The Metro Session: 1963 Gretsch Firebird

38 Comments
  • avatar
    OldSchoolRocker666
    Posted at 17:25h, 22 June

    1:59 Fil looks like he’s in another world or something! 😀

  • avatar
    Kinglance
    Posted at 21:26h, 07 December

    Is this the guitar Malcolm plays with? Is it best to buy the Malcolm Young Signature Gretsch or to buy a Jet Firebird?
    P.S. I love the Gretsch-tone a lot!! Amazing tone!! You nailed it!!

    • avatar
      LeroyKincaid
      Posted at 07:54h, 08 December

      The exact one. I wouldn’t bother with an original Firebird, they’re basically museum pieces now.

      I’ve only seen two on ebay this year.

      I wouldn’t go for the signature or any signature for that matter, either. It wouldn’t feel ‘right’ playing someone else’s guitar.

      • avatar
        headwhop26
        Posted at 20:46h, 08 December

        I know what you mean, I dont feel like signature guitars are worth much.

        I’d buy just a double cutaway from their website and personalize it to your own specs. I just bought a 5248t that Im going to put TV Jones Classics in.

        • avatar
          LeroyKincaid
          Posted at 07:42h, 09 December

          Yep, good plan. I’m contemplating doing that to my Duo-Jet.

          Not sure if I should leave it as is, the sound is good already.

          Trying to find a Cadillac tailpiece to put on it too. Like on Mal’s White falcon.

          • avatar
            headwhop26
            Posted at 21:14h, 09 December

            Yeah, if anything worries me about the guitar, its the tailpiece. I’d rather just put a stopbar in their rather than have a trem, but the whole thing seems to stay in tune decently.

    • avatar
      cyp450pharm
      Posted at 05:59h, 14 February

      I looked around for a vintage one and decided just to make my own. Took a used blonde MYII ($700), moved the switches and knobs around to where they felt/looked right to me, added a standby switch, and swapped all the hardware/tuners to gold + bigsby+ TV jones and some roundwound 12’s. Oh yeah, then had it painted Red/Black. Still came in way less than a vintage one (about 2K- a lot of that was the paint). I had a lot of the parts from other builds and now I can play it hard dont have to worry about breaking/losing a 48 year old guitar. I can always make another one.

      I dont know if I can post a pic, but Ill try.

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/23004561@N00/5444282768/

      • avatar
        headwhop26
        Posted at 16:45h, 14 February

        You sir, are a gentleman, scholar, and genius. That looks absolutely gorgeous. Lord, I wish I could do something that looks so professional.

        You have my eternal respect.

        • avatar
          cyp450pharm
          Posted at 18:38h, 14 February

          Thanks, It was a lot of work, but since I did most of it myself (except the paint), it was a labor of love. I played a few new jets and the switches really get in the way and you cant reach the knobs. I have no idea why Gretsch moved them there. IMO the bigsby is much more useable than the Burns, which goes out of tune and you need to route a big hole in the body. Mine looks really close to a 67 (sans patina) which I used as as model. I also changed out the signature truss rod cover. I feel weird playing a “signature model”. Having a son named Malcolm is bad enough :-)

          I had a lot of problems with tuning until I put graphite on the nut and changed to a brass compensated bridge. Now tuning is not a problem. I think the TV jones classics blow away the stock FTs in output and twang.

          Steve

          • avatar
            headwhop26
            Posted at 21:54h, 14 February

            Yeah, I absolutely love my TVJ classic plus. I need to move it a tad bit closer to the strings, but the sound is just wonderful. I’d love to see more pictures if you have them–

            jyergert@gmail.com

            • avatar
              cyp450pharm
              Posted at 02:02h, 15 February

              Here is a Hi-Res shot of the front. Back and neck is jet black- not much to see.

              http://www.flickr.com/photos/23004561@N00/5446845006/

              BTW- Great playing SoloDallas!!! As usual. I’d love to hear what your amp settings were on your original “Its a long way to the top…” video. You nailed it. The heavy strings (12’s) are a must, but are a killer on your fingers when you play lead- especially the wound G!

