Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Prototype? maybe not…

26

It is "really something", BrotherCharles. It's a great guitar that your father loved and played, even if the music was hokey, and he passed on to you. That makes it extra special. It may not be as valuable as some, but, it's priceless to you. Play it in good health.

27

One of the issues here is that you are putting a lot weight into what people at Gretsch told you in the 90's. But that was not the same company as the one from the 50/60s. All the factory records were lost, and in this post-89 company made it's guitars in Japan. So they meant well I'm sure, but they really wouldn't know much about the vintage instruments.

28

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

– Windsordave

Thank you, Dave. I appreciate your kind remarks. :)

29

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.

– Setzer

Hi Setzer. Here's a "front-on" picture that shows off the pick guard quite well.

https://app.box.com/s/fedhb...

<a href="http://www.mediafire.com/view/zb8h27676t8ubt9/DSCN0526.JPG" rel="nofollow">http://www.mediafire.com/vi...

<a href="http://www.mediafire.com/view/zb8h27676t8ubt9/DSCN0526.JPG" rel="nofollow">http://www.mediafire.com/vi...

30

It is "really something", BrotherCharles. It's a great guitar that your father loved and played, even if the music was hokey, and he passed on to you. That makes it extra special. It may not be as valuable as some, but, it's priceless to you. Play it in good health.

– wabash slim

Thanks for the kind remarks, wabash.

This quick little story adds further impact, and certainly irony.

You see, my father would never have wanted to "dupe" anyone either. He honestly believed, as I have all these years, that this guitar was very valuable. Over the years, there were times when things were very difficult financially for my folks. Work was hard to come by in rural Nova Scotia; that's why I moved out west to Alberta years ago. I'm in Montreal now.

During some of those rough times, my father sometimes considered selling his old Gretsch. He never did though. He always said that he wanted it to be kept for me, and if I needed to sell it, then I could do so to help my household in a tight spot. My folks didn't have much money and we always thought that the old Martin and the old Gretsch were valuable. We always figured that these could be sold equitably for a good price in case of emergency.

Ironic, isn't it? He kept it for me, and it turns out to not be very valuable after all. My family's in a tight spot, but the heirloom turns out to be only of moderate value. It puzzles me why it isn't worth more . . . but I digress.

31

Thanks for the kind remarks, wabash.

This quick little story adds further impact, and certainly irony.

You see, my father would never have wanted to "dupe" anyone either. He honestly believed, as I have all these years, that this guitar was very valuable. Over the years, there were times when things were very difficult financially for my folks. Work was hard to come by in rural Nova Scotia; that's why I moved out west to Alberta years ago. I'm in Montreal now.

During some of those rough times, my father sometimes considered selling his old Gretsch. He never did though. He always said that he wanted it to be kept for me, and if I needed to sell it, then I could do so to help my household in a tight spot. My folks didn't have much money and we always thought that the old Martin and the old Gretsch were valuable. We always figured that these could be sold equitably for a good price in case of emergency.

Ironic, isn't it? He kept it for me, and it turns out to not be very valuable after all. My family's in a tight spot, but the heirloom turns out to be only of moderate value. It puzzles me why it isn't worth more . . . but I digress.

– BrotherCharles

It isn't really a puzzle at all. A good analogy would be that Annies are a Pontiac Laurentian and the other models I mentioned in my other posts are the Chevies, Buicks, Oldsmobiles and finally Cadillacs. No matter how nice the Laurentian is, it isn't worth what any of the models above it are worth. When you combine that with the number of Annies made and available today on a continuous basis on every website, the price will never exceed the 'better' models. One final note, the Annie wasn't played by Chet Atkins or Brian Setzer so there's no top musician affiliation to boost popularity or desirability. It always was a working man's guitar; the rhythm guitar in an endless list of bands, never the lead guitar. It always did its job well and has always been appreciated for its role in music, but it was never a star.

32

One of the issues here is that you are putting a lot weight into what people at Gretsch told you in the 90's. But that was not the same company as the one from the 50/60s. All the factory records were lost, and in this post-89 company made it's guitars in Japan. So they meant well I'm sure, but they really wouldn't know much about the vintage instruments.

