Bass of the Week: Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo Bass

This week we’re checking out a hip Gretsch bass that had its start as a blues guitar. The Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo Bass is a four-string version of the company’s recreation of Bo Diddley’s classic Jupiter Thunderbird guitar he designed in 1959. When he gifted it to Billy Gibbons, the ZZ Top frontman didn’t dare to take such a rare instrument on the road. The duo teamed up with Gretsch to create the “Billy-Bo” model, and eventually the bass version.

Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo Bass

The bass’s funky body shape is cut out of laminated maple with mahogany for its back. The company also made the short-scale bass’s neck out of mahogany and topped it with a bound rosewood fingerboard marked by neo-classic thumbnail inlays. For electronics, the Billy-Bo Bass is fitted with a pair of TV Jones Thunder’Tron pickups with a three-position toggle switch, independent volume knobs, and a master tone control. Hardware includes the Gretsch Space Control bridge with a rosewood base, Gotoh locking tuners, and a “G” cutout tailpiece.

Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo Bass Specs:

Body:Laminated Maple
Body Back:Mahogany
Body Top:Laminated Maple
Neck Material:Mahogany
Neck Finish:Gloss Urethane
Neck Binding:Bound Fingerboard
Nut:Synthetic Bone
Nut Width:1.6875″ (42.86 mm)
Position Inlays:Neo-Classic “Thumbnail”
Headstock:Jet Style
Pickups:TV Jones Thunder'Tron Bass
Controls:Volume, Volume, Tone, 3-way Pickup Selector Switch
Bridge:Space Control with Rosewood Base
Tuning Machines:Gotoh Cast/Sealed Locking
Control Knobs:G-Arrow
Color:Firebird Red

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