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The Gretsch White Falcon

The Gretsch White Falcon

The White Falcon was introduced in 1954 as a showpiece instrument for the NAMM show that year. The guitar was so popular at the show that Gretsch decided to put it into production, and it has since become an icon of the world of electric guitars.

The body of the White Falcon is 17 inches wide, larger then most of Gretsch’s hollowbodies, and the guitar features a gold sparkle pickguard with an engraved Falcon.

Over the years the White Falcon has undergone some minor changes, but it is still as striking and recognizable as it was in 1954.

Who Played this Guitar?

Neil Young

Young’s 1961 White Falcon is not his primary electric guitar for stage and studio work, but he is still known as one of the foremost White Falcon players. He used the guitar frequently in the early stages of his career with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. His long time guitar tech Larry Cragg says, “That’s the real deal. Neil’s had it forever. It’s kind of green looking and really stunning.”

Guitars For Trade Gretsch White Falcon & Neil Young
Guitars For Trade Gretsch White Falcon & Neil Young

 Billy Duffy

The Cult’s Billy Duffy may be the player most frequently associated with the White Falcon. Duffy used a White Falcon he purchased in 1981 through most of his work in the 1980s. Gretsch even introduced a Billy Duffy signature model White Falcon.

“They do look cool but the distinctive sound is really important to me and it’s something I’ve really experimented with. I’ve tried to go for something … cinematic. I didn’t want the surf thing or rockabilly, and I didn’t even want to do Ennio Morricone – I wanted it to be psychedelic. It’s a feeling I pursued, and I still am.”

Guitars For Trade Gretsch White Falcon & Billy Duffy
Guitars For Trade Gretsch White Falcon & Billy Duffy

Stephen Stills

Another iconic White Falcon player is Stephen Stills. Stills has used all manner of different acoustic and electric guitars over his long and storied career, but frequently has been seen with a White Falcon, usually his 1958 model that was replicated in the signature model that Gretsch has periodically produced over the years.

Guitars For Trade Gretsch White Falcon & Stephen Stills
Guitars For Trade Gretsch White Falcon & Stephen Stills
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