– kc_eddie_b

I understand that your knowledge and insights concerning vintage Gretsch guitars is held in high regard here, sir. Nonetheless, I don't think my parents nor myself were/are nincompoops for believing what the folks at Gretsch informed us of. After all, if you can't believe the so-called official channels, whom then can you believe? Ce ne c'est pas?

33

It isn't really a puzzle at all. A good analogy would be that Annies are a Pontiac Laurentian and the other models I mentioned in my other posts are the Chevies, Buicks, Oldsmobiles and finally Cadillacs. No matter how nice the Laurentian is, it isn't worth what any of the models above it are worth. When you combine that with the number of Annies made and available today on a continuous basis on every website, the price will never exceed the 'better' models. One final note, the Annie wasn't played by Chet Atkins or Brian Setzer so there's no top musician affiliation to boost popularity or desirability. It always was a working man's guitar; the rhythm guitar in an endless list of bands, never the lead guitar. It always did its job well and has always been appreciated for its role in music, but it was never a star.

– Windsordave

Thanks, Dave. Understood. :)

Still . . . sucks for me. I'll get over it though. :)

34

I understand that your knowledge and insights concerning vintage Gretsch guitars is held in high regard here, sir. Nonetheless, I don't think my parents nor myself were/are nincompoops for believing what the folks at Gretsch informed us of. After all, if you can't believe the so-called official channels, whom then can you believe? Ce ne c'est pas?

– BrotherCharles

Whoa... I don't believe that my post belittled you or your parents, and the word "nincompoops" was not used or implied. My intension was to give you visibility to one of the realities that's created your frustration with your guitar and it's perceived value. These posts are also useful to help others avoid the same pitfalls, so my statement was partially intended for everyone else who's reading this, and maybe not aware that the current (1989 and onward) Gretsch Company has little connection (other than the family name) to the organization that made the vintage guitars we all love. You are by no means the first person to make that assumption, as on it's face, it seems like a practical thing to do. My point is simply that it's not as credible as you are thinking it is. But that certainly doesn't make you a bad person, and I don't believe the tone of my post alluded that you are.

35

Thanks, Ed. You & I had our private chat and as the kids say: "it's all good."

36

Well I just want to say welcome to the GDP. Don't mind the initial comments; we're all quite passionate about Gretsches and most folks on here are great. There are probably a couple that are feeling a tiny bit sheepish about now. RIGHT GUYS? Anyway, Setzer's suggestion to peek under one of the tuners for evidence of an older one is good. If these Klusons are replacements, which they probably are, it is possible to find a period correct set of tuners on eBay; pickguard might be harder to find, but Setzer makes great replicas. If there were no extra holes drilled for the Bigsby, remove it and take a picture for potential buyers. It looks like a killer guitar and probably sounds like heaven cranked up through a Fender amp. $3000 is a tall order, but the trestle braced double PAF Filter'tron Annies are probably the most desirable from that era and if yours was restored to original, with the right timing for a feeding frenzy on eBay....who knows. Good luck and keep us posted.

37

I must Charles that you have impressively thick skin or a very understanding nature, and whilst you say 'no offence taken' by my post above I nevertheless apologise for the 'keyboard warrior' tone of my comments.

Hopefully you find a way to get through your situation without having to sell the guitar now that I've heard the backstory. Perhaps it's something you can enjoy playing or eventually pass on to someone you love who will make music with it as originally intended.

38

EDIT

Sorry if I've seemed foolish, gents. I'm not an expert. My Dad wasn't the original owner. He worked as a luthier, but he wasn't a Gretsch expert. He didn't suspect any alterations other than the Bigsby. I don't know anything for sure about this guitar, other than it's exact date, what I grew up hearing from dad, and what the post '89 folks @Gretsch told my parents. I know this: it's old. It's in pristine condition. It's unique.

If the tuners and pickguard were changed at the original owner's request, it was most likely done when the instrument was new. If the keys & pick-guard are not original, they are most likely 55 years old too.

Hi @Journeyman.

That's just it . . . The tuners ARE original, as is the pick guard. This is why dad always believed that this guitar "is" special. He worked as a luthier at Harmony House of Music in London, Ont., back in the late 60s - early 70s. The ONLY feature that was changed, was the Bigsby. As I'd posted before, the original owner (a catholic priest) had the dealer (Bellone Music) replace the Bigsby with a Gretsch trapeze tail piece. The guitar now has the correct tail piece on it.

