Gretsch’s first cutaway electrics made their debut in 1951. Discover when the Cadillac Green 6196 joined the Country Club line.
The Fred Gretsch Manufacturing Company had been making drums, banjos, and lower-priced student guitars distributed by other brands since 1883, but it wasn’t until the early 1930s that it began making acoustic archtops under the Gretsch brand name. In 1939, while expanding the line to include high-end archtops, Gretsch also reacted to Gibson’s first electric Spanish guitar—the ES-150, introduced in 1936—by debuting the Electromatic Spanish Model. These non-cutaway 16"-wide guitars were equipped with a pickup coming out of the body below the fretboard.
Gretsch released its first cutaway electric guitars in 1951, this time in response to Gibson’s ES-350 Premier (1947) and L-5 CES (1951). These Gretsch cutaways were the Electro II 6192 (in sunburst finish) and 6193 (natural). The 17" guitars were equipped with gold-plated hardware and two pickups. By 1954 the Cadillac Green 6196 was added, and the name Country Club was used to describe all three models.
Rolling saddles on the Space Control bridge let you adjust string spacing on the fly.
Here’s how the 1955 Gretsch catalog described the Country Club: “For the progressive jazz guitarist looking for the best there is in tonal resonance and response combined with the new look and wonderful new feel that make playing a pleasure. Curly maple throughout, finished in choicest lacquer, polished by hand to flashing brilliance.”
The 1962 Country Club pictured here—serial number 47040—has the features most often associated with Gretsches of that year, including a “cushioned for comfort” back pad that hid a hole designed to provide easy access to the interior wiring, a built-in string mute, and a standby switch. The gold Filter’Tron humbuckers (replacing single-coil DeArmonds), Space Control bridge (replacing the Melita), and ebony fretboard with Neo-Classic inlays had been standard since 1958. Instead of the stock “G” tailpiece, this guitar sports a non-original Bigsby vibrato.
Promoted as cushioning, the back pad actually hides an access hole to the Country Club’s wiring.
The 1962 Gretsch Catalog listed a Cadillac Green Country Club at $475. The current value in excellent all-original condition is $3,500.
Sources for this article include Gretsch—The Guitars of the Fred Gretsch Company by Jay Scott, Gretsch 6120: The History of a Legendary Guitar by Edward Ball, 50 Years of Gretsch Electrics by Tony Bacon, and Gibson Electrics—The Classic Years by A.R. Duchossoir.
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Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
LegendaryTones, LLC today announced production availability of its new Mr. Scary Mod, a 100% pure tube module designed to instantly and easily expand the capabilities of many classic amplifiers with additional gain and tone shaping. Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
Originally released as the Lynch Mod in February 2021, the updated Mr. Scary Mod features the same core circuit as the Lynch Mod but is now equipped with a revised tube mix combo per George’s preference as well as a facelift in a newly redesigned electro-galvanized steel enclosure. As with the Lynch Mod, each run will be limited and the first run in Pumpkin Orange with Black hardware is limited to just 150 pieces worldwide.
The Mr. Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage on top of the cathode follower position, keeping note definition and articulation while further increasing sustain. Each Mr. Scary mod is meticulously built by hand in the USA, one at a time, and tuned using high-grade components. Equipped with a single ECC81 (12AT7) in the first position and ECC83 (12AX7) in the second, the Mr. Scary Mod can clean up beautifully when rolling down your guitar’s volume, and still adds scorching gain when you roll it back up. This is a gain stage that’s been tuned and approved by the ears of the maestro George Lynch himself.
“The Mr. Scary Mod excels with dynamics and is incredibly touch-responsive, allowing me to shift from playing clear, lightly compressed cleans to full-out aggressive sustain and distortion –and control it all simply by varying my guitar’s volume control and picking,” said GeorgeLynch. “In many ways, it’s an old-school approach, but it’s also so much more natural and expressive in addition to being musically fulfilling when you can play both the guitar and amp dynamically together this way.”
The Mr. Scary Mod installs in minutes, is safe and effective to use, and requires no special tools or re-biasing of the amplifier. Simply insert the module into the cathode follower preamp position of compatible amplifiers (includes Marshall 2203/2204/1959/1987 circuits) and
immediately get the benefit of enjoying a hot-rodded amp that delivers all the pure harmonic character that comes with an added pure tube gain stage. The handmade in the USA Mr. Scary Mod is now available to order for $319.
For more information, please visit legendarytones.com.
October Audio has miniaturized their NVMBR Gain pedal to create two mini versions of this beautifully organic-sounding circuit – including an always-on gain device.
The NVMBR Gain is a nonlinear amp that transitions gracefully from clean boost to overdriven tones. Volume increases from just over unity to about 10db before soft-clipping drive appears for another 5db of boost. Its extraordinary ease of use is matched by outstanding versatility: you can use it as a clean boost, push a stubborn amp into overdrive or create a just-breaking-up sound at any amp volume.
October Audio’s new family of mini NVMBR Gain pedals includes a switchable version that allows you to bypass the effect: one option features brand logo pedal graphics, while the other sports a fun “Witch Finger” graphic with a Davies knob as the“fingernail”.
The second version in the new lineup is an always-on device featuring the Witch Finger graphic and Davies knob, with the same NVMBR Gain circuit that lies at the core of the switchable version.
- Knob controls gain and clipping simultaneously
- Stunning silver hammertone finish
- Switchable versions are true-bypass, available with classic or witch finger graphics
- Authentic Davies knobs, including the “fingernail”
- 9V center negative power supply required
- Dimensions: 3.63 x 1.50 x 1.88 in
Witch Finger (always on NVMBR Gain) demo
All October Audio pedals are assembled in Richmond, VA, and available for purchase directly through the online shop. Street price is $109 for NVMBR Gain footswitch versions and $89 for the always-on device.
For more information, please visit octoberaudio.com.