If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time you will know that I’ve got a pretty good collection of guitars going. I don’t “collect” guitars, rather I expect that every guitar will be a working guitar to be used in live or recording situations.

I love the sound of a good Gretsch and I’ve never had the privilege of owning one. You just can’t beat the shimmer of a Bigsby tremolo. I’ve played a lot of Gretsch guitars that didn’t meet my expectations. On one occasion I borrowed a Gretsch, gigged with it, decided it wasn’t for me. A few months ago I was browsing Kijiji and noticed a guitar that might fit the bill. I offered to trade a Fender Nocaster for this Gretsch 6118T-LTD 125th Anniversary. The 6118 was just a few weeks old. The plastic was still on the pick guard. The Fender wasn’t being used, and while it was a great guitar, it just was not a unique voice as I have a Fender Custom Classic Telecaster I preferred to play. I made the offer for a straight trade and the deal was done.

When I received the guitar it played wonderfully. It is a very solid feeling Gretsch with a pinned bridge, locking tuners, and TV Jones PowerTron pickups. I found the pickups to be a bit too powerful with a bit of a mid-range hump. I switched them out for a TV Jones Classic Plus for the bridge and a TV Jones Classic for the neck pickup. The results are superb. Exactly what I was looking for. The guitar has a nice balance between the pickups and retains that Gretsch twang.

This year’s Christmas bash is on December 17th at the Park Theatre (see my Gig Calendar for details, a small number of tickets were still available at the time of this post). I have the opportunity to play a set with the Bald Billy Blues Band and one with Network. In the blues band set I’ve added Sleepwalk, a perfect tune to bring things down a bit and play a tune that has been a mainstay of so many great guitar instrumental bands of the past 50 years. I recorded this cut at last week’s band practice. The signal chain for the lead guitar is a Gretsch 6118 -> Durham Sexdrive -> Tone King Metropolitan.

Lead Guitar – Carl Strempler
Rhythm Guitar – Bill Kirkpatrick
Keyboards – Gary Brenner
Bass – Adam Halstrom
Drums – Greg Boettcher