Cedric West’s Guitars
Cedric West was seen on UK TV on an almost daily basis in the 1960’s playing, amongst others, a Gretsch White Falcon or a Gibson 3 p/u Les Paul Custom SG.
Gibson L-5C with DeArmond Pickup
Wes Montgomery can be seen in images holding Cedric’s Gibson L-5c from May 1965 with added DeArmond Pickup this was the single-cutaway Guitar with Vintage Sunburst Finish that Wes was already familiar with but with the Monkey on a wire DeArmond Model 1100 Adjustable Rhythm Chief Amplification Kit clamped behind the bridge of the standard Acoustic Guitar. Cedric sold the L-5C to Dave Shakespeare who retains the image. The L-5C, was the epitome of Gibson’s carved-top heritage.
By 1965 these full-body carved top Guitars were being made in very limited numbers; only 23 Sunburst L-5C models left the Factory in 1964. With the addition of a period top-of-the-line DeArmond Pick-up with controls mounted above the Tailpiece. and a strap button to the Neck Heel. Plays effortlessly with the absolutely classic Gibson-DeArmond Tone. Cedric used a Burns Amplifier back then. Ike Isaacs was promoting Burns Supersound Guitars and Amps back then and he collaborated with Gordon Toland & Cedric on his Album The Sounds of Guitar. Listed on Spotify. The Gordon Toland pieces may have been played by Jack Duarte. under a recording Pseudonym.
Overall length is 41-7/8 in. (106.4 cm.), 17 in. (43.2 cm.) wide at Lower Bout, and 3-3/8 in. (860mm.) in-depth, measured at side of Rim. Scale length is 25-1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1-11/16 in. (43mm.) rounded cutaway, sunburst finish, carved spruce top with white-bound f-holes, tone bar bracing, maple back and sides, 3-piece maple/mahogany Neck, white-bound 20-fret ebony Fingerboard with pearl block Inlays, rosewood Bridge, engraved gold Tailpiece, white-bound tortoise plastic Pickguard, white-bound Body & Headstock, “Gibson” and flowerpot headstock Inlay, Kluson Sealfast Tuners with keystone buttons
Gretsch White Falcon G6136
From its introduction in 1954, the White Falcon has always been known for its White finish, With Ebony Fingerboard & 17″ wide Hollow Body, gold-plated Hardware, engraved gold Pickguard, and gold sparkle Binding.
Throughout its history, some features have changed as technology & style evolved. The ‘White Falcon’ is best known for its large 17-inch size and distinctive appearance, with gleaming white paint, copious gold Trim, and a Falcon in mid-flight engraved on the gold Pickguard.
1954–1958, model number 6136: Vertical Gold Headstock
logo with winged G; “pearl block Fretboard Inlays with avian-themed engravings; 2 DynaSonic single-coil Pickups; control configuration consisting of Master Tone, Master Volume, volume for each Pickup, and 3-way toggle pickup Selector Switch; trapeze Ttailpiece with “G” and Cadillac-inspired “V”-shape; Melita Bridge; 2¾” deep single-cutaway Body.
The Melita Bridge – In theory it has the ability to intonate well and adjust the string height very precisely but they are not user-friendly. There are so many little parts on these Bridges they are easily lost when changing Strings or doing repairs. The other problem is you cannot get individual parts to replace the lost ones. You were forced to buy a whole new Bridge or just replace it many have just been thrown away and abandoned over the years. Some have one or more replacement parts in the Bridge assembly. This is a common nightmare in the Gretsch reissues of these Bridges and you can steal a part from a new one but this has only been the case for only a few years. The problem is if you have an expensive Vintage Gresch Guitar you need the Bridge to retain the value of the Guitar so if you replace it keep originals in the Case. Most retrofit a newer Gibson ABR-1 style Bridge on a wooden Base. You are not drilling holes in top of the Guitar and ruining the value; it will adjust both height & intonation fine and is a Session Mans Bridge tested & proven over the years.
Pickups for Gretsch Guitars are simple. Originally they used DeArmond single-coil Pick-ups in the 1950s and then by 1958 they changed to Gretsch FilterTron Pick-ups. these were more powerful & quieter. These were used on into the 1960′s on and around 1962 Gretsch developed a Gretsch HiLo-Tron Pick-up. These were great sounding Pick-ups but the DeArmond Style and the FilterTron are more desirable and popular.
