Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Prototype? maybe not…


Not sure from the photos what is really going on here, but the seller asserts this is a prototype. Prototype what, I dunno. But he missed a great opportunity if this is true - "The most my father was ever offered was $18,500 from a collector in Virginia"



Reference to the unusual position of the neck pickup is what got my attention...seems to be from the same batch as this 6118 from the database - hard to find any pics of 6117s from that batch to see if pickup position is normal from that batch. Maybe so? Link

Not clear why the seller thinks the tuners are original to the guitar. Surely these types were not fitted 'upon request' at the factory? Ed?


I want to hear Ed opinion on every feature the seller mentions, particularly with reference to some things being special order or somehow unique to this guitar.

F'trons were the original pickups so no big deal there. True it's a double vs single Annie, but that's only worth a few hundred $ extra at most. The fact that it's a transition year is absolutely no big deal either and doesn't a 'prototype' make. Also, the neck pickup position being slightly different is a 'so what?' feature.

I certainly agree that someone missed the boat big time if in fact there was someone delusional enough to be willing to pay $18.5K for it. Should've taken the money & run!!

Personally, I don't care if this guitar had never been played, ever, it doesn't to me, have anything particularly rare or distinctive to give it a value even remotely close to his firm asking price. In this respect, he and the lady seller of the '60 CG in BC with the wrong S/N plaque should get together and reinforce each's assertion that their respective asking prices are justified.

This Annie is a Gretsch but very low on the totem pole of models in importance and more to the point, value. I've used this analogy before: you can't expect a nice original '60 Pontiac Parisienne to have the same value as a '60 Caddy Eldorado just because they're both GM products, which in effect is what this buyer is attempting to justify. IMO it isn't any form of prototype, just a nice Annie, and worth more in the $3000 range at best.

That 6108 that DC picked up awhile back has proven to be an actual odd model, combining features of a few other Gretsches but even so, again it's low on the totem pole of models and while being much more rare than this Annie, isn't worth close to this asking price. This is just the reality of the situation.

I'm wondering if anyone has written to this seller?


Frankly, I don't see anything about this guitar worth getting one's undies in a twist about. If I owned the thing I would replace the bridge and the tuners. "Trapeze tailpiece originally"

shrug< I likes me Bigsby.

Getting all in a swoon about alleged "prototypes" when they could have been a special order is something I don't understand.

A "one off" is not the same as a prototype. A prototype is an evolutionary variation. Like Gretsch trying different finishes on 6120's and 6122's in the late fifties before deciding to go walnut for the production 6122.

If the offer for 18 K + was serious he certainly should have grabbed it.

...nothing to see here, folks, keep moving


No mystery and certainly no prototype. First of all don't "prototypes" by definition came BEFORE whatever model they are a prototype of... not after the model has been on the market for 2 years?

The #362xx is a batch where the Filtertrons are still transitioning out. I have documented several examples of Annies from this group that have Filtertrons and several that have Hilos. The single Annies changed slightly before the double Annies did. Attached is #36237.

The guitar in question appears to me to be a very late example of the Filtertron Annie, with changed tuners, and a Bigsby added. I don't see anything special about it.


Was it common for doubles to be missing the neck binding? I thought this was a feature of the doubles.


I stand to be corrected, but I don't believe any Annies came with neck or headstock binding. One of the features reserved for models higher up the totem pole.


Charles (the seller) sounds (IMO) like he is totally full of B.S.


Actually my '67 came with both f-hole and neck/headstock binding. That's unusual I know but that's why I converted it to look like a '58 6120.


Was it common for doubles to be missing the neck binding? I thought this was a feature of the doubles.

– swansonron

Double Annies (6117/6118) got the fretboard binding around '62ish... the single Annie models (6124/6125) never got the fretboard binding.

Seller seems to think that brass wheels on the space control bridge is unusual. Every vintage example I've ever seen has brass wheels.

And "if" he thinks this is a high value guitar, why would he slap a new Bigsby on it (presumably drilling new holes to accommodate)?

The guy is either VERY clueless, or full of crap.


The guy is either VERY clueless, or full of crap. -- KCEddieB

Ed, you are obviously omitting one other distinct conjunctve possibility.


Double Annies (6117/6118) got the fretboard binding around '62ish... the single Annie models (6124/6125) never got the fretboard binding.

Seller seems to think that brass wheels on the space control bridge is unusual. Every vintage example I've ever seen has brass wheels.

And "if" he thinks this is a high value guitar, why would he slap a new Bigsby on it (presumably drilling new holes to accommodate)?

The guy is either VERY clueless, or full of crap.

– kc_eddie_b

But his father "bought this guitar from a catholic priest"!


But his father "bought this guitar from a catholic priest"!

– AaronW

I rest my case.....on the believability scale. Is the lesson here, be wary of buying a Gretsch from a Catholic priest?

