The history of music is made of mythical instruments that built a real collective story through their shape and sound. Alongside the Les Paul, the Telecaster and the Stratocaster is the very famous "White Falcon" by Gretsch. Unique by its round and generous curves and its rockabilly sounds, it became the other form of reference when it comes to guitars.
Developed and manufactured by Gretsch in the mid-1950s, this guitar, with its round and delicate shapes, quickly became a great success. With its glossy finish, gold plating and unique shape, the White Falcon was unmatched at the time of its release and quickly became a popular instrument. The White Falcon is a hollow body guitar that has established itself as a key model in the history of music. Its sweet resonance and delicate warmth have helped make this model a mythical instrument. If any artist could sum up its place in music, it would be Brian Setzer. The leader of the Stray Cats unleashed generations of fans to the sound of the band's rockabilly hits, bringing this model back to the glory it once knew.
The model offered by Matt's Guitar Shop is exceptional: it is a White Falcon Master Built Custom Shop Stephen Stern that was personally owned by Brian Setzer, the proudest ambassador of the beautiful and round white guitar. Made by the Master Builder of the Gretsch Custom Shop Stephen Stern, this is an exceptional electric guitar with remarkable acoustic qualities. In addition, Brian Setzer has precisely removed the pickguard, freeing up the two soundholes on the top of this beautiful hollow body.
Group : Stray Cats
Main guitar : Gretsch 6120 1959
An absolute “must-hear” track : Rock This Town
The Stray Cats’ first album struck the musical landscape of the 1980s like an earthquake. When the eponymous record was released in 1981, the tastes of the day tended towards convulsive drum machines and synthesisers. Going completely against the grain, Brian Setzer, Lee Rocker, and Slim Jim Phantom’s trio reminded the world of how much the primal energy of rockabilly could provide a thrill without resorting to such decorations.
Since then, the rockabilly revival has never entirely waned and even the roughest-edge punks still retain an unconditional respect for Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran. All this is thanks to Brian Setzer and his radical, non-conformist, and brilliant vision. His energetic and raspy voice, his amazing guitar playing, and his stage presence won over even the most recalcitrant, without falling into easy nostalgia.
Setzer’s approach to the guitar is obviously inspired by great elders like Scotty Moore or Cliff Gallup, but he adds a more saturated sound, more fluid phrasing, and the omnipresent influence of Django.
Like any self-respecting meteorite, the Stray Cats’ life was very short, and they split up in 1984, although they have sometimes got together again in the years since. Despite myriad different signature models from Gretsch, Setzer’s sound recipe will always remain very close to the original, i.e. a 6120 plugged into a blonde Bandmaster stack via a Roland Space Echo effects unit.
Setzer then launched his solo career, later joined Robert Plant in The Honeydrippers, and—most importantly—in 1990 he took on his wildest and most ambitious project: the Brian Setzer Orchestra. This big band of 18 musicians—in theory impossible to make financially viable—will soon have been touring regularly for thirty years, often around the end-of-year celebrations. Setzer’s talent was needed to so brilliantly overcome that challenge.