Modern Gretsch Guitars

53 (sorta) CS Club

1

NFI.

Don't know if this has been posted before, but it sure is pretty. The "sorta" is because late '53 Clubs (the earlier were still Electro IIs) should have a 3.25" body; the regularly seen 2.75" body happened in '55. Can't tell what's on this one. I don't think the electronics on the originals had this configuration, but a "faux" transition model is still a fun speculation. And, this thing is flat out gorgeous. Another home run from Stern & Co.

2

It is very pretty!

But that's a pretty high falutin' hard sell mystical description I have a very hard time with this sort of selling technique By all means praise it's accuracy to the original and the overall quality of build but I wish they would skip the meaningless subjective pseudo spiritual stuff.

"When playing this guitar, it feels like an extension of your soul. It resonates supremely and with a purity that you only find in the best arch top."

"extension of your soul?? "a purity that you only find in the best arch top."??"

It's a plywood archtop not a hand carved solid wood instrument.

Really any instrument you can enjoy can be an 'extension of your soul'

3

Beautiful, but I might have a concern about a 1.65 nut. Is that what they were in the fifty’s?

5

That's quite the flame in that maple. Otherwise it looks like my Electro 2

6

That's lovely. It would be great if it became a standard (non custom shop) offering.

7

That's lovely. It would be great if it became a standard (non custom shop) offering.

– WB

I still kick myself for not jumping on the 2008 G6193 offered in the standard Gretsch lineup. It was a CC with Dynas in amber/natural finish. It was equipped with a "G" tailpiece rather than a Bigsby, but that would be an easy change if one were so inclined.....

But.... that ship has sailed..... For now......................

8

Wow, that is a great looking guitar! Would love to see it in person. Stephen and his team certainly do tremendous work!

Buckybob- Yeah, bet that stings if you were in the market. That was a good price for a Stern custom shop. Beautiful guitar.

9

Beautiful, but I might have a concern about a 1.65 nut. Is that what they were in the fifty’s?

– Baba Joe

I wonder if "1.65" is a typo -- ??

1-11/16" = 1.69". 1-5/8" = 1.62".

1.65" would be slightly less than 1-21/32" which doesn't sound like a "standard" for '50's Gretsch guitars.

10

This is the one I still kick myself for missing

https://reverb.com/item/552...

– BuckyBoy

Holy cow, I don't blame you. That guitar at that price won't be happening again. Right in my neck of the woods too. I should pay closer attention to Dave's stock.

11

I wonder if "1.65" is a typo -- ??

1-11/16" = 1.69". 1-5/8" = 1.62".

1.65" would be slightly less than 1-21/32" which doesn't sound like a "standard" for '50's Gretsch guitars.

– senojnad

This plus I was under the assumption that fifty’s Country Club necks were “tree trunks”. Oh well, I can’t spend that much on a guitar it whether it’s accurate or not, especially after seeing that deal at Dave’s.

12

I'm gettin' the shakes looking at these. Wow!

13

That guitar at that price won't be happening again.

Well, you wouldn't think so. But maybe demand for these overdeveloped early 50s blondes is localized in a demographic which is spending more on health care these days than on guitars.

I doubt it Dave would have sacrificed it unnecessarily. It must have hung around the shop too long.

But just to show which demographic I'm in, I think both of these guitars are tongue-cleaving gorgeous.

14

The narrow neck could be a Merle Travis thing. My ‘62 6120 has a neck that’s 1 5/8” at the nut. I’ve been playing it a lot lately to replicate some Merle Travis/Chet Atkins thumb-on-the-lower-E fingering positions that are difficult on wider (1 11/16”) necks.

15

The narrow neck could be a Merle Travis thing. My ‘62 6120 has a neck that’s 1 5/8” at the nut. I’ve been playing it a lot lately to replicate some Merle Travis/Chet Atkins thumb-on-the-lower-E fingering positions that are difficult on wider (1 11/16”) necks.

– nielDa

Neil, see my post on the switching of vintage to modern guitars. I explain that the difficulty of getting your thumb on the low E is more a factor of the neck's profile, ie actual square area of the neck in the cross-sectional view, than the added width. What I didn't add in my post is that to facilitate getting my thumb on the low E, I have a new - bone only!! - nut installed and cut to move all the strings slightly further apart - still equally spaced - so that the low E ends up about .045" closer to the outer edge of the binding. All my guitar's [replaced, low] frets extend across the binding to the outboard edges, widening the usable area of the fretboard. The ends are simply rounded off, never chamfered. The string is never too close to the edge to create an issue of the low E getting pushed off the fretboard when fretted with the fingers.

16

Dave - great points, I missed your neck profiles post first time around. There's definitely more to it than just the width (reducing the neck width isn't everything.) I wrote this article a while ago (which I posted here previously.) I may take a few more measurements and start a new thread on this topic.

The amber G6192-CS posted above is stunning.

17

I doubt it Dave would have sacrificed it unnecessarily. It must have hung around the shop too long.

Dave's is one of the few dealers that seems to price gear to move. I'm guessing it wasn't a case of mark it down 'til it sells. They recently opened a Madison location. I looked in the window on Thanksgiving and saw all sorts of wonders, but haven't been in there yet.