1958–1962, Model Number 6136: Horizontal “T-roof” Headstock logo sans Wings; “Neo-classic” thumbprint Fretboard inlays; 2-FilterTron humbucking Pick-ups, control configuration consisting of Master Volume, Volume for each Pickup, 3-way toggle Pick-up Selector Switch, & 3-way toggle Tone Switch; Space Control Bridge. A Stereo Model (6137) was introduced; this model featured an extra set of Pickup Selector & Tone Switches and had the Bridge Pick-up moved closer to the Neck
The White Falcon is featured on both West Meets East & Bach Goes West Albums.
The Gretsch White Falcon (6136) pictured on the ‘Bach Goes West’ LPs and the ‘Guitar Ensemble‘ LP looks like it was made by Gretsch between 1958 & 1960. I have a 1960 Falcon (very similar) but it has a thinner body, which was done between 1960-1962 before it went to double cutaway. It’s interesting that the Pickguard on Cedric’s Falcon has cracked near the mounting Screw at such an early age (it would have only been a few years old in 1965-1967). A common thing with the old Gretsch Guitars! I don’t suppose you know who owns that Guitar now? – Could be Cedric’s Daughter Jenny?
It was, later on, offer at high premium Price at a Vintage Guitar Shop in Fulham as a former ‘Cedric West‘ Guitar.
Jenny advised that Cedric had sold his White Falcon to young Steve Marriot (Small Faces & Humble Pie). Steve Marriott collected it from Cedric’s home, but alas Jenny did not meet him. Cedric knew Steve from the J60 Music Bar (music & guitar Shop) in High Street North, Manor Park. Cedric had been giving Guitar lessons in one of the small Tuition Rooms in the back of the Shop. Steve was working in the shop where he met Ronnie Lane who went there to buy a Bass Guitar. The White Falcon Guitar was almost as tall as the 18-yr-old Steve and he certainly didn’t challenge Cedric’s Guitar prowess as can be seen on this Video Clip but his unique & powerful vocal abilities shine through on this their debut single. Whatcha Gonna do About it. During the Small Faces, Marriott used an original brown Gretsch 6119 Tennessean, as well as a Duo Jet, the White Falcon and White Penguin. Most Small Faces Tracks would have been recorded with the Gretsch Tennesseean Guitar; Marriott also used a brown Tenny model at the beginning of Humble Pie.
Also on the ‘Guitar Ensemble’ LP cover ‘West meets East‘, I believe that to be an early 1960’s Gretsch Tennessean (6121 Hollow) pictured lying on the floor, rather than a Country Gentleman (6122). The silver Pickguard & Hardware is the giveaway here – on a Gent it would be Gold plated (like the White Falcon), The Pickguard also has the Chet Atkins ‘signpost’ logo and small text underneath which says ‘Tennessean’. It also has ‘real’ f-holes. Country Gents had inlayed f-holes for their early tenure in Grestch Production despite being a Hollow Body Guitar.
Anyway keep up the good work. Wish I had met the man in person. Are there any other records he made? Somebody told me that he had made an early album circa 1959-1960 – is this correct? – Leon
Gretsch Tennessean – The Tenny
In 1956 the Fred Gretsch Company decided to expand the successful Chet Atkins Signature Guitar Line introduced in 1954, which already included the Chet Atkins Hollowbody 6120 & the Chet Atkins Solidbody 6121. The new Models were the high-end Country Gentleman and the low-end Tennessean. The Chet Atkins Tennessean was a stripped-down version of the 6120. It shared the same body dimensions, but had only one Bridge Pick-up, and had no binding on the Fingerboard or Headstock. The Tennessean also had a unique Red-stain finish instead of the Orange of the 6120. The Pick-guard with Chet’s Signature in a Signpost was black instead of the gold colour seen on the 6120. The features on this example from the collection are common to other 1960 Model year Tennesseans. These include the Zero Fret, Patent Applied For Filter-Tron Pick-up, “V” cutout Gretsch Bigsby Vibrato, and a body depth of about 2½ inches. These appointments remained (except for a gradually thinning Body) until 1962 when Gretsch’s entire Line was revamped. The 2nd version 1961-72 Gretsch 6119 was now a darker Cherry Red or Dark Brown Mahogany colour and Rosewood replaced Ebony on the Neck. Two HiLo-Tron Pick-ups replaced the single Filter-Tron and the circuitry was all-new, too. The Pick-guard was replaced with the familiar Silver type. Two fake f-holes, 3 Controls, 3 Selectors
Single Cutaway, Body finished in Amber Red, Orange, or Mahogony Brown.
Two DeArmond single-coil Pick-ups.
Three Knobs on lower Bout, one on Cutaway, 1 Switch on Upper Bout.
Compensating metal (aluminium) Bridge.
Gold Bigsby Vibrato, fixed Arm.
Signpost & Signature Gold Pick-guard.
