Recognized with immense fondness as the “Cadillac of Guitars”, The White Falcon was commercially introduced in 1955 by ambassador/consultant Jimmy Webster and Gretsch. The Falcon is renowned for its large size, (17″ in width”), distinguishing appearance, bright white paint which would eventually melt into a cool vanilla bean tint, gold trim, and soaring falcon engraved on the gold pickguard. These ornaments and features drew players in immediately once it was launched.
In 1962 the Gretsch white falcon changed from the single cutaway to a double cutaway body. Of course, in the ’70s and ’80s the Falcon had seen better days, just like many other Gretsch products. From 1995 onward the company did a complete 180 again, as worthy reproductions of white falcons from the vintage era are back in production.
The White Falcon was unveiled at the NAMM show in July 1954 being displayed as “the guitar of the future,” wait I thought it was a “Cadillac”, but Gretsch initially had no plans to actually manufacture the model. It was meant to be a showpiece, but the unfathomable influx of questions received about the striking instrument led to reassessment of the company’s position, and the White Falcon hit the streets in ‘55 at the cost of $600. Man, those vanilla-bean vintage pieces are stunning.
Check this Gretsch video interview with Billy Duffy from ‘The Cult’ talking about his White Falcon…Indeed this instrument is a thing a beauty!