Other Equipment

Gretsch Ukulele info needed

1

I’ve had this for a while and although I really don’t play it much I got it out he other day and started looking closely at it. It’s lightweight Mahogany with friction tuners. It has a gold Gretsch decal on the headstock, but apart from that I can’t fond any other stamps or markings. I’ve been looking online for more information, but it’s slim pickings , and what I can find, isn’t really verifiable. Anybody know anything about the history of these?

2

It doesn't have a tag on the inside? Like this?

3

It doesn't have a tag on the inside? Like this?

– Suprdave

Dave, this is not a new instrument. It pre-dates the modern Roots collection by a long, long time. the logo on the headstock is a diagonal block-letter Gretsch T-roof / ball logo, which would likely put it somewhere between the mid-40's and the mid-'70's. While there were earlier iterations of the T-roof logo dating back to the 1930's, they did not use all block letters. I haven't seen a slanted block-letter T-roof logo prior to 1943, but they might exist-- Somebody let me know if I'm wrong.

Norm949 sent me a larger version of the photo-- and I've made an close-up edit of the logo as well--

4

My best guess is 45-55 but I’m really spitballing in this one

5

I'm thinking along the same lines... it looks too new to be from the jazz age, when ukuleles were ultra-popular. I'm thinking mid-40's.

23 skidoo!

6

I've found a French site that seems to mostly be dedicated to the Gretsch-Bacon Banjo-Ukulele venture. I had no idea what beautiful Banjos were made during that era, the headstocks were works of Art, its easy to see where the Gretsch Falcon got its jeweled knobs, and maybe even the Silver Jet's finish. If you are a Bacon enthusiast, this will be well worth a look. Towards the bottom of the page they address Gretsch Ukulele's and according to the Author, this particular line began in 1940. Looks like they had a couple of different versions, I'd sure like to see a copy of one of the brochures. Very interesting site.

Link

7

Wow, here's a much extended version of Gretsch's 1936 125 page catalog that I'd not seen before, it includes Gretsch, Rex and National as well as Resonators and Tiples, Banjos and Ukuleles. Towards the very end there is an entire line of Gretsch Ukulele's, not sure I see mine though. I would say this is a model 34, but it does not not have a bone nut. Everything else fits though. I was just telling my 14 year old Daughter that if she would have been around in the 1920 or 30's, on any given Sunday you could drive by a Park and see Guys serenading their Lady friends on Ukes. They were a big deal for sure.

Link

8

Norm, that '36 catalog is quite a find! I'm going to post a link to it from the Vintage section as there is so much more info than the regular '36 catalog and gives quite a good background to Gretsch from those days. Great sleuthing!

9

Well okay then . She sure doesn't look very old and I had seen that Logo before. I figured maybe first generation roots collection.

10

Wow, here's a much extended version of Gretsch's 1936 125 page catalog that I'd not seen before, it includes Gretsch, Rex and National as well as Resonators and Tiples, Banjos and Ukuleles. Towards the very end there is an entire line of Gretsch Ukulele's, not sure I see mine though. I would say this is a model 34, but it does not not have a bone nut. Everything else fits though. I was just telling my 14 year old Daughter that if she would have been around in the 1920 or 30's, on any given Sunday you could drive by a Park and see Guys serenading their Lady friends on Ukes. They were a big deal for sure.

Link

– 949Norm

I would say that it is a model 30 or 32 instead of a model 34. The reason for this is yours has an unbound body, and a simpler soundhole inlay. Also, as you said, yours definitely does not have a bone saddle or bone nut.

We know that features changed over time-- particularly ornamentation. Because of this and of the logo design, I still think that it's a mid-40's model--perhaps one of the models shown in the catalog, but still a later version.

11

Curiously, they are dead ringers for Kamaka's, Jesse Kalima's, and Koaloha's from the early 40s to late 50's. The headstock shape is pure Kamaka, and the upper sail on the end of the headstock is Kamaka and Kalima. I would love to play one of these Gretsch's up close. Curiously, the headstocks on these instruments sometimes didn't match the arcs. Many times, one was bigger, or deeper than the other. My lady has a '58 Kamaka soprano that has that trait, but due to repair.

12

Your uke is 50s... not as coveted as the very similar (but broader product line) from the 30s. The several models offered in the 50s have the “circle Gretsch” logo on the headstock. The 30s did not have a logo on the headstock.


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