“G” branded into Top.
Sides covered with wester-motif tooled leather.
Celluloid block inlays with engraved cows and cactus.
Metal nut, 24 3/4″ scale, longhorn steer inlay peghead.
Gold plated parts.
1958 Model 6121 Specs:
Filter-Tron humbucking Pick-ups replace DeArmonds.
Thumbprint (neoclassic) Inlays replace Humptop inlays.
Bar style Bridge.
2 Switches on upper Bass Bout (tone & pickup selection).
2 Knobs instead of 3 on lower Treble Bout (three total).
This is, of course, the Beatles Guitar and probably the most seen, most used Gretsch of the 60s. Think of it as Gretsch’s answer to Gibson’s 335. Possibly the “Classic” version of the 6122, and the one that offers the greatest contrast to the 6120s of the 50s and early 60s.
6122 – a modernised version, with 25.5″ Scale, 2.25″ Body depth, and real f-holes. Kind of a compromise between the 6122-62 and a 6120. Meant to appeal to Players who like the double-cut look but prefer modern appointments, real f-holes, an 18th-fret Neck joint, and 25.5″ scale. Bigsby Tremolo, The Guitar Emblem blocked out on the Pick-guard would suggest this was a ‘Monkees‘ Model on the Sleeve Picture of a Classical drawing Room of Easy Listening Sebastian Bach. It may be that Cedric blacked out or infilled the offending Monkees Logo, the Bigsby Trapeze Logo and the Truss Rod Cover as the ‘Monkees’ were certainly not Musicians of his Calibre. Otherwise, perhaps desire to avoid Gretch Logo’s in toto on the Album Cover.
This unusual semi-acoustic was imported by Cranes. The specification is extremely high on this Instrument including a solid flame maple Back & Sides. The Humbucker Pick-ups have a superb voice. The condition & setup are excellent. The Lead Pick-up & the Bridge/Knobs are not original. Bridges were Brass or Rosewood with a Bone insert. Knobs were Rosewood and both Pick-ups should be Shaller’s with Gold Covers. These were Made In Japan.
George Benson & Joe Pass used the Polytone 104 Amp but Cedric may have prefered the Mini-Brute ll.
I had lessons with Cedric back in 87, I was 17 he was into Photography too. He had a nice Polytone Guitar, Great to see him with Joe Pass – Cedric gave me a couple of Lessons and I used to watch him play his Sunday Lunchtime gig at the Bow Bells, 116 Bow Road, in Bow (he let me sit in once) – Hugh Turner
Cedric West Entertains Joe Pass at his home in Castleton Road, Goodmayes, Essex – Indian Summer indeed. Spot Louis Stewart. Cedric opens thumb picking on intro and then playing rhythm on a blonde single-cutaway Archtop with twin Pickups. Joe Finger picks on his Gibson L-5C. Louis Stewart appears at the end holding Cedric’s or perhaps it was his Blonde Guitar. – a Gibson L-5C with Gold-plated fittings? Well – not quite.
A revolutionary Body Design, exquisite Craftsmanship & Deluxe features combine in making the Les Paul Custom.
The ultra-thin, hand contoured, delicately balanced design adjusts into a natural, comfortable playing position for any Guitarist. Finished in gleaming White for a perfect contrast with Gold-plated metal parts. Extra-Slim Neck with the low, smooth Frets that is a joy to play – the Action is easy, Players also refer to it as the “Fretless Wonder.” With 3 humbucking, adjustable Pick-ups & Tune-0-Matic Bridge. The Guitar has increased power, greater sustain, and a clear, resonant, sparkling tone with the widest range of tonal colourings. 3-way Toggle Switch provides Tone mixing: top position selects top Pick-up for Rhythm; centre position activates the centre & lower Pick-ups simultaneously for extreme highs & special effects; lower position operates lower Pick-up for playing Lead.
12-3/4″ wide, 16″ long, 1-5/16″ thick
24-3/4″ scale, 22 frets
– you don’t need to play an arch-top in Jazz – Ed Bickert got a great sound out of a Fender Telecaster and Cedric West out of a relatively cheap CSL Les Paul Copy (CSL Les Paul, in Sunburst, were made by Ibanez. Very rare to see a Sunburst Copy in those days. All others were Black)
“CSL” was a brand name managed by Charles Summerfield Ltd England. Maurice Summerfield of the Charles Summerfield Ltd Company contributed some design ideas to Hoshino Gakki and also imported Ibanez & CSL Guitars into the UK with Hoshino Gakki co-operation from 1964-1987.” Ike Isaacs was also associated with the Ibanez Guitars.