Modern Gretsch Guitars

Who’s up for a custom-color Electromatic 12-string?


Gretsch is showing a special run of Electromatic 5422 doublecut 6-strings in the modern, bluish metallic Cadillac green. It looks stupidly gorgeous to me.

But I already have a modern Gretsch in that color.

What I'M jonesing for is a 5422 12-string - except that the available black, poopbrown, and sunburst colors don't quite do it for me.

Gretsch has already done Electromatics in various custom colors - with great success - but never the 12-string. I say it's time.

I'm hoping we can show enough serious interest here to get a dealer to thrown down for a custom run of the 5422-12 in the color shown above. Can I hear an Amen?

We think the minimum for a custom run is 16 guitars. With absolutely no confidence I'm right, I'm thinking Rocky at Street Sounds might find merit in this if we approached him with maybe half that number in serious buyers.

I'm serious about it, Bob Howard has said (in another thread) that he'd be in, and norm949 said he'll make a third. Who else we got?

Hot DAMN, that's a tasty-looking confection there. You need a 12-string, and wouldn't that satisfy?

Register your interest here!

(Note that manufacturers and dealers learned long ago not to put much stock in guys on forums drooling all over their keyboards and saying "man, I'd buy one of those if you made it." Don't let's be those pipe-dreaming tire-kickers. Be confident you'd be ready to follow through. Like if a dealer said, "yeah - but will you make a refundable deposit?", I'd be, like "do you take PayPal?")


I seem to recall Joe telling me once that the FSR runs had been increased to 24. Be sure to check with Rocky on that.


Bob! You keep raising the limit.

Of course we'll be running this all by Rocky - or someone in a position to make it happen. I don't think Joe will let me place the order. (If he did, he'd tell me what the minimum was...)

You in? You need a Gretsch 12, no?


I do love the color very much. It looks even bluer than our Country Clubs.

As for the limits, sorry about that. But, I do recall being very surprised by the increased amount that Joe told me. I just can't remember what that amount was.


Beautiful color. Personally, I don't think I would play a 12 string very much, as cool as it would be to own one. Good luck with this. I hope it comes together and will enjoy the sound clips.


V2 revisionist Cadillac Green is a nice shade of blue.


V2 revisionist Cadillac Green is a nice shade of blue.

– Curt Wilson

Ha! Hit the nail on the head!


My first brush with a Electromatic-12 was Michael Lundy’s in Balto. I remember I couldn’t put it down. I’ve been lusting ever since then. Then he showed me his new 6122-12. It was in natural. A beautiful thing. I liked it a lot but I was poor then. I couldn’t even afford to buy his Electromatic (he was then selling). I’m doing better now but I can’t justify a Pro line price. I had a Ric 660-12 for a minute, but you know, the huge investment. I tried a Dano 12. Just didn’t jive. I played Prot’s Italia. Cool, but no Gretsch.

The 5412-12 is the right balance of price/performance for my needs and this scheme may save me from a poop brown guitar.

I’m assuming it’ll cost a bit under a grand (less than the new iPhone X) like the other 5422-12 colors. I’m putting the money aside right now.

BTW - This is the closest I will ever get to approving of a blue guitar, as I have a history of never condoning such a thing. But this color is just green enough give me a thrill. Wouldn’t mind a bit if it was a tad greener, like Curt’s old Country Club. It’s seems to me like the old MGs and Triumphs in British racing green when they went a bit bluer sometime in the 1960s. Didn’t care much for the change but I still wanted one.


You guys! I never thought I wanted a 12 string and now you have me checking out videos on Youtube. This guitar would be great for solo gigs that I currently use my Epiphone Casino for. The 12 strings really fill out the sound and give the great tone of the 5422 a natural sounding chorus. If I got one I would want it in a natural or black finish though so I'm getting off this train now. Bunch of enablers!

Here's one of our own jacodiego.


