‘Vintage Guitar:’ The Making of the Tom Petersson Signature 12-String Gretsch Bass

In its October issue, Vintage Guitar magazine caught up with Cheap Trick bassist Tom Petersson, Gretsch luthier Chris Fleming and Gretsch Custom Shop Master Builder Stephen Stern to talk about the partnership, design and development behind Petersson’s new signature 12-string Gretsch White Falcon bass.

“I love the look of classic’50s and ’60s instruments, and Gretsch are a longtime favorite,” said Petersson, who keyed on the double-cutaway version for a very specific reason.

“George Harrison used a Gretsch Country Gentleman,” Petersson told VG. “There have been quite a few different White Falcons, but I like the double-cut Country Gent look.”

Fleming, who had the task of building the first prototype for the Cheap Trick legend also revealed some of the challenges he faced.

“It was a matter of creating something that could hold up to the huge pressure that 12 strings exert on an instrument,” said Fleming. “We’ve created many prototypes over the years, but none as unique as this. Most were variations on historical models like the White Falcon and 6120, but none had to stand up to that kind of tension.”

Pick up a hard copy of the magazine or click here to learn more about the adjustments that needed to be made to bring this unique instrument to life. But before you do, any guesses to where Petersson first debuted his Gretsch White Falcon bass live?