John Frusciante’s 1957 Gretsch White Falcon
John used this guitar on Otherside, Californication, and for a few sections on This Velvet Glove. He usually played the guitar through a Fender Showman and a Marshall 4×12 Cabinet, although he did switch to a 1961 Gibson SG Custom plugged into a Marshall JCM800 for solo and outro on the Otherside.
He picked up the guitar again on By the Way on the song Tear. On the Stadium Arcadium album, John said that he didn’t even pick the guitar out of its case
John found this guitar through Vincent Gallo, and the inspiration for it supposedly comes from Matthew Ashman who played one in his new wave band “BowWowWow”, and also from Malcolm Young who played a similar model with AC/DC.
He [Vincent Gallo] found me a lot of things. At this point he’s found me pretty much a whole recording studio! As far as guitars go, he’s found me my 1955 Gretsch White Falcon, which is the nicest guitar I have, I think.original source needed
Heavier Strings on the Gretsch
John strings this guitar with .012 strings, which are noticeably heavier from the usual set of .010s he plays on most of his guitars.
I also used this ’55 Gretsch White Falcon- it’s the kind of guitar that Matthew Ashman used in BowWowWow and Malcolm Young used to use in AC/DC- for “Californication” and “Otherside.” I have .012-gauge strings on it. I’d like to go more into that- developing a guitar style using thick strings like that.Guitar One (USA), September 1999
Since it’s fairly well known that he uses D’Addario EXL110 strings on his main Stratocaster, it’s safe to say that he uses the same brand on the Gretsch. So based on that, the Gretsch would be strung with the D’Addario EXL145 set.
The Year of Manufacture
John most often refers to the guitar as a ’55 model, but in reality, the guitar was most likely made in 1957. This is based on the fact that it has two toggle switches, and it has Filtertron pickups instead of the Dynasonics which are found on the ’55 models (thanks to all the commentators for their contribution).
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