I wish they didn't call it Cad green. Deep Mermaid Aquamarine would suit me.

Whatever it's called, I like it on its own terms.


I wish they didn't call it Cad green. Deep Mermaid Aquamarine would suit me.

Whatever it's called, I like it on its own terms.

– Proteus

I agree Tim, calling it Cadillac Green is insulting to tradition. I like your suggestion for this color. It looked great on the CC's....very classy color that compliments the gold appointments. For me, this color along with the radiator coolant green are the best colors Gretsch has come out with in many years.

The background folks at Gretsch sure march to a different drummer, that being clarity in using the English language. Cadillac Green is a very specific color used on the CC when it came out in the 50's and continued into the '60's. Either recreate it for the re-issues or give it an appropriate new name, something along the lines of your suggestion. This current decision is in concert with erroneously calling their laminate tops "solid".


I'd be interested in the 5422-12 in that shade of Blue/Green for sure, that's gorgeous


Damn, if that were to be available for a comparable price to the standard street prices of a 5422-12 I don't think I could say no.


Please say it'll have a 12 string Bigsby!


Proteus, don't you think that color has more blue than your Country Club? At the end of the day, your guitar is definitely green whereas this one looks blue to me.


Interesting, I noticed in that vid that his has the electromatic logo on the headstock. My gold-on-black one doesn't. Whut gives, fellers?


not fond of the color blue on a guitar but thats a great christmas bulb color! :)


calling it Cadillac Green is insulting to tradition.

Dave, I don't think I'd be that outraged about it.

The debates about "which is the real Cadillac green" have arisen and fallen periodically. My data set from the world of vintage Gretsch guitars is less extensive than that of any of our resident vintage experts, and I don't propose to contradict them.

But judging from examples I've seen, either the color varied some within the era - and/or individual examples have faded or otherwise mutated differently.

I don't think I'm overstepping my understanding of the history to note that Jimmie Webster was influenced by automotive culture of the day, particularly GM's; that's not unusual for the era, as Harley Earl's design department at GM was hugely influential for style and color across every domain of American consumer culture.

On point, I think Jimmie explicitly said his inspiration for the White Falcon was GM's Motorama custom cars. Thus it's not too dangerous a jump to think maybe "Cadillac" in "Cadillac green" refers to the Cadillac automobile - and I think I remember it's been established that Gretsch referred to GM color charts when choosing guitar colors.

GM - and especially GM design - from the 30s through the 60s is one of my abiding fascinations in automotive history; this interest emphatically does NOT make me an expert, but I've gone on a couple excursions through GM color chips from the era in search of the Real Cadillac Green, and compared candidates with images of vintage guitars from the era. (Any posts on those adventures went down with the database in 2014.)

There were various candidate colors across the years in question which compared reasonably with various guitars of the era (allowing for vagaries in photo reproduction). Most were not metallic - or so very slightly metallic it hardly counted. Some were more yellowish, with that almost olive cast, some more bluish (but definitely not as bluish as the recent metallic Cad green, nor as the picture above).

Does that mean Gretsch never used a dark metallic green with a faint bluish cast in the 50s? I don't know. I think it does mean that there's no one Cadillac green that anyone needs to defend like it's sacred ground.

There's also this small and possibly irrelevant data point. I have a 1955 Coupe de Ville two-toned with Cape Ivory body and Wedgwood Green metallic top. (Original '55 colors.) Back when I was an innocent, untutored Gretsch neophtye, all ignernt of what might be the original Cadillac green and the disagreement about it, I got a modern 2004 Country Club in Cad green - not because I wanted a reproduction of a vintage Cad green Country Club, but because I'd heard a recording by Joao Erbetta of a Club with Dynasonics, I wanted to explore that tone, and simply liked the color I saw.

