Gretsch's Richard Fortus Signature Falcons have hatched, and they're a handsome pair of birds

Gretsch Richard Fortus Signature Falcon
(Image credit: Gretsch)

Gretsch has unveiled a pair of signature Falcons for Guns N' Roses guitarist and avowed tone enthusiast Richard Fortus. Long been in the works, these signature birds are a quite exceptional-looking electric guitars, dialling back the bling with the liberal use of tortoiseshell for its headstock logo, bezels and pickguard.

MusicRadar first got wind that Fortus and Gretsch were feather-bedding the nest and workshopping some new specs for a signature Falcon at last year's Virtual Guitar Show, and the finished article will land with dealers in November.

The Richard Fortus Signature Falcon is offered with the choice of a V-Stoptail with Black finish or a Vintage White model with a string-thru Bigsby B6CP vibrato and TonePros tune-o-matic bridge with roller saddles. It has a maple centre-block build, with a feedback-killing piece of chambered spruce reinforcing the arched laminate top. 

Both Falcons have a 1.75” and 17” wide double-cutaway shape, with a Standard U-shaped maple neck glued to the body and topped with a 12” radius ebony fingerboard and 22 medium-jumbo frets. 

Much of the time spent on developing the model went into pickup design, with Gretsch and Fortus plumping for a set of Custom Wound Filter’Trons unlike any others. 

Speaking to MusicRadar in the video below, he describes them as “sort of like a cross between a traditional Filter'Tron and a PAF.“ With Fortus favouring single-channel amps that are run in full-bore overdrive, he uses his guitar's volume control for his clean sounds, so we would expect these to clean up nicely. 

Fortus' Falcon has all nickel hardware and matching jewelled G-arrow control knobs. The control circuit has been pared down to just master volume and tone controls and a three-way pickup selector. There is a treble bleed circuit on the master volume and the master tone control has a No-Load Pot.

Elsewhere, there are pearloid Neo-Classic thumbnail inlays, Grover Rotomatic die-cast tuners, Graph Tech TUSQ XL nuts, and both guitars ship with a hard case.

Besides the finishes and the hardware, there are some differences between the instruments, with the V-Stoptail model having a shorter 24.6“ scale and the Bigsby-equipped Vintage White model a full 25.5“ scale.

The G6636T-RF Richard Fortus Signature Falcon Center Block with String-Thru Bigsby is available to preorder, shipping in November, and is priced £3,199 / $3,599 , €3,549.00. The V-Stoptail model is priced £3,049 / $3,399 / €3,389. See Gretsch for more details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.