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Microphone Month

Project-O-Sonic

In 1958, Gretsch introduced the Project-O-Sonic stereo guitar with a typical 1950s spin: “Stereophonic Bi-Aural Sound Projection: Simple to produce — Thrilling to hear!” and “The Biggest Guitar News Since Electrification!” In a series of trade industry journals, legendary guitarist Jimmie Webster himself appeared, claiming, “The Gretsch ‘Project-O-Sonic’ Guitar Will Stop You Cold!” Despite all the marketing hype, the Project-O-Sonic guitar was actually the company’s Country Club model with Split Filter’Tron pickups (although a White Falcon was also available). The bass (neck) pickup was in its normal position, while the treble pickup was moved forward away from the bridge. The output from the bass pickup was sent to one Gretsch amplifier and the treble pickup’s sound was routed to a second amp via a breakout box, which separated the guitar’s signal and sent it to the appropriate amp. Project-O-Sonic guitars were priced $50 higher than the standard models, plus guitarists had to purchase two amps (one for treble and one for bass). Not surprisingly, the concept never caught on with guitar players.

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