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.
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 Top:||Laminated Maple|
|Neck Finish:||Gloss Urethane|
|Neck Binding:||Bound Fingerboard|
|Nut Width:||1.6875″ (42.86 mm)|
|Position Inlays:||Neo-Classic “Thumbnail”|
|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|