Modern Gretsch Guitars

How Many Guitars for a Special Run

1

Does anyone know how many guitars would have to be ordered for a custom run of a particular model? Also, how does the pricing work on that kind of thing? I assume it has to be done through an authorized dealer?

2

The Internet says the average length of a guitar is 38". For easier visualization, let's make that 36", a good ol' yard.

It follows that it would take 100 guitars, laid end to end, for a 100-yard dash - which is about the shortest run I can think of which would be considered special. (Though, indeed, a run of only a few feet or yards would be considered very special if it got you out of the way of a speeding bullet, automobile, or locomotive.)

Arguably the specialest of all runs is the classic mile, which for as long as I can remember has been the benchmark for rapid human bipedal locomotion - as in the "4-minute mile." (At least in countries, like mine, still so benighted as to resist the metric system.)

That mile run would take a whopping (I don't believe I've ever used this useless weasel-word before, but if ever a context called for it, it's this one) 1,760 end-to-end guitars (more or less). Given the logistical and even economic demands of laying out this course, it would be a very special run indeed!

It could be made even more special if the guitars were arranged according to some organizational schema - chronological to show the development of the instrument, divided by type of guitar, alphabetically by brand (and chronologically within each brand), etc. Now that would be downright educational: get some fresh air and exercise, strive for a personal best mile, and get a guitar education all at once. Isn't that spatial?


In related research into guitar units, I have determined that a ton of guitars (as in "dude's got a freakin ton of guitars) averages 333.33333333333333333 guitars. (Assumptions: 4 lb average acoustic guitar weight; 8 lb average electric guitar weight; dude has an equal amount of acoustics and electrics, thus 6 lbs per average guitar. Cases are not included.)

I've heard some collections described as a sh!t-ton of guitars. How does such a redolent ton differ from a plainol ton? This is a trick question, like "if you drop a hammer and a feather at the same time on the moon, which one hits the surface first?" Since a ton of anything weighs 2,000 lbs, a sh!t-ton of guitars is also 333.33333333333333333 guitars - but contains proportionally more PRSeseseses and Duesenbergs.

3

(....must be Friday night.....)

Still, I confess to reading every word.

(More than once.)

4

In the past it has been 16. Rocky would know for sure.

5

In the past it has been 16. Rocky would know for sure.

– audept

I've read that from when I got the FSR Power Jet that it was one of only 16.

6
  1. Sixteen is less than I would have guessed. I wonder why it’s 16.

  2. Adding to our knowledge base, an 8 pound guitar weighs 1.3 pounds on the moon.

7

Well, I guess if I bought 16 tons of guitars, I'd be a day older and deeper in debt, and owe my soul to the company Gretsch.

8

Depends upon the maker.

Are we just talking Gretsch here? If so, I suspect that they'll send you down the California custom shop road and you do have to place your order with an authorised dealer.

On the other hand, some Asian makers, like Korea's Peerless, will make small batch orders direct with a customer.

9

I recall 16 as the magic minimum from Terada. From Korea, it was a dozen several years ago when Rocky had the Balto model built (but he ordered 24... and got 26).

The bigger questions are always, "When can you get your run on the production schedule?" and "Can you get your run on the production schedule?"

Figure 18 months minimum from order to delivery. The Baltos were a little over a year, but Rocky really pushed the order.

Paul/FF909

10

Does anyone know how many guitars would have to be ordered for a custom run of a particular model? Also, how does the pricing work on that kind of thing? I assume it has to be done through an authorized dealer?

– Journeyman

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11
  1. Sixteen is less than I would have guessed. I wonder why it’s 16.

  2. Adding to our knowledge base, an 8 pound guitar weighs 1.3 pounds on the moon.

– nielDa

Looks like the moon is a pretty good place to play a Les Paul -- or an early Pro Jet.

12
  1. Sixteen is less than I would have guessed. I wonder why it’s 16.

  2. Adding to our knowledge base, an 8 pound guitar weighs 1.3 pounds on the moon.

– nielDa

That would make my Les Paul weigh 1.78 lbs on the moon! (divide earth weight by 6).

Ya know, I used think "it takes a real man to play a Les Paul". Well, I guess I've lost that distinction, ever since my 10lb 10oz Les Paul started hurting my back!

13

could have sworn i've seen dealer runs in the past that were as few as 10. wildwood comes to mind. not sure if that is the same thing, and there wasn't much different about them; finishes, maybe a pickup specification. wasn't like terada was breaking a sweat.

14

Thinking of my first Electric Guitar:

I can picture a group of guitars being played at the appropriate intervals of the same song riding on the remnants of a collision between two interplanetary wanderers, perturbed, and heading firely toward Earth.

Yup, meteors, played in harmony!

or....a harmony of meteors?

15

Does anyone have an idea how many of those 2014 6120-59 LTV's with the quilted top were made?

16

Thinking of my first Electric Guitar:

I can picture a group of guitars being played at the appropriate intervals of the same song riding on the remnants of a collision between two interplanetary wanderers, perturbed, and heading firely toward Earth. Yup, meteors, played in harmony! or....a harmony of meteors?

Funny, guitar names. My first had a much more prosaic moniker: simply "Crestwood." Such an earthbound, even geographical name, a name chosen by American importer La Playa for a guitar whose actual manufacturer - Fujigen - identified it (much more usefully) only by its even less evocative model number: FVN4.

Somehow this denoted a 27"-scale modified offset solidbody with grotesquely extended lower bout, slightly in-turning cutaways - and 4 single-coil pickups in a polished aluminum pickguard and switches for all, along with a Jazzmaster-inspired vibrato.