I can't help myself - I'm going to write to the seller and tell him to check out our website where he's being crucified. Nice segue from the priest reference, eh?


Will change the ad from prototype to "unusual". Our family was told, in summer of 97 by a rep at Gretsch, that this was most likely some sort of "experimental or prototype" model.

And no, nothing stated in the ad is false.

No, the tuners were not replaced. At least not by Dad.

RE: the Bigsby, he always wanted a Bigsby. No, new holes did NOT have to be drilled.

Thanks for the email, Dave.


A new Asian-made 6117 reissue retails for almost $2900 @ Long-McQuade. A vintage like my father's is a genuine, made in USA complete with the unusual appointments. Sorry that you folks think I'm a crook or severely misguided, but I've not lied.

However, I've lowered the price to $7700 and changed the wording of my ad. If collectors think the price is too high, then I need not be concerned about the sadness of selling it. It's been part of my life since I was 4 yrs. old. I'm 48 now. :)

We need the money to move, but if $$ don't come with the sale of Dad's guitar, I guess we'll trust the good Lord for a different way.

I appreciate the helpful hints.

Thanks and God bless, Bro. Charles


Turns out that not all past employees at Gretsch would know what they're looking at Charles when it comes to specific batches of vintage guitars out of Brooklyn, unlike some genuine experts here who really do know these things. Those tuners were very likely replaced before your dad got the guitar, and the Gretsch employee was simply taking your word for it that they were factory fitted when in fact there is no evidence for such a claim such as a sales order specifying such parts from the factory. It's far more probable they were installed by a previous owner or possibly by a dealer when the guitar was new, which doesn't make it an original factory feature anyhow. Likewise the tailpiece. In other words, there is nothing unusual about this guitar whatsoever, apart from some original parts no longer being on it and the asking price being approximately three times what I would pay even if I was looking for a sunburst model (which are not as desirable as the two-tone green ones in my opinion). You might well believe otherwise, who knows you might even be able to convince a credulous buyer. So good luck with the sale, and if you don't get what you want for it then enjoy playing the old bugger because I reckon that would sound fantastic!


As an aside, based on personal experience, I'd be skeptical of anything a priest had to say on virtually any subject ranging from a guitar he is selling all the way to a theology he is peddling. True skepticism is healthy, in all things.


Thank you for your gracious comments, Doppler; much appreciated.

Again, like I said, this guitar has a couple of unique features. The Klusons were on it when Dad got it. I highly doubt that the priest changed them??

At any rate, I will keep it until my own passing before I'd let it go for what folks here are telling me it's worth. No offence taken, but there's no way that this vintage is worth the same as a new Asian reissue. At least, not to me. :)


The comparison to be used here Charles, isn't particularly against the price of a new Annie with similar appointments, but rather against other vintage Annies from the same era. The Annie was produced in the greatest number amongst the other models in the lineup so naturally there's more of these for sale at any given time. This competition keeps the prices lower along with the fact that Annies are below the WF, CG, 6120, CC & Tennie in both features and price when new. Your new asking price has entered Country Gent, 6120 & CC territory and therefore won't be competitive. Even if it were the more desirable and valuable two tone green version, it's still not going to compete with the other models I've mentioned.

I know this is disappointing news and that you would be putting the money towards a great family endeavour but these are the facts.


I think it's safe to say that our concern here is that the guitar is represented accurately, so unaware buyers don't get duped. Beyond that, it's your business as the seller to set the price. We regularly see ridiculously priced guitars on-line, and we tend to snicker about it amongst ourselves. But the reality is that it's really your right to price it any way you want. The result will simply be that the guitar doesn't sell. So go to it, I say... and best of of luck!


I would guess that $18.5 offer was actually hundreds and not thousands...which would put it about right where it should be.

While there were modifications made to the instrument, which would put it in the "player grade" category rather than the "collector grade" Brother Charles was hoping appears to have "patent applied for" pickups (hard to tell from the pictures) and trestle bracing, which makes it more desirable to most players.

It could have been the lighting, but this guitar appears to me to have a rosewood fingerboard, rather than the ebony as listed on the description.


@jacodiego - No, as it was told to me, the offer was $18, 500.

@everyone - This was back in the middle 90s; perhaps as late as '97. My folks lived in rural Nova Scotia and had a basic satellite TV package. Remember those big ol' 10 & 12 foot dishes? Anyway, there used to be a local broadcast (out of Virginia if memory serves . . .) that centred around old-time country music and music memorabilia. My father loved that old-time hoakey stuff.

