Other Guitars

Reverb Article About Gretsch

2

Cool article! Nice info on models and their timelines.

3

I was curious about the bit talking about when they started having stuff made at Terada. I used to have a Synchromatic reissue G400C model...17", sunburst, cat's eye f-holes, spruce top, 3 1/2 " deep that said Made in the USA on it. I think it was late 90's or early 2000's. Were they making guitars in the US at this time or was it made in Japan and something (some part of it's build being done in the US) allowed them to say Made in the USA ?

5

I was curious about the bit talking about when they started having stuff made at Terada. I used to have a Synchromatic reissue G400C model...17", sunburst, cat's eye f-holes, spruce top, 3 1/2 " deep that said Made in the USA on it. I think it was late 90's or early 2000's. Were they making guitars in the US at this time or was it made in Japan and something (some part of it's build being done in the US) allowed them to say Made in the USA ?

– tabletop

Was the marking somewhere on (or in) the guitar or the paper work? Usually these had this label and the paper work said Printed (!) in U.S.A.

7

Was the marking somewhere on (or in) the guitar or the paper work? Usually these had this label and the paper work said Printed (!) in U.S.A.

– sascha

It was on the back of the headstock with the serial number. Sold it a few years ago and unfortunately don’t think I have a picture of the back of the headstock

8

It actually might have been made earlier in the 90s

9

tabletop, at one point in the 1990's Gretsch contracted with Heritage to make the large archtop acoustics such as your model. The practice was cost prohibitive because Gretsch could not sell American made instruments at a price the market would bear and still make a profit on them so they went overseas. One of the problems Fred Gretsch III had was that he never really had enough capital to re-start full production in the USA but he was also unwilling to sell out directly to someone who would make the guitars in the USA (Rickenbacker offered to buy him out). Despite all the palaver about how Fred Gretsch III still "owns" Gretsch, the simple truth is Fender really calls all the shots. They pay Fred Gretsch a big fee every year for the right to manufacture, market and distribute Gretsch guitars. Fred Gretsch III owns the name "Gretsch", the model names, and some of the original body and neck jigs, etc. Fender and Gretsch ultimately have a symbiotic relationship: Fred Gretsch III needs Fender because without Fender, there would be no Gretsch guitars. Fender needs Gretsch as a full guitar line to compete directly against Gibson for the hollow body and "set neck" market

10

tabletop, at one point in the 1990's Gretsch contracted with Heritage to make the large archtop acoustics such as your model. The practice was cost prohibitive because Gretsch could not sell American made instruments at a price the market would bear and still make a profit on them so they went overseas. One of the problems Fred Gretsch III had was that he never really had enough capital to re-start full production in the USA but he was also unwilling to sell out directly to someone who would make the guitars in the USA (Rickenbacker offered to buy him out). Despite all the palaver about how Fred Gretsch III still "owns" Gretsch, the simple truth is Fender really calls all the shots. They pay Fred Gretsch a big fee every year for the right to manufacture, market and distribute Gretsch guitars. Fred Gretsch III owns the name "Gretsch", the model names, and some of the original body and neck jigs, etc. Fender and Gretsch ultimately have a symbiotic relationship: Fred Gretsch III needs Fender because without Fender, there would be no Gretsch guitars. Fender needs Gretsch as a full guitar line to compete directly against Gibson for the hollow body and "set neck" market

– ewkewk

ah so that might be what my guitar was...a Heritage made one. Interesting stuff.

11

Heritage did not make the Synchro 400; Terada did. There was a 6120 and a Club that were (allegedly) Heritage-built around the late '90s, but no other models. They usually have an engraved truss rod cover and many turn up in Japan.

12

Heritage did not make the Synchro 400; Terada did. There was a 6120 and a Club that were (allegedly) Heritage-built around the late '90s, but no other models. They usually have an engraved truss rod cover and many turn up in Japan.

– lx

well mine said Made in USA on the back of the headstock.

Got to try and find the serial number or a photo if I have one

13

Heritage did not make the Synchro 400; Terada did. There was a 6120 and a Club that were (allegedly) Heritage-built around the late '90s, but no other models. They usually have an engraved truss rod cover and many turn up in Japan.

– lx

There was a made in the USA archtop, presumably what tabletop had. Not sure of the model name/number, and I've been able to come up with a pic in the past when we've had this discussion, but no such luck so far today. I don't know if they were all like this, but one of the ones I saw had a wood pickguard that was very suggestive of Heritage.

14

Wasn't that the El Dorado model,Brian Setzer had one.

17

Mine looked like the standard one with cats eye f-holes however. Curious. I couldn't find a picture of the headstock of my old one but I found the serial number.

027 400C-172

18

I recall that sometime around the mid-90's I saw a picture of a Gretsch made-in-USA archtop acoustic that was in one of those guitar magazine's yearly annual issues detailing all the guitars being offered by all the manufacturers for that given year. My recollection was that the MSRP for the guitar shown was $9500.

19

Also, a couple of years ago there was for sale on Ebay a made-in-USA Gretsch 6120 dating from the mid-1990's. The truss rod cover said, "Custom Shop" and below that "Made In USA"

20

I ran across a Synchro 410/El Dorado in the early '90's and it was like the sunburst that JC posted above. Neck was the same as my Synchro 400C. It's an 18" body. No country of origin on it anywhere -- just like all the early Terada made Gretsches. The link I supplied in post 11 above takes you to one of the 6120s with the engraved trc.

The most obscure modern Gretsch I ran across was a full body blonde Synchro 400 with a triangular sound hole. Saw it Thanksgiving weekend in '90 or '91 at the Hollywood GC. Still had the protective plastic on the pickguard and a gold dime-size sticker that said Made in Japan. It's out there somewhere.

21

Great article, thanks for posting the link.

I like that it goes into more details of the Baldwin era and the bumpy transition into the FMIC era.

There is a Wildwood Guitars video where Joe Carducci gives a quick history of Gretsch, some of it overlapping the article.

In it, one of the cooler details Joe mentions is how they, at one point, employed the services of a nearby cancer clinic to do detailed CAT scans of vintage models, to better determine the details of their making. It was an invaluable step in recapturing the authenticity of their classic era.

It's a practice they've continued using, as recent as in reproducing George Harrison's '57 Duo Jet.

22

I like that video and I've seen it before. I'll have to say, as humble as Joe is, he was a big part of getting Gretsch back in the hands of players over the past two decades too.

I wish Greg Koch would come to a roundup someday. He would be a great addition to a wonderful weekend and seems like he'd fit right in.

23

Wasn't that the El Dorado model,Brian Setzer had one.

– JCHiggy

Yep, that's what I was thinking of. It definitely does have a Heritage vibe.

25

Really strange tho...unless i'm having an embarrassing memory lapse I'm sure my Synchro said Made in USA but looked exactly like the cat's eye production model that was later made in Japan.


Register Sign in to join the conversation