Guitar Of The Week: Gretsch White Falcon
The White Falcon guitar is a Gretsch classic.This 17 inch wide guitar can be easily spotted by its large body and the gold pickguard which features a unique engraved falcon. Featuring the distinctive warm, rich Gretsch sound and endless feedback abilities, the White Falcon is a popular companion for those fond of the classic vintage sound.
This high-end electric hollowbody guitar was introduced in the mid 1950’s and took its design inspiration from the custom painted, chrome cars that were very trendy at the time. Fender had started using custom car paint on their guitars and Gretsch followed their lead. On its release the White Falcon gained the name “The Cadillac of guitars,”.
Designed by Jimmy Webster, the original Gretsch White Falcon featured six wheel saddles and a threaded mounting bar. As we see in the middle photo, the tailpiece of the White Falcon guitar looked very similar in style to the logo used for 50’s Cadillacs.
The 50’s saw Gretsch guitars soar in popularity, mainly due to the fact George Harrison appeared with The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show performing with a Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar. The popularity of the Gretsch continued into the 60’s when Neil Young and Stephen Stills adopted the Gretsch White Falcon as their signature guitar.
In the video below, Stephen Stills talks about his reasons behind using to Gretsch White Falcon guitar.
Many amendments have been made to the White Falcon since its initial launch and there are currently a number of different models on the market. Those looking for a replica of the classic mid 50’s design would be best viewing the Gretsch G6136CST White Falcon however; the Gretsch G6136T White Falcon also stays very close to the 1959 design. The most affordable White Falcon on the market is the Gretsch G5022CWFE White Falcon. This electro-acoustic guitar features a simplified design yet gives a great introduction to the classic Gretsch sound.