Modern Gretsch Guitars

Will Custom Shop Do This?

1

Hi all,

I am interested in having a very simple variation made on the Double Anniversary - basically a blending of features between the current "Vintage Select" and "Players Edition" models (i.e., historically accurate body, with rocker bridge, TUSQ nut, locking tuners, etc.).

The three main custom features I'd want are: 1) Nitro finish; 2) a bound fingerboard like later Anniversaries; and 3) fat neck profile (.950 1st fret).

This is nothing fancy, just a Double Anniversary with the specs I most prefer. Will the Gretsch Custom Shop do something so pedestrian? I've only ever dealt with the Gibson and Fender custom shops before, so don't know how Gretsch works.

Can anyone advise please?

Thanks, DeWayne

2

Hello and welcome to our addiction.

You would have to get with an authorized dealer that does Custom Shop orders to determine if these options are available. There are a few to the right of the screen i.e. Blackrider, Shanghai, or Street Sounds that should be able to assist you.

If you decide on one, please share here when she arrives.

Best to ya!

Dave

3

Thanks Dave, appreciate it. I am a customer of Wildwood Guitars, and I see they're a Custom Shop dealer, so I'd work with them. I was just wondering, in general, if admittedly non-sexy customizations are typically handled by the Custom Shop. Fender and Gibson do stuff like this all the time, but it seems like all I ever see from the Gretsch Custom shop are amazing metal flake jobs, unique wood, super high-dollar jobs, etc.

Thanks, DeWayne

4

Thanks Dave, appreciate it. I am a customer of Wildwood Guitars, and I see they're a Custom Shop dealer, so I'd work with them. I was just wondering, in general, if admittedly non-sexy customizations are typically handled by the Custom Shop. Fender and Gibson do stuff like this all the time, but it seems like all I ever see from the Gretsch Custom shop are amazing metal flake jobs, unique wood, super high-dollar jobs, etc.

Thanks, DeWayne

– DeWayne Hayes

They definitely do "normal" versions of gretsch guitars in the Custom Shop. Like you, I have a few ideas I've dreamed up that are pretty pedestrian, unfortunately I don't have experience trying to bring those ideas into reality. Let us know what you find out!

P.S. I do know they won't make you a hide glue guitar. There was a very upset poster here a while ago that the CS couldn't make that happen for them.

5

I've heard you only get two neck profiles to choose from. That's unfortunate, as is the hide glue omission. It seems that if you are paying that much anyway, you should be able to add on costs for special requests. Vintage Gretsch would do weird stuff if requested: a Dynasonic Country Club - with Catseye soundholes; one pickup Country Clubs, a single Green Annie with a hard-V neck profile; Clipper with an inlaid headstock and thumbnail markers, etc.

7

Only two neck profiles?

– DeWayne Hayes

That was last we heard. Please do check out the custom shop scene and feel free report back. Inquiring minds wanna know.

8

IMO, if they won't do anything you want, based on the fact a custom shop for anything should be a one-off hand made thing, they shouldn't call themselves a 'custom' shop....that's clearly a misnomer. I would rather pay a good luthier to make me what I want and get what I want than deal with a shop claiming to do custom work, when the 'custom' treatment is their version, not mine.

For instance, if I want an archtop top that's carved and 3/4" thick Stern should give me a price for it, and while obviously going to be more expensive, the price should relate to the time it takes. Same for neck width and profile. I provide it, you make it. That's custom work.

9

IMO, if they won't do anything you want, based on the fact a custom shop for anything should be a one-off hand made thing, they shouldn't call themselves a 'custom' shop....that's clearly a misnomer. I would rather pay a good luthier to make me what I want and get what I want than deal with a shop claiming to do custom work, when the 'custom' treatment is their version, not mine.

For instance, if I want an archtop top that's carved and 3/4" thick Stern should give me a price for it, and while obviously going to be more expensive, the price should relate to the time it takes. Same for neck width and profile. I provide it, you make it. That's custom work.

– Windsordave

I agree with Windsordave, to a point. As long as the modifications are within the realm of normality for that particular retail guitar company, I don't understand why a custom shop wouldn't make it. So what's normal?

If a customer wanted a White Falcon with a headstock that was twice as large as a normal one, that's not normal. That's unacceptable. Or if a customer wanted Fender to put a 9 inch lower horn on the body, that's not acceptable. The guitar has to look like the company it's coming from, i.e., aesthetically pleasing.

Regarding hide glue and materials, I side with the custom shop. Taking a standard Gretsch model and having it modded for electronics, color, frets, and such should be OK. No Frankensteins though! Leave that to the small luthiers.

10

I do agree with you Jim that a company's custom shop be allowed limits so that products manufactured resemble items from that company, but the Gretsch shop wants too many restrictions on what it'll produce. It uses many of the machines used to make the general lines of guitars and doesn't want to go beyond a very limited number of guidelines.

They should call this division something other than custom shop, maybe modification shop as just providing odd color schemes or and extra pup doesn't make them a 'custom' shop as the definition of the word describes. If variations on the normal features isn't on the table, you aren't a custom shop.

11

It's an interesting issue - how custom is custom? I'm not on either side, especially as I will never be able to afford a CS Gretsch. I guess I can understand the two-neck-profile thing, even if it does seem rather limiting if true. I can imagine that if you're building a guitar for someone then something as hard to define as neck shape could lead to all sorts of disputes.

12

Does anyone have experience with Gibson Custom Shop or the Fender Custom Shop? I wonder how far they customize.

13

Ford used to call their entry-level car the Custom. It’s a word that decades ago escaped whatever dictionary definition it may have. It’s virtually meaningless - or rather so exuberantly replete with multitudes of meanings that at this point it “means” exactly what the person or organization wielding says it means.

