How To Customise A Gretsch: The Beginning

Guitar customising is something that surely every player has either considered or carried out over the years. Whether you just fancy putting a sticker on your Squier Tele or investing in an eye-popping one-off airbrush design for your Jackson RR, you can turn a guitar into something unique and, more importantly, your own.

In my next Long Term test project, I´m going to take a humble and unassuming Gretsch G5120...

And transform it into something like this...

Using all of this...

Now, there´s no way on God´s green earth that simply applying a modicum of scientific processes and know-how to a £660 semi will magically turn it into something as gorgeous as the Gretsch Brian Setzer G6120SSC ´59 Tribute, but I intend to make it look and sound as good as I possibly can.

We´ve reviewed the G5120 in the next issue of Guitarist, which should be with you on or around 27th October, but we were so struck by just how good it was that we felt we should attempt to take it a number of steps closer to a proper Japanese 6120.

Any residual ‘Tribute´ voodoo we can attract on the journey is all good...

We´ll run our customary three pieces in the magazine within the Long Term Test section, but keep an eye out on this very Blog for regular updates that´ll include more pictures, information and knowledge to go with what we feature in the pages of the magazine.

To start us off, here´s a parts list plus UK prices and sources that we´ll be using.

Gretsch G5120 Electromatic Hollow Body - £659.99

Seymour Duncan Phat Staple - £249
Seymour Duncan SPH90-1N Phat Cat - £86.95

(Read more about the Phat Staple here)

Kluson Super Rotomatic 109C tuners - £46.99
Guitar Tech GT560 dice knobs - £13.99

Cowgirl decal - £4 for sheet of four

Pickguard adhesive sheet - £1.46
Sixsandpaper sheets - £1.44 for two
ColorTone vintage amber liquid stain - £10.55

Simon Bradley is a guitar and especially rock guitar expert who worked for Guitarist magazine and has in the past contributed to world-leading music and guitar titles like MusicRadar (obviously), Guitarist, Guitar World and Louder. What he doesn't know about Brian May's playing and, especially, the Red Special, isn't worth knowing.