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  1. #1

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    I've become interested in 7 string models of guitars, as a result of my viewing the work
    of GVE and father and son Pizzarelli. Dad got his motivation from GVE, and was a very
    early buyer of a Gretsch GVE 7 stringer.

    I really would love to learn all the specifications of the Gretsch GVE 7 String model. Wood
    used in body construction, solid/laminated? Width of nut? Is the neck thick/medium/thin
    from it's back to the surface of the fretboard? IS IT A WELL MADE GUITAR OVERALL?

    I thank you all in advance for whatever info you can provide!
    Last edited by AdvenJack; 05-06-2021 at 10:04 AM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Lots of good information on the model and its various iterations here: Gretsch Van Eps: Gretsch-GEAR: The Gretsch Pages

  4. #3

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    It's a Baldwin era Gretsch with all the issues that implies. When I was playing 7-string they come up from time to time and most of the time the cost of restoration was too high to bother (most had serious binding rot). My recollection is that the nut was at least 2" with a deep profile. George had enormous hands.
    Last edited by Jim Soloway; 03-02-2021 at 12:31 PM.

  5. #4

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    note differences in headstock and tailpiece



    cheers

  6. #5

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    I had one when I took a stab at 7 string playing (6 strings are challenging enough for me, thank you very much!)

    I found the Gretsch Van Eps to be very heavy and a bit thin in the upper registers. I think there are better choices today for a 7 string archtop.

  7. #6

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    I always found them awful guitars to say the very least. They are Gretsch and that right away says much. Gretsch used screws and the neck on some models and generally the ones made in the 1960's are a mess and need necksets. I reset a Gretsch neck about 2 years ago for a customer and got it find but taking the neck off I could see they were not too exact about putting them on in the first place.

  8. #7

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    To Deacon Mark,
    I've sent a P.M. to you sir.
    And thank you for your informed comment!

  9. #8

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    To NEATOMIC,
    Those differences viewable from picture 1 to picture 2 are certainly interesting!

    To Jim Soloway,
    I thank you for your experienced based comment!

    To DAVID B,
    Thank you for that link; I've gone there as a result of your "share", and it was a nice visit!

    To STRINGSLINGER,
    You picked a Cool "Handle"! I thank you for sharing your experience with the GVE model, and also for your recommendation to look at other 7s.

  10. #9

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    I found the Gretsch 7-string to be a bit of a dog, and I played several, but never found one I liked. Having said that, I just bought a Gretsch Streamliner Jr. with Bigsby to play jazz on; I really want some crisp highs and articulate lows and low-mids, and I like what McLaughlin does with the Bigsbys on his Johnny Smiths. I'm hearing more of that type of sound with Gilad and Julien, and it seems to occupy the mix better without unnecessary volume. Anyway, I'm looking forward to performing live with it in the not-too-distant future.

  11. #10

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    I've played 7-strings off and on for the past 12 or 13 years. I wanted a Van Epps, but now I'm not so sure. The only problem, is that short of getting a 7-string made by a luthier (and the serious money that entails), you have to cough up major bucks for an Eastman, or bigger bucks (through Guitars n' Jazz) for some of the small run custom models made by Unger, etc. Ibanez made a couple of 7-strings, but the AF-207 is pretty rare, and IMO, the AFJ957 is nothing to write home about, due to its short scale for a 7-string.

    I really don't want to get another Superstrat 7- string - especially since so many of them have very thin necks. Besides, I find Superstrats boring.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by EllenGtrGrl
    I've played 7-strings off and on for the past 12 or 13 years. I wanted a Van Epps, but now I'm not so sure. The only problem, is that short of getting a 7-string made by a luthier (and the serious money that entails), you have to cough up major bucks for an Eastman, or bigger bucks (through Guitars n' Jazz) for some of the small run custom models made by Unger, etc. Ibanez made a couple of 7-strings, but the AF-207 is pretty rare, and IMO, the AFJ957 is nothing to write home about, due to its short scale for a 7-string.

