bourne
This month I was afforded the opportunity to review the brand new Chris Cheney signature model Gretsch … and since it is not CHRIS CHENEY SIGNATURE GRETSCH G6126T-CC
June 12, 2008 | Reviewer: Shannon Bourne
Distributor: FENDER AUSTRALIA PTY LTD www.fender.com.au
This month I was afforded the opportunity to review the brand new Chris Cheney signature model Gretsch … and since it is not officially available until August,
I felt very special.
Back in the 50s and early 60s, it was one thing to play guitar. It was a step further up the ladder of credibility if you played a nice new Fender Strat or Gibson Les Paul… but the true mark of someone who had “made it” was a brand new Gretsch White Falcon or Champagne Sparkle Duo Jet slung over your shoulder. Whilst Gibson displayed a certain elegance and respect for tradition and Fender led the market in high quality, mass production instruments, Gretsch had their own thing going on. Even though they probably aligned themselves with Gibson in terms of body shapes (Les Paul vs. Duo jet and SG vs. Double Cutaway Duo Jet) they still offered a dizzying array of colour, pickup and 6-12 string versions. Probably one of the first guitar companies willing to offer “custom shop” options.
So … it arrives! A big, white guitar case. I already know that this instrument is going to be uber cool. Upon opening the case I am struck by how visually stunning this guitar is. With looks very much akin to a White Falcon, but with silver sparkle binding. It has all the classic cool Gretsch features; a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece, TV Jones pickups, oversized f-holes, classic thumb print fret markers and most importantly … the TWANG factor.
Out of the case and in my hot little hands, this instrument immediately displays it’s acoustic quality. Slung around my neck I can feel the resonance of this guitar against my body. Playing some open chords, there is a SERIOUS amount of rumble going. The response is tight and razor sharp but still grungey.
Time to take it up a notch. Plugging into my 50 watt Ulbrick Head and 1X12 box. The tone was nothing short of striking. First off, this guitar is extremely quiet; sporting a TV Jones “PowerTron” at the neck and a “Classic Plus” at the bridge. No hum was evident and for humbuckers, these pickups display very single coil-like qualities. At low overdriven levels, the tone was smooth yet still had enough grain to stop it sounding “flutey”. The sound of this instrument was a little on the bright side for my personal tastes but I am sure you could adjust this at your amplifier (if you have similar sonic tastes to me that is). Both pickups were well balanced and beautifully made.
Another great feature of the Chris Cheney Gretsch is the inclusion of an “anti dull” circuit. Fitted to the master volume, what this little beauty does is allow you to retain all of that treble you would normally lose when you turn your guitar down. This makes this guitar all the more versatile. What is more cooler than setting up a smoking lead guitar tone at full volume and then being able to just knock the volume back into a crunchy rhythm tone or even further back to janglesome clean tone. I am a big fan of the “all from your guitar” mindset.
Cranking up the delay and cleaning up the sound yielded some beautiful ambient textures … especially when coupled with the smooth, vocal like qualities of a Bigsby vibrato unit. The neck pickup exhibits a rich yet stringy tone capable of smooth jazz to hard rock. You could record an entire record on the neck pick up alone.
I was lucky enough to take this guitar out to a gig and put it to the test. How did it perform? I suffered no tuning problems whatsoever. The tone was crisp and reliable with plenty of horse power available but still not lacking in dynamic. 10 out 10! And boy oh boy, does that guitar get some looks!
The biggest plus, in my opinion ,is the fact that this guitar has got all of those little modifications that we would make anyway. Sperzel Locking machine heads for quick string changes (changing strings on a Bigsby can be an issue), Tunomatic bridge for improved intonation and the anti-dull circuitry for a volume control that actually works.
At a RRP of $6,299, what you get is a beautifully made and well thought out instrument that could cut just about any gig situation. Did I mention how cool it looks? Now … how to get one? For Sale. One kidney, slightly used.