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1990 Gretsch 7594 White Falcon, for Goths, Rockers & Lovers

The White Falcon.  Quite simply, an icon.  Beautifully crafted, lavishly finished in white and gold, the sound of rock and roll, rockabilly, and goth.  One name, so many varieties, it's impossible to pin a single guitar god to it.  But just let this double-cut, tremolo-equipped beauty loose, and they're all yours!

Chet Atkins led the way in placing Gretsch firmly onto the competitive field occupied by Gibson and Fender, but it was the White Falcon that stole the limelight when it hit the shops in 1955.  A glamorous, glossy, big-bodied, gold-adorned beauty that left all those sunburst, natural (and, yes, occasional gold-topped) competitors stumbling around in the shade.  So glam and glitzy, you'd think it would have led the unstoppable rise of rock & roll royalty.  But all that glamour came at a top-of-the-range price: an eye-watering $600, in the days when you could pick up a solid-bodied Stratocaster or Les Paul for around $250.  A guitar that only the well-to-do-parents of those rock & rolling teenagers could afford.  But they treasured it in their dreams . . . Gene Vincent, Jimmy Page, Steve Jones, Brian Setzer, Malcolm Young, Billy Duffy, The Edge, John Frusciante, Elvis Presley (of course), and so many others that one day turned dreams into reality.

When I first started looking for a White Falcon, the inspiration was the single-cut 6136 that Dave Grohl plays in the video to 1997 single Monkey Wrench.  Dave Grohl might have been playing it for the video, but it belonged to bandmate Pat Smear - a 1990 model he bought in 1996, and one of the earliest White Falcons out of the Japanese Terada factory that helped relaunch Gretsch in 1989.  That very same White Falcon even came up in auction in 2022 - with all the mods Pat, and his tech Earnie Bailey, had made to the guitar over the 6 years he played it.  I'm afraid to say the final hammer price of £46,000 put it just that tiny bit above budget  . . . 

With Pat Smear's one gone, it was just a question of deciding on which of the many varieties of White Falcon to choose - the 6136s, 6137s, 7593s, 7594s & 7595s, including the mono and stereo alternatives, and the bewildering array of 55, 59, 62 reissues and signature editions.  In the end, I decided on a contemporary to Pat Smear's 1990 White Falcon, rather than an exact match.  This lovely 1990 double-cut 7594 is just a fantastic example of the build quality coming out of the Terada factory when Gretsch relaunched at the end of the 1980s.  And, dare I say it, it's an easier guitar to play than its chunkier single-cut sibling.  It still has the wide 17" body that adds to the in-your-face appeal of the Falcon, but it's built to a thinner depth, something that definitely makes for a far more comfortable playing experience for all but the tallest of players.  OK, that might just be me.  But there's only one way to find out . . . If ever you've held a cherished a place for a White Falcon in your dreams, now is the time to get real!

See & Hear It In Action
  • 1993 Gretsch 7594 White Falcon Demo: Just a few years after this one came out of the Terada factory, an identical build from 1993 (bar one tiny nod to Brian Setzer . . .a clear die for the bridge pick-up volume knob).  A great demo of the tonal range and power of the 7594, courtesy of qsickobe.

  • 2002 Gretsch 7594 White Falcon Demo: Just for comparison, a 2002 model.  Only because the ceramic magnets in the Filter-Trons had by then been replaced by more traditional Alnico 5 magnets.  Honestly, I can't spot the difference.  As always, it's more about the playing, and hats off to SonoseeQ for a wonderful job!

From Strut to Sanctuary, be the first!





7594 White Falcon


White Duco



Serial  Number


Number of Frets



Ebony, Bound


Laminated Rock Maple


Laminated Maple


G-Arrow branded Deluxe High-Gear Ratio individual tuners


Gretsch Filter-Tron hum-reducing pick-ups


Gretsch Roller Adjustomatic Bridge


Gretsch by Bigsby B6G Tremolo, with Wire Bar

Scale Length


Full Length


Further Information:

  • The White Falcon was the brainchild of Jimmie Webster, multi-talented guitarist, inventor and salesman, and one of the driving forces behind the legendary Gretsch designs of the 40s and 50s.  Also, by the way, a pioneer of a guitar style that it took 30 years or so to turn truly mainstream.  Webster developed his own unique playing style, the "Touch System", using his right hand to tap out the melody on the upper fretboard while laying down chord shapes with his left.  And, 30 years later, there was Eddie Van Halen . . .

  • Of all the Gretsch models Jimmie had a part in, the White Falcon was his dream guitar - and designed for the most discerning of players.  "Cost was never considered in the planning of this guitar", says the Gretsch marketing, turning rueful realisation to their advantage: "We were planning an instrument for the artist-player whose calibre justifies and demands the utmost in striking beauty, luxurious styling, and peak tonal performance and who is willing to pay the price."  Sounds like cost was definitely a consideration ;-).

  • But it worked, and demand for the White Falcon got Gretsch into the racks of shops otherwise dominated by Gibson and Fender.  And with imitation the sincerest form of recognition, Fender were even prompted to start offering "custom colors" and gold hardware in response to the popularity of the Gretsch range.   

  • Which worked both ways.  Gretsch introduced the double cutaway version of the White Falcon in 1962 - with its thinner body and double cutaway, a clear tip of the hat to the popular ES-335, 345 and 355 semi-acoustics that Gibson had been building a market in since 1958.


  • Sadly, the heyday of the 50s and 60s for Gretsch was followed by declining demand and changes of ownership in the 70s, and production shutdown in the early 1980s.  It took another Fred Gretsch, a nephew of the Fred Gretsch Jr that led the company through its golden years, to reignite the business, launching full-scale production in Japan in 1989 - with quality to match, or even beat those original models. 

  • Which leads us to this lovely 7594 White Falcon from 1990.  Needless to say, it's a beauty - and it puts a smile on my face every time I pick it up, let alone play it.  It really is special.  Everything's original, bar new gold bezel pickup surrounds to replace the split originals, and a new Bigsby tailpiece - the bracket on the original had sheared through.  Bigsby still make the Gretsch B6G, so it was an easy swap-out, and the original wire handle fits perfectly.

  • No surprises, it sounds just great.  Beautiful range of tone across the two pick-ups, from warmth to attack, with a perfect quack in between.  Effortless response and return to tuning from that Bigsby.  And, compared to some of the heavily blinged White Falcons out there, a gloriously uncluttered set of controls.  Who knew that a well-positioned master volume control would be such a godsend?  Mind you, everything about this guitar is going to take you closer to the heavens.  Time to earn your wings!

Sources & Links
  • Gretsch Support: This may seem like an odd place to start, but there's a treasure trove of useful information about specs, electrics, and catalogues on Gretsch's own website.  One of the unexpected and wonderful benefits of having a product range so focused on the legacy of this great guitar maker. 
  • Pat Smear's 1990 White Falcon - Gardiner Houlgate Auction: I'd like to say it's the one that got away.  I did put in a few low bids, but they were crumbs on the water, compared to the £46K hammer price paid by the bidder that landed this one  . . .And don't start me on any "it's the taking part that matters" consolation!. 
  • Everything You Need To Know About Gretsch Filter-Trons:  The rabbit-hole reference.  But if you share a tendency towards geekery, this is the one for you - even down to how best to set up each pick-up, pole-piece by pole-piece . . .Not the only article on this subject, but the most accessible, thanks to Guitarworld.
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