As it turns out, the host of that little show, like my father, loved Hank Sr. & Chet Atkins. On the show, he was always chatting about Showbud steel guitars, Gretsches, Martins, and etc. Well one evening, my folks called and talked with the chap. My father described the guitar and apparently, the old-timer offered him $18,500. Now if it were just my father's story, I'd maybe just politely nod and dismiss it as an old fella's yammerings, but my Mom was in on the call, and her sunday school-teaching, golden-rule believin' hide wouldn't lie for love or money!

Now, before some other well-mannered soul starts accusing me of BS, let me explain something. At hat time, dad thought it was a '58. It was a few months later that I got in on the news, and after contacting Gretsch directly, we were informed that it is in fact a 1960 (transition?), most likely from the 1st quarter of 1960.

Contrary what some fellas here have said, the guitar did originally come with the installed ivory tuners and the patented FilterTrons. As a matter of fact, that's what really attracted my father's attention in the first place. It wasn't easy for a regular working stiff to come up with $525 back in '71 to buy a 2nd hand guitar. Nevertheless, he always loved Chet Atkins and in turn, Gretsch guitars.

The inclusion of the ivory Klusons was confirmed by the fellow at Gretsch that we spoke with back in the 90s. My mom will look through my fathers papers to try find the letter that Gretsch sent to him. I do know this, the folks at Gretsch did say that the guitar was unusual and very likely a "test" model, or special order, or some such.

I called Mom today and got the story on the Bigsby.

The original owner, a priest in London Ont. (Where we were living at the time) bought the guitar in hopes of encouraging parish youth to learn to play. Kids didn't like it - they wanted Fender or Gibson solid body. The father played a bit of swing and classic jazz. It was he who had the Bigsby removed and replaced with a Gretsch "trapeze" tail piece. This was done by the dealer: Bellone Music. I apologize if I've misspelled the name.

The Bigsby currently installed in a "real" Bigsby - the same model as the original.

Yes, the fretboard is ebony; not rosewood.


I'm in Montreal, I haven't got the guitar right here with me. Anyhoo . . . called Mom in Nova Scotia again. I asked her to carefully describe the fretboard and what it looks like under flashlight. It's a "dark, reddish/brown" she told me. I apologize, folks - I grew up hearing that it was ebony. It is most likely Brazilian rosewood then, yes? It is very, very hard, and it is very dark. But it's not black or really dark chocolate brown like the old Martin or the 125th Anniversary 6120DC. And no, I will NEVER sell those. *Smile. I'll have to put a few hundred into the Martin D35. Again it was bought BRAND NEW in 70 or '71. It needs some frets replaced and the pickguard repaired (it started peeling). Part of what the sale of the 6117 was going to be used for was to recondition the Martin, and to get us moved back home to Nova Scotia.

I honestly wasn't trying to misguide or lie - I've adjusted my Kijiji ad accordingly. I do, however, feel embarrassed for not having the facts as clear as I thought I had . . . DOH!


Charles (the seller) sounds (IMO) like he is totally full of B.S.

– senojnad

Not full of BS, sir. Perhaps misinformed, and hopeful of having something that I was led to believe (all my growing up years) was very valuable. No shyster here. I am, however, left feeling disillusioned and disappointed. Sheesh, since the past 18 years or so, I've been under the impression that this guitar was valued at $18,500 back in '97! Now to find out otherwise. . . Oy!

While some may just laugh at me and think me "another idiot", this is disheartening. My wife and I were really hoping to finally make our move to Nova Scotia and work full-time in ministry. I thought that my original asking price of $8,700 was a "steal" of a deal. There's a whole lot of heart tied into this "Annie", and it is in pristine condition. Regardless of what you more knowledgeable folks have assessed this instrument's value to be, it's worth far more to me. As such, I will most likely have to try come up with a second job, cause I sure won't part with it for only $3000.

Absolutely no offense intended, gents. It's been in the family since 1971; chances are it will stay with me until my own death. I just kinda feel silly and embarrassed now for thinking that this vintage Gretsch was "really something" . . .

Thank you for the help and educational blurbs, gents. I much prefer to be painfully aware than blissfully ignorant.


Hello Charles. I was the one who started this exchange with yourself by contacting you last night. It would certainly appear, at least to myself, that you've cleared up all the questions we raised with your initial posting on Kijiji and that you're an honourable fellow. I know this 'revelation' shall we call it, regarding precisely what your father's guitar both is and isn't, is a severe disappointment but on the positive side, you now have the accurate facts regarding its features and true estimated value range. It's not to say that someone wouldn't pay a higher price than we've estimated for this nice guitar, but just that it's extremely unlikely.

I myself thank you for your candor and wish you luck in your endeavour to move


Charles, have you ever removed a tuner, or two, to see if a previous tuner impression has been pressed into the lacquer clear coat? Might be worth investigating if you haven't, and easy enough to do next string change.

Also when you get a chance, or if someone can do it for you, please post a photo of the clear pick guard. There are ways to tell if it's a original guard or a reproduction.

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