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Gretsch Controls

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Q: I’m confused by all the controls that Gretsch guitars have. What do all those switches and knobs do?

A: The answer depends on the model, of course. But here are some general guidelines for figuring out Gretsch controls:

  • On the upper bout, if there is one switch, it is probably a 3-position pickup selector.

  • If there is a second switch on the upper bout, it is probably a 3-position tone switch — the center position is bypass, the other two positions make the sound progressively darker.
  • If there is a knob on the cutaway bout, it is probably a master volume control.
  • If there are two knobs below the tailpiece, they are probably volume controls for the individual pickups.
  • A third knob below the tailpiece is probably a tone control.
  • A switch below the tailpiece is probably a “standby” control or “kill switch” for silencing the guitar.

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