Modern Gretsch Guitars

The Gretsch Master Color Compendium

1

... doesn't exist. But it should!

It suddenly dawns on me that what we need - for no good reason I can think of except that colors and their names are so cool, and so evocative - is a list of all the named colors Gretsch has ever used on guitars. (We might be forgiven for leaving out the Custom Shop.)

Because, after all, one of the things that has always distinguished Gretsch in the market is color. An online catalog of all of them would celebrate that legacy.

In an ideal world, our compendium would include at least one photo example of a guitar in each color, along with fields for when the color was used, and for which models. In a world where a tireless curator had the time and persistent enough fascination, the master list would be sortable by guitar model, year/era, and color family.

I nominate Tartan Phantom and KCEddie (who heads the Blue Section, of course.)

But just think about your favorite Gretsch colors, the ones you know by name, and turn them over in your memory. You can almost taste them. They're like a little polychromatic vacation for your senses.

I mean, just the current crop includes a psychedelic cornucopia of delicious hues. Reading an entire inclusive list from, say 1954 to the present, would be practically pornographic - much less seeing a guitar in each shade.

There could even be special subsections for varieties of Cadillac Green and Flagstaff Sunset and could the real Gretsch Orange please stand up.

2

Gretsch "owns" Cadillac Green as a guitar color. It's Official.

All the other shades of Orange are "a little bit of this, and a little bit of that" at the discretion of the Spray Booth Operator that late night...

3

I kinda like the new Cataract green.

4

Don't forget Porsche Pumpkin for the Roc Jet. But yes, this is a good idea.

5

I'll drink to that! Waiter, a glass of your finest Bordeaux Burgundy....

6

Ok... I'll bite. The vintage hues will be relatively easy to document (especially since there were only two "blues" in the golden era). But the modern-era is where Rob would have to run with it.

7

Ok... I'll bite. The vintage hues will be relatively easy to document (especially since there were only two "blues" in the golden era). But the modern-era is where Rob would have to run with it.

– kc_eddie_b

Good Lord, that's some pretty heavy lifting. At least I shouldn't have to worry about the elusive shades of Taupe, Harvest Gold, Teal and Dusty Rose ( I guess it's good that Gretsch wasn't really in the guitar business in the early mid-80's). And thankfully, even with their current wide-ranging, diverse palette, at least Gretsch hasn't stretched as far as PRS in terms of Willy Wonka lollipop-hued guitars... So we don't have to deal with "Charms Blow-Pop Transparent Red"... at least not yet.

8

I'll be happy to compile the current year's colors, which is easy - or at least just tedious; they're immediately available anyway. I have catalogs for a few of the last 10-13 years, and can trawl through those.

But, furze I know, you da man with the best collection of modern Gretsch literature...like back to the early 90s? To divide up the labor, if you wanted to send me a pile of those, I'd be happy to compile those datums. (And then send them back, I promise.)

I can make up a master Excel spreadsheet to structure the data, which can then be exported into any other format. If anyone working on the project takes it a model year at a time, it ought at least to be manageable.

I do think it's an interesting approach to parsing the history.

9

What a cool idea. Eventually building up into a handsome Du Pont-style colour chart, perhaps?

I too see a special Cadillac Green supplemental edition with all the bogus shades through the years, maybe call that one Dupe Pont.

10

Speaking of the modern colors...isn't there two shades of Dark Metallic Cherry?

This current year's model seems way more cherry in color than the one in the past, which seemed more black upon first inspection, but when the light caught it the right way, wow. I mean, WOW!

Or perhaps it was called something else. I can't keep up

11
How Cataract Green happened...

Static on the line…

Gretsch will be G and Terada T.

G) Hello Terada?

T) Yes G how can I help you?

G) We need 1K of model XXXX in Cadillac green.

T) Okay 1 K in Cataract Green, got it.

G) Just to be sure, I said Cadillac Green like on a Cadillac.

T) Right Cataract green but Cataract Green was never on any car.

G) Right we know but you know what I mean Cadillac Green.

T) Yeah we got it, 1K in Cataract Green.

12

That is hilarious! Thanks Curt!

13

So, Tim... Is your idea to use paint chip style visual examples, or photos of actual guitars? The problem lies in lack of photographic consistency in terms of reproducing color shades. There's no way to tell how much existing photos may vary from the actual hue in real life. To me, that's a real problem. Everything from original photographic lighting to gamma and contrast adjustments made post-photo session all come into play... Not to mention the inconsistency from era to era for the same color.

