Vintage Gretsch Guitars

58 Gent clarification


The serial number on the headstock of my 59 Gent makes it a 58. Am I correct in thinking its manufactured in 58 but released in 59 with 59 model features ie bone nut, zero fret, plain pickguard.


This should be fun.

What places the serial # in '58?


According to GDP serial numbers

260xx to 300xx 1958

Serial number is 29319 and is in the data base as a 1958 registered by the previous owner Paul


But it also has the black enamel Bigsby (rather than V-cut). That's a '58 model year feature.


Yes thats right with indented Pat number so its a 58 right?


Yes, just like my 6120 #293XX, they are 59 model year guitars, with late 58 serial numbers. They were making some really great necks in this time frame.


I'm certainly not the expert. To me, if it was manufactured in 1958, it's a '58, regardless of features, catalogs, bill of sale, or anything else. Mssr. Ball takes a more nuanced approach.

Have you considered pulling the pots to check the date codes?


I agree to a point, it's clearly late 58, but if you agree zero fret is 59, then it's at the very least a 58 body with a 59 neck. Very transitional time frame, hard to lock down. You can make an argument for both years, it is what it is. I like to refer to guitars like this as 58/59 transition models.


…if you agree zero fret is 59, then it's at the very least a 58 body with a 59 neck

I guess that's the rub. I don't agree that zero fret is '59. I agree that guitars manufactured in 1959 had zero frets. As did some guitars manufactured in 1958.

What about guitars manufactured in 1961 that have "59 model year" features? Should they be advertised as '59s? What about features that changed mid-batch? Would guitars with consecutive serial #s be different years?


Yeah it's a slippery slope, you have to think as a manufacturer would. Ex. We got these new style necks done, put those on the finished bodies. In the end, all we have to work with is serial numbers and features. The reason you can't call a 61 with 59 features a 59, is the 61 will have features a 59 could never have.


I don't agree that there were '58 model year Gents with a zero fret Tommy. In the 50s Gretsch Manual you'll find that I've identified 2 batches of '58 model year Gents (#264xx and #273xx). I define the '59 model year for Gents as starting with batch #293xx (with feature upgrades including the zero fret, sculpted bezels and Phillips stud Bigsby units).

The GDP database relies on the inputer of the data to know what the model year of their guitar is. Unfortunately, owners don't always know what the accurate vintage is, and that has always presented a problem with that resource. User input can be flawed.

Andrew... if your #293xx Gent has "indented Pat. numbers" then that's another question... as they should be PAF covers in that group. In my notes, when I documented #21913 it had a Supertron in the neck position, so your pickups may not be original to the guitar.


Ed I think he was referring to the Bigsby patent numbers


A 59' 6120, 6122 etc will always have a zero fret. A 58' will not, nor a 57' et al.

I've seen many guitars from the 26xxx and 27xxx batch. None had zero frets.

Zero fret was the new improved 59' feature. Started around the 29XXXX batch.

You need to keep the customer stimulated!!

Regardless of when it is made a 59' model year includes certain features. Zero fret included.

Did i just regurgitate what ed said?



Hi Ed - I didn't say a '58 model year had a zero fret. I said a guitar manufactured in 1958 had a zero fret.


Got it Tommy, thanks for the clarification. But to that point, we really can't be sure which guitars were manufactured in 1958... right? The one's that fall in the heart of a model/calendar year are easy, but what about the batches made in the last few months or first few months of a calendar year. How do we know what batch was coming off the production line when the calendar changed from Dec. '58 to Jan. '59. I don't think we will ever be able to be definitive about that... hence my "nuanced" approach (based on model year features).

Since we don't know what the calendar said when Andrew's #29313 was produced, we can either guess, or go with whatever vintage sounds sexier... or base it on something relatively concrete, that can be quickly identified by obvious feature inclusions.


I understand, and agree. Right up to the point of referring to your 2-tone, or one of the other 2-tones, or any guitar, for that matter, from the 264xx batch, as a "1958 Country Gentleman". Just feels wrong somehow.


Love these "Gent" threads of late. Always interesting, and I feel like a putz for just having a -58 RI, even though I love it!

I have to say that the vintage Gents are my favorite of all old Gretsches.


Ed - yes I was refering to the bigsby unit. The neck pickup is a later replacement super tron and the bridge is the original PAF.

Well its all very interesting and absorbing. My 6130 had its neck off and it said 54 but it was a 55 by serial number etc. I get that. Parts made in 54 but made into a guitar released by serial number in 55.

But to be honest this Gent thing confuses me. So im gonna say 58/59. I can see the logic of both leanings but the serial number is kinda being ignored in this case? Its all good stuff and typical of gretsch intrigue.


@jazzboxjunky - the necks on both of my Gents are amazing. Its the first thing I noticed on the 60 and then on the 59. Thin and light and a real luxurious feel. The 59 takes it though! The 59 is heavier and I cant think why...any thoughts?


Hey Andrew - what's the serial # of the '60, if you don't mind me asking. I'm curious how far apart the numbers are.

My guess on the weight difference would be the bracing.


Always very interesting, Gentlemen. It is a pleasure being around so much knowledge and love for these old girls. I get goose bumps just looking at the pictures and reading what you all have to say.



@tommy - the serial number on the 1960 is 35507 - ah I see its the 1958 heavy trestle bracing........another 58 feature going over to light trestle in 59 ?


So lets have a round up (no pun intended) the 1959 has a 58 serial number, heavy trestle bracing, 58 plain bigsby unit, zero fret, bone nut, plain pickguard. Gotta be a transitional late 58 guitar.


Why put off the inevitable, Richard?

– tommy59

Tommy, you should have heard and seen Richard playing KC Eddy's Gent at the KC Round Up.

I don't know what was better............the sound that Richard was getting out of that beauty, or the BIG 'ol SMILE on Richards face.

It was magic for sure.

Register Sign in to join the conversation