Modern Gretsch Guitars

Has anything like this been attempted with a custom shop model?

1

The talk on Junior models made me think of this: I've always been intrigued by the pre-war Gretsch years, even though I'm not a jazz player. I love the cat's eye archtops. And anybody who knows me knows that I like big guitars (opposite the direction of the Juniors). So naturally I'm in love with the Synchromatic 400's. Only thing is that they're not exactly a dime a dozen, and the modern reissues just don't do it for me. So my question is, has there ever been a custom shop pre-war era Synchromatic guitar? I figure there must have been. I'd love to have (among other things) a custom 400 built as close to this 1939 model as possible. Would having one of these built be inherently more expensive than a custom Falcon? Custom shop models are just a dream of mine, but someday I'd like to have one.

2

Looks like a fatter 400JV.

I haven't ever seen a Synchro hollowbody out of the Custom Shop.

3

Talk to Rocky or other sponsor to find out for certain but I'd put it at about $12,000 or so. Maybe a grand or so over a Falcon. It also depends on if they have the jigs for it.

4

Looks like a fatter 400JV.

I know, that's why I love the '39! The newer body styles just don't have the right curves to them. It's like when Epiphone released it's version of the ES-295. It was heading in the right direction, but the body still was slightly "off".

5

love those..killer with cats eyes..

cheers

6

My 400JV is 17". Nick, aka 57 Chet, has a fat Synchro like in your photo. Probably 18" or bigger. I think it's 1930's or 40's. He brought it to Nashville last year, and I think to Baltimore, too.

7

I imagine the Custom Shop would charge more for a carved spruce top than the typical laminate top they use with the Falcon models. Then again, you wouldn't be paying for electronic components, so maybe it would be a wash. If they did one I hope that it would get a lacquer finish.

8

I was wondering, didn't these also have like 15 layers of black and white binding/purfling, with a couple layers of gold sandwiched in there?

9

Don't know about the old ones, but the 400JV has 8 layers of binding in the body, 5 on the pickguard and 3 on the neck. No gold in there.

10

If they've never done something like this (and I don't think so), I think it would cost a LOT to have one made. It's a carved top, they'd have to build a new mold for the body shape, it's got a ridiculous amount of binding, and they'd have to do new templates for the headstock, etc... And you'd probably have to supply an original to take measurements of, unless maybe there's one in the Fred Gretsch collection.(?)

11

In my experience if they don't have the jigs they just won't build it. That's happened a couple of times to me.

It's a great looking guitar but I'd miss a cutaway.

12

You might do better just going straight to an independent builder. Check in with member HydeB of blue belly guitars. He does carved spruce tops. Maybe he'd ballpark it for you.

13

You might do better just going straight to an independent builder. Check in with member HydeB of blue belly guitars. He does carved spruce tops. Maybe he'd ballpark it for you.

– Strummerson

I figure that's probably the best route.

14

You might do better just going straight to an independent builder. Check in with member HydeB of blue belly guitars. He does carved spruce tops. Maybe he'd ballpark it for you.

– Strummerson

Hyde Baker makes excellent carved archtops in any configuration you want. Workmanship of the highest quality from Vermont. Here's a couple he made to my specific requests.

15

I've seen his work and it's stunning. I like the Albino guitars, and the giant 18" hollowbody he made.

16

You might do better just going straight to an independent builder. Check in with member HydeB of blue belly guitars. He does carved spruce tops. Maybe he'd ballpark it for you.

– Strummerson

If you want the finest archtop on earth see what Linda Manzer would charge to make a cats-eye New York size carved top for you. I'm betting it would set you back over 20K, but it would be stunning beyond belief. I got to personally watch her fine tune one of her carved tops in her studio years ago and she does this with an A-tuning fork in one hand and a piece of very fine grit sandpaper in the other and I had to be so quiet she couldn't hear me breathe. Quite something to be in the presence of and play the instruments of a master builder and genius like Linda.


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