Furthermore, reproducing older colors from a catalog or other source is just as problematic, due to the variances is scanner equipment.

14

Doubt if there's a paint chip for the Snowcrest White run that was sprayed with a dirty gun.

The oops Light Pink run!

15

Doubt if there's a paint chip for the Snowcrest White run that was sprayed with a dirty gun.

The oops Light Pink run!

– J(ust an old Cowboy)D

aka "Cherry Blossom". Actually, that might be one of the easier ones... It's pretty unique and hasn't been re-used since.

16

TP, I'm well aware of the difficulties of color reproduction and all the ways for that to go wrong from photo to print to scan to (whose?) screen. At some point, just for the retro coolness Ade suggests, it would be a thing to have a virtual color-chip chart (a la paint stores and Pantone). That could easily be developed with snippets of photographs.

And yes, it can't be visually definitive. Maybe fields to show a few examples of guitars in each color (body shots preferably) could help develop a viewer sense for the likely actual color by showing slight variations, whether they come from the factory or from the convoluted process.

Gretsch's own website and other digital sources sometimes have, strangely, among the least accurate representations of the colors, so there's that to watch out for. (Their pics of "Bourbon Stain" are decidedly lacklustre - every other photo I've seen of it positively pops.) So there are fidelity and calibration snares to beware on every side, I know.

Still, for many colors, most of the time, a chip chart and guitar examples can get across the general vibe of the finish - and of course we include the usual disclaimers about color accuracy.

But without even seeing the colors, just a list of the actual official color names can be an entertaining diversion.

17

TP, I'm well aware of the difficulties of color reproduction and all the ways for that to go wrong from photo to print to scan to (whose?) screen. At some point, just for the retro coolness Ade suggests, it would be a thing to have a virtual color-chip chart (a la paint stores and Pantone). That could easily be developed with snippets of photographs.

And yes, it can't be visually definitive. Maybe fields to show a few examples of guitars in each color (body shots preferably) could help develop a viewer sense for the likely actual color by showing slight variations, whether they come from the factory or from the convoluted process.

Gretsch's own website and other digital sources sometimes have, strangely, among the least accurate representations of the colors, so there's that to watch out for. (Their pics of "Bourbon Stain" are decidedly lacklustre - every other photo I've seen of it positively pops.) So there are fidelity and calibration snares to beware on every side, I know.

Still, for many colors, most of the time, a chip chart and guitar examples can get across the general vibe of the finish - and of course we include the usual disclaimers about color accuracy.

But without even seeing the colors, just a list of the actual official color names can be an entertaining diversion.

– Proteus

Kind of like that one-off Dynasonic Gent in "Hoosier Winter White".

18

There is that. I forget what color that actually is. When I said "white," I believe Mike Lewis nodded and asked whether Antique White, which is yellowy. No, just white. So it's probably whatever regular Falcon white was in 2008.

I could pretend it was a one-off color just for that guitar, but that wouldn't be strickly troofful.

19

The name thing, paint is extremely specific and names not even close. Way back when General Motors and others would assign 4 different names to the same color so that a Pontiac would be named the same as a Corvette or Buick.

I admire the want to travel down this road to frustration and offer my best thoughts.

The last time I counted there were over 100,000 colors and 300,000 names.

21

The name thing, paint is extremely specific and names not even close. Way back when General Motors and others would assign 4 different names to the same color so that a Pontiac would be named the same as a Corvette or Buick.

I admire the want to travel down this road to frustration and offer my best thoughts.

The last time I counted there were over 100,000 colors and 300,000 names.

– Curt Wilson

Even to the point, car paint, for example, where a numerical Dupont paint code might indicate the same shade regardless of "name", but the hue variance has nevertheless changed over the years... Perhaps due to changes in pigment sourcing or changes in chemical composition.

22

And check out some actual color variances.

23

Even to the point, car paint, for example, where a numerical Dupont paint code might indicate the same shade regardless of "name", but the hue variance has nevertheless changed over the years... Perhaps due to changes in pigment sourcing or changes in chemical composition.

– Tartan Phantom

And there are typically 8 variations to assist on matching side tone, top center and all other angles.The goal behind all this was to blend the color to hide the repair.

I know many don't know this but DuPont exited the paint business about 15 years ago.

25

Can anyone say "can of worms" at this point? I suppose it's really all down to the degree of accuracy or inaccuracy that we're going to allow.

Really hoping that Baxter will chime in at some point. We're going to need his input on whether we can make this doable within the confines of the site, or if it would need to be done as a PDF chart.


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