Modern Gretsch Guitars

Silver Falcon…Not so silver?


I recently acquired a 2004 Silver Falcon. One thing I have noticed is that the silver on the binding and headstock have dulled quite a bit, and one of the wings on the headstock has clouded, which looks really weird. Oddly enough, the trussrod cover looks like new still.

I have several questions for the brain's trust about this:

Is this a normal thing?

What causes it to happen?

Is it the silver drum nitron or the clear coat finish?

Can it be repaired?

The guitar doesn't smell like cigarette smoke, and has been extremely well looked after by it's previous owner. It seems very odd, as I haven't seen any others that this has happened to. Any help will be appreciated.



I'm thinking that the clear finish was tinted (aged) when applied. If yours was not hit with a tinted clear, the clear has aged with time, being an '04.

Is the finish on yours lacquer or poly? My Phoenix is lacquer, and the "tint" on the silver binding and headstock is like yours. Mine just looked a little "aged" right from the start.

The truss rod cover is not sprayed with anything, so that's why it will look different.

Normal from what I've seen


Cool. Had me a bit worried there for a while! I think it's a poly finish, although I can't be certain. What is the best way of telling?


From '04 or so to present, Gretsch "poly" has been applied very thin, so it can be harder to tell the difference between it and lacquer.

Smell is one good test, as cured poly has none. Lacquer, even with age, will put off that good old lacquer smell.

Finish shine is close between the two, but poly has more shine. Lacquer has a "softer" shine, for a lack of better terms.

Then there's the feel, especially on the neck. Poly just seems to feel slicker, all the time, with or without hours of playing time. It wears better than lacquer too.

It's a pretty safe bet to say that the '04 Silver Falcon has poly, at least from what I can remember. Always a chance of a special run ore model, but the model number should have something in it that will stand for a lacquer finish.

Either way, Silver Falcons are very nice guitars.


I won’t worry about it. Consider yourself lucky, you got a free relic done without the exorbitant price tag.

AFAIK, most WF built around that era is poly.


I'm actually not a fan of relicing, sorry. I don't see the point in it.

If it's just the clear coat that has dulled (and in some areas clouded), I'll have a talk to my guitar doctor about it. I am fairly sure he'll be able to do something with it.

Thanks for the replies, everyone.


Not sure why you have clouding. None on any of my Gretsches.

As far as the finish yellowing, that's what happens with lacquer and age. Actually looks better with time.

Several folks have stated that their poly is starting to do the same thing, but haven't heard of any clouding.

Best of luck and enjoy that Bird


It's the left wing on the headstock. It's not as 'clear' as it should be for some reason. The corners on a few of the letters have also gone this way. I love the guitar though. It plays well (could do with a fret dress or re-fret though), and sounds great acoustically and plugged in. I was rather surprised that it doesn't have trestle bracing. It has a simple tone post connecting the top and back. I had a Tenny which featured that, so I guess it was made before Mike Lewis and his team got the 'recipe' right for Gretsch construction. If it's just the clear coat, I'll probably get my Guitar Doctor to strip it back, and re-fin the headstock faceplate to fix the problems. The rest of the guitar is fine otherwise.

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