From a Custom Billy-Bo Bass to a G6210T Custom Shop Jr. Jet wrapped in studded leather to first-ever double neck designs by Senior Master Builder Stephen Stern and Master Builder Gonzalo Madrigal, the Gretsch Custom Shop team once again put on quite the captivating display at this year’s NAMM Show custom shop event.
Here’s a look at the collection …
G6134-612 Custom Shop 1962 Penguin™ Double Neck, White Relic
Senior Master Builder Stephen Stern had to come up with an all-new template to construct this gorgeous double-neck Penguin. Starting with drawings from Terada Guitar Factory in Japan of a Duo Jet™, Stern came up with a modified body shape and then mapped out the controls and cavities. Decked out with TV Jones Classic pickups, the 12-string portion features a Cadillac G tailpiece while the 6-string sports a Bigsby® B5CVT vibrato tailpiece. Wrapped in gold sparkle binding, the White finish is relic’d, along with its gold hardware.
G6199G-612 Custom Shop Billy-Bo Palomino
This unorthodox double neck model constructed by Master Builder Gonzalo Madrigal features a rich roasted palomino body with tortoise shell binding and two roasted maple necks topped with ebony fingerboards. Outfitted with TV Jones® Classic pickups, the 12-string features a gold Cadillac “G” tailpiece, while the 6-string has a Bigsby® B5CVT vibrato. You might think given its size, it would be a hefty instrument to hoist, but with its lightweight wood, it’s “about equal” to a single six-string guitar.
G6134 Custom Shop Penguin™
Chad Henrichsen, aka the Custom Shop’s “neck man”, fell in love with a beautiful piece of walnut and knew he needed to make a guitar out of it. Turns out, he came up with two.
First up, his absolutely gorgeous G6134 Penguin with a walnut top and matching head cab in a natural stained finish with tortoiseshell/cream binding and chrome hardware. The mahogany neck hosts an ebony fingerboard with a mother of pearl inlay at the 12th fret. TV Jones TV Classic pickups can be dialed in with a master volume with treble bleed circuit and no-load tone control. Other features include an Adjusto-Matic bridge, Grover Imperial tuners, bone nut and G-Cadillac tailpiece.
G6128 Custom Shop Duo Jet™
Another natural beauty, Henrichsen’s G6128 Duo Jet also has a book-matched claro walnut top and head cab with curly maple binding. Taking things up a notch, Henrichsen routed a spherical channel via CNC on the top of the body to place the curly maple. Other ingredients for this fine instrument? Mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck, ebony fingerboard with curly maple thumbnail inlay at the 12th fret, bone nut, TV Jones Power’Tron neck and Power’Tron Plus bridge pickups, Adjusto-Matic bridge, V-Stoptail and Gotoh tuners.
G6210T Custom Shop Junior Jet Relic
Marking her first NAMM Show since joining the Gretsch Custom Shop team, Chelsea Clark put a ton of thought into the design of this G6210T Custom Shop Junior Jet Relic, which features a maple body with mahogany back and sides. Originally finished in Round-Up Stain, Clark added a Black Satin finish that covered up most of the pin-up girls graphic and then put her relicing skills to work. Over time, more and more of the finish will wear away to reveal the graphic. Other stylish touches include studded black leather binding, black pearl inlays, and a fishnet textured pattern on the back of the headstock and neck that Clark hopes will help to jolt the player back into the moment. A roasted figured maple neck and fingerboard, P-90 Soapbar Lindey Fralin humbucking pickups, Synchro-Sonic bridge, Gotoh® tuners, buffalo horn nut and a Bigsby B5CVT tailpiece complete the package.
G6134 Custom Shop 1962 Penguin
For Clark’s second design, she turned her attention to a G6134 Custom Shop 1962 Penguin with a flip-flop Green and Silver finish, accented with white moto body binding, clear plexi pickguard with “G” logo and chrome hardware. Other features include a mahogany body, ebony fingerboard detailed with double mother of pearl inlays, TV Jones® T-Armond pickups, Adjusto-Matic bridge and Cadillac “G” tailpiece.
