These days, collectors will pay a fortune for a '59 single-cut with PAF pickups! This 1959 Gretsch Duo Jet may not be the '59 single-cut with PAFs you were expecting, but it is equally worth your time and consideration. This guitar has sincere vibe and unique mojo. The best word to describe it is simple: "cool."
In the late '30s and '40s, Gretsch became known for guitars with fancy trim and eye-catching design innovations. By the mid '50s, Gretsch's emphasis had shifted to electrics. All of their guitars were built in New York, and for pickups, Gretsch relied on fellow New-York-brand DeArmond for their Dynasonic pickups. While those single coils offered rich, dynamic tone, they were finicky and noisy, so much so that Gretsch-endorsee Chet Atkins had a ton of difficulty using them on stage. Even though their patent was filed after Gibson, Gretsch may have been the first to develop a hum-canceling pickup.
Designed by inventor Ray Butts, the Filter’Tron rolled out on Gretsch electrics in 1958 to combat the 60 cycle hum inherent to early single coil pickups. Similar to other humbucker designs, the Filter'Tron wires two coils out of phase, which cancels out much of the hum and noise. The Filter'Tron has its own tone—it is powerful and warm like Gibson PAFs, but it retains the clarity and bite of a single coil. Its distinct tone is instrumental to what is often described as "that great Gretsch sound."
This 1959 Gretsch 6128 Duo Jet features the original "Patent Applied For" Filter'Tron pickups. It sports the post-'58 specs of a wider 13-1/2" body and 3 knob/2 switch control layout. It has been outfitted with a period Bigsby, but it originally had a "G" trapeze tailpiece, which is included. At the time, Gretsch did not ship Duo Jets with Bigsbys, but dealers would often add them as an upgrade at the point of purchase. That may have been the case here because the Bigsby looks to have been installed for a long time.
This 1959 Grestch Duo Jet has aged and weathered beautifully. Its finish-checked black top finish offers authentic mojo you can only get from a real relic. Its neck has likely been reset, and there is an old neck reinforcement hidden the cutaway. While Gretsch had incredibly cool stylings in the '50s, they were not known for precise dovetail necks, so this is common and a huge improvement that allows for better playability. The ebony fingerboard has also been refretted, so this guitar plays clean and true all the way up the neck. Its tone is cutting, yet dynamic and refined. Plug it into a '50s tweed, and oh man are you in for some creamy saturation!
This 1959 Gretsch Duo Jet is as cool as it gets. Original case included.