If I had the blessed thing with me, here in Montreal, I'd do as Setzer suggested and I would take high-Rez photos to show you. Same for pick guard. There is no evidence that these were after-market add-ons. Others testify of having unusual Gretsches from this same period. Models with "one off" peculiarities. Why is it so hard to believe that Dad's bottom-of-the-line, entry-level Pontiac Laurentian might be unusual directly from Gretsch as a special order or some such?

For instance: I also have an Epiphone Sharaton II (2007) that came with Grover Imperials; yet the catalogue lists Grover rotomatic Deluxes. If you folks knew my father, you'd know that he was OCD out the ying-yang and had to have everything he owned to be original and authentic as possible. His cars, instruments, clothes, belts, shoes . . everything. He drove my mother & I foolish because of it. He would not be content with the guitar if it weren't just so. That's why he made sure that the exact Bigsby model was put back on.

Besides, I wasn't trying to sell online, as it were. I'm selling it in Nova Scotia and expect a potential buyer to come check it out in person, at my Mom's, there in Nova Scotia.

And just to let folks know, I don't want to sell it just for "money". Mrs. Allen and I are accepted and expected to assume pastorship of a small ministry in Nova Scotia. We need the money to move. I'm willing to sacrifice the guitar for the ministry; not as a means to make some extra bucks, or to buy something else.

I still have it listed for $5800; that's the exact amount we need. If it doesn't sell, I'm ok with it - I really don't want to part with it. Other things that could be sold have already been liquidated; this was left for last. In the meantime, I'm looking for extra work in grocery stores, cleaning jobs, etc. . Maybe what I'm telling you is something that only missionaries or other preachers can relate to. . . LOL.

In the meantime, I appreciate the kool info that I've learned from folks here, and I'm glad to have become a member. I didn't know about this forum before. I've spent my online (music-related) time over at KVR.

39

Charles, in post #14 yesterday, you said: "No, the tuners were not replaced. At least not by Dad."

Now above you emphatically state that the tuners ARE original. I'll defer to Ed and the other true experts here concerning this guitar, but I just wanted to let you know that saying things like "at least not by Dad" in this context, and then turning around and insisting that you're certain makes you look a bit foolish, and is not going to help you convince anybody of anything. Most of us have seen or dealt with sellers who insist that they know what they're talking about- even when they've gotten their information from someone else (some previous owner) rather than having actual proof of what they're insisting upon. The bottom line is... you father was not the original owner, and you can't be certain about every detail of this instrument.

Speaking of details about this instrument, I have a question for all the guys here who know more than I do about Gretsch guitars. Is the manner of the sunburst finish on the rear of this guitar's neck unusual? Normal? It looks a bit strange to me.

40

I must Charles that you have impressively thick skin or a very understanding nature, and whilst you say 'no offence taken' by my post above I nevertheless apologise for the 'keyboard warrior' tone of my comments.

Hopefully you find a way to get through your situation without having to sell the guitar now that I've heard the backstory. Perhaps it's something you can enjoy playing or eventually pass on to someone you love who will make music with it as originally intended.

– Doppler

Hi ya, doppler.

Nah, you fellas have shown yourselves to be good guys. Sheesh, years ago I was quite the "orangutan" and would squabble much too easily. The Lord's taught me a few things about grace over the years. No doubt, He had to shake His head at me a good many times . . .lol. Prolly still does.Thanks a million for saying though. :)

41

Charles, in post #14 yesterday, you said: "No, the tuners were not replaced. At least not by Dad."

Now above you emphatically state that the tuners ARE original. I'll defer to Ed and the other true experts here concerning this guitar, but I just wanted to let you know that saying things like "at least not by Dad" in this context, and then turning around and insisting that you're certain makes you look a bit foolish, and is not going to help you convince anybody of anything. Most of us have seen or dealt with sellers who insist that they know what they're talking about- even when they've gotten their information from someone else (some previous owner) rather than having actual proof of what they're insisting upon. The bottom line is... you father was not the original owner, and you can't be certain about every detail of this instrument.

Speaking of details about this instrument, I have a question for all the guys here who know more than I do about Gretsch guitars. Is the manner of the sunburst finish on the rear of this guitar's neck unusual? Normal? It looks a bit strange to me.

