About eight years ago, I was playing the Summer X Games in LA at the Staples Center. I rolled by the Fender booth and met another Philly Cat by the name of Bill Cummisky. Bill and I got to talking guitars and we thought a great guitar company/artist pairing could be made between Gretsch and G. Love. Bill works with Fender, which owns Gretsch, so the opportunity was right there.
Gretsch has had such an amazing history as a company. They produce high-quality, aesthetically adventurous and beautiful guitars. They have a huge artist roster and a big history in rock 'n' roll, classic country and blues.
For me as an artist, it was the perfect fit. From their design history, it is clear Gretsch is a company willing to try different body styles and a myriad of finishes. When Bill C and I talked about doing a G. Love signature series, I was ecstatic. I would be joining the ranks of Chet Atkins, Brian Stetzer and many other classic players. As a guitar player, securing a signature series guitar deal was as big a deal, if not bigger, than getting my first record contract with Epic back in '94.
We talked over the next couple months and put together a team with Bill C, Joe Carducci from Gretsch, my guitar tech Frank Caraccia (aka "the Big Skrimp") and myself. The first step was to choose a body style. Joe sent me a book with a complete history of Gretsch guitars. Just a beautiful book and the guitars were absolutely incredible.
When I looked through it, I knew my baby the minute I saw her. It was kind of like looking through the Swimsuit issue and seeing the chick you dig. Yeah, they're all hot but there's always that one you love better than the rest. Know what I'm saying?
There she was: the Gretsch Corvette. The Corvette was an older design from the '60s that had been discontinued. I think of the body style as Gretsch's answer to the Gibson SG. It had a smaller body with classic lines. I had played that Italian Crucianelli I had wrote about a couple weeks ago, so the solid body style was right up my alley.
I always rock a lot of black. Black sneaks, black clothes, black cars. Black, black, black everything. Originally I designed the G. Love Corvette in jet black with a gold racing stripe. It was definitely and completely badass. Once we had a prototype built, I asked Joe if they could run off a couple in my Philly Eagles colors, green and white, just for my personal collection. Joe was with it so we had a couple of Meanie Greenies built.
As we neared closer to production of the guitar, Joe called me up and he was tripping because when people would come into his office they would see the Green G. Love Corvette and start freaking out. People thought the black and gold colors were good but the green and white color scheme was getting a reaction. When Joe and I met in Arizona before a gig, we decided at his request to run with the green paint. So the G. Love Corvette was born.
Of course the color was just one piece of the puzzle. We really could make this guitar look, feel, play and sound however we wanted. As a road dog, I knew I wanted to soup up the hardware and make everything road-worthy, ready for hardcore touring and nightly performances. We outfitted the Corvette with heavy-duty tuners, big fat-sounding TV Jones pickups, Bigsby whammy bar and solid construction. For a full look at the specs, click here.
Rapper Lil Wayne playing G. Love's signature Corvette
Finally, after a couple years, the G. Love Corvette hit the market and did great. I remember hearing heavyweights were using the guitar, including superstar rapper Lil Wayne. Lil Wayne plays a couple songs with guitar in his show and damn if that's not my Corvette!! Siiiick.
I brought the guitar onstage and made it my main guitar. It sounded excellent in the studio and on the stage. It looked and played slick and the smaller body size was perfect for all the running around I do onstage.
The guitar ran for two years and is now out of production, but you can still find these highly collectable guitars out there so peep it out before they're all gone.
Through my relationship with Grestch, I was able to try and fall in love with many of their guitars. The Black Falcon, Black Penguin, 60th Anniversary, my custom Sunburst Dreadnought acoustic, the acoustic White Falcon and many more. I really can't say enough about my relationship with the kind folks at Gretsch and the support they have given me. Good guitars and good people.
There is one sad part to the story, though. After a gig in Park City, Utah, a few years back, my original, one-of-a-kind prototype of the black and gold G. Love Gretsch was stolen out of the storage locker at this fancy-ass hotel we were staying at.
I guess you really can never be too careful with your axes, man. Unfortunately, that guitar was never recovered, but life goes on. Think of her as the one that got away and find something even better, you know what I'm saying?
Keep jamming and we will see you on tour!
G. Love, aka Garrett Dutton, has been the front man and founder of the alternative hip-hop blues group G. Love & Special Sauce since their inception in 1993. Widely known for his upbeat hits "Cold Beverage," "Baby's Got Sauce" and "Hot Cookin'," G. Love returned to his blues and country roots on his latest release, Fixin' To Die (Amazon, iTunes), produced by Scott and Seth Avett. A road dog if one ever existed, G. Love performs roughly 125 shows a year all over the world including Australia, Japan, Brazil, UK, Canada and the U.S. G. Love teamed up with Gretsch to create his own signature model, the Gretsch G. Love Signature Electromatic Corvette, which features a pair of TV Jones® Power'Tron™ pickups, deluxe mini-precision tuners and a cool Phili-green color scheme with competition stripe that would make ANYONE from Philadelphia proud! Check it out here.