To a mass market manufacturer with a catalog full of tightly spec’ed products, any product feature or appointment that varies from those specifications is “custom.” It requires special administration and special handling from end to end. (While we’re at it, does “special” have any reliable meaning? Is it something truly special - unusual, extraordinary - or is it the stripped-down junior version of a item? If special is so special, why is it also the term for something marked down cheap for quick sale?)

That a shop bearing the name “custom” should limit the extent of variations and modifications to their base product is eminently reasonable.

In a way, Gretsch making any change to a catalog model is more “special” and more “custom” than your one-off bespoke luthier scratch-building you whatever your heart desires: the luthier always works up one-offs, nothing unusual about that. He builds hot rods. A Custom Shop, per FMIC practice, is doing factory customs.

No problem. Gretsch gets to decide what a Gretsch is, and how it shall be made.

14

Thanks for the feedback, guys.

I can assure you, if the Custom Shop won't entertain a reasonable request on the neck profile, there's no way I'm paying thousands for a "custom guitar." I learned years ago that if a guitar neck is too thin for me, I just won't enjoy it, so through trial and error I found a profile around .890-.950 at the first fret is what I need to really enjoy the guitar.

We'll see what Gretsch says, but if asking for a thicker neck profile (one well within the range for Fender/Gibson) is not allowed, then it's a non-starter. Heck, years ago I asked Gibson Custom if they could try to replicate the neck on a favorite Les Paul of mine and they said, "Sure, send it in." In my mind, that's custom.

Incidentally, I see a previously sold Masterbuilt Duo-Jet on Wildwood's website that had a .89 (1st fret) dimension, which is the thickest neck of any Gretsch on Wildwood's site. Most are around .83 to .85. But it's been done before ... so hopefully they're willing to go outside their normal pattern.

Will let you know what I hear back from Wildwood.

Thanks, DeWayne

16

Hi all,

I am interested in having a very simple variation made on the Double Anniversary - basically a blending of features between the current "Vintage Select" and "Players Edition" models (i.e., historically accurate body, with rocker bridge, TUSQ nut, locking tuners, etc.).

The three main custom features I'd want are: 1) Nitro finish; 2) a bound fingerboard like later Anniversaries; and 3) fat neck profile (.950 1st fret).

This is nothing fancy, just a Double Anniversary with the specs I most prefer. Will the Gretsch Custom Shop do something so pedestrian? I've only ever dealt with the Gibson and Fender custom shops before, so don't know how Gretsch works.

Can anyone advise please?

Thanks, DeWayne

– DeWayne Hayes

As Supradave mentioned, you’ll need to go through one of the dealers. They should be able work with you and the custom shop to answer your questions as to what the will/will not do.

I ordered a CS Jet last year through Wildwood. Unfortunately, there was some miscommunication and the guitar had fret ends I wasn’t expecting and didn’t like. Ultimately, Stephan Stern called me and we arranged for me to bring him the guitar in Corona which is 90 minutes from me. I went up there and Stephan showed me around the facility, from the normal Fender production floor to the Fender custom shop and then the Gretsch custom shop. Pretty awesome!

I can’t answer your specific questions, but here’s what I can tell you. They have their own shop area and their own equipment. They don’t use the machines or templates in the production area. They had numerous neck templates. I don’t know if they’d do a custom one. The same appeared true for the tops/backs/sides. I think the typical way they work is that their CS dealers dream up and request certain CS guitars. For instance, Wildwood apparently wanted to do Paisley Jets so the CS supplies them with some number of those. That’s what I ordered, but with my specs!

I think the bulk of what they do is build existing models, but with custom material, finishes, and relic-ing.

You certainly can specify lots of things. I specified the hardware, the paisley top, color of the neck, kind of wood, fretboard, inlays, amount and type of relic-ing.

By all means, call up one of the dealers and hit them up with all your questions!

I’ll post a couple phots of mine.

18

I don't get the bashing. They make some pretty wild stuff. I'm not sure why anyone would think "custom" = "anything I want." The only two neck profiles thing seems a little odd, if true. But it's their custom shop, not mine.

19

I don't think anyone is "bashing" ... it's just kind of ludicrous if something like a neck profile is nonnegotiable on a so-called "custom guitar." As yet, it remains to be seen if that's the case, so just some good natured discussion of hypothetical scenarios. It's all good.

DeWayne

20

Phew! Custom Shop came back on my request for quote.

They didn't raise any issues with my request for a .950" neck profile, but yowsa ... for a Double Anniversary, two-tone smoke green, nitro finish and thicker neck profile, they wanted a retail price of ... $13,950.

Needless to say, I won't be getting my nitro-finished Annie from the Gretsch Custom Shop. But just to close the circle, it appears they will do a fat neck on request.

DeWayne

21

Yowza is right! I would have thought only Falcons would poissibly breach $10k and even that would be excessive.

22

"Does anyone have experience with Gibson Custom Shop or the Fender Custom Shop? I wonder how far they customize."

The current incarnation of Gibson Custom will only sell you what is on their WEB site and even that may not be available.

23

I wanted a single cutaway 6122 built using Hot Hide Glue instead of that vinyl based crap they use. Hide Glue is what was used in the Brooklyn days. Gibson uses it as their stock glue in the Custom Shop/Historic guitars. Sadly they will not use it! And Sadly is why I'll never buy a Gretsch Custom Shop instrument. I bought an original for about the same amount. If I ever did get a custom Shop Gretsch, I would send it to Curt @ Old Schoolhouse Guitars and have him take it apart and rebuild it with Hot Hide Glue. My Gibson Historics all have Hide Glue Construction. I don't get why Gretsch won't do this. Sonically it so much better sounding as it dries out and crytalizes pulling the woods together.


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