#1
Hi all

I am currently trying to get a Rockabilly trio band up and running, I will be playing the rhythm and lead, I'm not great but I am getting better day by day. I currently have a Fender Tele sonic blue Baja, it is a wonderful guitar but for the band I really think I need something hollow body and definately with a bigsby to get the Brian Setzer sound. Before answering my questions below Please bare in mind that don't know a great deal about guitars, so please nothing too technical.

I have a Boss delay pedal to get the Slap back effect I need but my Tele just doesn't have the jazzy tremolo feel that is so associated with Old rock and roll / rockabilly. I have previously owned a basic Gretsch G5120 and I absolutely hated the floating bridge and found that using the bigsby on it put it straight out of tune, this is no good for me as I do not have the patience, so what I am wondering is can anyone recommend a guitar with a bigsby out there that will not go out of tune so quickly, preferably without a floating bridge too. I am looking at £600 mark but for the right guitar can stretch further, I know there are things like Epiphone Wildkat which look nice and seem reasonable price wise but the most important thing is that Rockabilly sound, Gretsch have brought out a few newer models lately but I don't know much about them.

If anyone can recommend any guitars then I would really appreciate the help, I will try and get to a store to try them out ASAP.

Thanks in advance lovely guitar peeps!
#2
I've tried and very much enjoyed the Epiphone Emperor Swingster, which is pretty unambiguously Epiphone's take on the 6120 Chet Atkins model Gretsches. The pickups are basically filtertron clones, it's got a wire handle Bigsby, a pinned tune-o-matic and generally pretty lush bells and whistles. In my view it's a serious contender with the Electromatic Gretsches. I'd argue that's the most "ideal" choice among Epiphones. I think their other fully hollow models are more jazz-focused.

The Wildkat is nice enough, but for what it's worth it's not built like a traditional semihollow - there's probably a fair argument to be made that it means fuck all in practice, but it's made from a solid piece of mahogany routed out kind of like a chambered Les Paul or a Thinline Tele, then the top is added. It doesn't have a back and sides like, say, an ES-335 (or, really, any other semihollow). Again, I wouldn't be confident that that makes any real difference when comparing to a regular semihollow, but possibly in relation to a hollowbody it would.

Godin has the 5th Avenue range of archtops - most of them are probably more on the dark jazzy side of things but I think perhaps the Uptown GT might suit your needs.

Besides that, though you probably won't score one for under £600 (I did, but only just), you can get a Japanese '62 Reissue Custom Tele with a Bigsby that looks pretty fabulous. Not my favourite pickups, but otherwise a really, really nice guitar. New prices are increasingly silly if you can even find one, but used you might get lucky.
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#3
You're on the right track.

The most common pickups in rockabilly & psychobilly are P90s and Filler'tron style humbuckers or miniHBs. Gretsch is one of the premiere brands in the genre market. Bigsby trems are the whammy of choice. Semihollow and hollowbody guitars are more common than solidbody guitars.

The trick is finding it all in a decent axe within your budget. In the UK.

Still, £600 or so should get you some decent options.

I'd start by looking at Gretsch again, including their solidbody guitars. Billy Zoom of X fame got a GREAT psychobilly tone out of his silver sparkle Gretsch solidbodies.

Reverend also has a lot of strong contenders. Their RevTron miniHBs were based off of the original FillerTrons.

I looked at Vintage and Modern guitars to see how they were priced. Here are some examples from both makers, but each company makes- or made & discontinued- several other models that fit the bill.
https://www.vintageandmodernguitars.co.uk/product/reverend-flatroc-emerald-green/

https://www.vintageandmodernguitars.co.uk/product/reverend-warhawk-rt-3-tone-burst/

https://www.vintageandmodernguitars.co.uk/product/reverend-club-king-rt-violin-brown/

https://www.vintageandmodernguitars.co.uk/product/reverend-charger-290-ltd-edition-metallic-copper-fire/

https://www.vintageandmodernguitars.co.uk/product/reverend-trick-gomez-3-tone-sunburst/

https://www.vintageandmodernguitars.co.uk/product/gretsch-g5435t-wbigsby-black/

https://www.vintageandmodernguitars.co.uk/product/gretsch-g5436t-wbigsby-white/

https://www.vintageandmodernguitars.co.uk/product/gretsch-g5441t-double-jet-wbigsby-firebird-red/

https://www.vintageandmodernguitars.co.uk/product/gretsch-g5420t-wbigsby-western-orange/

https://www.vintageandmodernguitars.co.uk/product/gretsch-g5620t-cb-georgia-green-center-block-cats-eye/
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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#4
Of course, the unasked question is this: what other gear do you have? Just the Tele? What about your amp?