G6199T Custom Shop Reverse Billy-Bo
There is more than meets the eye with the G6199T Custom Shop Reverse Billy Bo. A creation from the mind of Master Builder Assistant Rob Knowles — who was also making his NAMM debut— the reverse Billy-Bo body is topped with a Black finish that hides a metallic ghost flame design. Silver sparkle binding and a unique chrome tailpiece and armrest that Knowles designed himself complete the hot-rod look. Under the hood, this stunner features a TV Jones® Super-Tron neck pickup and an EVH Wolfgang bridge pickup for a versatile bite. Other features include a mahogany body with laminated maple top, maple neck, ebony fingerboard with jumbo stainless steel frets, Kahler bridge and Grover Imperial locking tuners.
G6120T-P90 Custom Shop Nashville® P90
For Knowles’ second design, he went for a sleek Black Relic G6120 Nashville model that he envisions someone “sitting on the porch and playing some jazz” on. The spruce top features enlarged cat-eye f-holes with black vinyl binding and sterling silver purfling. That unique binding touch also wraps the body and headstock as well. Other features include a flame maple neck with ebony fingerboard, single Duncan P-90 neck pickup, rocking bar bridge with brass base, brass nut, tone pot wiring, Grover Roto-Matic tuners and G-Cutout Tailpiece.
G6120TG-JR Custom Shop Nashville Jr.
A Gretsch built for royalty. The curly maple top of this exquisite Gonzalo Madrigal build is adorned in a Purple Stain and features cream binding. The ebony fingerboard atop the roasted flame maple neck is adorned with mother of pearl inlays, while TV Jones® Classic pickups sing with chiming notes. Gold hardware, a classic rocking bar bridge and Bigsby® B3G tailpiece top off this regal creation.
G6199B Custom Shop Billy-Bo Bass
Gretsch Custom Shop’s Kyle Keesler concocted a ’50s-style beauty with the G6199B Custom Shop Billy-Bo Bass, adorned with a Faded Shell Pink finish and black binding. Hoping for a finished piece that looked “beat to hell,” Keesler elected for a heavy relic treatment that partially reveals the roasted ash body. The roasted maple neck features an ebony fingerboard with pink cloud inlays for an added touch, while Curtis Novak Gold Foil pickups provide solid, robust tone. Hipshot® tuners, Adjusto-Matic bridge and a swanky Cadillac “G” tailpiece complete the look of this tailored Gretsch bass.
G6128 Custom Shop Duo Jet “Roadrunner” Heavy Relic
Keesler’s second design came to colorful life in the form of his Duo Jet “Roadrunner,” featuring a Gold Sparkle Sunburst over a serape graphic with a heavy relic treatment, copper sparkle binding and gold hardware. This marvelous creation also features a mahogany body with laminated maple top, mahogany neck, ebony fingerboard with mother of pearl inlays and vintage-style frets, TV Jones T-Armond Super’Tron pickups, tone switch wiring, rocking bar bridge, Bigsby tailpiece, Kluson tuners and bone nut.
G6120 Custom Shop 1959 Nashville® & G6136 Custom Shop 1959 Falcon
Gonzalo Madrigal had never done a Nashville with a spruce top and wanted to give it a go for this year’s NAMM Show. The end result is an elegant and refined beauty featuring rosewood back and sides. The Natural stain finish features tortoiseshell binding with herringbone purfling. The figured roasted maple neck with black stringer hots an ebony fingerboard with mother of pearl inlays. Ray Butts Full Fidelity pickups, Adjusto-Matic bridge, Grover Imperial tuners and a G-Cadillac tailpiece complete the package.
Stephen Stern was such a fan of Madrigal’s spruce top ’59 Nashville that he decided they should make it a matching set with this ’59 Falcon. This model features all the same specs as the Nashville, but with the famed Falcon bird in flight on the pickguard.
G6134T Custom Shop 1959 Penguin
Pure sophistication. The G6134T Custom Shop 1959 Penguin constructed by Master Builder Gonzalo Madrigal blends a flame maple and rosewood top with mahogany back and sides — all wrapped in cocobolo body binding. The mahogany neck is topped with an ebony fingerboard and stylish mother of pearl inlays. Snappy TV Jones Classic pickups sing with plenty of vintage twang. Other premium features of this stylish custom Penguin include Grover Imperial tuners, Adjusto-Matic bridge with Bigsby B3G tailpiece and bone nut. Although Madrigal had several designs on display this year, he couldn’t deny that this was his “favorite child.”
To watch some of the team talk about their creations, check out the playlist below.