    I really don't want to get another Superstrat 7- string - especially since so many of them have very thin necks. Besides, I find Superstrats boring.
    I had an Ibanez AF-207 and found the 24.7 scale did not work well for the low A.

  13. #12

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    Owning a seven-string, like owning a baritone, is one of those nice ideas that withers in front of the cruel face of the market.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by EllenGtrGrl
    I've played 7-strings off and on for the past 12 or 13 years. I wanted a Van Epps, but now I'm not so sure. The only problem, is that short of getting a 7-string made by a luthier (and the serious money that entails), you have to cough up major bucks for an Eastman, or bigger bucks (through Guitars n' Jazz) for some of the small run custom models made by Unger, etc. Ibanez made a couple of 7-strings, but the AF-207 is pretty rare, and IMO, the AFJ957 is nothing to write home about, due to its short scale for a 7-string.

    I really don't want to get another Superstrat 7- string - especially since so many of them have very thin necks. Besides, I find Superstrats boring.
    Have you ever tried a Schecter Jazz-7. They haven't been made for a long time but they come up on the used market from time to time. I had two of them and they were really good for the money. With a pickup upgrade they get downright good.

  15. #14

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    RONJAZZ: Thank you for contributing, and I hope that your just acquired G.S., Jr gives you Great Service!

    EllenGtrGrl: Thanks for sharing your info. I'm seeing plenty of solid body 7-strings to consider,
    but I feel that a nut width under two inches is not usable for me.

    StringSwinger: If I recall, the AF-207 has a sub two inch nut width. That is a deal breaker for me.
    I've added a new thread to the collection in GUITARS, etc. on string thickness. I wonder if you used a thicker
    string for the bassy 'A' / seventh string, you'd have found it to be "correct".

    Litterick: I agree that "There's No Free Lunch".

  16. #15

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    You want a wide nut? 2.36" on these: Multiac Nylon Encore 7 Natural SG | Godin Guitars

    I have this guitar and indeed it is wide.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    Have you ever tried a Schecter Jazz-7. They haven't been made for a long time but they come up on the used market from time to time. I had two of them and they were really good for the money. With a pickup upgrade they get downright good.
    As a matter of fact, I had 2 of them - and each time, I had to sell them, because I was broke. I do check for them on Reverb, but they are almost as rare as the Ibanez AF207 is. Schecter only made them in 2000, and possibly 2001. I haven't seen them on Reverb, since 2020, and I didn't have the cash at the time to buy either of them. Nevertheless, I do keep an eye out for any that come up for sale.

    My Last Schecter Jazz 7 - photo was taken by me the day UPS delivered it to my workplace in 2013 (UPS is bad for me for home delivery)




    Update - there is a natural finish one on Reverb at the present time, but it's going for more than I paid for my old Jazz 7s, and it looks like it isn't in as good of shape as mine were (I know the purists are going to gasp, but I wish the tune-o-matic had been left on, and not replaced with a rosewood bridge). I can possibly talk the seller down, but it'll still leave me kind of tight for funds. I will admit though, that the Jazz 7s have the chunkier necks that Schecter 7-strings used to have up until about 2011 that I prefer (too bad it isn't a 26.5" scale like the newer ones are - the longer scale gives you better tension on the 7th string without having to resort to a telephone cable sized string that can have negative effects on intonation - especially if you tune that string to A like I do).


    Last edited by EllenGtrGrl; 05-06-2021 at 06:35 AM.

  18. #17

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    Dave70: I'm going to see if I can handle one of those Godin wide nut models!
    ( Multiac Nylon Encore 7 Natural SG | Godin Guitars )

    EllenGtrGrl: I hope you get another Sch. Jazz 7 soon. Do you recall the nut width?

  19. #18

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    The typical Schecter nut width for their 7-strings is 1.889." What I like about the older ones is the neck thickness - they're pretty chunky compared to your typical 7-string guitar.

