PREMIER GUITARS in Sydney has listed a number of White Falcons over the years, and they have all shared some common traits – a full-size sculpted archtop resplendent in gleaming white and decorated with gold sparkle, this 6-string burlesque queen is still hard to beat for over-the-top flash. And since 1989 they have been built with great attention to detail in Japan at Tokyo’s Terada factory.
But this one is something very special – one of a very limited run of USA built Falcons emanating from the Gretsch Custom Shop in California.
Link to Factory Tour video here – https://www.themusiczoo.com/blogs/news/factory-tour-stephen-stern-the-gretsch-custom-shop
In 1954, Jimmie Webster of Gretsch embarked on a mad-man’s quest of constructing the ultimate “dream guitar”. After much deliberation and with no immediate intention the White Falcon was unveiled at the NAMM trade show in summer of ’54. From the off the Falcon was a hit, which hurried Gretsch into putting the model into production. Bearing the model number “6136”, the first batch of Falcon’s were sold in 1955 and would set you back around US$600.
The Falcon underwent many tweaks and adjustments, experimenting with various inlay and fretboard options, different bridge and tailpiece variations and even a stereo output set up was introduced. When the Baldwin Piano Company took over in 1967, Gretsch took a real downward turn. The rockabilly era wasn’t favouring the Falcon, and the who’s who of guitar at the time all played Strats. The company had hit rock bottom in the 70’s, and finally shut the doors the following decade.
Guitar building wizard Stephen Stern has led the way for the Gretsch Custom Shop for over a decade now. His exquisite work for the Fender Custom Shop from 1993 didn’t go unnoticed, and quickly became one of the most revered luthiers in the business. This G6136 CST White Falcon harkens back to the original ’54 beast, and encapsulates all of its glory.
Gloss Nitrocellulose Lacquer
Body Shape – Falcon™
Bracing – Parallel Tone Bars
Body Back – Arched Laminated Maple
Body Top – Arched Laminated Maple
Neck Material – 3-Piece Maple
Neck Finish – Gloss Nitrocellulose Lacquer
Scale Length 25.5″ (648 mm)
Fingerboard Radius 9.45″ (240 mm)
Fingerboard Material Ebony
Number of Frets 22
Nut Width 1.6875″ (42.86 mm)
Position Inlays – Mother-of-Pearl Humpblock with Feather Engraving
Headstock – Falcon™ Style
Bridge Pickup – Seymour Duncan® DynaSonic™
Neck Pickup – Seymour Duncan® DynaSonic™
Controls – Volume 1. (Neck Pickup), Volume 2. (Bridge Pickup), Master Tone
3-Position Toggle Switch
Bridge – Space Control
Hardware Finish – Gold
Tailpiece – Gretsch® “G” Cadillac Tailpiece
Tuning Machines – Grover® Imperial™ Die-Cast
Pickguard – Gold Plexi Pickguard with Falcon Graphic and Gretsch® Logo
Control Knobs – Jewelled with White Dot
This mighty bird presents in excellent condition. Bought new by its one owner in 2018, it has been played sporadically at home but never on stage. It has been looked after very well, and kept mainly in its quality Gretsch hard case.
Which leads us to the only sign of age on this one, which is some very light discolouration of the white lacquer on the back of the neck where it has possibly been affected by the lining of the case where the neck rests on its supports.
If you inspect with great scrutiny you can see the glowing white lacquer has three very lightly discoloured areas – a very faint absorption of the coloured case lining, which has dulled the glow of the original white finish. Not obviously noticeable because it’s pretty subtle and on the back of the neck, and very difficult to photograph, but we tried.
Apart from that and some very light natural tarnishing on the corners of the gold pickups, this fabulous White Falcon shows little sign of player wear – frets are 100%, no swirling on the pickguard, neck is straight, truss rod & tuners work perfectly.
And the Duncan Dynasonics are a wonder to behold – rich and vibrant with a shimmer and focus unlike any other pickups. And unmistakably Gretsch. It’s very easy to dial in great tones just right for jazz, rockabilly, country, blues, rock and any style where a killer clean tone might be called for. It will drive pedals well, but thrives on that big, spacious, jangly tone that Gretsch does better than anyone.
Comes in its original Gretsch hard shell case in excellent condition, along with its Gretsch Custom Shop Certificate of Authenticity.