Gretsch Custom Shop Masterbuilt Stephen Stern G6122CS-66 1966 Country Gentleman Relic
The Gretsch Custom Shop is where the time-honored legacy reaches its creative apex. No instruments epitomize the extraordinary expertise and attention to detail of Gretsch’s most trusted hands like Custom Shop instruments. From modern versions of legendary Gretsch instruments to artist tribute models and specially requested one-off guitars, the Gretsch Custom Shop takes “That Great Gretsch Sound” to an entirely new plane, but also preserves and perfects it.
Truetone Music is proud to have a long and close relationship with Gretsch, especially with the Custom Shop. Every year, we make a pilgrimage there to sit down with Masterbuilder Stephen Stern and his team to cook up a batch of Custom Shop guitars. Sometimes we go for vintage-styled recreations, sometimes we go for modernized tweaks. Sometimes it’s a classic color, sometimes it’s a totally new color or even reclaimed wood. Either way, they always knock it out of the park!
This G122-66 1966 Country Gentleman is a result of this partnership. A recreation of a well-known (in the Gretsch world) guitar, the inspiration for it can be found in the book “The Guitars of the Fred Gretsch Company” by Jay Scott. That’s a 1966 G6122 Country Gentleman – and this guitar was conceptualized to recreate it. And, of course, it was perfected by Stephen Stern. Just as it was made in 1966, it’s semi-solid with simulated F-holes, finished in Walnut Stain. Where this one really stands out is the curly maple wood, hand-selected to be the most expressive wood grain you can imagine on a guitar like this. When it was ordered, everyone knew how cool it would be. Yet, when it arrived, we were still blown away. The relic work on the guitar is tastefully done – this truly does have the appearance of a vintage guitar from 1966.
The chambered body reduces the weight, making it quite comfortable to play for hours – this one comes in at 7.8 lbs, quite light for a guitar like this. We chose the Relic finish package, to give it a well worn look and broken in feel. With its authentic nitrocellulose lacquer finish, this guitar has a pure vintage vibe. The maple neck is a very easy to play “C” neck shape (standard on this model). It’s topped with a beautiful dark ebony fretboard, completed by mother of pearl thumbnail inlays. The headstock is has the classic Round “G” Gretsch logo, and is completed with the metal plate pronouncing it be “The Chet Atkins Country Gentleman”. It’s hard to get more “classic Gretsch” than this!
At Stern’s suggestion, we went with two different pickups, both TV Jones. Here’s why:
– In the neck position, you’ll find the TV Jones Super’Tron, which is a replica of the original 1960’s prototype design. It takes a TV Jones Classic and switches out the pole screws in favor of steel blades – this preserves the pickup’s classic clarity but adds a bold and full broadband punch. You’ll notice a bit more output and body, with a slightly more accentuated lower mid-range. This was chosen because it’s been said that Chet Atkins himself was a big fan of this design.
– In the bridge position, you’ll find the TV Jones Full Fidelity, which is one of Stern’s favorites. It’s modeled after the original Filter’Tron invented by Ray Butts. It retains all of the original specs and uses the same materials, including not wax saturated. The result is a more three-dimensional, open air quality to the tone. It has a tighter bass response and a bit more top end Q than a TV Jones Classic, with a slightly lower output. If you want that unmistakable Great Gretsch Sound then these pickups are the way to go.
We also went with the Tru Arc bridge, which is radiused to match the fretboard of the guitar. This enhances playability (and allows for lower action, if you’re a close-to-the-frets kind of picker), as well as a slight improvement to intonation. The Tru-Arc has a more pronounced radius than the standard Gretsch bridge. It’s also heavier, which increases tone and sustain. Typically, you’ll see brass Tru-Arc bridges, but for this guitar we went for stainless steel at Stern’s suggestion – not only does it match the rest of the hardware better, but it also has a full, even and smooth hi-fi response, with max sustain.
For those that know, a Gretsch Masterbuilt instrument by Stephen Stern cannot be beat. This one in particular is something to behold, and we’ve never seen one quite like it. Come to Truetone Music to experience it in person, or make it yours right here.
- PART # 9252003599
- SERIAL # UC22022255
- WEIGHT: 7.8 lbs
- BASE MODEL: Country Gentleman
- COLOR: Walnut Stain with Black Headcap
- AGING TYPE: Relic
- TUNERS: Grover Imperials with Kidney Bean Buttons
- NECK PICKUP: TV Jones Supertron with PAT #’s
- BRIDGE PICKUP: TV Jones Full Fidelity with PAT #’s
- NECK SHAPE: Standard C
- NUT: Bone
- WIRING: Tone Switch with Standby and Treble Bleed
- NECK BINDING: White Nitro
- BODY BINDING: Black
- FRETS: Vintage
- FRETBOARD WOOD: Ebony
- FRETBOARD INLAY MATERIAL: Mother of Pearl
- FRETBOARD INLAY STYLE: Thumbnail
- NECK WOOD: Maple
- TRUSS ADJUST: Headstock
- PICKGUARD: Gold with Black Gretsch Logo
- KNOBS: “G” Arrow
- BRIDGE: Tru-Arc
- TAILPIECE: Bigsby
- TOP: Curly Maple Ply
- BACK: Curly Maple Ply
- SIDES: Curly Maple Solid
- BRACING: allel
- HARDWARE: Gold
- HEADSTOCK LOGO: Round “G”
- HEADSTOCK LOGO: Mother of Pearl
- ADDITIONAL NOTES: Double Mutes; Fake Black “F” Holes