Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo Overview and Best Prices

Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo Review
Add to Compare
Discuss or ask a question
FIND IT ON:
Reverb logo
  • 2 Prices - New from $3,199.99 >
  • From Gretsch's 2019 Professional Collection series
  • Made in Japan
  • 6 strings
  • 24.6"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Laminated Maple body
  • Mahogany neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Gretsch TV Jones Power'Tron Plus (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Gretsch TV Jones Power'Tron (Humbucker/Passive)
  • 2 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • Gretsch G-Cutout Tailpiece bridge
  • Standard U Set neck
  • 22 Vintage frets
  • Grover Sta-Tite Die-Cast tuners
  • See all specs and compare >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 77
Sound 72
Build quality 72
Value for money 59
Overall Score 74
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo
  • Made in Japan
  • Expensive Wood
  • Synthetic Bone Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $2500, which means that the Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo costs around 28% more than the competition. It might be due to it having additional features, but know that you can find cheaper similar alternatives. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in Japan.

SET PRICE ALERT

These are affiliate links. We may earn a fee if you purchase after clicking. These prices are prone to error. Make sure you're buying the right product after clicking on a link from our site. We are not liable if you buy the wrong product after following these links. As an Amazon Associate site we earn from qualifying purchases.

User Feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

Weight

Vote

Tuning stability

Vote

Neck speed (thickness)

Vote

Neck access to high frets

Vote

Neck profile shape

Vote

Fret edges

Vote

Pickups noise

Vote

Pickups power

Vote
View all user feedback

User Reviews

No Reviews Yet

Videos

Gretsch Billy Bo Western Orange - Fuller's Guitar Exclusive Color! Billy Gibbons/Bo Diddley Model
Gretsch G6199 "Billy-Bo" Jupiter Thunderbird Great Blues Sounds...
Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo Firebird Red played by Milo Groenhuijzen | Demo @ The Fellowship of Acoustics
2016 Gretsch Billy Bo demo
Gretsch Billy Bo Jupiter Thunderbird
More Videos

Explore All From Gretsch >

Playability

The Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo meets 2 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's not recommended for complete beginners. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Short scale
  • Comfortable shape
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Locking tuners

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo's construction favors people with relatively big hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo's 24.6" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo Scale Length Comparison
Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is similar to some of the Les Paul guitars made in the 50s, and it's slightly shorter than modern Les Pauls (24.75''). Short scales like these make the tone sound more bassy. It also makes the frets closer to each other, and bending is easier due to the lower tension of the strings. However, it comes at the cost of not letting you set the action of the strings as low without hearing fret buzz because the low tension will make the strings looser.

Remember that you can still try a thicker string gauge to increase the tension to let you lower the action.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo Neck Profile
Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

The Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo's neck thickness is approximately 0.83'' (21.1mm) at the first fret, and 0.97'' (24.6mm) at the twelfth.

These measurements were taken either from the official Gretsch website, or, in case this information wasn't provided, by researching multiple online marketplaces and forums where owners of this model have posted their measurements.

It has a U type neck. This shape usually has more 'shoulders' than a C neck. It's great for guitarists who love the feel of a vintage neck. Most of them are thick, which makes it better for people with big hands. However, some of them can be thin like a C neck but with more mass to the sides for a better grip.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo has a 12" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo's fretboard radius compared to others

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

24.6'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo Nut Width
Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo Nut Width

The Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo has a nut width of 42.9mm (1.688''). This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 6-string guitar. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Frets

The Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo has 22 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo Fret Size Comparison
Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo's frets are Vintage size. This is one of the shortest fret sizes you can find. Most modern guitar players prefer taller frets because it's easier to bend and press down the strings. However, some people love the feeling of a small fret that lets them feel the fretboard while playing. We recommend newbies choose a taller size for an easier experience.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 90
Chord Playability 80
Solo Playability 60
Playability 77

Tone

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood

Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple Body
Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Neck
Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood Fretboard

Maple Body: This is one of the most popular types of wood used in all kinds of guitars. It's heavy, strong and compact, which makes it great for necks. However, it's also used for fretboards, bodies and tops due to its light color, resistance and beautiful patterns. When it comes to tone, it highlights the mid and high frequencies.

Mahogany Neck: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Rosewood Fretboard: Since the ban of Brazillian Rosewood, this has become a rare and expensive wood. It's not usually used for guitar bodies because of this, and also because it's heavy. Instead, it's used mainly for fretboards. Sometimes it's also used for necks because it's an extremely hard wood (even harder than maple). Its tonality tends to favor warm tones.

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Gretsch. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

The Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo's configuration is HH. With this pickup combination, you'll get warmer tones and more output than using single coils. Humbucker pickups cancel the noise that single-coil suffer from, which also results in a warmer tone. This pickup combination isn't only for high-gain music like Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Their warmness is also popular for Jazz, Indie, R&B, Blues and more.

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, players tend to prefer a 5-way switch, although it all depends on what you want to use your guitar for.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more options for coil split or coil tapping. This makes it less versatile than some competitors.

Diagram

Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo's switch options

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with HH configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Hard Rock or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 90
Sustain 75
Versatility 51
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 72

Build Quality

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo is made in Japan. You should expect a high-quality guitar with excellent quality control. It can be compared to guitars made in the US, which is why they're also expensive.

Bridge

Gretsch G-Cutout Tailpiece: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

More with the same type of bridge:

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo has a Synthetic Bone nut. One of the best nuts you can have is a Bone nut thanks to their rich tonality and resistance. The problem is that they're a natural material, so different bone nuts will have inconsistent tonal properties. In other words, one bone nut might not sound as well as the other even when they're made from the same piece. Synthetic bone helps with this by giving you a high-quality, consistent nut that resembles the tone produced by bone.

More with the same nut material:

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Set neck joint. This type of neck joint consists of using different pieces of wood for the neck and the body of the guitar. Both pieces are then glued together. This is more expensive to make than a bolt-on neck, but it's cheaper than a neck-through guitar. Some people believe that this gives more sustain than a bolt-on neck due to both pieces having a 'better connection' than with bolts. Still, it's something difficult to prove.

However, this type of neck joint does have the disadvantage of not allowing you to easily swap the neck for another. This makes this type of neck joint less mod-friendly.

More with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 66
Features 50
Quality Control 100
Build Quality 72

All Specs

Gretsch G6199 Billy-Bo
General
Brand: Gretsch
Year: 2019
Configuration: HH
Strings: 6
Made in: Japan
Series: Professional Collection
Colors: Red
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Laminated Maple
Bridge: Gretsch G-Cutout Tailpiece
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Grover Sta-Tite Die-Cast
Fretboard: Rosewood
Neck Material: Mahogany
Decoration: Pearloid Neo-Classic Thumbnail
Scale Size: 24.6"
Shape: Standard U
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.83'' (21.1mm) - 12th Fret: 0.97'' (24.6mm)
Frets: 22 Vintage
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Synthetic Bone
Nut Width: 42.9mm (1.688'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Dome
Volume Controls: 2
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: Gretsch TV Jones Power'Tron Plus (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Gretsch TV Jones Power'Tron (Humbucker / Passive)