I ask because it may be easier and cheaper to get a Bigsby and some P90s or Fillertrons and modify a guitar. AND most of our suggestions won't mean much if you don't have the right amp to form the foundation of your sound.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Sep 15, 2016,
#5
A spot above your budget, but

http://www.guitarguitar.co.uk/electric_guitars_detail.asp?stock=14050710544132

From the same store

http://www.guitarguitar.co.uk/electric_guitars_detail.asp?stock=13123112483532

And the new range are in stock in most of the bigger stores and chains, so finding one to have a go of shouldn't be too tricky.

But also a +1 to what Danny said about your amp. A White Falcon through a 5150 is probably never going to sound rockabilly.
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#7
Gretsch and a Fender Bassman amp with Fender reverb unit were the most common but a lot of guys played Teles also. Link Wray played Les Pauls, Supros, Danos, Gibson SGs... Don't Forget Carl Perkins, The Sonics, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Bill Haley, and a bunch of other groundbreaking Rockabilly acts. Try not to get too locked into the cliche of what Rockabilly once was and just play it loud and proud.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Sep 14, 2016,
#8
And, as the inevitable Variax interlude, it's worth noting that all "electric" Variaxes since the 500 series include the 1959 Gretsch 6120 as one of the models. This is particularly effective if you have one of the versions (such as the 600 or 700 or several of the current JTV series) that come with a trem, you may not look the part, but you'll sound it.
#9
Danelectros were infamous for using lipstick singlecoils, part of what gave them their distinctive look and sound, and Godin's discontinued Belmont has a HSS setup using Seynour Duncan lipstick singlecoils. The laurentian white ones have a Bigsby. (I have a hardtail one- nice.)

https://reverb.com/marketplace/electric-guitars?query=godin%20belmont
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#10
Hi all and wow thanks for the great replies up to now, some fabulous looking guitars suggested above, it is so exciting! Gear wise I mentioned that I have the Boss DD3 delay pedal which gives a great slapjack effect. Amp wise I have a Vox AC30. Thanks again everyone.
#11
Not the most common amp in the genre, but definitely capable.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#12
I hinted at this before, but if you do wind up trying to upgrade the pickups in a guitar instead of trying to buy one of the guitars mentioned so far, the gold standard for this kind of pickup in the aftermarket is TV Jones.

http://www.tvjones.com/pickups.html

There are other worthy contenders, though- here's links to The Creamery, Lollar, Rio Grande and Vintage Vibe:

http://www.creamery-pickups.co.uk/custom-handwound-pickups-from-the-creamery/custom-handwound-humbucker-replacement-pickups.html#custom-humbuckers

http://www.lollarguitars.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=LGP&Product_Code=272&Category_Code=humbucker-pickups

http://www.riograndepickups.com/single-pickups-for-gretsch

http://vintagevibeguitars.com/windows/VibetronWin.html
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Sep 15, 2016,
#13
Here ya go!

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#14
Gretsch Electromatic + T.V.Jones = Serious Rockabilly
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

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Pro devoted pledge
Time for primal concrete sledge

#15
Wow, thankyou for all the amazing replies lovely UG peeps, it is honestly so very much appreciated, I will post back on here with what I eventually buy. Just about to post a new question about the best pedal for boosting lead break volume in Rockabilly genre, if you could take a look and help me out that'd be just awesome!
#16
I checked Equipboard for Darrel Higham & Brian Setzer's gear. The didn't have Highham's, and Setzer's entry listed only a Tubescreamers for OD.

I also found this guy's page:
http://www.the-jime.dk/Rockabilly_Guitar.htm
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#17
dannyalcatraz

Wow that is an awesome page, loads and loads of stuff for me to swot up on, thanks very much for that!
#18
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!