Gretsch officially launches Richard Fortus signature Center Block Falcons

After announcing it was teaming up with Richard Fortus for a double helping of signature guitars earlier this year, Gretsch has officially launched the Guns N’ Roses guitarist’s all-new Center Block Falcon models.

As per the previously released spec sheets, the two G6636-RF signatures will feature a maple body, chambered spruce center block and U-shape maple neck with an ebony fretboard. Other universal appointments include a 22 Medium Jumbo Frets and a GraphTech TUSQ XL nut.

Where the models differentiate is in the hardware department. While the Vintage White model comes equipped with a Bigsby B6CP tremolo and a 25.5” scale length, the Black-finished version sports a V-Stoptail and 24.6” scale length.

"Gretsch has always been such an integral part of rock n’ roll tone,” said Fortus of his new signatures. “From Malcolm [Young] to [George] Harrison, Neil Young to Billy Duffy.  It’s such an honor and lifelong dream to have my name associated with it.”

During an in-depth exploration of his two new six-strings, Fortus revealed that his affinity for Gretsch guitars stems from both their rock ‘n’ roll heritage and their ability to complement the Guns N’ Roses tone.

“Gretsch works really well for me in the band situation, because it really sits around Slash’s tone and complements his sound,” Fortus observed. “Not only is it differentiated, but it’s also complementary. When I tried my Gretsches with him, that’s when things really seemed to work well.”

“AC/DC is a perfect example,” he added. “The juxtaposition between Angus’s sound and Malcolm’s sound really complement each other. Gretsch’s really complement a more driven tone. When you’re playing chords, the definition between notes is really great and it sounds huge. That’s what I love about it.”

Both axes also come equipped with a pair of specially designed custom-wound Filter’Tron pickups, which Fortus said were developed in a bid to “retain the chime and low-end thump” of vintage Filter'Trons while also offering up “a bit more midrange for soloing”.

“The Filter’Tron to me is the sound of rock and roll to me in a lot of ways. What we ended up with was something that’s never been done before. It’s a hybrid between a vintage PAF and classic Filter'Tron.”

Dubbed by Fortus as "rock 'n' roll machines", finishing features on the guitars include Grover Rotomatic die-cast tuners, Neo-Classical Thumbnail inlays and a control circuit comprising a three-point toggle switch, as well as Treble Bleed master volume and No-Load Pot master tone controls.

Of the offerings, Jason Barnes, Gretsch VP Category Management, commented, “Richard is a player’s player, full stop. His stylistic vocabulary is surpassed only by his ability to fuse unbelievable talent with exceptional tone.

“As expected with a musician of Richard’s caliber,” continued Barnes, “he played an active role in every development step and was painstakingly detailed with each spec. With the 17” body and chambered center block combined with his custom-voiced pickups this Falcon is a real powerhouse. We could not be happier with the results.”

The Bigsby-equipped G6636-RF Signature Falcon Center is available now for $3,599, while the V-Stoptail-loaded G6636-RF is currently listing for $3,399.

To find out more, head over to Gretsch (opens in new tab).

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Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.