Through the decades, the Gretsch White Falcon has been spied in the hands of everyone from top Nashville session cats to rockers like Neil Young and Billy Duffy of the Cult. After recently taking a shine to the iconic semi-hollow, Guns ’N Roses’ Richard Fortus co-developed the G6636T-RF Falcon.
This modern version provides a pure Gretsch experience with all the trimmings; its 1.75″-deep/17″-wide body is made of arched laminated maple front, back, and sides with a chambered spruce center block to defeat feedback. The 25.5″-scale maple neck has a U-shaped profile and 22 frets on an ebony board. The electronics get even more interesting, with custom Filter’Tron humbuckers designed to offer both vintage Gretsch tones and PAF cleans. The Volume knob has a treble-bleed circuit – dial it down and that badass tone remains, which doesn’t always happen with traditional pots. The Tone and three-way pickup selector sit on the lower bout.
Hardware includes TonePros TP6R bridge with roller saddles and Grover Roto-matic tuners, all in a nickel finish. The crowning glory, though, is a Bigsby B6CP String-Thru Vibrato tailpiece for gentle whammy wiggles. A Graph Tech Tusq XL nut provides low friction to alleviate tuning concerns. Ornaments include jeweled G-arrow knobs, classic Gretsch “thumbnail” inlays, a tortoiseshell headstock logo, and swank tortoiseshell binding on the body.
Unlike a classic Gretsch hollowbody for jazz and country pickin’, the Fortus Falcon is also adept at heavy rock thanks to that center block and heavy, tank-like construction. Plug it in and revel in numerous clean flavors – then crank the gain up and enjoy the ride. The Fortus can take as much overdrive as you throw at it. The neck on our tester was expertly set up, with fast-playing and with neatly dressed medium-jumbo frets.
While the G6636T-RF is a pricey axe, you get plenty of bang for the buck, including that classic vintage-white vibe, a Bigsby (there’s also a stoptail version), superior Filter’Tron pickups, and a rock-solid build. Made for high-volume rocking, the Fortus Falcon is a premium twang box with modern features, but stays faithful to the Gretsch tradition.
This article originally appeared in VG’s April 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.