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Monthly Archives: March 2013

GretschTech: Trestle Bracing


Trestle bracing on the underside of a Gretsch guitar top.

What is trestle bracing, and what advantages does it offer on Gretsch guitars that feature it? Is it a modern development or a vintage design?

Good questions. The short answer to all of the above is that trestle bracing is a distinctive bracing system used inside certain Gretsch hollow-body guitar models that improves tone by increasing sustain and decreasing feedback. Gretsch developed it and first used it in the late 1950s.

Trestle bracing is a special extra. Most Gretsch hollow-body guitars and basses don’t have it. Rather, most Gretsch hollow-body instruments use a simpler internal support method called sound-post bracing, in which a vertical wooden dowel located directly under the bridge connects the top of the guitar to the back. The sound post itself doesn’t add much mass, so it affects sustain hardly at all. And since the sound post takes up very little space inside the guitar, the feedback characteristics of the body remain largely unchanged.

Far more substantial than sound-post bracing, trestle bracing consists of two bridge-like spruce braces with a wide “U” shape that are in effect trestles (hence the name). These run parallel to each other down the center of the instrument interior from the neck joint to the center of the body, ending directly under the bridge. They’re between the f holes, just beneath the sides of the pickups and bridge.

Since each rigid trestle brace has two “feet,” there are four points of attachment that are glued to the back of the guitar (versus one point of attachment for sound-post bracing). Originally, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, each of the four feet had “pilings” that served as the glued points of attachment with the back; modern-era trestle bracing dispenses with these.

The upper portions of the trestles are glued to the longer tone bar braces that also run in parallel down the underside of the top well past the bridge (and to which the pickups are fastened). This entire arrangement stiffens the top much more than a sound post does with its single point of attachment, aiding in control over feedback.

Medical imaging technology shows an early 1960s Gretsch 6120 model from the side (above, with neck joint end at right), in which the trestle bracing with the original-era "pilings" can be seen, and from the top (below), which faintly shows both braces running parallel down the center of the top to just under the bridge.

The great advantage of trestle bracing is that it effectively enables a hollow-body guitar to respond more like a solid-body guitar while preserving classic hollow-body tone. That is, it offers notably greater sustain and control over feedback due to the increased mass (more wood), the increased dampening of the top, and the much more substantial coupling of the top to the back.

As with several other innovations, Gretsch developed trestle bracing in the late 1950s at the behest of Chet Atkins. The great guitarist sought more sustain from his namesake 6120 hollow-body model and also wanted to subdue the feedback typical of electric hollow-body guitar design. Atkins worked with Gretsch’s Jimmie Webster and with inventor/engineer Ray Butts in devising several improvements for Gretsch guitars. Trestle bracing was one of these; it debuted in 1958 among a suite of new features including the upper-bout tone switch, “Neo-Classic” fingerboard inlays and Butts’ Filter’Tron pickup, one of the world’s first humbucking pickups (if not the first humbucking pickup).

Trestle bracing remained in use over the next few years, evolving slightly along the way. It was usually fashioned from spruce, although this wasn’t always consistent in the original era. It disappeared with the arrival of the thinner Electrotone body style in the early 1960s.

With the re-emergence of Gretsch in the modern era, trestle bracing was meticulously researched and offered once again as an authentic and tonally superior original-era design touch in several guitar models. It is a major feature on all Brian Setzer guitars and other select models, typically (but not always) referred to as “1959 trestle bracing.”

Current Gretsch models with trestle bracing include:

  • G6136SLBP Brian Setzer Black Phoenix
  • G6120SSL and G6120SSLVO Brian Setzer Nashville®
  • G6120SSU and G6120SSUGR Brian Setzer Nashville
  • G6120TV Brian Setzer Hot Rod models
  • G6122-1958 Chet Atkins Country Gentleman®
  • G6120-1959LTV Chet Atkins Hollow Body
  • G6119-1959 Chet Atkins Tennessee Rose
  • G6136T and G6136T-LTV White Falcon
  • G6136TBK Black Falcon
  • G6136TSL Silver Falcon
  • G6120DE Duane Eddy Signature Hollow Body
  • Gretsch Custom Shop G6118T 130th Anniversary

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Tegan and Sara Teach Andy Samberg About Heartthrobs


With the release of their latest album Heartthrob earlier this year, Tegan and Sara have been conducting interviews with actors and musicians like Cory Monteith, Ben Lee, Ione Sky and Skylar Astin about what that word means to them.

In addition, the sisterly duo gave former Saturday Night Live star Andy Samberg a perfect lesson for stepping up his heartthrob game.

Check out the clips after the jump and visit Tegan and Sara’s official website to pick up a copy of the album. (more…)

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Patrick Matera Recording New Solo Record


Patrick Matera might be well known at Katy Perry’s guitarist, but he’s also been hard at work on a new solo record.

And to complete it, Matera launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise a final $10,000 with rewards that include a digital download of the album to the opportunity to have the artist play a private 45-minute set at a fan’s home.

“I’ve been playing guitar with Katy Perry since the 2008 Warped Tour,” he wrote on his Kickstarter page. “When we had a little time off last summer, I began working on this solo record, writing songs and recording demos. It’s pop music, I’d say… electronic/guitar/vibey singer/songwriter stuff. I’ll be singing, playing guitar and keyboards on it and just need a little help from my friends to finish it and get it out there to you. I’m raising funds so I can pay all the musicians, studio owners, engineers, mixers, etc., that I need to help complete the project.”

To learn more about Matera’s mission, click here.

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The So So Glos Release New Music Video


Brooklyn punk band the So So Glos will be releasing the album Blowout soon, but for now, fans can check out a vintage video for the single “Son of an American.”

The clip takes footage from old home movies to show what the guys looked like as kids, whether it was playing coach-pitch baseball or rocking out with child-sized guitars.

In addition, the So So Glos recently filmed a performance of the track “Diss Town” from the studios of Wreckroom Records in New York City.

Watch both videos after the jump and check out the So So Glos’ official Facebook page for more information. (more…)

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Thenewno2 Featured on Leno


Having scored the film Beautiful Creatures, thenewno2 was recently featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where the Dhani Harrison-fronted group performed “Never Too Late.”

Check out the video after the jump and visit thenewno2′s official website for more information. (more…)

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