The highlight of Billy’s guitar collection is his signature model White Falcon from Gretsch. Based on his classic 1970’s version this guitar has been a labour of love as it has been created to Billy’s exact specs by the team at Gretsch.
Billy explains “It’s not a forensic recreation or a replica of my original 70’s guitar because my guitars have many war wounds and scars, but it’s based on that guitar. Gretsch was made by Baldwin in the ’70s and they just built them in a different way. I don’t know if it’s better or worse than the ones they are currently selling. They differ in some ways to the Falcons they’ve got now that are more ’50s-based in terms of their construction. For example, mine has got a zero fret. They want to make it accurate and close to mine. Gretsch doesn’t have a ’70s-based Falcon as a production model, so they want my Falcon, which is better for me because I wanted it to be more widely available.
“Gretsch x-rayed my original guitar and had it to take its measurements and take it to pieces. They wanted to make sure to get it right since the construction of the newer models is a little different. It’s authentic, but it’s been made as a standard production model. If someone wants an actual aged copy, that’s a whole different animal. It’s very labor intensive and it’s really expensive to do. We never intended to make it one of those very expensive limited edition collector’s guitars, but maybe we could antique a couple, then get someone to try and put 30 years of sweat and abuse into it, which seemingly can be done.”
There are some changes from the original like the bridge isn’t standard from the era. Luckily for me the neck profile wasn’t be an issue because the ones they make now have a very similar feel to mine in that it’s got a very flat, huge, long-scale neck.”