Modern Gretsch Guitars

Who won something at Julien’s Gretsch auction?

1

So after 12 hours and 900 auction lots Fred Gretsch's big yard sale (at Julien's) is over. Mostly "modern era" leftovers from the 90s, including many guitars labeled as "prototypes" made up the majority of the event. But there were also 20 or so actual vintage Gretsch guitar lots, some marketed as being from the Bachman-Gretsch collection, and then some odd-ball factory furniture, and tooling peices... and even Fred's Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Because this was a charity event the bidding was often ridiculous (i.e. war-time Synchro 100 selling for $2250 plus 28% buyers premium) and that's great for the Gretsch family charitable efforts. I had 3 or 4 guitars I had set my sights on to try and score... but the crazy bidding pretty much took them all way above my budget. However there were some deals to be had.

Any GDPers score anything cool?! I got a couple things... starting with this "prototype" cats-eye model they tagged as "Model X".

2

My only impulse-buy happened when this guitar was stalled at $400. I paid $500... and I look forward to trying out the Junior style smaller body format.

3

I also scored a wooden factory parts box... just for the historical significance. It was also my "practice lot" that I used to better understand how the on-line bidding worked. I put a bid in, and forgot about it. Next day it turned out I had won it!

So who else won something cool??

4

If there was a Bikini double neck, I missed out.

5

I was eying the Diddley with chrome hardware but it fast rocketed out of my price range.

6

I was eying the Diddley with chrome hardware but it fast rocketed out of my price range.

– Mark Nason

Yeah Mark... lots of guitars that would have sold on Ebay for under $1000 went for crazy prices.

9

Well done, Ed. That Model X makes my heart go pitter pat, but I’m a pushover for cat’s eye Historics.

10

The prices on many of the guitars were just stupid. 90’s guitars for double or triple eBay and Reverb prices.

11

I picked this up and also got a cowboy case for my 59 6120.

12

I was stunned at how much most the husks went for. There were absolutely no deals to be had. The best bidding was earlier in the mornings both days, but even then some stuff went for stupid money. Ebay and Reverb are going to be loaded with overpriced Gretsches in the near future....

13

I went through the catalog looking for a particular Slingerland rack tom, two floor toms, and a bass drum from the 70’s that I saw in Savanna. They had a prototypical brass wrap. On the one hand, it bummed me out that they weren’t in the online catalog. On the other hand, it saved me from myself coz I wouldn’t have had the room for them. I would have bought them right there in Savanna but at the time, Mr. Fred wanted to sell everything lock, stock, and barrel. (Ironically, I was a Slingy endorser back when Mr. Fred owned the company.)

Ah well, can’t have everything. Who has the room?

14

I think it was extremely short sighted that the Gretsch specific tools weren’t separated and offered to the repair community who keep these guitars alive on a free use basis. I can’t imagine which fireplace mantel these are going to end up on, really tragic. I’ll say it again, it can’t be about money and publicity all the time.

15

I saw the X model go by. Very handsome guitar.

16

I think it was extremely short sighted that the Gretsch specific tools weren’t separated and offered to the repair community who keep these guitars alive on a free use basis. I can’t imagine which fireplace mantel these are going to end up on, really tragic. I’ll say it again, it can’t be about money and publicity all the time.

– Curt Wilson

At the factory, I saw a pallet stacked 4 feet high with double-cutaway archtop panels, minus F-holes. I pictured what a luthier could do with a big ol’ stack like that.

17

That's the prize pair to be distilled out of that mass of guitars, Ed. Two orange catseyes, sibling-sized. I liked both of them when I saw them. Both sleek and elegant; they'll display well together. You might be able to sell them to me someday. (If you're going for tone rather than just pure collectibility, you might be in the market for pickups soon.)

If the prices y'all are reporting in this thread don't include the 30% buyer premium or shipping, that increases the pain. If at least the buyer premiums are included already, it alleviates it somewhat.

I suspect Fred and Dinah are well pleased with the results.

And, in defense of largely premium prices, it was a unique offering - morless a direct manufacturer offering of tools, fixtures, surplus and developmental instruments (plus a few classic production examples). That's bound to have drawn more interest, and emphasized a sense of historical relevance (maybe even importance) in acquisition. I don't recall other major guitar brands having had similar sales - and if they had, it wouldn't have been the family bearing the name who directly offered and blessed the dispersion of artifacts and relics (in the religious sense). Maybe the Rickenhalls or Paul R Smith will offer something like.

Buyt when Gibson needs to clear out the warehouse, they just bulldoze stuff.