Nother words, altogether a stranger and more futuristic, more space-age guitar than your first. And yet, America riding high at the time on a cresting wave of space-age optithusiasm, your conventional plywood electric box got the cosmic name.

I suppose there was a reason Japan's national imagination of the time did not run to images of fiery visitors from above.


I don't know how many guitars are now required for a custom run from Gretsch, but I do know that number has changed over time. I knew what it was the last time I asked - probably 18-24 months ago - but I've forgotten. I believe the number has trended upward.

In any case, there won't be a right answer if it comes from any time in the past. Only a current answer will be meaningful. Cap'n Rocky surely knows, or can instantly find out.

17

And hmmm...further musing.

Has it ever been suggested that Japan's penchant for variously mutated guitar body designs were another symptom of the trauma in their national psyche which inspired their cautionary monster movies, all about mutations attendant on atom-age ionizing radiation?

Extensive long-term follow-up studies on survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and their descendants have shown that over the decades - while cancer rates have been up to 10% higher for those who took the highest survivable dose of radiation - the average lifespan for the entire cohort has been reduced by only a few months, and "only" slightly more than a year for cancer victims. What's more, there's apparently been no evidence of health impacts or genetic disease on the part of survivors' children and succeeding generations. (Or at least if there are such mutations, they have been too subtle to show up in the data collected.)

But, in the searing aftermath of the bombings themselves, the horrifying images not only of immediate casualties but proximate later victims of fallout radiation led most people worldwide - and surely the more so in Japan - to fear and assume the long-term effects might be equally horrific. That impression sank into the psyches and became instinctive.

As Japan's economy restarted and grew through its phenomenal post-war recovery, it was the one-time foe who had dropped the hammer of the gods on them which became at once their intentional benefactor and their number-one customer.

Few products Japan built during that era were as uniquely and distinctly American as the electric guitar. And, in its various homegrown forms, the guitar had a number of well-evolved design briefs by the time Japan became our best-price workshop. They had clear templates to follow.

Yet the form of the electric guitar - especially the solidbody - is less constrained by function than that of most of other consumer products. There's ample room for extreme variation, and the thing will still work. Maybe there was something subliminal at work in the national/industrial psyche of Japan which inspired them to deform and mutate the shapes of the instruments they sold us - taking a primary signifier of America's youth and sending it back to us melted, twisted, and distorted.

18

Ah yes, thinking of Japanese guitars and associated equipment, and their names and model numbers.

While in Japan in the Navy in the mid 60s I purchased a cute little five watter to play my new Country Gent thru while on board ship. Nice amp; an Acetone!

Don't recall if the model number was C3H6O or not. Hope not.

Yeah, they changed their name to "Roland".

....as a company, they still appear.........solvent!

EDIT: Ok, I gotta fess up. When I bought the amp in the 60s I hadn't yet learnt about Acetone, the solvent. When I read the name on the amp, I saw the name as "Ace Tone". Ichiban fer sure!

Who knew.

19

16 is correct for a special run Professional series In general 24 is the number for an Electromatic Pricing is somewhat similar to a standard comparable model, things that could cause an increase in pricing is pickups / Gold hardware / Locking tuners etc...
Takes about 12-16 months start to finish to get a run done

20

And yes, can only be generated through an authorized dealer, and that dealer would have the exclusive to the 16 or 24 built

21

The USA custom shop guitar is a built by order only, so only a USA custom shop Gretsch dealer could spec out a guitar, or spec one out for a customers special order, These are built from scratch entirely in California. The only non special order guitars they build currently would be for the namm show. These would be one off's and they generally build about 8 guitars for a show. The demand is so high for these guitars that for a dealer to acquire one they first need to be at the show, then they are given cards with there store names on them to place on a guitar they would like to purchase, Wednesday evening, the day before The winter namm show opens FMIC takes all the cards, and places them into a lottery system for one winner, It is not uncommon to see a dozen cards on one of these gems.

22

Thanks so much Rocky for that information. Would I be correct in assuming that any dealer placing a special order for the 16 proline guitars would want to have all or almost all pre-sold?

24

That would be ideal, and a dealer would try to plan this.

– rocky streetsounds

Thanks again Rocky. Now to find 15 other folks who want a smoke grey/metallic violet Annie. If anyone is reading this and interested, I'd start by suggesting the 135th 6118T as a model if it would simplify the process. Minor tweaks like a bone nut could be done individually. It's already got trestle bracing, tone pot circuitry, ebony fingerboard, nice and responsive......just a great instrument.

25

The USA custom shop guitar is a built by order only, so only a USA custom shop Gretsch dealer could spec out a guitar, or spec one out for a customers special order, These are built from scratch entirely in California. The only non special order guitars they build currently would be for the namm show. These would be one off's and they generally build about 8 guitars for a show. The demand is so high for these guitars that for a dealer to acquire one they first need to be at the show, then they are given cards with there store names on them to place on a guitar they would like to purchase, Wednesday evening, the day before The winter namm show opens FMIC takes all the cards, and places them into a lottery system for one winner, It is not uncommon to see a dozen cards on one of these gems.

– rocky streetsounds

Try and get the Custom Shop to build you a Gretsch using Hot Hide Glue(like Gibson Custom does 5 days a week..) Won't happen.. I think that's pretty crappy as all the original 50's & 60's Brooklyn Gretsch guitars were built with Hot Hide Glue. It has many distinct qualities and overall makes a much better sounding guitar!


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