I was naturally delighted when what I've since been assured is the WRONG "Cadillac green" paint on that guitar seemed as dead-on match as who could imagine for the Wedgwood green on the roof of my car. As I said at the time, it could just be a marvelous coincidence. While the universe doesn't normally arrange things for me with that degree of synchronicity, I was and remain happy to consider my Country Club to have what is to me an acceptable version of Cadillac green.

In testament to which I submit this photograph, taken outside in natural light, of said guitar lying atop said car.

I willingly concede that neither the guitar nor the car may ever have had Cadillac green squirted in their direction...but it is a Cadillac, and that is green.

I think we do agree that, whatever it is, it's a classy and elegant color. My reason for almost wishing they didn't call it Cadillac green is not so much to protect the sanctity of the "original" color (whatever it was), but because every time it's mentioned, it brings up this conversation about this apparently sensitive bone of contention. They could call it Mortimer and it would still be a lovely color.

The background folks at Gretsch sure march to a different drummer, that being clarity in using the English language.

Well, the sentiment here may be a wee bit harsh (aside from the fact that, grammatically, your sentence literally says that Gretsch's different drummer is clarity in using the language - which I think is opposite what you really meant). But taking the intended point, I'm not sure I'd equate discrepancies in very specific terminology from your preferred definitions with lack of clarity. I don't think there's any intention either to deceive or to rewrite history. Like all of us, they're just people trying to do their jobs.

I do realize, though, that policing the use of "solid spruce top" is one of your hobby horses. Language is one of mine. Neither your efforts nor mine are likely to bend the course of things.

Sez Ric12:

don't you think that color has more blue than your Country Club? At the end of the day, your guitar is definitely green whereas this one looks blue to me.

My guitar looks green to me too, even in the morning.

I kinda suspect the color in Gretsch's picture above has been shifted by lighting in the room, shadows, or the camera angle. I'd LOVE it if the color of these 5422s (and this 5422-12, if it comes to pass) actually matches the way this color looks here - but I'm guessing it might actually be the familiar modern metallic Cad green which causes so much consternation. Either way, I'll take it.

I guess, though, I hope it's an accurate picture and this is yet another version of Gretsch Cadillac green. It's been 10 years; it's time for another one!

But this is a distraction from the mainline here: we got to move these refrigerators, we got to move these Cad green 12s...

Step right up, folks!


I’ve worked on 14 vintage caddy green guitars and they’re all the same color. If anything time would make the color darker as the clear coat breaks down over time. Keep in mind there’s a ton of lead in Duco lacquer so it doesn’t fade like stain does.

The green color called Cadillac Green was never used by GM.


I make a motion to formally call the new color V2 Revisionist Cadillac Green. Can I get a second?


I agree -- I think that the color of the guitar as depicted in that photograph is gorgeous and would look good on any Gretsch model guitar.


This is British Leyland’s version of British racing green in 1964

This is British Leyland‘s version of British racing green in 1974.

Just saying...


British Racing Green is such a classic color.

Keep in mind that 1 in 12 men have some color deficiency and women are 1 in 200.

What you think you’re seeing might not be what others see.


Eye doctor said when I was 10 and first got glasses that I'm color-blind for green and gray - but I think that's mostly when the colors are very light or very dark. Like I can tell what Gretsch calls Aspen Green is really light gray.


As I say, I defer to them what's seen more guitars in the flesh - not to mention sold paint for a living!

I guess I just don't think it's a religious matter - and I shouldn't have participated in derailing the purpose of this thread over the name of a color. For the sake of obviating such discussions alone, I wish the name of the modern color(s) were changed. I'm not sensitive about or attached to the name of the color, and will happily go back to privately appreciating the lucky coincidence that Gretsch's wrong modern color matches that on my old car.

AnyWAY - whatever the color is on that limited-run 5422, I like the way it looks right there in that picture. Vintage Cadillac Green is a nice color as well - but I wouldn't like it as well on the 5422 doublecut.


That is my point, too, that it doesn’t matter what you call it. Looks nice.

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