Gretsch Garage Sale

Al Caiola’s Country Club on Reverb

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Ric12 and I were just discussing this the other day....

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If you go to the seller's site (Panther Guitars) they've got a lot of the "provenance" paperwork.

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Hard to estimate what well documented provenance adds to the price of a guitar, but for what isn't IMO an outrageous price, there hasn't been a sale for a few months for an early - '55 - unmolested CC.

Just a thought, but does anyone think that if this guitar was the Cadillac green finish, it would sell at this price?

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Dave,

I think there might be some justification if it were Caddy green And (guitar) celebrity owned.

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That's what I was thinking too. I think 5 figures for this guitar, a sunburst, isn't in Greg's Guitars world and certainly not Betty's/Bevette's realm of the absurd but still a bit too high. Of all the vintage guitars - I'm talking '50's/60's here - I believe the CC stands out for commanding more value for the Caddy green finish over the sunburst and also the natural, than any other finish. The other model that comes to mind where one finish ups the value is the Annie in two-tone smokey green, but even then not to as great an extent as the CC.

Just my opinion, but I get the feeling that for a CC that's verified celebrity owned & dead original, it would have to be the Caddy green finish. Having said that, does anyone recall a celebrity guitarist that played a Caddy green vintage CC?

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Not that he was ever associated with it, or maybe even played it in public, but Duane Eddy owned a vintage Caddy green Club. I may be recalling this incorrectly, but he might have lost it in the Nashville flood. Maybe Deed can confirm that.

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Ed, I'm not Deed, but I'm sure as I can be (about someone else's life) that that is the case: ie, Duane had a CG CC, and it was lost (at least as a playable instrument) in the flood. I believe it's also the guitar he played on the Art of Noise version of "Peter Gun" - at least on a televised appearance, if not on the recording.

And I seem to remember (but with less confidence) that he got the guitar through a trade with ... Al Caiola? (We'll let Deed confirm, if she pops in here.)

In the meantime - do we know that Al played a Gretsch on the Bonanza theme? I'd never heard/read that.

That would be a Big Deal in my personal guitar-tone history DNA, as that was almost certainly the first guitar tone I clearly remember from childhood. Wiki tells me the show first aired on Sept 12, 1959; I can't be sure when I first watched it, but it was a family favorite, so likely during the first season. The theme, the brand burning through the map, all clearly etched in memory - when I would have been 4-5 years old.

I think I was aware of the guitar before - from watching Roy Rogers and seeing Jimmy's mouse-ear guitar on the MMC - but that's the first tone that struck me, and stuck with me.

So many legendary guitar tones from the 50s through the 70s have turned out to be Gretsch (though I hadn't realized it at the time). That the granddaddy of them all (in my personal timeline) was Gretsch would almost explain how the guitars seemed such a natural fit for me when I discovered them rather late in my playing life.

Here I've thought it was because their frequency and dynamic response suited my playing style - and it could turn out I didn't have a choice: the tone was just imprinted on my defenseless childhood psyche.

So. Bonanza theme, a Gretsch? Can I trust that?

(Which begs the question: why is the tone so much thinner than Duane's, when we know that was the inspiration?)

(Never mind. We know the answer.)

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(Hey Ed, good to see you here. Were you away a long while, or was it just me?)

I also seem to remember the story about Duane and a green CC lost in the Nashville flood. (Sounds like a song.)

Tim, a little detective work produced this Hollywood Reporter obituary on Al Caiola — the story is at least partly true — he did a version of the song which charted as a hit:

Link

Not sure if that version made the TV show (there were actually 12 versions of the theme produced for the TV show, over its long run). Also interesting is that he's credited for a hit version of the Henry Mancini theme from The Magnificent Seven.

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Having said that, does anyone recall a celebrity guitarist that played a Caddy green vintage CC? - Windsordave

Curt Wilson

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I read an old interview with Al and his Bonanza is not the same as the tv version. IIRC his label (United Artists) wanted him to sound like Duane. The interview is somewhere on the web still.

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Interesting. If it is what it purports to be, and I have no reason to doubt it, then it appears to be this one:

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Al sure did like Gretsches. And he had a couple of interesting ones.

What appears to be an Anniversary with a closed top/painted f-holes.

And this interesting specimen, that looks to have been concocted to unique specifications, maybe a draft of a potential signature model that never was to be? It looks almost like a Ronnie Lee model (16" [or maybe not even that wide] closed double cutaway body, oversized painted f-holes, dual thumbnails), but with Country Club-level trim and a tone pot, no mud switch or kill switch. Can't make out the pickups or bridge. I wonder if it still exists somewhere?

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I stumbled across that while digging through Al Caiola info. I call it the "Al Caiola Mystery Model." I was getting around to doing it in the vintage thread as I got a little more info on it, but you've got the important parts. Local poster buzzman spotted it 6 years ago but the thread and info was lost in the crash. Good eye for the Annie; I didn't catch the f-holes.

