Modern Gretsch Guitars

Made in U.S.A.

1

Are any current Gretsch models still manufactured in the United States. In looking at the photos available on the Gretsch website as well as those of several well-known guitar retailers, the back of the headstock reads "Made in Japan" on virtually all of them.

2

Custom shop in California.

3

Terada in Japan has been the primary manufacturer of pro-line Gretsch guitars since 1990 or so when the brand was resurrected by Fred Gretsch. They've now been making Gretschs for about as long as Gretsch made them in Brooklyn - and there's pretty universal agreement that no better guitars are built by anyone, anywhere.

Electromatics and Streamliners are made/have been made in Korea, China, and Indonesia. They're all ridiculously good guitars, and not just for the money.

The Gretsch Custom Shop in Corona, CA - upstairs in the Fender facility - builds all-American Gretschs, of any model you'd like. They cost more.

4

My Terada WF was built with excruciating attention to detail,but like a lot of other modern Gretsch guitars, it looks as though it was made from very high-grade plastic. The originals had a softer shine to them,and IMO the difference between the MIJ and the originals is very much like the difference between polished stainless and polished sterling .Maybe Terada can get that last detail sorted out......

5

Well, Modern World Gretsch has now been on the scene 30 years, so that is like the 30 years of 1950-1980 of the electric guitars made in Brooklyn

Not sure what factory it came from but that Epi Elitist Byrdland I had was so astoundingly perfect -- just unbelievable. Japan makes some great stuff.

6

Are any current Gretsch models still manufactured in the United States. In looking at the photos available on the Gretsch website as well as those of several well-known guitar retailers, the back of the headstock reads "Made in Japan" on virtually all of them.

– RobLV1

You can always look at a '70's Gretsch - later Baldwin era - for US made guitars. Contrary to early prejudiced opinions on their quality, and thanks to this website in particular, they are fine guitars. I have a couple and part of the reason is that they were never remade as a reissue. You didn't mention why you're only looking at new guitars so perhaps a vintage guitar isn't your thing.

7

Well, Modern World Gretsch has now been on the scene 30 years, so that is like the 30 years of 1950-1980 of the electric guitars made in Brooklyn

Not sure what factory it came from but that Epi Elitist Byrdland I had was so astoundingly perfect -- just unbelievable. Japan makes some great stuff.

– DCBirdMan

The Epi Elitist hollow-bodies --- including the Byrdland --- were all made at the Terada factory. The solid body Elitists were made at the Fuji-Gen plant.

8

I've played quite a few of the Terada Epiphones and some were simply amazing. The Broadway was spectacular. The Sheraton I owned briefly was good but not great. Terada make some great guitars and my 6120 and Jet are some of them.

I understand what Dave H is saying, and it must be frustrating for the manufacturer. They make something perfectly and it looks too perfect! I find myself agreeing with him to an extent. I love my VOS Gibsons because they aren't perfectly shiny. I wouldn't mind if my Jet and SSLVO weren't so perfectly shiny but so many love perfect and shiny! However it doesn't really worry so much because they both play so well and sound incredible. The Jet in particular is remarkable with both how low the action is (and I don't usually like such a low action) and how perfect it sounds. I've barely touched my SSLVO since I got it.

We're a fickle lot, us guitarists.

9

The originals had a softer shine to them,and IMO the difference between the MIJ and the originals is very much like the difference between polished stainless and polished sterling. - DaveH

Artfully stated, Mr. H.

10

You can always look at a '70's Gretsch - later Baldwin era - for US made guitars. Contrary to early prejudiced opinions on their quality, and thanks to this website in particular, they are fine guitars. I have a couple and part of the reason is that they were never remade as a reissue. You didn't mention why you're only looking at new guitars so perhaps a vintage guitar isn't your thing.

– Windsordave

I'm going to take issue with this if I may.

To blame this site for the defamation of Baldwin-built Gretsch guitars is a bit of a stretch. Fact is Baldwin-built guitars were much more hit and miss than their Golden Era predecessors. It's true that some great guitars came out of that period, but so did and awful lot of dogs. Baldwin were English piano makers. Just because you can build a piano doesn't mean you can build a guitar.

Over the last 20 years this site has been at the vanguard of increasing public awareness in all things Gretsch, not just of the models we all know and love, but lots more besides. If the facts of the company's darker periods are included in that increased communal awareness - and I most definitely include the Baldwin Era in that - surely that's a good thing, no?

11

I'm going to take issue with this if I may.

To blame this site for the defamation of Baldwin-built Gretsch guitars is a bit of a stretch. Fact is Baldwin-built guitars were much more hit and miss than their Golden Era predecessors. It's true that some great guitars came out of that period, but so did and awful lot of dogs. Baldwin were English piano makers. Just because you can build a piano doesn't mean you can build a guitar.

Over the last 20 years this site has been at the vanguard of increasing public awareness in all things Gretsch, not just of the models we all know and love, but lots more besides. If the facts of the company's darker periods are included in that increased communal awareness - and I most definitely include the Baldwin Era in that - surely that's a good thing, no?

– Deke Martin

Deke, sorry if you thought I was disparaging our site for mis or opinionated rhetoric regarding Baldwin era guitars because I certainly wasn't! I'm a big fan of this era with a '72 SC and Chet's prototype Super Axe. What I was referring to was the literature published prior to the internet that didn't have nice things to say about the Baldwin era guitars. At the time, there wasn't published material to contradict the supposed poor quality of the Baldwin instruments so the opinions took on the effect of being fact.

As I see it in today's context, our site has done a good job in standing up for Baldwin era Gretsches, particularly from '72 onward. The issue of binding rot wasn't something Baldwin can be held accountable for as it began with instruments made prior to Baldwin's purchase of Gretsch. For the first number of years following the purchase we know that aside from changing the knobs to aluminum, Baldwin didn't change anything until '71 and into early '72 and those changes have never had a quality issue I'm aware of.

Sorry I gave you the wrong impression Deke.

12

No harm done, I just felt by your post that the GDP was somehow being held to blame for ‘prejudiced opinions’. If I misread that then my bad, I apologise.

13

No problem Deke. Actually I think our website sort of took the lead on re-establishing the proper info on the Baldwin era guitars, particularly from when they began changing a few things. Overall we've given the [new] impression that the build quality wasn't the poor quality these guitars were saddled with for a long time.

14

Baldwin-era Gretsches are built as well as anything else in the Seventies.....And now I'm thinking about how Gretsch was just as much an outlier in the Seventies as they were in the Fifties.Just in a different direction.......conceptually speaking, my Super Axe's onboard compressor and phaser come from a lot the same headspace(now THERE'S a Seventies expression!) as Jimmie Webster's stereo wiring,tuning fork bridge,and T-zone.

15

Baldwin-era Gretsches are built as well as anything else in the Seventies....

I think that’s my point in a nutshell right there


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