              • avatar
                Dries
                Posted at 08:55h, 15 February

                That’s a killer guitar. I have a single pup malcolm young. Would love to have mine like yours ! Did you just took out the studs from the badass, and put a floating bridge on it? Doesn’t it move when you strike ‘m hard?
                And how does it affected the tone?

                cheers !

                • avatar
                  cyp450pharm
                  Posted at 23:32h, 18 February

                  Im gonna try this one last time- sorry if youre getting multiple replies. Yes I took out the studs and dowelled them/patched the holes. With 12s, the bridge is not going anywhere. Thats a lot of tension holding it in place. With 9’s, it should be pegged in place. The brass compensated bridge really affects the tone (in a good way). Its really chimey and the ebony bridge base transfers the energy to the top very efficiently. The space control bridge (original) is not a very good bridge design, but it is nice in that you can align the strings over the PU pole positions. Also with the floating bridge base and compensated bridge, you can really dial in the intonation. The badass bridge sounded like ass to me.

                  Oh yeah, for good measure, I added a little violin rosin on the bottom of the ebony bridge mount. It stays put.

                  • avatar
                    kjellgibson
                    Posted at 21:48h, 12 March

                    About that new bridge… Any problems with radius missmatch the fretboard? -Did you re:connect ground wire from the old bridge? Thanks man!

                    • avatar
                      cyp450pharm
                      Posted at 00:18h, 13 March

                      The difference between the compton compensated bridge and the fretboard is pretty negligable. The d and g strings mightbbe a hair higher, but i doubt you would be able to notice it. He could probably make one for you dead flat if you asked him.

                      Steve

                    • avatar
                      cyp450pharm
                      Posted at 07:07h, 13 March

                      To answer your question more completely, I compared the fretboard vs the bridge and they appear to be spot on. My friend has a jet with a space control bridge which is totally flat. I would think that would be considered a miss-match. I think they get around it by using different sized saddles, but thats not as precise as a machined bridge. Probably doesnt make that much difference. No, I didnt ground the bridge since I filled the holes. I grounded the Bigsby by drilling one of the mounting screws all the way through with a tiny bit, ran the ground wire through it from within and the screw makes the connection with the tailpiece. No issues so far (about 6 months). I actually forgot to do this when I first mounted the Bigsby (when doing the mock up and dry fitting everything prior to paint). It was noisy as sin. If I ever decide to pin the bridge, I may ground it by drilling through the top, through the bridge base and around the height adjuster screws. But thats probably overkill.

                      Steve

  • avatar
    guitarlord26
    Posted at 08:32h, 10 November

    Hey Fil, great vid.

    I was wondering if you could play some lead licks on the Gretch (after all, its not just a guitar for rhythm guitarists) for those of us considering it as THE instrument.

    Cheers,
    Jimmi.

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 09:09h, 10 November

      I will Jimmi. The fact is that this guitar is strung with 12s, and they are though! Still, I love to play it, and more videos will come with this one showing its tone. Its tone, however, is pretty much this one, very distinctive and different.

  • avatar
    faaradar
    Posted at 21:58h, 08 November

    Hey Fil,
    I have a friend who has offered to sell his modified Malcolm Signature 2 pickup model guitar. He has Filtertron Pat#2892371 Vintage pickups installed instead of the original pickups. The output is lower than my other guitar but cranked up it sounds very good. He plays live alot and used this as his backup. He only wants $750 for it. Feels good and sounds good. Good Deal?

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 22:49h, 08 November

      Chuck: GO now! Fil :)

      • avatar
        faaradar
        Posted at 02:03h, 09 November

        Got it. Thanks for the reinforcement. He is a good friend and gave me a great deal on it. He plays for Broken Spurs, an unsigned local band. They actually opened for AC\DC when they were in Kentucky last year. Hope they get signed soon, they really rock the old school way. Thanks again,
        Chuck

      • avatar
        faaradar
        Posted at 23:09h, 16 November

        Posted the Gretsch on a utube video. Just jammin over a riff I came up with. Played Riff with the gretsch and a Yahmaha SBG200 for lead. Take it easy Fil.
        Chuck
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqzmzDpdnMo

  • avatar
    LeroyKincaid
    Posted at 02:36h, 01 October

    Fil, I find it interesting how hard it is – near impossible – to master the opening riff to If you want blood. I’ve seen very few nail it. Malcolm just hits it like no one else.