– JimR56

Hi Jim. Well, as you say, my father wasn't the original owner.

Now then, how do we determine that the keys are indeed original? Same for pickguard? How do we prove than an unusual pickup or peculiar finish is original? Now, someone else wants to raise questions about the neck . . . Oy! . . . LOL . . . nevermind, chaps. If someone buys it, they'll be getting a 55 year old Gretsch that's unusual and kool - whether purist-grade or not. I'm not personally qualified to say. I don't know of any vintage Gretsch experts in Nova Scotia, but I sure wish I did.

I'm at the point now that I really wish I could afford to take it to someone like Mr. Ed. I really would love to know what's up with it. :)

Thanks & God bless, Bro. Charles

42

The neck finish just makes me curious, so I'm not quite to the point of questioning its originality (which is why I posed the question to those that I know are more knowledgeable about Gretsch guitars). I'd just like to learn as much as I can about things like this.

44

I would say it's not normal to see this, but it does show up, especially on the lower priced models. You have to remember that sometimes there are streaks of color or pitch pockets and the sunburst is adjusted to hide imperfections.

46

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.

– BrotherCharles

Here's a picture of the tail piece that was on the guitar when my father got it. Sorry that the picture is cropped, but there is a third hole - matching the Bigsby hole locations.

EDIT

Just did some research online. It would seem that the original Bigsby was indeed replaced by the first owner. The guitar would have been a Bigsby model originally and thus the need of the space roller bridge. This is a Gibson cough, cough tail piece!! What the heck?!

I don't even see Kluson keys listed as an option for Gretches from this era, in the "Enter Your Guitar" section, here on GGP. No wonder nobody believes that they were factory installed. I have no way of knowing for certain. I know this: the Kluson keys were on the guitar when Dad bought it in '71.

Just for the record, the keys work perfectly, they are very old, and were definitely NOT the cheap kind. Kluson Deluxe. Maybe the original owner wanted to "upgrade" the guitar with better tuners? Umdunno.

47

Klusons are fine tuners.

Never original equipment on any Gretsch model.

Never installed at the factory by Gretsch.

Original (not possible) or not, they do not increase the value of any vintage Gretsch.

BTW, I've never encountered Kluson tuners that don't say "Deluxe". Pretty sure, at least at that time, that was the only option.

48

@tommy59.

Roger that. I've learned that. Ahh, crap! . . . I've believed WRONG information about Dad's guitar for over 40 years! No internet back in the day. My father never even turned a computer on. He believed wrong information all those years too!

Thanks for all the help, guys. Ya gotta admit though, she's in very fine condition. ;)

Thnx & God bless, Bro. C

49

Oh, no doubt, a fine & lovely specimen. Best of luck.

50

So been thinkin' and prayin' about it. . .

To me, it's super unique. Been with us since I was 4. Whether factory or not, it has really kool appointments. It's in pristine condition. It was my fathers and he's gone now.

I think I'll trust The Lord for another way to get "moving" money. Thanks, everyone; you talked me out of trying to sell it. :)

I get that a collector wouldn't think much of it, but I'm actually pretty stoked that it is unique and different. Except for the Bigsby, anything that isn't stock was obviously swapped out many years ago. I suspect the changes were made while it was still new. I'm kinda digging the fact that my "Annie" has 50-something year old Klusons on it.

Me thinks that after we get moved and settled in (hopefully by Nov. 2015) I'll ask Mr. Setzer for price, fit, and necessary details about a "Gretsch" branded pick guard.

Maybe some of you are just rolling your eyes at me, but what started out as a painful disappointment, has ended up making me kind of smiley on the inside. Leave it to the old man to end up with an odd ball . . . LOL. I'm prostestant. Leave it to a catholic to moxy up a lovely Gretsch.

Just kidding . . . Just kidding. *GRIN.

BTW. I didn't think it was nearly as valuable, but I also inherited a 125 Anniversary 6120DC. Dad bought it after they sold the old house. It only cost $3500 . . . rolls eyes. I have no doubts about that one. I have the Long-McQuade receipt, Gretsch papers and etcetera. Silly me! I thought the old one was worth a fortune. I love, love, love the action, tone and playability of the 6120 Chet model.

Thnx & God bless, Bro. C


Register Sign in to join the conversation