  20. #19

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    Are you insisting on either solid or hollww? Or do you not care?

  21. #20

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    Update on the Schecter Jazz 7 Saga


    I took a quick look on Reverb before I started my workday, and what did my wondering eyes behold, but this!



    Me want!! I sent an offer to the seller 5 minutes ago. We'll see what happens.

  22. #21

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    I've been playing the Godin Multiac Nylon 7-string for almost all of my gigs for several years now. It's very well-made, with the RMS pickup system, definitely one of the best pixel systems on the market, with the added fun of MIDI operation with a Roland synth of a breakout box to a synth module, lots of fun when working with singers who love a string pad or horn patch for certain repertoire. Probably the Best Buy for a new 7-string one can find outside of metal world.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz
    I've been playing the Godin Multiac Nylon 7-string for almost all of my gigs for several years now. It's very well-made, with the RMS pickup system, definitely one of the best pixel systems on the market, with the added fun of MIDI operation with a Roland synth of a breakout box to a synth module, lots of fun when working with singers who love a string pad or horn patch for certain repertoire. Probably the Best Buy for a new 7-string one can find outside of metal world.
    They're pretty cool, but me and nylon string guitars don't gel too well - probably because I'm not a fingerstyle player.

    I still haven't received any response to my offer (I'm a little tight for funds, so I offered a bit less than the asking price).

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by EllenGtrGrl
    They're pretty cool, but me and nylon string guitars don't gel too well - probably because I'm not a fingerstyle player.

    I still haven't received any response to my offer (I'm a little tight for funds, so I offered a bit less than the asking price).
    I was hit with focal dystonia of my right hand years ago, took away most of my finger style chops: almost all of my classical and flamenco repertoire is gone, and I am currently playing with a pick and hybrid style. The Godin reacts well to the right plectra, nice round sound. Although the strings are a little further apart than on an arch top, one can practice something like the Villa-Lobos Etude 1 and really get around after a few weeks of that, along with something like Leavitt's Classical Studies for pick-style technique. Check out the bluegrass players like Molly Tuttle and Billy Strings, they really sound like classical guitarists in places. I find that the 7-string demands some finger style approaches if you really want to get into what it can really do.

  25. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    I found the Gretsch Van Eps to be very heavy and a bit thin in the upper registers. I think there are better choices today for a 7 string archtop.
    Namely, what? I"m looking for one, and the Eastman ($3,000) and the Grote ($300) are the only two I see. Actually, I'm looking for an EIGHT string, but I've yet to find one ANYWHERE. Know of any? This is to convert to 6 string; I have giant hands and really long fingers. Thanks!

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saxophone Tall
    Namely, what? I"m looking for one, and the Eastman ($3,000) and the Grote ($300) are the only two I see. Actually, I'm looking for an EIGHT string, but I've yet to find one ANYWHERE. Know of any? This is to convert to 6 string; I have giant hands and really long fingers. Thanks!
    I’ve never seen an 8 archtop.

    I’ve played a few production Gretsch Van Eps 7s and disliked them in almost every way. I played a new one at Manny’s many years ago and a few used ones in shops over the years. I found every one to sound dull and lifeless through any amp and worse acoustically. They were also noticeably heavier than the L5 I owned at the time, and the necks were oddly and clumsily chunky (even in my long thin hands - I wear an 8 1/2 or 9 glove and the nuts on almost all of my current guitars are 2” or more).

    If the goal is to convert a 7 into a wide neck 6, you may be best off looking for a damaged or heavily played Eastman etc. I’ve been watching for a decent El Rey 7 for a few years, so I see a lot of 7s on the usual sales boards and an occasional fixer-upper comes along. If you can get it for the right price, a total refurb with 6 string nut, bridge & tailpiece may still keep the total cost below a new one for which you’d still need a new nut, bridge and t’piece plus a luthier if you can’t do it yourself.

    Another option for a decent jazz box with a wide nut/neck is a semi-hollow 12 string you could convert to 6.