The Gibson L-4C, and eventually the ES-175, are amongst the most popular jazz guitars in history. It has been the guitar of choice for guitarists like Joe Pass, Herb Ellis, Bill Frisell, Steve Howe and many others.
One of our favorite Martin guitars is the 000-18. The 000-18 was a less sought after model during the 1960’s, at a time when large guitars like the Martin D-18, Martin D-28 and Gibson J-45 were more popular.
The 000-18 was perceived to be a lesser Martin. Yet in the hands of Davy Graham, Alexis Korner, Martin Carthy, and Richard Thompson, the 000-18 defined the sonic DNA of celtic and contemporary English folk music.
On the other side of the Atlantic, contemporaries such as Ry Cooder were redefining blues with the 000-18.
We were delighted a couple of years ago when Martin decided to redesign the 000-18. Taking their cues from the 1930’s, Martin gave the 000-18 a 1 ¾” nut, ebony fingerboard and bridge and “tortus” body bindings and pickguard. The vintage style “Waverly” inspired tuners used on the 000-18 take weight off the headstock and create excellent body to neck balance to this already very light weight guitar.
The 000-18 is sonically open, yet balanced with a dry, haunting woody tone. These characteristics are sought after in vintage Martin 000-18’s, which sell for 10x the price of a new 000-18.
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?
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.”
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.”
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.