Gretsch Garage Sale

WTB: Gretsch G400JV Jimmie Vaughan Synchromatic

1

If anyone has one is super clean and unmodified condition they would be interested in selling please let me know. Thanks!

4

Will also consider a mint condition G400 (non-cutaway)

6

No Affiliation With Seller.

Here's one. I had a 400C many years ago and had to sell it because my hands couldn't handle the scale length. Great guitars. This price is pretty decent too.

7

Thanks! I had seen that one but has some splitting at the end of the sound holes that have been cleated so I passed on it hoping to find one with no issues.

8

Just for the sake of information, this isn't the first carved top Gretsch with cat's eye soundholes I've seen that had developed a crack running off the pointed end. A real shame especially given these guitars are rare for having a carved top, as has discussed on another thread, not just a limited run.

I'm sure a good luthier can arrest the crack increasing in length and preventing the other sound hole cracking as well. My '41 '55 Fleetwood I'm having restored has standard f-holes and they glued a small piece of wood across the both ends of the f-hole so a crack wouldn't develop. I suspect the reissued ones like this didn't have this in their design so perhaps others have or are prone to this issue.

9

Cat's eye sound holes are a design flaw. Cracks at the points are almost a certainty unless the guitar never leaves your special, climate controlled instrument vault. A 5-ply top with cat's eyes is probably safe.

10

For the record, I own a G400JV. Despite running a humidifier at full blast during the winter, a tiny crack has formed at one corner.

The piezo pickup that came mounted on the guitar didn't sound all that good to me, so I took it off and replaced the bridge and pick-guard. Then I mounted a hand wound, single coil Kent Armstrong floater on the new guard. It sounds quite good plugged in, but for an 18" archtop this guitar really lacks volume and punch when played acoustically.

Edit: Actually 17" rather than 18".

12

My 400JV had small cracks at the lower point of the cateyes. I don't know how it lived its life before me (humidity control...)

Also, I agree that it was not as big acoustically as I'd hoped. I think a ToneRite treatment for a couple weeks might have changed that, though.

I sold it over a year ago. Too big for me.

13

For you fellows that currently have one of these, does it have the thin strips of wood glued, on the inside of course, across the pointed end of the sound hole? I described my '55 Fleetwood's top having this on another thread here. Here's the pic

Are the tops on these guitars solid carved or laminate construction. And I mean do you know for certain, not relying on Gretsch literature's description?

14

The top of the G400JV is pressed rather than carved. When I get a chance (and can find my little inspection mirror) I'll look inside and see what's going on in there. I have felt around at the ends of the cat's eyes while pondering cleats to prevent splitting and didn't detect anything similar to the strips on the '55 Fleetwood.

I'll poke around and see what I can see on the 400.

15

Thanks Viper, that will certainly be informative. The fact that the top is a laminate and not a pressed solid - as we know the meaning of the word - or carved, probably accounts for the reports here that these big, full bodied archtops lack the big sound the vintage versions have. My '41 carved top Synchro is full depth, 3 1/2" but only 15 7/8" wide and it has one hell of a big sound.....the top I believe being the reason.

BTW, my Synchro has the same treatment for the soundholes. My 2 archtops are 14 years apart and represent both the high end and somewhat lower end models so it's clear this was a manufacturing standard back in the day that perhaps the reissues didn't follow.

The reissues I have to assume are wonderful guitars and with a floating pup make a wonderful jazz axe. I hope to someday get a chance to play one. I do like the fact the reissues, at least the ones I've seen pics of are blondes. .....suits big archtops nicely.

16

Peeking inside the 400JV with a little mirror and light was kind of interesting. First off, unlike the Fleetwood and the regular G400, the JV is X-braced instead of using the parallel tone bar bracing. The brace comes within an inch of the point of the sound hole, possibly acting as a means of arresting the progress of any cracks. There is no other cleat or reinforcement near the cat's eyes.

Since the sound holes are bound, there is no raw edge to examine for evidence of lamination. To my surprise, looking at the inside of the top in the mirror revealed what appeared to be vertical grained spruce rather than a layer of maple or mystery wood. The interior grain runs the same direction as the top rather than perpendicular, perhaps no big surprise. Close examination of grain lines on both the face and underside of the top seemed to show that a single, solid piece of pressed wood was used for the top. I say "seemed to show" because the spruce on both sides is extremely tight grained and uniform. One area looks pretty much the same as another, so I can't say for sure.

The 400JV really is a beautiful guitar, and always draws attention when I play it in public. On occasions when I need a solid swing rhythm sound, however, I rely on a 16" carved Eastman, which is far punchier than the 400JV.

17

Thanks Viper, that's very interesting info about your 400JV. You make a good point regarding the X-bracing possibly contributing to strengthening the area at the pointed end of the soundhole so it doesn't crack.

You could very well be correct that the top is solid spruce that's been pressed, given the grain lines running the same direction inside and out. All cut surfaces are bound so no way to tell for certain.

I've heard the Eastman's with their carved top have quite the big sound. They clearly show that a carved top gives a superior sound in all facets for an archtop used acoustically.

18

Here's a 400C at Willie's - http://www.williesguitars.c...

However it has an added Johnny Smith pickup and Bigsby. Cool scripty headstock though.

– drmilktruck

Anybody knows what's going on here with the neck heel binding? Is it shrinking or coming loose or?

 photo Neck_heel_zpsvfamty1f.png

Asking because my G400C looks the same...

19

Lots of good discussion. Still looking.

20

Good luck, sorry you're having to wait to find one. Just curious, what have these sold for on the used market?

Just a thought - have you contacted archtop.com to contact you if one comes in? They specialize in archtops and always have a lot in stock.

21

I think I paid about $1,300 for mine. The few I've seen for sale have been near that figure. It would be interesting to know how many of these were made.

A guy who used to post here--Fauves--gigged with one regularly. As I recall, he tried an old De Armond pickup on his, but eventually ended with a Vermont made Armstrong floater.

When I purchased a fresh bridge and pick guard from Cream City Music in Wisconsin, the guy I talked to there said he thought the 400JV was a super-cool guitar. He said something about maybe asking Gretsch to do a special run if there was enough interest.

22

Anybody knows what's going on here with the neck heel binding? Is it shrinking or coming loose or?

 photo Neck_heel_zpsvfamty1f.png

Asking because my G400C looks the same...

– Mike2000

I'm glad, that I'm not the only one with that issue.The same here on my G400

23

This happened with my old G400C. The tech said it was a common thing with many modern archtops and used a bit of filler to fix it. Something to do with the wood shrinking a bit while being encased in a poly finish; can't breathe like with a nitro finish.

24

Here's some pictures of my G400C. Looks like it's getting worse since the last time I looked. I may need to have it looked at.

 photo Gretsch_G400C_Binding_A001_zpssfqe0xrz.jpg

 photo Gretsch_G400C_Binding_A002_zpsktvgfvz7.jpg

Also along this piece of binding:

 photo Gretsch_G400C_Binding_A003_zpsjraoapzh.jpg

Nonetheless, still a beautiful guitar:

 photo Gretsch_G400C_Binding_A004_zpsxx6mfn2r.jpg

(Sorry for hijacking this thread Buckeyboy. Hope you found a G400JV in the meantime, otherwise: Bump!)

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No problem. I am enjoying the discussion. Still looking though.


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