1970s Black Jack Gretsch-a-Like 12-String Hollowbody Electric Guitar

This guitar totally apes a 12-string, double-cutaway Gretsch Country Gentleman. It even has painted-on faux f-holes. I know, right?

The difference, however, is that this beast was made in Japan and features "staple" humbucker pickups with coil-splitting, has no useless mud switch, and has a skinny-as-heck neck, shorter (lengthwise) body, and wide lower bout. After-work, the sound is quite amazingly-good: it jangles with the best of them and has quite a wide tonal palette with its control options. The "humbucker" setting on each pickup gives a full, loud, clean, and almost-FilterTron vibe. The "single-coil" setting thins it out for a classic, '60s-sounding, chimey 12-string electric sound.

I worked on this for a local customer and I'm glad I finally got around to making it right. It's an interesting experience because the string spacing is just as tight as you might find on a normal 6-string Gibson of the time, which means that accurate finger placement is essential. It also means that barred chords up the neck are easy and fast, though, and as a chordal strummer/crosspicker this instrument sounds gorgeous. It's a little harder to do clean melody playing, however, for those who might have bumble-fingers!

Work included: a fret level/dress, replacement pickup switch (it originally had a turn-knob selector), full compensation of the adjustable saddles, cleaning, and a good setup. Action is hair-under 1/16" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret. It has a straight neck and working truss-rod and I've strung it with a custom set of 18/46w, 14/36w, 10/26w, 8/18w, 12/12, 8/8 gauges. I would've put 9s on the high Es but I got a bad batch of them that kept unwinding on me.

Scale length: 24 3/4"
Nut width: 1 5/8"
String spacing at nut: 1 7/16"
String spacing at bridge: 2 1/8"
Body length: 18 7/8"
Lower bout width: 16 5/8"
Waist width: 9 5/8"
Upper bout width: 12"
Side depth at endpin: 2"
Body wood: ply maple?
Fretboard: rosewood
Bridge: original adjustable, now fully-compensated
Neck feel: slim-medium C, ~9" radius board
Neck wood: maple?

Condition notes: replaced 3-way switch and minor scuffs/scratches on the body, but otherwise all-original save for the 4 neck bolts. I did have to shim-up the neck joint a bit to make it nice and tight, too.

During the fret level/dress, I correctly adjusted the zero fret's height so it works as it should. Now setups are a breeze.

I love how the "thumbprint" inlay is pearloid.

The two upper-bout bass-side switches are for coil-splitting on each pickup.

Note the extra compensation for the octaves on each saddle.