The Gretsch Black Falcon: A Retro Fitted Character From Another Era

Gretsch Black Falcon

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The Black Falcon radiates a retro fitted character from a bygone era

Gretsch Black Falcon
Gretsch Black Falcon - Click To Enlarge

Bathed in a vintage rockabilly vibe and wrapped with 50s temperament, the heart and soul of the Black Falcon™, from the Gretsch professional collection, is something much more than just a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Though a revival from the past, the Black Falcon single cutaway archtop has firmly established itself with contemporary electric players.

The Falcon made its debut in 1954. At the time, Gretsch sought to produce quality musical instruments and latched onto the Cadillac automobile brand, which reflected that same benchmark.

The v-shaped headstock, inspired by the iconic Cadillac hood ornaments from the past, isn’t the only historical reminder on the current Gretsch box. The gold sparkle binding, famous inlaid Gretsch logo and Cadillac® “G” tailpiece say this must be something special, from a different space and time.

The Falcon’s hardware, plexi pickguard, jeweled knobs, Falcon motif and headstock tuners – all in the color gold – is both handsome and evocative against the black gloss urethane finish of its arched laminated maple top.

General specs

The neck, made from maple, has a bound ebony fretboard, is 25.5 ” in length with a 12 ” radius, 22 frets and hump-block position markers. There’s an adjustable truss rod.

DynaSonic ™single coil pickups sit near the bridge and at the neck and each pickup has its own volume control. Separate master volume and master tone controls and a three-position toggle switch provide the blending capabilities. The Syncro-Sonic Bridge™, Grover Imperial die cast tuners and synthetic bone string nut are standard hardware on the Black Falcon.

The guitar is big, coming in at 17″ across the widest part of the body.

Other stuff

Also worth mentioning are the over sized bound f holes, multiple body bindings, mother-of- pearl inlays and knurled strap knobs.

Gretsch Black Falcon Headstock
Black Falcon Headstock - Click To Enlarge

Gretsch guitars – A great run and still going

Gretsch guitars, founded in 1883, had a great run until 1967 when the company was sold to Baldwin Manufacturing and eventually closed in 1981. The Gretsch family resurrected the business in 1985 and now the guitar giant Fender is a partner.

The Gretsch website explains, “In late 2002 a deal was struck for Fender Musical Instruments Corp. to handle Gretsch manufacturing and distribution, bringing that ‘Great Gretsch Sound’ to be heard worldwide once again.”

Gretsch guitars are currently manufactured in China, Japan and Korea. Its U.S. Custom collection is made in the United States.

The price tag

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the Black Falcon is $4,425. That’s a steep one, but not as bad as its cousin, the White Falcon from the U.S. Collection; that goes for $12,000. Now that’s quite a twang.

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Paul Wolfle

As a vintage and contemporary music enthusiast, guitars dominate Paul’s life. He plays slide in open tunings on a National Steel Tricone resonator and electric blues, in standard tuning, on an assortment of other instruments including his white Fender Stratocaster.

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11 years ago

I play just enough guitar to covet this. Thank you Lord for forgiveness.

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