18

Dave - great points, I missed your neck profiles post first time around. There's definitely more to it than just the width (reducing the neck width isn't everything.) I wrote this article a while ago (which I posted here previously.) I may take a few more measurements and start a new thread on this topic.

The amber G6192-CS posted above is stunning.

– nielDa

This is a very good article. Thanks for sharing.

19

Dave - great points, I missed your neck profiles post first time around. There's definitely more to it than just the width (reducing the neck width isn't everything.) I wrote this article a while ago (which I posted here previously.) I may take a few more measurements and start a new thread on this topic.

The amber G6192-CS posted above is stunning.

– nielDa

Well, so you're the author of the article in Premier Guitar. Congrats on a great article! While you do mention the thumb wrapping around the neck ala Chet & Merle's style, you don't expand the point to dealing with what I pointed out which is that the major contributor to being able to reach the low E with your thumb being the cross-sectional area of the neck and not the neck's width or even it's profile.....your hand can only stretch around so much wood!

Here's some interesting figures. I just took some measurements using a taylor's cloth tape to compare the two guitars I mentioned previously, that being my '41 Synchro with the asymmetric D/V profile and my '72 Super Chet, sanded down from its 'baseball bat' deep D to a shallow C profile. These measurement were taken just behind the first fret.

Synchro: neck width [including the binding] is 1.719" and the distance from the upper edge of the fretboard/binding around the neck to the same upper edge of the fretboard/binding on the other side is 2.875" The same measurements for the SC are 1.845" & 2.815". The SC neck is wider by ~.125", yet the total distance around the neck is ~.060" less!

This shows that while the SC neck is wider, the distance around the neck is shorter than the Synchro. This extrapolates to the cross-sectional area being less for the Shallow C profile SC than the deeper D of the Synchro.

The conclusion from this exercise is that the added width of a guitar's neck isn't the only reason why it makes wrapping your thumb around to fret the low E while still chording, difficult. It's the physical mass of the neck you have to stretch your hand around - distance from tip of index finger to tip of thumb - that matters most. Feel free to put this info in another article if want to.

I'm fingerpicking with a thumbpick and this fingering is required: Try this exercise to illustrate the stretching difficulty involved. At the first fret, play a C7 chord as follows: thumb - 6th string, 3rd fret; 5th string - not played; middle finger - 4th string, 2nd fret; ring finger - 3rd string, 3rd fret; index finger - 2nd string, 1st fret. This is enough of a stretch but now try it keeping the fingers where they are and elevate your index finger so it isn't muting the open 1st string! Note, your pinky is still available for fretting which is also required. Thumb fretting is a method of freeing up the pinky, which plays a large part in playing the melody.

You can't play some of the chords required for having a lower 3 strings bassline without doing this, and the exercise only becomes more difficult as you move up the widening neck.

20

Thanks Dave. Early on when planning that article I considered covering that very same topic – neck shape, tailor's tape measurements, and its effect on the hand. To Illustrate it I was considering making some cut-off neck shapes and photographing a hand wrapping around them, in cross-sectional end view. But I had too many other neck topics to cover in that article, and it deserves its own article.

What's interesting though, and to your point, narrowing a C-shape neck from 1 11/16" to 1 10/16" (approx. 41.3mm to 39.8mm, a 1.5mm difference), with all else being equal (same depth and virtually the same shape), reduces that wrap-around (tailor's tape measure distance) by just over 1/32" (only about 1mm) – less than you would think.

That said, fingers aren't elastic, there are bones and joints to consider, so there's a bit more to it. Meanwhile, the '62 6120 I mentioned has a 1 5/8" wide neck at the nut, the wrap around measure is 2 9/16". Thin neck. My '55 Country Club has a nut width of 1 3/4", with a wrap around of 2 13/16". So it's a full 1/4" difference for the wrap around, making those Chet Atkins/Merle Travis stretches easier on my 6120.

Apologies to everyone for deviating on this thread - we should start a new one on this topic. We can go back now to gushing over those custom shop guitars.

21

Agreed! Lovely works of art to admire!

22

I bow to the more detailed knowledge of Gretsch minutiae here than mine so please correct me if I am wrong.

I note that the advert describes the guitar as a “Gretsch Custom 1953 G6192 in Aged Blonde”.

My understanding is that the Country Club name was introduced in 1954 as the new appellation for the Electro 2 Synchromatic: true? I tend to agree that this guitar appears to be a “faux” transition interpretation: the Electro 2 with the thinner body of the later Country Club (from the photos I think it’s not the full depth original).

I also thought that the 6192 was the sunburst model and the 6193 was the natural blonde.

Regardless of the minutiae geekery, that’s one cool guitar. Thanks for sharing.

23

Dave - great points, I missed your neck profiles post first time around. There's definitely more to it than just the width (reducing the neck width isn't everything.) I wrote this article a while ago (which I posted here previously.) I may take a few more measurements and start a new thread on this topic.

The amber G6192-CS posted above is stunning.

– nielDa

Thanks for re-posting this article as I missed it; it was excellent. I very much appreciate that you made the distinction between the "non-pressure" assymetrical profile and the "miracle neck" tongue-and-groove construction with Gretsch. The neck profile/scale is the first consideration for guitars for me -- I got lucky when I started out as I was obsessed with the 6120 and fortunately that fit my hand perfectly; I soon got rid of my excellent Yamaha acoustics as I never could go back to torturing my hand.


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