Richard Fortus: "Gretsch were in rehearsals with us, winding pickups on the spot while I was trying them out"

Richard Fortus
(Image credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

Richard Fortus’s use of Gretsch Falcons on stage with Guns N’ Roses is regarded as a benchmark of hard-rock tone: the bottom- and top-end prominence of the Filter’Tron humbuckers in his Players Edition models tessellate perfectly with Slash’s midrange-focused sounds. 

With much excitement brewing about the forthcoming release of the Richard Fortus signature Gretsch Falcons and their bespoke pickups, we decided to check in with the man himself to find out how he managed to nail down a tone that’s fit for one of the world’s most celebrated rock ’n’ roll bands.  

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Rod Brakes

Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar WorldGuitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.