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Al Caiola had a record release of the Bonanza theme. But, the theme you hear on the tv show was played by these LA guys.

As the guitar became even more popular, leaders often incorporated several guitars for the sessions. Producer Jack Marshall did a TV show called “The Deputy” with Henry Fonda. He had five guitars as the main sound of the orchestra. “Bonanza” featured the big guitars of Bob Bain, Tommy Tedesco, Al Hendrickson, and Laurindo Almeida.

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The green CC story is forthcoming. Wrong Al, Mr. P. Casey, not Caiola.

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Ah. I was vague on that fact(oid). Looking forward to having my memory refreshed.

Do we know what guitar the original TV theme recording was played on?

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Do a Google spin on Bob Bain. Never mind, I'll do it. I believe he played Peter Gunn (the tv theme) on a Fender. Yep...here ya go. From GP

What guitar did you use for Henry Mancini’s Peter Gunn theme on TV?

That was the ’53 Telecaster. When rock and roll arrived, you needed a guitar that had a little more high end, so I traded my Les Paul for the Telecaster. The Tele was great, except that I had to carry two electric guitars all the time, because you couldn’t get a really nice jazz sound out of a Telecaster. But there was a guitar man, Tiny Timbrell, who was also a salesman for Gibson, and he was pretty good at figuring things out. I asked him, “What can you do to this Tele? I want to be able to use it to play [jazz pianist] George Shearing sessions and things like that.” He took out the neck pickup, and put in a humbucker. He had to shim the neck a little so that the strings would clear the humbucker. Then, he took the tailpiece off and put on a Bigsby vibrato. That was the greatest guitar I ever had, because you could do anything with it. You could switch easily from rock to jazz. If you had to play a Hawaiian solo, you could use the vibrato bar and imitate a Hawaiian guitar. It was great for studio work. I still have the guitar, and it sounds great.

I'd bet this is the guitar on Bonanza. (Not the record)

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Al Caiola had a record release of the Bonanza theme. But, the theme you hear on the tv show was played by these LA guys.

As the guitar became even more popular, leaders often incorporated several guitars for the sessions. Producer Jack Marshall did a TV show called “The Deputy” with Henry Fonda. He had five guitars as the main sound of the orchestra. “Bonanza” featured the big guitars of Bob Bain, Tommy Tedesco, Al Hendrickson, and Laurindo Almeida.

– Deed Eddy

It is ironic that this topic comes up for discussion as Twangmeisternyc and I were just having the same discussion via email about who it was that actually played the theme that you used to hear every Sunday night in "living color". I agree that it is probably not Al Caiola's version; rather, it was one from the Wrecking Crew. So, just who played the iconic sliding guitar part at the beginning and throughout the remainder of the song? My guess is Tommy Tedesco. But, Deed, you might have better inside information than my guess.

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Ah. I was vague on that fact(oid). Looking forward to having my memory refreshed.

Do we know what guitar the original TV theme recording was played on?

– Proteus

Again, this was something that Twangmeisternyc and I were also discussing.

Because I think that it was most likely Tommy Tedesco who played that part, my guess is that it was a Telecaster. It does sound to my ear like a Tele -- bright, single-coil-y sound. And Tommy was known to play a Tele very often in the studio.

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Al Caiola had a record release of the Bonanza theme. But, the theme you hear on the tv show was played by these LA guys.

As the guitar became even more popular, leaders often incorporated several guitars for the sessions. Producer Jack Marshall did a TV show called “The Deputy” with Henry Fonda. He had five guitars as the main sound of the orchestra. “Bonanza” featured the big guitars of Bob Bain, Tommy Tedesco, Al Hendrickson, and Laurindo Almeida.

– Deed Eddy

Yep. Al was a NYC guy, Bonanza was done in LA. I'd put money on it being either Tedesco or Bain.

Tommy and Bob both played teles for a lot of their parts.

NY guys were proximate to Gretsch, Epiphone and later Guild. Lots of custom guitars for those cats.

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Did you read my (above yours) post?

Bob Bain

– Deed Eddy

Yes, Deed. You listed four guys, and I voiced my opinion on which two were the most likely candidates.

Sorry, I saw the thread in the afternoon, and was unable to post on it for several hours.

[edit- double sorry, I was referring to a post further above mine than the one you were referring to....]

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Ah. I was vague on that fact(oid). Looking forward to having my memory refreshed.

Do we know what guitar the original TV theme recording was played on?

– Proteus

If it's Bob Bain, it's probably this guitar - tele with B16 and humbucker, although it might not have been there at the time

If it's Tommy Tedesco, it's possible, but highly unlikely this guitar

as rosewood boards and the re-introduction of through body stringing were late in 59. Probably too late for the recording of the original theme.


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