    Jailbreak’s similar too.

    Be interesting to hear this guitar on your new JMP’s.

  • avatar
    OldSchoolRocker666
    Posted at 06:46h, 30 September

    This is magic! (AC/DC statement? :P)

  • avatar
    Ryley
    Posted at 22:53h, 29 September

    godd i love that guitar! sounds amazingg, pure vintage rock


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    Obstblog
    Posted at 16:33h, 29 September

    Geiler Sound…

    Schaut Euch das an, Leute. So ein geiler Sound, und obwohl der Sound diesmal nur vom Kamera-Mikro kommt. Eine 1968er Gibson SG Standard, Metropoulos-Verstärker und ein Marshall 4×12″ Cabinet aus den 70ern. Und das bitte auch. Gleicher Amp, gleiches C…

  • avatar
    banane
    Posted at 16:12h, 29 September

    Just a great sound, and the camera audio gives a good impression how it sounds there.
    The Gretsch sound is very impressive. Did you do another one with the Marshall?

  • avatar
    livewire
    Posted at 14:16h, 29 September

    YAAAAAY i’ve been hoping to hear you pick the firebird back up n jam, i love jets especialy the vintage ones, i know this would be hard to believe….but that sounds like my les paul jr right now all i use is a fender frontman 15G without reverb its got some kind of humbucker on it that gives out half output like a filtertron i hightened the top three pole piece screws and hightened the last three pole piece slugs now it sounds like a gretsch its currently my number one (SG special would be my number one but im customizing it)

  • avatar
    kjellgibson
    Posted at 12:19h, 29 September

    Great hair -But needs tighter, bouncier twang! Seems like no one these days are even close to that “Blood” intro -Except from Mal of course… with his magic axe!

    • avatar
      kjellgibson
      Posted at 12:25h, 29 September

      Sorry man, might be that bad camera vs the invironment!

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 15:10h, 29 September

      True that. What I really wanted off of all of these videos was to let you hear how these things really sound. To get that tone that you heard on record, you need first off to set up the amp settings better (and I haven’t here, too short on time), then you need a way better guitar signal path (more processed) plus a great post processing and mastering. Not easy to make those GREAT AC/DC tones they got on those albums back then, is it? 😉

      • avatar
        kjellgibson
        Posted at 17:03h, 29 September

        Oh man, very true. Sorry for being a little picky, haha. I am of course, truly happy about you sharing tones from the very original instruments -with a skill. Let’s keep tweakin’ !

        • avatar
          SoloDallas
          Posted at 04:14h, 30 September

          Do NOT be sorry, you are right! This is just a “test”. You have no idea how many of these I am going to do, documenting all the recording process and trying to find the correct equalization and compression settings to make it sound like the record. Which is essentially, the core purpose of this site: live experimentation and documentation in front of you all. It’s fun and – hopefully – useful!

  • avatar
    headwhop26
    Posted at 11:42h, 29 September

    YES! I couldnt wait to see this one!

  • avatar
    Malcolmyoung01
    Posted at 11:34h, 29 September

    This Gretsch would be cool with a third PU

  • avatar
    ar2619Rob
    Posted at 11:20h, 29 September

    A lot of people have been waiting for this one, myself included. What a sound !!!!!!!
    What gauge strings are on it, 10’s? or are they the ‘ships cables’ that Malcolm uses?

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 11:26h, 29 September

      Im glad you like it Rob despite the lower quality audio.
      12s Rob! Like Malcolm’s.

      • avatar
        headwhop26
        Posted at 11:49h, 29 September

        It’s pretty groovin, and the audio’s not half bad either!

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