What's with the fake F-holes?

GlenP

Country Gent
Jul 23, 2019
2,461
WA
Why was the first solid body electric guitar head stock shaped like a violin scroll?
Why are violin scrolls shaped like a scroll of paper?
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Would be nice to have like removable f-hole inserts/covers, so you can have the option when you need to cut the feedback on a loud stage.

Fake f-holes are in the eye of the beholder:
GLPC.jpeg
 

JC higgy

Gretschified
Jun 6, 2008
11,925
Belfast Norn Iron
Steve Wariner on his Nashville Gentleman: "The closed F-holes reduce feedback without sacrificing tone when played through high gain amps"
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2.75" depth
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,716
Where the action is!
Does anyone know if Chet ever complained about feedback?
Like Synchro said, it may well have been a problem he encountered such that he had it in mind. But I also think the closed bodied guitars have a slightly more focused tone. He also might have been thinking of tone rather than or in addition to feedback.
 

stiv

Country Gent
Sep 12, 2014
2,556
Firenze, Italy
I don’t know what Chet though about them, but if you ask me it would mean less feedback at high volumes and also more sustain and better notes definition.
Fake F holes are the ultimate Gretsch gift from rock’n’roll gods.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,386
Tucson
Like Synchro said, it may well have been a problem he encountered such that he had it in mind. But I also think the closed bodied guitars have a slightly more focused tone. He also might have been thinking of tone rather than or in addition to feedback.
Chet had something very specific in mind, with regard to his sound. If you listen to his recordings, they are very crisp and bright, without being harsh. That was hard to come by, circa the late ‘50s. He was not interested overdrive; he was trying to avoid it.

I can only assume that Chet knew that he had to control feedback and, it’s probably true that a more focused sound helped. The result is a bit of a hybrid, a hollow body, with the voice of a hollow body, but with some solid body traits.

I have three Electrotone guitars; one parallel-braced, one parallel-braced with a soundpost, and one parallel braced with trestles, A.K.A. Trestle Braced.


The first one, a 6120 DC, parallel braced with no soundpost, acoustically sounds fairly similar to a Gibson ES-330, or an Epiphone Casino. The closed top reduces the presence somewhat, when played acoustically, but it actually sounds pretty good, unplugged.

The second, a G6119-62T, with parallel bracing and a soundpost, is much less acoustically live than the 6120 DC, There is still some hollow body character, but it’s a step closer to the semi-hollow sound, sucj as an ES-335.

The third guitar, the G6122-1959, has trestle bracing, and this is a very crisp instrument. It is my opinion that this represented Chet’s wishes, as an instrument that suited his tastes, perfectly. It is pretty loud, acoustically, and electrically, it sounds like nothing else, except my other trestle-braced guitar, with open F holes, a G6119-1959. In my opinion, the trestle bracing makes a huge difference.

I don’t know of a place where I could point to an interview where Chet stated that he was fighting feedback, but I suspect that was one of the motives for his design requests.
 

Andrew Griffin

Synchromatic
Oct 22, 2015
813
Pretty much with you on that. I have three Gretsch with Electrotone bodies, and that’s my preference. It seems to help inntne fight against feedback, and having the painted on F holes just looks right. As a trivia point, the shape of these was traced from Chet Atkins’ own D’Angelico.
cool trivia point! thx
 

juster

Electromatic
Apr 23, 2017
24
British Columbia
The fake F-holes are to tell everybody that it is a hollowbody. Although some solidbodies probably have f-holes to provide the exception to the rule.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,386
Tucson
Personally, I find that the fake F-holes greatly assist my fake playing.
Are you sayin’ that for real, or just fakin’ it? :)

I don’t know what Chet though about them, but if you ask me it would mean less feedback at high volumes and also more sustain and better notes definition.
Fake F holes are the ultimate Gretsch gift from rock’n’roll gods.
There was a lot of Chet influence in early Rock n’ Roll. Things he recorded under his own name tended to be Country, Easy Listening, or Jazz, but he had a lot of influence as a producer, and that included Rock n’ Roll.
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,716
Where the action is!
They look right, somehow. I like the larger F holes on most Gretsch, but for the painted on ones, the slender D’Angelico shape is perfect.
They tried large painted on f-holes on the short-lived model 6113 and the small run of custom guitars ordered by player and educator Ronny Lee. I guess they decided that they didn't work visually and never tried them again.
original.jpg

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Another interesting (at least to me) vagary of Gretsch f-hole minutiae is that if you requested open f-holes on a model that normally came with faux f-holes, you got the big ones even if the faux ones were small.
open%20hole%206120%20double%20cut%20picture%20taken%20in%201965.jpg.540x540_q85_autocrop.jpg

A guy once visited the GDP and shared a phenomenal 1959 Country Gentleman that was custom ordered in 6120 orange and with open f-holes and it also had the big ones. I believe he was the second owner (bought it from his teacher, IIRC), be still had the original receipt which reflected an upcharge of I think either $25 or $50 for the custom options so there was question that it was a true factory original custom job. Like a dope, I didn't think to save pictures at the time. Did any of the GDP vintage guys save them? Ed? J.C.?
 

Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Nov 13, 2009
22,254
Monkey Island
The paint-on S-holes are akin to racing stripes on a car. They suggest more speed but apart from enhancing a perhaps sporty look add nothing of substance.😒

Also I stole this pic from Ed/Wayne. You telling me it needs paint-on S-holes?

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sgarnett

Synchromatic
Apr 14, 2020
968
Kentucky
My Gibson Lucille does not have any f-holes, real or painted, and it looks fine without them.

I’m not a fan of fake f-holes, fake hood scoops, or fake … anatomy.
 


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