18

I was thinking about the fact that Fred sat on much of the auction inventory for 25-30 years before making it available for this event. Just to fantasize... what if Leo Fender had held a similar event 25-30 years after the initial Fender guitar launch, and somewhere around 1980 hosted a big auction of unfinished 50s guitars, parts, and never seen prototypical and test guitars? That would be a little prior to the rabid interest in "vintage" guitars... and I wonder if it would have been more of a liquidation at bargain basement prices.

19

Buyt when Gibson needs to clear out the warehouse, they just bulldoze stuff. Proteus

I know, right? The sight of that big shovel rolling over all those Firebird X guitars was something you just can't un-see! I felt sick watching it. Why didn't Gibson donate them to a school system, like those high end PRS guitars were up in Alaska? It didn't sit well with me, and I'm sure many other people, that Gibson just smashed them into smithereens!

20

That's the prize pair to be distilled out of that mass of guitars, Ed. Two orange catseyes, sibling-sized. I liked both of them when I saw them. Both sleek and elegant; they'll display well together. You might be able to sell them to me someday. (If you're going for tone rather than just pure collectibility, you might be in the market for pickups soon.)

If the prices y'all are reporting in this thread don't include the 30% buyer premium or shipping, that increases the pain. If at least the buyer premiums are included already, it alleviates it somewhat.

I suspect Fred and Dinah are well pleased with the results.

And, in defense of largely premium prices, it was a unique offering - morless a direct manufacturer offering of tools, fixtures, surplus and developmental instruments (plus a few classic production examples). That's bound to have drawn more interest, and emphasized a sense of historical relevance (maybe even importance) in acquisition. I don't recall other major guitar brands having had similar sales - and if they had, it wouldn't have been the family bearing the name who directly offered and blessed the dispersion of artifacts and relics (in the religious sense). Maybe the Rickenhalls or Paul R Smith will offer something like.

Buyt when Gibson needs to clear out the warehouse, they just bulldoze stuff.

– Proteus

Well Proteus... I really can't say anything for sure until I receive the guitars and spend some time noodling around with them. But... the Model X excites me as a 17" (hopefully deep bodied) archtop. So if she's a keeper, the pickguard will go, it may inherit a Bigsby B6, and I'll be investigating how easily I might be able to drop some Filter'Trons in there. "Prototype" be damned!

The Junior was a spontaneous purchase, and a reasonable deal, but I'm not as married to it... yet. I have been enjoying the 14" wide archtop body of an Ibanez AG85 this year, so I'm wondering if this Gretsch Junior will provide that same feel. If so... I'll evaluate what kind of pickups to introduce. Or... since it's red(ish) maybe I'll just sell it to you!

21

Buyt when Gibson needs to clear out the warehouse, they just bulldoze stuff. Proteus

I know, right? The sight of that big shovel rolling over all those Firebird X guitars was something you just can't un-see! I felt sick watching it. Why didn't Gibson donate them to a school system, like those high end PRS guitars were up in Alaska? It didn't sit well with me, and I'm sure many other people, that Gibson just smashed them into smithereens!

– Wade H

Its economics 101 page 1.

22

For the record: Winning something is when you get it for free. Auctions are when you pay more than anyone else was willing to!

23

Winning something is when you get it for free.

Well, not necessarily. Winning is also what happens in games, or when athletes who wanted to win more than anyone else sacrificed enough, and worked hard enough, with enough discipline, to come out on top. Or a performer or artist worked hard enough to have a successful career. (Whether they think it was all worth it, after they finally stand there in victory, is another question.)

While we substitute a price - mere money - as a convertible proxy for all the work and sacrifice that lay behind its accumulationy, perhaps "winning" an auction (by having and being willing to spend more money than the next guy) is not so different.

In the moment, I suppose it's all about how bad you want it, and how less bad the other guy didn't. But you had to do something to get to the moment where you can stand there as a player.

The most expensive house, and the most expensive car, I've owned were both bought at auction. When the hammer came down, it did occur to me that I was only one bid more foolish than the next guy. But mostly, I was happy with I'd "won," and felt happy - even proud - to get it. Competitive bidding is one way to test whether you actually want something as much as you think you do. When the prices are low-ish, easily affordable, and you're pretty sure you got a deal, it's not much of a contest. When the price is high enough to give pause, the stakes are higher...

24

I got a Bachman 6120. It was described poorly. As were several other vintage pieces. It was well within a reasonable price.

pictures will be shared in a few weeks or whenever it shows up.

25

I got a Bachman 6120. It was described poorly. As were several other vintage pieces. It was well within a reasonable price.

pictures will be shared in a few weeks or whenever it shows up.

– Gasmoney

Congrats Fred, nice catch.


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